The Real Question: What Do We Do?

Reading Malkin, Dreher and Bawer and listening to Mark Steyn almost gloating on Rush today about how the Fort Hood shooting unmasks a Jihadist threat from within, one has to ask: what, even if this is true, do they expect the US government to do about it?

More vigilance toward troubled cases like Hasan - not unlike the greater vigilance that could have avoided the Virginia Tech massacre - is certainly and rather obviously a good idea. If political correctness is preventing this vigilance, it needs to be pushed back, and hard. But it is equally important not to do this crudely, to avoid impugning the overwhelming majority of Muslim-Americans who disdain violence, to sustain the civil, non-sectarian bonds that keep this country together. Because a failure to do so would surely only give Jihadism more strength, not less.

The one thing we can say about Muslim Americans this past decade is that they have not responded the way many European Muslims have.

Their more successful integration and their economic success have led to a remarkably puny number of instances in which actual Jihadists have tried actual terror attacks (and I don't mean the countless false leads pursued by Bush and Cheney and innocent people they rounded up and abused).

So to foment the notion that every Muslim-American is now suspect, or that the military, already disproportionately controlled by Christianist forces, should monitor Muslim servcemembers as rigorously as they do, say, gay ones, would surely hurt, not help.

What troubles me about the right at the moment is that they are becoming a pure protest movement. They know what they are against, and they keep describing one issue after another as a Manichean contest - freedom or slavery, good or evil, Muslim or American, libruls and "real Americans" - in ways that do nothing practically to move the country forward. It is pure rhetoric, talk-radio politics, and dangerously contemptuous of its social consequences. When they offer us plans to balance the budget, plans to insure the uninsured, strategies to defeat Islamism, we should listen with all ears. Until then ...  it's painfully immature.