I didn't think it should matter in the eighties, and I still don't think a person's ethnic background should be a factor in deciding who gets what job.
Except in a few special cases. I mean, Chan Kong-sang (Jackie Chan) is a pretty good actor: but can you imagine him in the role of Martin Luther King? Which is another topic.
Open Minded Shouldn't Mean Empty HeadedIt's looking more and more like the multiple homicide at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, could have been avoided.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan is the [alleged, as contemporary mores dictate] Fort Hood shooter. He [allegedly, again] killed 13 people.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan is quite obviously not a New England Yankee, or any sort of WASP.
And yes, Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a Muslim.
I certainly don't think that Major Nidal Malik Hasan should have been excluded from the armed forces, or promotion, because his ancestors aren't Anglo-Saxon. Or because he's a Muslim.
I do think that it's quite natural that over 1,100 soldiers in the United States Army are Muslim. (November 6, 2009) As of 2007, about 0.6% of Americans were Muslims. ("CIA World Factbook," United States) With a population of very roughly 300,000,000 - about 18,000,000 Americans are Muslims. It'd be a bit odd, if a few weren't in the military.
But I do not, emphatically, think that Major Nidal Malik Hasan should have been promoted and given glowing evaluations because his ancestors aren't Anglo-Saxon, and in deference to his Muslim cultural heritage.
It's getting increasingly difficult to believe that political correctness wasn't a factor in Major Nidal Malik Hasan's remarkable military career.
"Fort Hood shooter's superiors ignored their own concerns"That's it: the entire story in the USA Today News roundup.
News roundup, USA Today (January 11, 2010)
"A Defense Department review of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, has found that doctors overseeing Maj. Nidal Hasan's medical training repeatedly voiced concerns over his strident views on Islam and his inappropriate behavior, yet continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks. The picture emerging from the review ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates is one of supervisors who failed to heed their own warnings about an officer ill-suited to be an Army psychiatrist, according to information gathered during the internal Pentagon investigation and obtained by the Associated Press...."
Don't be surprised, if you don't see this in your paper. The little matter of Major Hasan's apparent immunity from logical consequences probably won't be in the evening news tonight, either. But, I could be wrong.
The USA Today News roundup paragraph did not give many specific facts, so I looked for more detailed information. That phrase, "obtained by the Associated Press" gave me a sort of handle for my search.
If you don't like what you see next, you are free to assume that it's all lies. The AP article was published on the FOXNews website. And, in some circles, 'everybody knows' that FOXNews lies. All the time.
"In Hasan Case, Superiors Ignored Their Worries"Around this point in the article, I remembered Frank Burns, that red-white-and-blue-blooded all-American idiot doctor from the "M*A*S*H" television series. When Larry Linville's character was written out of the script, the hopelessly incompetent Dr. Frank Burns (if my memory serves) went AWOL, chewed the buttons of a nurse's uniform - then promoted and transferred to a stateside hospital.
The Associated Press, via FOXNews (January 11, 2010)
" A Defense Department review of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, has found the doctors overseeing Maj. Nidal Hasan's medical training repeatedly voiced concerns over his strident views on Islam and his inappropriate behavior, yet continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks.
"The picture emerging from the review ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates is one of supervisors who failed to heed their own warnings about an officer ill-suited to be an Army psychiatrist, according to information examined by investigators conducting the study.
"Hasan, 39, is accused of murdering 13 people on Nov. 5 at Fort Hood, the worst killing spree on a U.S. military base.
"What remains unclear is why Hasan would be advanced in spite of all the worries over his competence. That is likely to be the subject of a more detailed accounting by the department. Recent statistics show the Army rarely blocks junior officers from promotion, especially in the medical corps...."
"...In telling episodes from the latter stages of lengthy Hasan's medical education in the Washington, D.C., area, he gave a class presentation questioning whether the U.S.-led war on terror was actually a war on Islam. And students said he suggested that Shariah, or Islamic law, trumped the Constitution and he attempted to justify suicide bombings, according to the information reviewed by The Associated Press.
"Yet no one in Hasan's chain of command appears to have challenged his eligibility to hold a secret security clearance even though they could have because the statements raised doubt about his loyalty to the United States. Had they, Hasan's fitness to serve as an Army officer may have been called into question long before he reported to Fort Hood...." [emphasis mine]
In a television sitcom, that's perfectly okay.
