Both Goldberg and Sullivan effectively call for investigations into American Arabs/Muslims, particularly those in the military. Right, good idea: let’s alienate the few Arabs/Muslims who love their country – in spite of their country’s and fellow soldiers’ prejudices against them, drawn out by incidents like the Fort Hood massacre – enough to die for it.
Fort Hood was incredibly tragic, and incredibly sad. Did Major Hasan scream Allahu Akbar? It does not matter. He may have believed himself to be religiously motivated, he may have had ties to radicalizing Imams, but at the end of the day — he was clearly disturbed. Indeed, the military and society as a whole should watch out for people who gave warning signs of mental instability — but not warning signs based on their religious or ethnic identity, which is what Goldberg and Sullivan are demanding.
This characterization conflates the reactions of Goldberg and Sullivan, which were actually quite different. In fact, Sullivan wrote the following about the shooting on November 6:
It's a tragic massacre in the first place. It will doubtless increase suspicion of Muslim servicemembers, which in turn propels more religious polarization, which makes winning this war harder still. You can instantly see how the Malkins will spin this, and how a war on American Muslims can get jump-started in America.
And he posed the following questions about reactions to the shooting the same day:
[Should we] Screen all potential Muslim soldiers in [the] future? Have special surveillance of such soldiers? It's easy to see how this might make matters worse just as it might make them better. Michelle Malkin, remember, favored interning Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. Is that what the anti-Jihadists now want for American Muslims? Or what, exactly?
But I do think that elite makers of opinion in this country try very hard to ignore the larger meaning of violent acts when they happen to be perpetrated by Muslims. Here's a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course.I think he's wrong - aside from the usual suspects who jumped to conclusions within minutes of the news, there were quite a few people who considered that radical Islam could have something to do with this. But they recognized that a hotheaded reaction could provoke violence against a vulnerable minority group, so they withheld judgment. That's the obvious point that Goldberg misses: the situation with regard to American Muslims and radicals among them is much more tense than the situation with regard to American Christians and the radicals among them. No one is "ignoring" the meaning of this - we'd just like to know what that meaning is before putting American Muslims at risk for the sake of making political hay.