We know now that Major Malik Nadal Hasan was a Muslim domestic terrorist who wreaked havok on Fort Hood, Texas. Discuss your feelings on this topic, and more broadly our President’s attention to domestic terrorism as we view a video report of the carnage.

Malik Nadal Hasan
Photo: Malik Nadal Hasan

Why are we able to so easily label Malik Nadal Hasan a terrorist? The fact speaks for itself. He is just as much a domestic terrorist as Timothy McVeigh was labeled so for his heinous act in Oklahoma City. And while McVeigh perpetuated his act from afar in silence, Malik Nadal Hasan shouted anti-American political views at his victims as he mowed them down with automatic weapons.

Whether or not Major Hasan had any organized militant aspirations or ties to overseas Islamic terrorist groups will be learned in the coming days. From what we know already my suspicion is not, but based on his reported past statements was certainly sympathetic to a stereotypical fundamentalist Islamic view of US foreign policy.

Whatever the motivation, in our post 911 society few people feigned surprise when his cousin confirmed Malik Nadal Hasan’s biography as a practicing Muslim. In fact a coworker quoted him as saying “the Muslims could stand up and fight against the aggressor” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The CIA and FBI have both warned there are terrorists like Malik Nadal Hasan within our borders. In a country of 300 million people that is to be expected to some degree. Terrorists with a variety of agendas, Islamic and otherwise, are expected and self-documented given 911. Some are organized while others will let simmering resentments boil over to act rashly. What matters most is whether our leaders confront the reality or dream it away.

Unfortunately President Obama has taken the route of Neville Chamberlain’s timidity both at home and abroad. Abroad he has triumphantly proclaimed the grandiose platitude of “reaching out” to the Islamic world without offering any specifics or expectations in return. This olive branch without purpose or context has resulted in a plethora of confused international reactions ranging from puzzlement to disrespect.

At home the president has done more damage in ten months to the CIA’s ability to defend our people than any scheming terrorist could hope to accomplish. Obama’s Justice Department has been said, and I think rightly so, to “declare war” on the CIA for no apparent reason. Although his actions in office have been less quick to match his fiery rhetoric, Obama campaigned on a platform to undo safeguards implemented by the Bush administration which were meant to keep us safe.

Do not expect the president to label Malik Nadal Hasan a terrorist himself. He has purged the meaningful term “war on terror” from the White House lexicon. In a curious linguistic construction, the president called the Fort Hood tragedy a “horrific outburst of violence.” In fact there is no public record of Barack Obama using the word “terrorist” since he took office.

In such a climate could Malik Nadal Hasan have gathered the courage to commit his atrocious acts, perhaps even feeling enabled by our own president’s ambivalence? Would this have happened under a president able to articulate more moral clarity than Obama?

We will never know the answer to these questions of course, and those who ask them will undoubtedly be criticized. But cutting through the partisan rhetoric of the moral relativist class, the central issue remains. What is Obama doing to protect us, and are his actions making us less safe?