Monday, November 09, 2009

'Going Muslim'

"Going postal" is a piquant American phrase that describes the phenomenon of violent rage in which a worker--archetypically a postal worker--"snaps" and guns down his colleagues.

As the enormity of the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sinks in, we must ask whether we are confronting a new phenomenon of violent rage, one we might dub--disconcertingly--"Going Muslim." This phrase would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American--a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood--discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.

More here.

It was Twenty Years Ago Today.

It was perhaps the greatest day in the history of human freedom. Never before had so many people freed, so quickly, with so little loss of life.

For those too young to remember that day, its difficult to describe the joy that seeing those people standing on the wall brought. Not only was there a flood of happiness but also a huge sense of relief.

For those of us who came of age during the Cold War, the danger of imminent conflict between east and west was a basic fact of our existence. Most people took it for granted that sooner or later Soviet tank armies would come rumbling through West Germany and it seemed the the best case scenario was a conventional war with perhaps 20-30 million dead. The worst case scenario is too terrible to contemplate. Amazingly, none of it happened. Whether it was luck, providence, or inspired leadership, we came through.

It's worth remembering as we struggle with Islamism, third rate North Korean dictators, environmental issues and a global economy that borders on disastrous...we've faced far worse. For all the apparent stress on the cultural and political fabric of our nation, the challenges we face today are tiny compared with those we've faced in the past.