Military Needs More Muslims

TEXAS-SHOOTING/
Robert Kaplan thinks that it would be a shame if the Fort Hood massacre led to recriminations against Muslims in the U.S. military, arguing we need more of them.

The massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 soldiers were shot and killed by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, paradoxically took my memory back to April 2004, when I was embedded with a Marine battalion during the first battle of Fallujah. The battalion just happened to have in the ranks a corporal of Syrian descent who did double duty as the commander’s translator for his meetings with the Iraqis. The young Muslim corporal was arguably the most valuable member of the battalion: simply by his presence he was able to cast the battalion in a different, more positive light among the locals.

The United States military needs more troops of Muslim origin within its ranks. We need a military that looks like the larger world for the global challenges ahead, such as helping to protect the “commons,” the air space and sea lanes. Think of the Navy’s slogan in its new television recruitment commercials: “A Global Force for Good.”

Inevitably, a minute percentage of these Muslim recruits may be influenced by jihadist propaganda, which certainly seems to have been the case with Maj. Hasan. So what do we do?

Better security surveillance and background checks, as well as better coordination within the defense bureaucracy to ferret out troublesome individuals, make sense. But the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, had it right when he said that he was fearful of a backlash against Muslims within the ranks. Behind the scenes the military needs to be extra vigilant; publicly the military needs to be even more welcoming to minorities.

There’s more to the piece but that’s the gist of it.  And he’s right.

But let’s not get too carried away.  Both Spencer Ackerman and Marc Lynch take the title of Kaplan’s post (“Responding to Fort Hood”) and twist the argument into Kaplan claiming “Fort Hood shows we need more Muslim soldiers.”  Which, of course, it does not.

Hasan is an emphatic datapoint against Muslims in the military.  The fact that the potential good that Muslim soldiers can do in our war against Islamic extremists far, far outweighs the danger of more Hasans hiding in our midst does not change the fact that Muslim soldiers are more likely to be sympathetic to the enemy than are their non-Muslim fellows.

Kaplan merely suggests that the proper approach to dealing with this threat is to quietly implement “Better security surveillance and background checks, as well as better coordination within the defense bureaucracy to ferret out troublesome individuals” rather than conducting a loud witch hunt.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Hasan is an emphatic datapoint against Muslims in the military.

    Forget about the Moselum thing–we need to get rid of Shrinks in the military.

    Every shrink I’ve ever known has been crazier than a sack of beans . We need to get rid of these pseudo-scientific head-shrinkers ASAP if we want any safety.

    Soldiers should be able to buck up and deal with their situation instead of the military going the politically-correct route and giving them “help” to clear they mind.

    By having shrinks in the military you coddle the soldiers, making them weak, and increase the prevalence of the Klinger Syndrome where you get a bunch of cowards in there looking to skirt they duty.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Additionally, if we’re going to be doing COIN in Muslim countries, we got to get away from the us versus Muslim framing that appears to be creeping back in. We’re supposed to be protecting Muslims in places like Afghanistan, some of whom probably have horrendously illiberal, jihadist points of view, but if they are making common cause with us are our allies.

  3. just me says:

    Actually what the military needs to do is not ignore big, giant waving red flags that something isn’t right with a Muslim in their ranks. The more we have learned about Hasan, the more it points to big, giant red flags being ignored-probably because of political correctness more than anything.

    My guess the the vast majority of Muslims who join the military do so, because they want to serve the US honorably. But if a muslim soldier seems to be infatuated with Jihadism, and starts behaving and saying some of the things Hasan apparently did, then the Army needs to investigate and move them out if necessary.

  4. Triumph says:

    Actually what the military needs to do is not ignore big, giant waving red flags that something isn’t right with a Muslim in their ranks.

    I don’t know why we would expect the military to do this since society as a whole hasn’t.

    Although the election was tainted by irregularities, last year the country “voted” for Barry-O irregardless of the red flags (i.e. Reverand Jerry Wright, Bill Ayers, Acorn, Blagojevich, Rezko, Barry Bonds, etc…).

    And what did we get? A deranged muslim not only in our ranks, but running the country into the ground.

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Great, you want to fill our military with people who, if told by an Imam will refuse to fight or worse, turn their guns on their fellow soldiers. The loyalty called for in the Islamic faith is to God not to country. Mohammed never said give onto Caesar what is Caesar’s and onto God what is God”s. But then Mohammed had a different way to deal with his enemies than did the founder of the other religions.

  6. Wayne says:

    What we need to get away from is allowing people to belittle us, claim we are racist and that we are speaking out against all Muslims if we speak out against a few radical Muslims.

