Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:


Homeland Security Chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday that he intends to launch a congressional investigation into the motives behind "the worst terrorist attack since 9/11" -- the slaying of 13 people at Fort Hood by an Army major.

Are there any lessons for lawmakers or military leaders that could be taken from the tragedy at Fort Hood?


Michael T. McPhearson, president of Veterans For Peace said:

War is taking a heavy physical and mental toll on our troops. The physical injury is easier to see. The mental wounds are many times invisible until it is too late. It is not a new lesson. We saw social and political questions deteriorate unit cohesion of our military forces in the Vietnam War.  The U.S. claim to fight communism in defense of freedom was a contradiction to class tensions between Enlisted Men and Officers and the racism of White troops against Black troops. As in Vietnam, there is open speculation as to whether or not U.S. actions in the Global War on Terror are just. Are these wars against Islam? Why are there little if any consequences for torturing Muslims? Are these wars about protecting the people of the United States or some other agenda? In Afghanistan and Iraq, similar to Vietnam, questions and obvious contradictions undermine the legitimacy of the cause and tear at the mind of the soldier.

There are many time bombs like Major Hasan, but those troops exploded in their homes by committing suicide or on their families by pushing love ones out of their lives and overtime destroying themselves.  It is a mistake to see this day as an isolated incident. Major Hasan exploded in the open, in the middle of our lives. He and his horrific action to kill those around him is the latest and most public act of violence. He made visible the countless, hidden and forgotten tragedies.  It shows us these tragedies are not restricted to the combat zone, but in ways big and small affect us at home, in our communities and as a people.  It should motivate us to work harder to end the madness of war.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said:

The Rising PC Causality Count

The Left would have us believe that political correctness never killed anyone.  But there are 13 fresh graves in Fort Hood, Texas to prove them wrong.  When Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on a crowd of his own military brothers, the tragedy that followed should warn Americans of the devastation that can come from putting blind tolerance ahead of national security.  By his own admission, Major Hasan was a radical Muslim who expressed an incredible hostility for the very military in which he served.  Yet despite his anti-Americanism, outreach to Al-Qaeda, and jihadist views, Hasan was "treated with kid gloves." Lt. Col. Val Finnell, a student with Hasan, said his superiors were afraid of offending the shooter, even after a poor performance review. This wasn't about anyone questioning his religious views.  "[It's] different when you are a civilian than when you are a military officer," Finnell said.  And he's right.  As a soldier, political correctness is much more dangerous.  It shackles our troops' sensibilities and opens the country up to attacks from within. Obviously, our commanders can't force their men to believe in the mission, but if a soldier has moral objections, then he should be excused from duty.  Anything less than zero tolerance for radicalism is destabilizing to our military.  This was never a question of Hasan's religious freedom but of his loyalty to the country he was sworn to defend.  Leaving a Muslim extremist to preach hatred about the U.S. Army is a deadly negligence that cost 14 people their lives.  (There was a pregnant mother among the slain).  Diversity is an honorable goal 'until it compromises American security.  President Obama said we shouldn't "jump to conclusions" about Hasan.  But, as Jonah Goldberg points out, we shouldn't jump away from them either. 

Dr. James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, said:

After providing support for survivor families, an immediate concern that must be addressed is how best to secure the vision of a diverse military so eloquently articulated by the President and General Casey.

With thousands of Muslim Americans and many more Arab Americans serving with honor and distinction in all branches of the military, attention must be paid to the stress they and their comrades in arms may now be under. The horrors of this senseless attack will be felt throughout the services. Fueled by some in the media who will see in this tragedy an opportunity to mount their Islamophobic hobby horse, fear and suspicion may grow.

Quick action must be taken by the military's leadership to address this situation. They should encourage our servicemen and women to participate in organized and structured open dialogue and honest exchanges of views and concerns. The only way to nip fear and suspicion in the bud is to acknowledge them and deal with them openly and directly. To fail to acknowledge the pressures resulting from this tragedy will only cause them to fester with the potential for breaking down the very comity for which our military is known.

PS: The last thing needed right now is for Joe Lieberman to be "hot dogging" this tragedy in "his" committee. At a time when thoughtfulness and thoroughness, not heavy handed politicking, are required, he can only do harm.

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, said:

NPR has reported both that Major Hasan gave a presentation to fellow physicians in which the key theme was the right of Muslims to kill infidels, and that his supervisors met and concluded that discharging him would look bad because he was one of the few Muslim physicians at Walter Reed.  The story of ignored warning signs before the attack -- and obfuscation and excuse-making after the fact -- suggests that pre-September 11 political correctness has returned as a major source of vulnerability.

Alas, the President, who didn't hesitate to exercise swift judgment where Boston Police were concerned, now seems anxious to avoid recognizing the obvious where a Muslim terrorist is involved.  That's not leadership, and it's not likely to play well.  Senate hearings are needed to document and overcome the blindness that led to this disaster, and to prevent similar failures of leadership in the future.