- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Fourteen Americans died in the terrorist attack at Fort Hood. It could have been prevented had we heeded the glaring warning signs. A thorough congressional investigation may help us identify specific individuals, agencies and policies that contributed to the tragedy, but the ultimate cause of our failure to stop both this attack and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is already known.

Political correctness is killing Americans and undermining the national security of the United States.

Americans are good people who have developed a very strong aversion to judging others because of their race, ethnic background, religion or factors other than individual character and conduct. However, our virtue is being used as a powerful weapon against us by political extremists within our country and enemies without.

We must not wrongfully prejudge people. However, we also can no longer refuse to take the steps necessary to defend ourselves, as clearly was the case with the Fort Hood attack. We can’t allow political correctness to intimidate Americans from speaking out against clear and present dangers out of fear they will be ridiculed or penalized for offending any group. We should have learned that lesson in 2001.

Muslim males with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons - including Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, then of Northern Virginia - rammed airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 2,976 men, women and children.

A Muslim male with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons attempted to bomb a U.S. airliner with a shoe bomb in December 2001.

A Muslim male with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons attacked the Los Angeles airport in July 2002, killing two persons and wounding four.

A Muslim male with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons engaged in a sniping attack with a juvenile accomplice in the Washington area in October 2002, killing 10 and wounding three.

A Muslim male with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons attacked his fellow U.S. Army soldiers in their tents in Kuwait in 2003, killing two and wounding 14 of his own comrades, a foreshadowing of the Fort Hood attack.

Muslim males with ties to radical Islamic groups and individuals attempted to plan the bombing of the Sears Tower in Chicago in August 2006.

Muslim males with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons, including Mr. Al-Awlaki - now in Yemen - plotted in 2006 to attack the Canadian Parliament and other buildings in Toronto.

Muslim males with ties to radical Islamic groups and individuals - including the same Mr. Al-Awlaki in Yemen - were arrested in May 2007 for planning an automatic weapons attack on U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J.

A Muslim male with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons attacked a U.S. Army recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark., in June, killing two recruiters.

The FBI and the Defense Department were aware that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was in contact with the same Mr. Al-Awlaki in Yemen with ties to the Sept. 11 attackers and the plot to attack Fort Dix, and that Maj. Hasan made verbal and written statements justifying attacks.

Maj. Hasan’s profile, associations, communications and actions were a perfect match with multiple previous attacks in this country that had killed nearly 3,000 Americans since 2001. Yet no action was taken.

So another Muslim male with ties to radical Islamic groups and persons, including Mr. Al-Awlaki in Yemen, stands accused of attacking our soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, killing 14 and wounding 32. Mr. Al-Awlaki is publicly praising Maj. Hasan as a “hero.”

What has been done since? Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s chief concern apparently is not why the FBI and other authorities failed to prevent another attack, but whether the public might be led to blame Muslims in general, which would be politically incorrect. This is the same Department of Homeland Security that had no problem warning law enforcement agencies earlier this year of a supposed threat from “right-wing extremists,” defined as Americans who believe in the Constitution and oppose Obama administration policies.

Yes, a distinction needs to be made. No one is calling for rounding up law-abiding and loyal Americans of the Muslim faith or singling out anyone in this country for investigation simply because of his or her ethnic or religious background. We are not discussing all Muslims - or any group, for that matter.

But when a Muslim male contacts the radical Islamic colleague of the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Fort Dix shooting plot and the Canadian Parliament bombing plot; tells responsible people that he sympathizes with our enemies; and claims that jihad against the United States is justified, somebody needs to stop him instead of failing to act from fear of violating the unwritten taboos of political correctness.

We are letting political correctness destroy our nation. It cost the lives of 14 Americans at Fort Hood, and the current administration apparently has not learned a thing.

There is a simple definition of political correctness. It is just another word for a lie. When we say we have no need to fear or take action against people with clear ties to radical Islamic terrorists, that’s a lie.

We must start acknowledging the truth if we want to survive as a free nation.

Rep. John Carter is a Texas Republican. Fort Hood is in his congressional district.

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