I was dropping by for my daily dozen and ran across THIS at Responsibility. As it turns out, Xerox has a nifty little website that sends cards to our troops. It’s so easy a caveman could do it – so drop by and choose a card, a greeting, and send it along. As Tom said at Responsibility, “If you have a blog, post this. If not, send it on to your address list. Someone who is away from his or her family at the Holidays will appreciate your efforts.” Thanks in advance for the cheer and good spirit you’ll bring to a person far from home.
I opened this new version of Skalduggery with a post concerning cowardice and virtues that had as its triggering subject an article by Christopher Hitchens. It happened that I disagreed with Hitchens in that case – I found his claim that “religion poisons everything” unconvincing. More, it’s often easier to find ideological zealotry outside of religion; a god was not required for the butchery perpetrated by Mao, Lenin, or Hitler. Religion has produced some of the finest episodes in mankind’s short history; however, it has also been conducive to some of the worst intolerance in our history. I wonder how Muslims would respond to Hitchens’ most recent article and my commentary on it?
In Christopher Hitchins’ latest article for Slate, HARD EVIDENCE: Seven salient facts about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, he doesn’t just outline seven salient facts concerning the shooter at Ft. Hood, he also provides three salient characteristics of the Muslim death-squad type. Since I’m not really going to focus on the seven salient facts of the article, I encourage you to take a trip over to Slate and read the article. Hitchens opens this way:
The admonition not to rush to judgment or jump to conclusions might sound fair and prudent enough, perhaps even statesmanlike when uttered by the president, as long it’s borne in mind that such advice is itself a judgment that is more than halfway to a conclusion. What it plainly implies in the present case is that the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan should not be assumed in any meaningful way to be related to his Muslim faith. (Slate 20091116:1146)
It is easy to see that the president’s admonition not to rush to judgment is in fact a judgment. If you haven’t seen his video address concerning the “Ft. Hood Tragedy,” then here it is for your consumption.
Just to reassure my readers… I. Am. Not. Rushing to judgment. If you’ve read my posts, then you know I have little patience for chowder headed extremists of any stripe. Unlike Hitchens, I am actually quite tolerant of most religions having been a devout follower of a religion at one time myself – I gave it up for lent. However, like Hitchens, “I do not say that all practitioners of woman-hating, anti-Semitic, sadomasochistic suicide immolations are themselves insane, but I do say that the teaching itself is demented. In the same way, I do not say that all Muslims are terrorists, but I have noticed that an alarmingly high proportion of terrorists are Muslim” (Slate 20091116:1146)… especially in the last 25 years.
Hitchens then points out that the “gallant major,” the sarcasm is obvious in the original text (ok, dry humor for my fellow seminarians), may have been subject to a little ill treatment, but only up to a point. Hitchens reminds us that the major’s parents were given refuge here, that he joined an all-volunteer army, and was given permission by omission to “vent extremely noxious opinions about members of other faiths, to say nothing about his adopted country” (Slate 20091116:1146). To drive a point home that is apparently lost on some members of our citizenry, he reminds them:
Black Americans used to be segregated. Jewish recruits were mercilessly hazed, as were men or women who looked as if they might be gay. Did any of them ever come up with an act of mass murder as a response? Did any of them ever offer a black or Jewish or gay ideology in justification of it? Would they have earned sympathy and understanding if they had? By the time the mushy “pre-post-traumatic” school was done with the story, Maj. Hasan was not just acquitted of being a bad Muslim. He was more or less exonerated of having even done a bad deed (Slate 20091116:1146).
The next portion of the article should come as no surprise to people paying attention. A person worrying about the motives and intentions of a Muslim colleague is not “Islamophobic” in circumstances such as these. Take a gander over at the HuffPo on this subject and you’ll find assorted complaints about the right-wingnuts who mention these concerns – oh, and to be honest, there are actually a vanishingly small number of very legitimate complaints about behaviors this atrocity has spawned. I guess we Americans, whether Muslim, Christian, Jew, or atheist just can’t seem to follow the president’s advice on this one. On the other hand, it seems obvious that people will respond to an event of this magnitude – and Christopher Hitchens closing remarks seem especially appropriate:
I wrote some years ago that the three most salient characteristics of the Muslim death-squad type were self-righteousness, self-pity, and self-hatred. Surrounded as he was by fellow shrinks who were often very distressed by his menacing manner, Maj. Hasan managed to personify all three traits—with the theocratic rhetoric openly thrown in for good measure—and yet be treated even now as if the real word for him was troubled. Prepare to keep on meeting those three symptoms again, along with official attempts to oppose them only with therapy, if that. At least the holy warriors know they are committing suicide (Slate 20091116:1146).
Somehow “Cheers” doesn’t seem like the appropriate sign off for this post. My daughters and wife have a perfectly serviceable adieu –