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21 November 2009

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N. M. Salamon

Colonel:
I found your analysis to be excellent and balanced.
I found Prof scheuer's analysis the best, for he looked at the overall picture, pointing out the real problem of USA, the power of the Israel First lobby an related social groups [whether the Hasan and other similar criminal/terrorist acts are a backlash to the subsequent USA involvement in I/P program?].
However, there was one missing link in all the various statements, non mentioned the growing problem of armed "militant groups" within the USA be they racist, discontendted tea-party groups or what else. Without doubt these semi organized groups are a major treat to internal peace, especially at a time when the various small arm manufacturers of USA can not keep up with the demand for guns and or ammunition - even as they work flat out.

Patrick Lang

NM Salomon

You exagerate the importance of firearms ownership in the US.

I should show you my arsenal some time. pl

stanleyhenning@mac.com

In some ways the handling of Nidal Hasan reflects problems in our government personnel systems, which harbor an unknown number of cases of substandard/troubled and non contributing employees who manage to float to retirement because "leaders" are reluctant to face potential legal challenges required to demote or discharge these individuals. I personally was confronted by one such case, wrote a substandard evaluation on the individual, which was raised to "passing" by my superiors, and I was forced to put up with this non-performing individual until I managed to get reassigned myself. I understood that the individual continued on, filling another "less critical" position for a number of years until retirement. The mere threat of "legal" action can be a very real counter to effectively coping with such individuals. These are clearly exceptions in a system with thousands of fine employees, but it just takes one to wreak havoc as the Hasan case reveals.

Patrick Lang

Stan

Unfortunately, this man is not just an "employee." pl

Duncan Kinder

Whatever problems there are or may be regarding Muslims in the military or Muslim-Americans as a potential fifth column, a very real problem is developing regarding infiltration by Mexican drug cartels into the U.S. military as well as into society as a whole.

For example, the Columbus Examiner reports Mexican drug cartels now recruiting hit men from U.S. military.

More recently, a U.S. soldier was killed in a Mexican strip club. Many believe he was no innocent bystander but rather, like the other victims of that hit, he was being specifically targeted for gang-related activity.

The drug cartel's infiltration into the Mexican military is notorious, and the money they could offer US soldiers could be very tempting.

Meanwhile, Mexican drug gangs are making vast inroads into U.S. society.

As to risks posed by US Muslims both within and without the military. They number several millions; so it would be reasonable to suppose that at least a few would be inclined actively to sympathize with radical Islamists. These conceivably could engage in terrorist activities. So could other Timothy McVeigh types or radical Zen Buddhists or Branch Davidians or other groups.

We live in a tightly interconnected society with multiple points of failure. Unless we intend to turn ourselves into a totalitarian society, the best defense would be to loosen these connections and to eliminate these points of failure, thereby minimizing the impact of any given terrorist episode. This could be expensive, but then so are our foreign wars.

Clifford Kiracofe

US Senate investigation by Senator Levin, Armed Services Committee:

"Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Friday after a briefing from Pentagon and Army officials that his committee will investigate how those and other e-mails involving Hasan were handled and why the U.S. military was not made aware of them before the Nov. 5 shooting.

Levin said his committee is focused on determining whether the Defense Department's representative on the terrorism task force acted appropriately and effectively.

Levin also said he considers Hasan's shooting spree, which killed 13 and wounded more than 30, an act of terrorism.

"There are some who are reluctant to call it terrorism but there is significant evidence that it is. I'm not at all uneasy saying it sure looks like that," he said."
http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/11/21/
levin-could-be-more-e-mails-from-ft-hood-suspect-4/

Committee's website at:
http://armed-services.senate.gov/

Clifford Kiracofe

Data on a semi-homegrown alleged Islamist terrorist with links to AQ and Laskhar:

"Today, Mr. Headley is an Islamic fundamentalist who once liked to get high. He has a traditional Pakistani wife, who lives with their children in Chicago, but also an American girlfriend — a makeup artist in New York — according to a relative and friends. Depending on the setting, he alternates between the name he adopted in the United States, David Headley, and the Urdu one he was given at birth, Daood Gilani. Even his eyes — one brown, the other green — hint at roots in two places.

