Americans such as myself step into troubled waters when we try to understand why an Army shrink would kill 13 and wound 33 on the pretext he didn't want to be assigned to Afghanistan.
Therefore, I find it not at all unusual that today's authors of Op-Ed columns in today's Los Angeles Times argue amongst themselves. The issue is not whether Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan committed a terrorist act. He did.
The issue which is only partially addressed in the opinion pieces is why the army failed to connect the dots of his behavior that culminated in the massacre.
The questions are -- was it because he was a Muslim? Was it because the army was protecting its investment in his education since it not only was short on Muslims it was short on mental health experts? Or was it because the army brass was intimidated and too politically correct?
That last question really bothers me. It forces a hypothetical question which really cannot be answered. That is, what if the major was a white Christian from our nation's heartland whose religious views trampled his objectivity as a psychiatric specialist? Or worse, what if he was totally incompetent as judged by his peers? Either way, would he have been drummed out of the corps? We don't know. He should have been discharged without prejudice so he could rise or fail by market forces in private practice with an unblemished service record.
The problem with my analysis and the army's is that hindsight is seen from a prism that is 20-20.
The Times commentaries are worth reading. One was offered by Tim Rutten, the paper's resident conservative. The other by Judith Miller, an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Fox News contributor, and David Samuels, a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine.