Here’s my take: Major Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced — I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is.
But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam,” and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America — the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by “The Narrative.”
By “The Narrative”, Friedman means the general anti-Western, anti-democratic sentiment clung to throughout the Arab-Muslim world:
This narrative suits Arab governments. It allows them to deflect onto America all of their people’s grievances over why their countries are falling behind. And it suits Al Qaeda, which doesn’t need much organization anymore — just push out The Narrative over the Web and satellite TV, let it heat up humiliated, frustrated or socially alienated Muslim males, and one or two will open fire on their own. See: Major Hasan.
So much for the “pre-traumatic shock” theory and other Islam-dodging excuses offered in the wake of Hasan’s slaughter. At the NYT, it takes nearly an entire month for a fellow’s blindingly obvious motives to become clear. Fog lifted, Friedman ends with a request that Barack Obama deliver this speech to an Islamic audience:
Why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God? You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.
The first of 688 reader responses to Friedman’s piece: “Pretty ironic that Tom Friedman would complain about The Narrative in a paper that is guilty as any other for promoting it.”