In a piece on Nov. 11 called “False Dichotomies,” Newsweek religion writer Lisa Miller advanced a very sensible argument regarding the
Given the incomplete and contradictory reports about Hasan's activities and statements before the shooting, that seems wise. But rather than leave it at that, Miller ended up reinforcing aspects of the politically correct approach to issues of Islam and terror, and blaming Americans to boot.
Miller cited New York Times' David Brooks in particular, and partially agreeing with those on the right that complain of the media's politically correct desire to explain away Hasan as just a lone psycho (or even better: a psychological victim of Bush's wars).
“Major Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill,” Miller wrote. “But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community.”
So far so good. But then Miller unveils the other side of the “dichotomy.”
The number of moderate Muslim clerics and organizations who immediately and publicly condemned the violence at
That could be. Or it could be that those groups learned something about PR in the intervening eight years. But let's say Miller's right. We are then supposed to applaud those groups for having a civilized and civically acceptable reaction to mass murder. That sounds like what George W. Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Miller's special pleading continued as she argued that it's not easy being a Muslim in
The only surprising thing is that that increase isn't more than 10 points. In 2002, Americans were still trying to get their arms around 9-11. The concept of suicide bombing was new; Bali,
Strangely, that's not how Miller remembers it. The alternative to willful PC blindness about Hasan, she said, is “a reversion to the early days after 9/11, when every brown-skinned man in a skullcap was a terrorist suspect.”
Well then, that is a “false dichotomy,” because that characterization of