As President Obama belatedly appears at Fort Hood today, will he dare to speak the word "terror?"
He won't use the word "Islamist." If he mentions Islam at all, it'll be to sing its praises yet again.
We've already learned that Islamist terrorist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan attended the Northern Virginia mosque of Imam Anwar al-Aulaqi, a fiery al Qaeda supporter who later fled the United States. We know that Hasan's peers, subordinates and patients repeatedly raised red flags that his superiors suppressed. We know he was a player on Islamist-extremist Web sites. The FBI's uncovering one extremist link after another.
Islamist terrorists don't all have al Qaeda union cards in their wallets. Terrorism's increasingly the domain of entrepreneurs and independent contractors. Under Muslim jurisprudence, jihad's an individual responsibility. Hasan was a self-appointed jihadi.
Yet we're told he was just having a bad day.
Our politically correct Army plays along. Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey won't utter the word "terrorism." The Forces Command Public Affairs Office guidance for officers never mentions "Islam" or "terror," leaving you unsure whether there was a traffic accident down at Fort Hood, or maybe an outbreak of swine flu.
Meanwhile, the media try to turn Hasan into a victim. A sickening (and amateurish) Washington Post article portrayed him as a poor, impoverished minority living in a $320-a-month rathole apartment and driving a down-market car -- as if the squalor made him a terrorist.
Squalor he chose to live in, by the way: As a major drawing added professional pay for his medical credentials, plus his benefits, Hasan made a six-figure income. And he was single, without college loans or medical bills. Has anybody asked where the money went? I'll bet a chunk of it disappeared in cash donations to hard-core Islamist causes. Will a single journalist track the missing bucks?
It gets worse: On Sunday evening, a ranking officer in Hasan's medical chain of command raced to cover her butt. Asked why the killer was promoted to major after receiving career-killer performance reviews at Walter Reed, the officer claimed that Hasan faced the same promotion board requirements as everyone else.
Liar, liar, uniform on fire: A dirty big secret in our Army has been that officers' promotion boards have quotas for minorities. We don't call them quotas, of course. But if a board doesn't hit the floor numbers, its results are held up until the list has been corrected. It's almost impossible for the Army's politically correct promotion system to pass over a Muslim physician.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the few lawmakers willing to whisper the word "terrorism," needs to call the officers who sat on Hasan's promotion board before the Senate, put them under oath, then ask if Hasan made major because of minority-quota requirements.
This corrupt (and now deadly) affirmative-action system does a severe disservice to the bulk of minority officers, who make the grade on quality and professionalism. It leaves other officers wondering if the new guy who just showed up in the unit is a "real" officer or an affirmative-action baby.
Ditto for our government's unwillingness to take on Muslim extremists on US soil. Blathering about freedom of religion, we foster hate speech. By protecting the fanatics, we betray the peaceful majority of our Muslim citizens, leaving them afraid to speak out, since the feds shield the fanatics in charge of their mosques and communities.
Let's be clear: Maj. Hasan's terrorism should not result in a witch hunt against Muslim service members. But soldiers who happen to be Muslims must be subject to the same level of scrutiny and discipline as those of other faiths.
Just as we'd expect the Army to get rid of a disruptive white supremacist, we need to cashier anyone who espouses violent Islamist extremism -- as Maj. Hasan did, again and again.
We won't. Because Islamist terrorism doesn't exist. Just ignore the dead and ask our president.
Ralph Peters' latest book is "The War After Armageddon."