- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting rampage - leaving 13 U.S. servicemen and -women dead at Fort Hood, Texas, in the worst terrorist act on our soil since Sept. 11, 2001 - points to a profound irony.

President George W. Bush’s aggressive war on Islamic terrorism produced a 100 percent perfect track record of keeping the United States safe from another attack. The result has been increased security for the American people, who, in turn, have become complacent about the true nature of the threat.

Maj. Hasan’s brutal attack should serve as a fire bell in the night.

It was not, as President Obama has said, “a crime against our nation.” It was an act of war. Political correctness has stopped us from referring to the current war as a “holy war” to avoid offending Muslims and giving the impression that the United States is at war with Islam rather than just with violent Islamists. Our enemies, however, do think of it as a holy war. That is what they explicitly call it, and that’s what Maj. Hasan apparently believed it to be.

For months, Maj. Hasan showed signs of radicalization: purportedly posting messages on jihadist Web sites, referring to the war on terror as a “war on Islam” in anti-American rants, proselytizing about Islam to anyone who would listen, trying to make contact with known al Qaeda terrorists overseas and growing conflicted about what to tell fellow Muslim soldiers about orders to fight in Muslim countries. The FBI, Army and intelligence services were aware of his actions but dropped the case.

The warning signs then became the massacre. Before opening fire, Maj. Hasan reportedly gave away his possessions, passed out copies of the Koran and bellowed the familiar jihadist cry, “Allahu Akbar!”

Since the attack, we’ve heard an array of excuses for his violent behavior. Some have blamed “Bush’s war” as a way to nail the former president for bringing this on the U.S. Of course, this argument disregards the real nature of jihadism and the fact that we were hit on Sept. 11, 2001, before we had a presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Others have blamed the military, saying the stress of multiple and long deployments is causing these kinds of outbursts. This argument ignores the fact that in Maj. Hasan’s case, he had never yet been deployed anywhere. He reportedly was scheduled to head to Afghanistan at the end of the month. Nobody wants to go to war, but perhaps he had a deeper concern: being a Muslim on the side of the infidel and forced to fight fellow Muslims on Muslim soil.

Another excuse is that he “snapped” from the “harassment” he received in the military because of his Middle Eastern descent. There are many Muslims who serve honorably, and there are others, such as some women, who have been harassed for a variety of reasons. They don’t mow down 13 people in cold blood.

Finally, some have suggested that he was just plain crazy. It’s a big mistake to conflate jihadism with mental illness. When I visited Guantanamo Bay several years ago, I met a team of psychiatrists treating the detainees. When I asked how they distinguished between, say, schizophrenia or bipolarity and a bedrock religious commitment to holy war, they couldn’t answer.

In 2006, when attorneys for purported “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui tried to claim an insanity defense (despite a court-appointed psychiatrist having found him competent to stand trial), Moussaoui shouted that it was “typical American B.S.” He told the court point-blank, “I am al Qaeda.”

Similar excuses were offered for Sgt. Hasan Akbar, who lobbed three grenades into tents housing his fellow sleeping soldiers in Kuwait in 2003, killing two; and for six Muslim men who were busted for plotting “to kill as many soldiers as possible” at Fort Dix in 2006; and for Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad when he shot two military recruiters in Little Rock, Ark., killing one, earlier this year.

The Islamic terror threat is so fierce, unrelenting and barbaric that we tell ourselves fairy tales about how these ruthless acts are anything but what they are: acts of war. They are not “crimes”; in fact, the only crime is the negligence of our officials who continue to treat this as a criminal justice problem rather than as a war.

There are plenty of Muslims who live faithfully in the United States. But there also are radicals here who believe their loyalty rests not with the United States, but with Islam.

The enemy within is more insidious than the enemy abroad because it’s already here, pulsating in our national bloodstream, waiting to attack - not out of stress or harassment or derangement, but out of an impenetrable religious conviction. We cannot win this war unless and until we are willing to speak the truth about the enemy and stop spinning excuses that the enemy mocks while plotting his next attack.

Monica Crowley is a nationally syndicated radio host, a panelist on “The McLaughlin Group” and a Fox News contributor.

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