Kaplan: Fort Hood Shows We Need More Muslim Soldiers
Robert Kaplan on the real lessons of Fort Hood:
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.”
There are a whole bunch of right wingers who ought to read this piece. Quite possibly Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), too.
Update: Have I taken Kaplan’s argument a step too far? I don’t think so. But James Joyner does, and he’s a smart guy, so you make the call.