"Clear indicators of radicalization are illusive." So say Fort Hood investigators. Former Army Secretary Togo West Jr. and Retired Admiral Vern Clark effectively slammed the door shut on any effective way to identify potential terrorist infiltrating the Armed Services since the bottom line of their report says: "Officers must scrupulously document possible warning signs of radicalization on members fitness reports."
A few senators, acknowledging prevailing political correctness protocols and their obvious violation, dared to ask the question. How do you scrupulously document "an illusive indicator"? Senator James Inhof (R) Oklahoma pleaded with the witnesses to get to point. He pointed out the obvious. Thirteen soldiers were killed at Fort Hood and the "alleged" perpetrator was a Muslim. A young Muslim who was radicalized by an Imam preaching "death to all infidels" and especially death to American soldiers who kill believers and occupy their countries.
That comment and Inhofe's follow on questions opened up the contorted testimony of Clark and West. Officers must document radical behavior. I know the military pretty well and when personnel are asked to "document" with the command "must" it opens a process laden with non-pertinent entries. This is especially true when they are given a command in ambiguous terms or full of contradictions. West and Clark's proposed directive has both.
A young Army officer is in contact with a Muslim cleric. Not just any Muslim cleric but an Imam who is implicated in several terrorist acts. Said officer acts out his frame of mind and we have documented bizarre behavior. He then proceeds to arm himself sufficiently to kill 13 soldiers and becomes injured in the process. Lets fast forward these events and say they occur following the implementation of the investigator's proposal remembering, since the Commander-in Chief is a PC advocate, that the documentation leading up to the killings never acknowledges that Jihad bred indoctrination has been going on.
A religion is involved in the progression of this story ending in lethality. It would not take much imagination to picture an afternoon in the officer's coffee mess as a cadre of concerned people discuss and argue back and forth ways in which to comply with an order full of ambiguity and contradictions but choked full of cultural constraints against getting to the nub of the issue. These men have been radicalized by sensitivity training assuring that their reports will culminate in none action.
Radical sensitivity to religious inspired activity, especially when is Muslim fosters arguments that run in circles and any documentation reflects that. Just as Former Army Secretary Togo West and Retired Admiral Vern Clark ran the Senate Armed Services Committee in circles with Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) leading the parade, speciously debating when the focus ought to be in the case of scrupulously documenting member's radicalization. Will the phrase "religious radicalization" suffice? Will the terms Jihad and radical Muslim extremism be banned from the Military lexicon?
How then would the case of Major Nidal Malik, Lieutenant Colonel and Psychiatrist, USA be documented and even with the West and Clark directive in place would the end result be any different? I will leave you to answer that one.