Why we should screen Muslim soldiers

As it did elsewhere, September 11th blurred traditional military dividing lines. A soldier’s religion had always been a deeply personal question thought to reinforce basic patriotic values. However, after the Twin Towers fell, religion–specifically Islam–became an ambiguity, raising questions about the internal order of a military force drawn from a pluralist society. Those ambiguities grew more troubling as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required soldiers to have a working familiarity with different Islamic cultures. Muslim soldiers brought clear advantages to our extended involvement in the Middle East, but the wars also threatened to pit their patriotic values against their religious ones, with potentially dangerous consequences. With few clear answers, the avoidance of ambiguity became a bureaucratic sacrament…

A once-segregated Army that came to appreciate black talent now learned that black nationalism could be dangerous, especially if accompanied by military indoctrination. Within limits, peace symbols and anti-war sentiments would be tolerated, but the Weather Underground and the Red Army Faction were not. The paramount concern: insuring that such groups did not infiltrate military units. As the Army recovered from Vietnam, it rediscovered inherent powers to combat espionage, sedition and subversion. Throughout the 1970s, it used similar authorities to discharge soldiers whose backgrounds or behavior made them unsuited to serve in the newly professional force.

Can that often overlooked experience provide some useful guidelines in reducing the currently prevailing ambiguities?