None Dare Call it Terror
by Karen McKay, LTC US Army (ret) [Asheville Tribune]
The Fort Hood massacre. Terrorism? Act of War? Treason? Crime of
mass murder? Why all the public agonizing over what to call it?
It seems complicated, but it's not. Words have meanings, and
meanings have consequences.
Some have declared the Fort Hood attack [5 November 2009] to be
an Act of War. No. An Act of War, i.e. a casus
belli is an action taken by one country against another with
which it is supposedly at peace with the intention of starting a
war – or an action which is taken by a state to be cause
for war. Pearl Harbor was a casus belli. 9/11 was a casus belli.
Al Qaeda is not another country, but for all intents and
purposes, it is acting as a virtual state. It had been at war
with us for more than ten years before 9/11, but the United
States had not acknowledged any previous attack as casus belli.
Treason? Well, yes, the man did take an oath to support and
defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to
the same. The label of traitor, however, has lost its sting.
Treason is so common since the publication of the Pentagon
Papers that it has achieved banality.
There are more than 100 official definitions of
terror. In the early 1980s, this writer was instrumental
in the official US Congress' definition of terrorism that would
not sweep up legitimate, guerrilla, resistance, and freedom
fighters in the same broad brush stroke. The cynical
cliché that one man's freedom fighter is another man's
terrorist is uninformed idiocy.
Narrowly defined, terrorism is a violent act publicly perpetrated
against civilian targets for the purpose of political gains.
Guerrilla warfare is a violent act against a legitimate military
target in support of war aims. In practicality, there can be a
gray area between the two.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan's attack on unarmed military personnel on
a military installation could come under the heading of guerrilla
warfare. Under a broader definition, it could be categorized as
terrorism because Fort Hood is not, technically, a combat zone,
and he knew that his targets would be unarmed because nobody
other than law enforcement [personnel] at a military base is
permitted to carry arms outside of a training [or deployment]
Nonetheless, the FBI's own website states: In accordance with
U.S. counterterrorism policy, the FBI considers terrorists to be
That is the crime here. What Hasan's assault most emphatically IS
NOT is a crime. Whether a terrorist attack or a
guerrilla action, this was not simply a crime of mass murder.
Was Hasan a radical already when he first enlisted in the Army,
and then had his [professional] education all the way through his
MD specialty paid for by the Army? Was he planning for this all
along? Or did he become radicalized by Islamist recruiters at the
mosque where he prayed beside the future 9/11 hijackers, preached
to by an al-Qaeda imam? Or was he a lone wolf?
It matters not to this discussion. He was a sleeper cell, and he
acted. Whether he was a one-man cell, self- or other-actuated, or
part of a group, may be learned in the course of [further]
investigation. Bottom line: Nidal Malik Hasan is an enemy agent
operating inside our military. As such, he falls under the UCMJ
(Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the Geneva Conventions
(Law of Land Warfare). He is not subject to US or Texas criminal
What is crucially important is that he was permitted by the
system to be a sleeper cell. He was known to be an Islamist
– outspokenly anti-American and pro-terrorist – and
those who said they were watching him were restrained apparently
by political correctness.
Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince warned that moral decay
so weakens a country that it will collapse from a determined
push. The fall of the Mede empire to Cyrus. The fall of Rome to
barbarians. The capitulation of France to the Nazis. The
disintegration of the Soviet Union under Reagan's relentless
Rabbi Daniel Lapin in his 1999 book, America's Real War,
posits that Liberalism and Political Correctness are greater
threats to the survival of our nation than any outside enemy. It
is this corrosive philosophy that permitted an officer of the US
Army to operate openly as, at minimum, a terrorist sympathizer
In psychological warfare, semantics is all; facts are irrelevant.
Political correctness sprang fully grown from the forehead of
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's gifted propagandist and specialist in
mind control. His attentive students find easy prey still in the
gullible, the mentally lazy, the well-intentioned, the fearful
and the ignorant in America and Europe.
Political correctness is itself a form of terrorism enforcing
group-think. Americans are terrified of being accused of bigotry,
racism, Fascism, warmongering, sexism, (fill in the blank) if
they do not conform to the Liberal world view. Even Army Chief of
Staff General George W. Casey worries that the Fort Hood massacre
might harm diversity in the service.
It's intellectual cowardice, and the outcome is the paralysis of
Political Correctness. Its iron grip is evident every day in the
language of news. Euphemisms avoid the unpleasantness of calling
a spade a spade. Terrorists are called militants or
extremists. President Barack Obama has banished the term
terror. We make war no more; we engage in overseas
contingencies. Obama's Agenda for Defense, issued
by the White House on January 22, 2009, swears to deter and
defeat any conventional competitors.
Competitors, not enemies. The Fort Hood shooter
becomes the alleged or suspected shooter. The
attack becomes a tragedy. Tragedy it was for the victims and
their loved ones, but the act was an atrocity.
Media pundits and politicians cannot look reality in the eye. The
PC Iron Maidens they wear dictate that the alleged
shooter, Major Malik Nidal Hasan, is disturbed,
suffering from Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder, even a
nut. He was hazed for his religious views, he
is excused and understood for his Islamist statements,
his sympathetic admiration of suicide bombers was merely
The Fort Hood massacre should be recognized as casus belli to
declare war on the Political Correctness that allowed Hasan to
skate through the system. The Political Correctness that denies
both the act of terrorism and the Islamist identity of attackers
in Arkansas, New Jersey, Los Angeles, DC Metro area, North
Carolina and other places in recent years. The Hear No Evil,
See No Evil, Speak No Evil monkeys must die, and the
clear-eyed Bald Eagle be restored, unpinioned and blindfold
removed, if our nation is to survive.
[editorial note: "Terror, like treason, never
prospers; if it prosper, none dare call it terror ...."; "Terror
never triumphs. Where's the error? If it triumphs, none dare call
it terror." paraphrase of John Harington]