As the United States prepares to try Nidal Malik Hasan for 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder at Fort Hood last month, few question the suspect’s guilt, but many disagree about his motives. Yet the evidence is now conclusive: the Fort Hood massacre was an act of Islamic terror. Before his shooting spree, Hasan told colleagues that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell and that they should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats. Hasan traded 18 e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida recruiter. On the morning of the massacre, he gave his neighbor a Koran as he was departing for the base, telling her that he was going to do “good work for God.” Wearing Pakistani garb, Hasan shouted “Allahu akbar” as he began firing at U.S. troops.
Despite the plentiful evidence, however, leftists refuse to accept Hasan’s Islamic inspiration. We’ve heard the rationalizations: Hasan was a nut; the stresses of serving in the military drove him crazy; he experienced anti-Islamic discrimination; anyone is capable of “losing it” under such stressful conditions; and so on. These reflexive denials are a logical continuation of the Left’s long tradition of denying the evil of our totalitarian enemies—or, when forced to acknowledge them, blaming them on the United States. This was the pattern throughout the Cold War, and it’s continued during the War on Terror.
When it’s proven beyond reasonable doubt that jihadism was in fact Hasan’s motive, here’s a prediction: leftists will either fall into apathetic silence or respond that it was American racism, oppression, and Islamophobia that forced Hasan’s hand. To recognize the evil of Nidal Hasan and his ideology, to admit the existence of pernicious enemies, is to concede that there are societies, cultures, and systems that are much more unjust than ours. This is an untenable step for leftists to take, because it means acknowledging that there is something superior about our civilization that’s worth saving and defending.
The notion that his own society is evil and unjust is the bedrock of the leftist’s vision. Wicked capitalists trample on the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden; the leftist appoints himself to rescue these victims. He is a self-styled social redeemer, leading a movement to liberate the masses, even if it results in the destruction of his own society. This political mission provides him with immense moral indignation and, therefore, moral superiority, dispositions from which, in turn, he derives emotional self-gratification. His whole belief system provides him with a sense of belonging; he joins other social redeemers, as well as the victims, real or imagined, who wait for him to break their chains.
Thus, the leftist’s political disposition is a faith that reinforces his personal identity and sense of belonging. Admitting that Hasan is a jihadist would undermine that faith. It would also expose the leftist to potential excommunication from his social community. He’d become politically suspect to his peers, perhaps even accused of becoming a reactionary right-winger. That’s why we will continue to witness more Fort Hood denial from the Left, with all of its irrationality and disregard for human life.