Marc Ambinder writes the following about something I suggested last week:
My colleague, Jeffrey Goldberg, has been blunt from the beginning, and nuanced. It is one thing not to blame Moslems for the sins of Hassan; it is quite another to ignore the role that Jihadist theology seems to have played in the twisted mental theater of Hassan's mind. Goldberg posits as a problem that there aren't enough Muslims in the U.S. military. He also acknowledges that the potential for extremist beliefs, when held by members of the military, to cause harm (rather than simply hurt) is high. So his solution: recruit more Muslims AND screen them more tightly for extremist beliefs. Be sensitive and honest about it; certain ideologies are a problem and even when privately held, are not compatible with military service. This discussion does not at all suggest that the case ought to be closed -- that the easiest way to understand what happened is to blame it on Islam -- and that the genesis of this act of terror can be sufficiently proven. And let's be honest: this is discrimination. Goldberg would argue, however, that discrimination in this case is rational.
I'm not sure I would argue that "discrimination" as we generally understand the word is what I'm asking for. The military tests recruits for high blood pressure; those who have it can't serve. Is that discrimination? Or is that simply a form of screening, designed to weed out people who aren't qualified? In the same way the military screens for physical health, it screens for mental health, and I would argue that religious extremism is a form of mental illness. I think the military needs to screen carefully for all sorts of extremism. There are people in the military who hold certain tenets of Christian Identity to be true (I met one of these guys in Iraq, of all places). Adherents of Christian Identity, just like jihadists, shouldn't serve.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.