When the real army seems to be acting the same way, I get concerned.
Back to excerpts from that AP article.
"...in July 2009, Hasan arrived in central Texas, his secret clearance intact, his reputation as a weak performer well known, and Army authorities believing that posting him at such a large facility would mask his shortcomings.Dr. Frank Burns was funny.
"Four months later, according to witnesses, he walked into a processing center at Fort Hood where troops undergo medical screening, jumped on a table with two handguns, shouted 'Allahu Akbar!' — Arabic for 'God is great!' — and opened fire. Thirteen people were killed in the spree and dozens more were wounded...."
"...After the Fort Hood shooting, Gates appointed two former senior defense officials to examine the procedures and policies for identifying threats within the military services. The review, led by former Army Secretary Togo West and retired Navy Adm. Vernon Clark, began Nov. 20 and is scheduled to be delivered to Gates by Jan. 15...."
"...Hasan's superiors had a full picture of him, developed over his 12-year career as a military officer, medical student and psychiatrist, according to the information reviewed by AP.
"While in medical school at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences from 1997 to 2003, Hasan received a string of below average and failing grades, was put on academic probation and showed little motivation to learn.
"He took six years to graduate from the university in Bethesda, Maryland, instead of the customary four, according to the school. The delays were due in part to the deaths of his father in 1998 and his mother in 2001. Yet the information about his academic probation and bad grades wasn't included in his military personnel file, leaving the impression he was ready for more intense instruction.
"In June 2003, Hasan started a four-year psychiatry internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and he was counseled frequently for deficiencies in his performance. Teachers and colleagues described him as a below average student.
"Between 2003 and 2007, Hasan's supervisors expressed their concerns with him in memos, meeting notes and counseling sessions. He needed steady monitoring, especially in the emergency room, had difficulty communicating and working with colleagues, his attendance was spotty and he saw few patients.
"In one incident already made public, a patient of Hasan's with suicidal and homicidal tendencies walked out of the hospital without permission.
"Still, Hasan's officer evaluation reports were consistently more positive, usually describing his performance as satisfactory and at least twice as outstanding. Known as 'OERs,' the reports are used to determine promotions and assignments. The Army promoted Hasan to captain in 2003 and to major in 2009.
"At Walter Reed, Hasan's conflict with his Islamic faith and his military service became more apparent to superiors and colleagues, according to the information. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, a trip expected of all Muslims at least once. But he was also cited for inappropriately engaging patients in discussions about religious issues...."
(The Associated Press, via FOXNews) [emphasis mine]
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, not so much.
The AP article doesn't say that Major Hasan's ethnic background or religious affiliation was involved in his remarkable immunity from the results of incompetence.
Maybe Nidal Malik Hasan's superiors like the way he looked, or the way he played poker.
Or maybe they were concerned that dealing with him the same way they would with some blue-eyed nitwit from Massachusetts would leave them open to the charge of Islamophobia.
Given the core values of America's dominant culture over the last few decades, I think that a sincere desire to avoid the appearance of Islamophobic, racist behavior is more reasonable than the poker hypothesis.
I could be wrong.
But Nidal Malik Hasan's substandard, disturbing, performance; and his continued promotions; remind me of the eighties, when political correctness was in flower. I was 'lucky,' as American culture expresses the idea. I could get out of the academic racket and get an honest job.
Those 13 people at Fort Hood: they won't be able to get on with their lives.
- "Fort Hood, Obama, Congress, and Getting a Job Done"
(November 16, 2009)
- "Major Nidal Malik Hasan, What's 'Obvious,' and Common Sense"
(November 13, 2009)
- "Getting Called an Islamophobe, Saving Lives"
(November 10, 2009)
- "Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 'Allah Akbar,' American History and Common Sense"
(November 6, 2009)
- "Emotions, the Frontal Cortex, The War on Terror, Anarchists, and the Illuminati"
(December 23, 2008)
- "News roundup: Fort Hood shooter's superiors ignored their own concerns"
News roundup, USA Today (January 11, 2010)
- "In Hasan Case, Superiors Ignored Their Worries"
FOXNews (January 11, 2010)