Mr. Headley, an American citizen, is accused of being the lead operative in a loose-knit group of militants plotting revenge against a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The indictment against him portrays a man who moved easily between different worlds. The profile that has emerged of him since his arrest, however, suggests that Mr. Headley felt pulled between two cultures and ultimately gravitated toward an extremist Islamic one...."

"Since then, the investigation has widened beyond Chicago and Copenhagen. The authorities have learned more, with cooperation from Mr. Headley, about the two men’s network of contacts with known terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group, as well as officials in the Pakistani government and military. United States and Indian investigators are also looking into whether the two Chicago men, who traveled to Mumbai before the deadly assault there last November, may have been involved in the plot.

Mr. Headley, 49, and Mr. Rana, 48, stand out from the young, poor extremists from fundamentalist Islamic schools who strike targets in or close to their homelands. Instead, their privileged backgrounds, extensive travel and bouts of culture shock make them more like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, who attended college in the United States, and Mohammed Atta, one of the lead hijackers."...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/us/22terror.html?
_r=1&adxnnlx=1258895030
-VpPUEvcLuWmOb0HSDoLEjw&pagewanted=print

Denmark is now reported to be considering tightening entry procedures for US citizens in light of the terrorist issue. Thus, we now see a European country responding to homegrown and other terrorism emanating FROM (repeat FROM) the US.

Pogo theory holds despite some "exeptionalist" fantasies...

Cold War Zoomie

This line by Carafino makes my blood boil:

We know, for example, that some extremist groups love to hide behind the Bill of Rights...using the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion to plot and plan activities that are not protected by Constitutional liberties.

This is very, very dangerous rhetoric, and it reminds me of the sporadic polls showing that a majority of Americans think curtailing Constitutional rights is a good idea if they are "abused." It opens the door to restrict those rights in the name of security. How exactly does one hide behind, or abuse, a Constitutional right?

On general terms, why are we being such bedwetters in the first place? Since we've stepped up our effectiveness after 9/11, we're now talking about a handful of pissed-off lunkheads. Does anyone remember when we had 1,000s of nuclear warheads aimed at us?

These terrorist "threats" are blown way out of proportion.

MRW.

At the same time it must be said that there are sects of Christianity and Judaism that can lead to similarly dangerous emotional states.

Boy, this hits it on the head. MJ Rosenberg wrote a great article about this, although his topic was abortion legislation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/why-is-it-legitimate-for_b_353082.html

I like this line: Religious considerations of any kind are utterly inappropriate in the US Congress. More than that, they are unconstitutional if we take the "separation clause" seriously.

William R. Cumming

I find interesting that the National Journal blog posted this topic. Clearly, the relationships of Islamic citizens of the US and Chritsten and Jewish citizens are important as to the future of our democracy (republic)! I have read Michael Scheur's books, the best known being "Imperial Hubris" written while still employed by the CIA and cleared by their censors. I agree with PL and his comments but find the tone and willingness to confront the Israeli function in the equation of interest. Basically Israel is a religious state. We have consistently failed to require 1st Amendment protections in those we wage war against and/or are considered "allies". Again it does seem that unless the US can stand consistently for its basic charters of freedom, the Declaration of Indpendence and the Constitution our foreign policy and relations are doomed to failure sometimes sooner rather than later. Since a consensus seems to have formed here in US and elsewhere that you cannot impose freedom by force then we really need to go back to step one and determine where our long term national security interests align. I would start with a simple test, renunciation of violence by religious leaders and tolerance of other faiths. If they cannot do that then the individual religion must be categorized under the US Constitution as a threat to the 1st Amendment and Constitution[which is the oath of office and not the protection of property or life of US citizens] and labeled and acted upon accordingly. Is this simplistic yes but given that various religions want to govern as well as guide faith this dichotomy will end in the downfall of our country and the civilization developed as a result of the "Enlightenment" and founding fathers of the US. Unless armed groups or militant organizations represent an "Existential Threat" to the US then they need to be contained and deterred by a variety of means. This does not mean arming those who don't agree with the 1st Amendment. That is a path to self-destruction of US and its Constitution. It looks like Obama might get another Supreme Court appointment and my question now is can any but a Catholic be placed on the court?

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