Chris Matthews: We may never know if religion was a factor at Fort Hood

Well … yes, that’s true, if you think anything short of Hasan sitting up in his hospital bed and declaring “why, indeed, religion was a factor at Fort Hood” amounts to irresponsible speculation. But here’s what we’ve got so far, according to eyewitnesses, colleagues, and friends. He considered the war on terror a “war on Islam” and himself a Muslim first and an American second; he thought Muslims had the right to stand up to the “aggressor” in the Middle East and is suspected of posting things online about the selfless heroism of jihadist suicide bombers; he was placed on probation for proselytizing about Islam to patients and colleagues and was sufficiently devout that he refused to have his picture taken with women; he once used a lecture at a medical conference as an opportunity to discuss how the Koran orders decapitation for infidels; and, oh yes, he yelled “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.

Now, per the media’s favored Narrative, could a guy with that background have somehow compartmentalized that in his mind and been driven to kill entirely by pre-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD by proxy or whatever? I guess. Anything’s possible. But would the same benefit of the doubt be given to a nut trending towards fanaticism of a different ideological hue? Like I said yesterday on Twitter: You’ll know it’s okay to start speculating about Hasan’s motives when cops find a Glenn Beck book on his bookshelf. In fact, if the same “PTSD by proxy” elements had been present in Hasan’s bio but it turned out he’d attended a tea party or two, we’d already be well into hour 30 of a full-on media speculation orgy. The nutroots needed less time than that to pronounce conservatism collectively guilty of murder in the case of that hanged census worker, even though, as it turns out, he probably wasn’t murdered. But then, we’ve been over this ground before. For now, let’s simply look forward to this Sunday’s New York Times op-ed page, as Krugman and Rich and the rest of the gang who see murderers in every angry conservative face warn us how vicious it is to assume the worst about people because of one bad apple.

In fairness to Matthews, this isn’t a terrible interview. He does press his guest — a little — on the “Allahu Akbar” detail. What he doesn’t press him on is whether he’s the best person to be chatting about this subject. Anyone recognize our expert here?

Update: Incidentally, if Hasan does end up confessing to a jihadist motive, should we start re-thinking 9/11 as motivated in part by post-traumatic stress disorder? Bin Laden fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets, after all. Surely there must be some other explanation besides the obvious one.

Jazz Shaw Jul 03, 2022 10:01 AM ET