Time magazine appears to be throwing caution to the political correctness wind by placing a picture on the cover of its soon to to be released November 23 issue with the word "Terrorist" written across the face of alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.
Straddling the fence slightly, the magazine chose to put a question mark after the word.
Even so, given media's discomfort portraying Hasan as anything more than an overwrought, over-worked soldier petrified of heading to Afghanistan, Time's "The Fort Hood Killer: Terrified ... or Terrorist?" was so uncharacteristicly un-PC you could almost call it a Mac.
Just count the references to Islamic extremism in the first paragraph alone:
What a surprise it must have been when Major Nidal Malik Hasan woke up from his coma to find himself not in paradise but in Brooke Army Medical Center, deep in the heart of Texas, under security so tight that there were armed guards patrolling both the intensive-care unit and checkpoints at the nearest freeway off-ramp. This was not the finalé he had scripted when he gave away all his earthly goods — his desk lamp and air mattress, his frozen broccoli and spinach, his copies of the Koran. He had told his imam he was planning to visit his parents before deploying to Afghanistan. He did not mention that his parents had been dead for nearly 10 years.
Yes, this REALLY is a Time cover-story arguing that what happened last Thursday was an act of terrorism:
For eight years, Americans have waged a Global War on Terrorism even as they argued about what that meant. The massacre at Fort Hood was, depending on whom you believed, yet another horrific workplace shooting by a nutcase who suddenly snapped, or it was an intimate act of war, a plot that can't be foiled because it is hatched inside a fanatic's head and leaves no trail until it is left in blood. In their first response, officials betrayed an eagerness to assume it was the first; the more we learn, the more we have cause to fear it was the second, a new battlefield where our old weapons don't work very well and our values make us vulnerable: freedom, privacy, tolerance and the stubborn American certainty that people born and raised here will not reject the gifts we share.
From there, Time's Nancy Gibbs gave a sobbering view of this massacre with sections subtitled:
- "A Whole New War" - "No one thought the battle between the West and radical Islam was going to be fought like a traditional war, but to the extent that we could, we did"
- "The Making of a Radical" - "[I]f this is the new face of terrorism in America, we need better facial-recognition software"
- "Preacher and Provocateur" - "Hasan's path began to twist about the time he attended the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., one of the largest mosques on the East Coast and home to a charismatic Islamic cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki...In April 2001, two 9/11 hijackers worshipped at al-Awlaki's Virginia mosque; the next month, Hasan held his mother's funeral there.
The piece also asked questions you wouldn't expect from Time while using an image of Hasan depicting his inner-battle between the country he swore to serve and his religion:
How was it possible that even as his performance was poor, his personnel file was being reviewed and his communications with a radical cleric were being analyzed, Hasan was promoted from captain to major last May and dispatched in July to Fort Hood, the largest active Army base in the U.S.? One explanation is a desperate need for mental-health professionals. With its 50,000 soldiers and 150,000 family members and civilian personnel, Fort Hood has the highest toll of military suicides; posttraumatic-stress-disorder cases quadrupled from 2005 to 2007.
But others are convinced that his religion protected him from stronger action by the Army. "He'd have to murder the general's wife and daughter on the parade ground at high noon in order to get a serious reprimand," says Ralph Peters, an outspoken retired Army lieutenant colonel who now writes military books and a newspaper column. While stressing "there shouldn't be witch hunts" against Muslims in uniform, Peters insists that "this guy got a pass because he was a Muslim, despite the Army's claim that everybody's green and we're all the same." A top Pentagon official admits there may be some truth to the charge. "We're wondering why some of these strange encounters didn't trigger something more formal," he says. "I think people were overly sensitive about Muslims in the military, and that led to a reluctance to say, 'This guy is nuts.' The Army is going to have to review their procedures to make sure someone can raise issues like this."
Shocking, or an indication that the good folks at Time were just as appalled and frightened by what happened last Thursday as most average Americans?