The Malcontents Miss the Mark

Just saw a post at The Two Malcontents that caught my eye. It’s a brief analysis of a story about a Muslim American soldier, Staff Sgt. Azhar Sher, who would prefer to live off base for the comfort of his traditional Muslim family. Because his extended family is traditional and wears traditional garb, Sher thinks it would be better for everyone involved if they are not on base. The Army disagrees and insists that it respects the diversity of soldiers and their families.

The Malcontents are worried, seeing this as a sign similar to the alleged Fort Hood terrorist’s red flags which were ignored over and over again. At one point it seems that Sher is saying the United States is at war with Muslim culture, and that is indeed a problematic statement that Sher should explain. At another point the Malcontents take issue with the phrase “allegedly committed” to refer to the acts of terrorism at Fort Hood.

On this latter point I think there’s been a misunderstanding. The phrase “allegedly committed” is not directly attributed to Sher. Rather, I think the reporter is using the phrase — as journalists usually do — to avoid a presumption of guilt and to avoid a possible defamation lawsuit should the alleged terrorist be found not guilty. This is standard practice among journalists, and I doubt very much that Sher used the phrase “allegedly committed” himself.

I’m all for caution. It’s worse than shameful that the warning signs that should have led military and government leadership to investigate the alleged Fort Hood terrorist were pushed under the rug, apparently in the name of political correctness. But we shouldn’t turn caution into a McCarthyesque witch hunt.

There are Muslims in our armed services who love America and are fighting for freedom every day. Somebody needs to ask Sher if he thinks America is at war with Muslim culture or if he misspoke, but I think the Malcontents’ conclusion here — “I wouldn’t trust him whether on the battle field or off” — is thus far unwarranted. Asking questions is one thing and I’m all for doing that. But let’s not jump too quickly to conclusions about those who are serving in the armed forces.

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