    By the way we are protecting Muslims in places like Afghanistan. Just because we try to kill the Muslims that are trying to kill us doesn’t mean we want to kill them all. It is disgusting for those who suggest we aren’t trying to protect those who are friendly toward us. We even try to protect some that aren’t that friendly toward us.

  7. UlyssesUnbound says:

    Wayne,

    What we need to get away from is allowing people to belittle us…that we are speaking out against all Muslims if we speak out against a few radical Muslims.

    That is true. I think where the belittling comes from–or perhaps the mistake of confusing statements against one muslim as a statement against all, is because of quotes like:

    Great, you want to fill our military with people who, if told by an Imam will refuse to fight or worse, turn their guns on their fellow soldiers.

    If jackasses wouldn’t utter idiotic things like that, it would be a lot easier to criticize radical muslims without the fear of confusion.

  8. Maggie Mama says:

    Forget about the Moselum thing–we need to get rid of Shrinks in the military.

    Every shrink I’ve ever known has been crazier than a sack of beans . We need to get rid of these pseudo-scientific head-shrinkers ASAP if we want any safety.

    Soldiers should be able to buck up and deal with their situation instead of the military going the politically-correct route and giving them “help” to clear they mind.

    By having shrinks in the military you coddle the soldiers, making them weak, and increase the prevalence of the Klinger Syndrome where you get a bunch of cowards in there looking to skirt they duty.

    Triumph, Amen, Amen, Amen.

    Get rid of all the shrinks and all the pc fanatics, who work for the government and who are ruining this country with their garbage in and garbage out methology.

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    Triumph, Amen, Amen, Amen.

    Get rid of all the shrinks and all the pc fanatics, who work for the government and who are ruining this country with their garbage in and garbage out methology.

    Hear hear, and let officers carry sidearms around base! hell require it, we are at war!!

  10. Eric Florack says:

    How about we let solders carry gun on the base, so they might defend themselves, whatta ya say?

    And by the way, James… Happy Birthday.

  11. Triumph says:

    How about we let solders carry gun on the base, so they might defend themselves, whatta ya say?

    This is the most tragic part of the whole episode.

    Where in the hell is the NRA when you need them?

    If there is anywhere where you should be able to walk around armed to the teeth, its an Army facility that is a likely terrorist target.

    Since the Obama government was restricting Second Amendment rights at Ft. Hood, Obama himself is directly responsible for the outcome.

  12. steve says:

    I believe Triumph has managed to interject some truth. As a former military doc, this sounds much less like PC stuff than docs just not ever thinking one of their own would do such a thing. Lots of studies show we just arent good at predicting who will be violent. The red flags are only obvious in retrospect.

    I dont know about armed to the teeth, but it was a pita to try to get guns on base. I didnt think it worth the hassle so I gave away my collection to nephews and nieces.

    Steve

  13. stari_momak says:

    As suspect that Robert Kaplan is reading into a situation something he wants to see. It is just as likely that Muslims fighting for the US are viewed as traitors, and that those of Muslim descent are resented by folks left back in the old country.

    At any rate, Kaplans is an opinion, the 13 dead at Ft Hood are facts — they were killed by a Muslim. Somehow we got along about 180 years in the country without a significant Muslim presence in the general population or in the military. Why we need more of them now is a mystery.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Why we need more of them now is a mystery.

    Have you ever read a history book? Why did we need the 442nd in WW2? Why did we need the Tuskegee Airmen or The Harlem Hellfighters?

    Pull Rush’s cigar out of your ass, go to the local library, and check out a few books. And I don’t mean “My Pet Goat”.

  15. Wayne says:

    I’m not sure what the Tuskegee Airmen have to do with Muslim recruit. I doubt if any were a high risk of sympathizing with the enemy. I have no problem with recruiting Muslims but understand they need to be scrutinized more just like recruiting local forces in war zone due to the fact that there is a higher risk of being or being turn by the enemy.

    Many of the Muslim I known do have a little different attitude but I gotten along with them along the line of most varied groups you can come up. A exception is the devout ones who woke me up with morning prayers when I tried to sleep in after coming in from the field but I respect their devotion.

  16. anjin-san says:

    I doubt if any were a high risk of sympathizing with the enemy.

    Really – after the way black people have been treated in this country? I would say there would have to be some risk.

    And there was no risk members of the 442nd might be sympathetic to the enemy? They were fighting in Europe, but we were bombing the crap out of Japan at the time. I think the people who made the 442nd took a huge risk, and it paid huge rewards to our country. Check out their unit citations and how many who served won the CMH.

    And since when did America stop doing the right thing just because there is risk involved?

  17. Drew says:

    Kaplan’s absolutely right. And as I’ve been sayin,’ abortion clinics need to hire more pro-lifers……….