Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Faith-based initiative

When a psychiatrist (that's a shrink who's been to medical school) becomes so unhinged that he can see no alternative to mass murder, everyone wants to know why. The last I heard, Nadal Hasan was still in the ICU, but everyone already seems to know why. Apparently he had been in communication with a radical cleric.

Which radical cleric? Could it be Fred Phelps, who, along with his posse, has lately been picketing the school attended by the Obama girls? (Apparently the Quakers are among those who don't measure up to his standard for Christian hate.) Perhaps it's the Pope, who is threatening to withdraw funding for homeless services in Washington if the District recognizes same-sex marriage. Or a new candidate, the Rev. Flip Benham, who has announced that the cure for breast cancer is childbearing. (I knew my mother shouldn't have stopped after three kids.)

Then I checked the latest edition of the Newspeak Dictionary, which reminded me that the phrase "radical cleric" applies only to Muslims. I should have known. No Christian pastor would encourage mass murder. Only mass suicide. And by "encourage" I mean have his goons shoot anyone who refused to line up for the Kool Aid.

Wolf Blitzer knows. He was incensed that Major Hasan will be represented by counsel if and when he comes to trial. This is, if I may use the word, a radical shift for the Wolfman. Back when the O.J. Simpson murder trial was a daily ratings bonanza for CNN, I don't remember Blitzer getting his whiskers in a twist because Simpson hired half the lawyers in America to defend him. Could his objection stem from the probability that Hasan's court martial will not be televised? Or is Blitzer positioning himself to replace Lou Dobbs as the network's drive-time demagogue?

As one, it seems, the right is enraged that three accused terrorists from Guantanamo, including Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, will be tried at all, and tried in New York City, only a mile from the former World Trade Center. I have my own problems with this -- the clumsy timing of Eric Holder's announcement just a few days after the Ft. Hood shootings, the improbability of finding twelve New Yorkers with the ability to keep an open mind, the likelihood of more teabigot rioting like last summer's -- but if we start making distinctions between defendants worthy and unworthy of the forms and processes of justice, we are finished. These guys need lawyers, too, good ones. And appeals. And reviews. And then, if the government's case is as good as it appears, they can claim their virgins.

I hope somebody finds the brain lesion that makes people believe in gods, before it's too late.


Post a Comment

<< Home