Life 2.0 – Turning Hindsight Into Foresight

Congratulations to winning council member Joshua Pundit. After surviving a heart attack last week JP penned a retrospective of what is important in life, to him, you, me and others.

Having a heart attack has a funny way of making people look back on what is important in life. In the world of politics we tend to become consumed; almost to the point where this obsession taking over our lives. Before you know it years have passed and things that were once important have a tendency to slip away. It is important to take the time and look back at things from a different perspective. For Rob it was his heart attack, for others it can be Rob’s retrospective. The other members of the Watcher’s Council agreed.

Having a heart attack tends to focus you on what’s important. Like breathing, which I thoroughly recommend.

There I was, coming back into the house after swimming some laps when I suddenly became aware of pains that were roughly like a bad case of heartburn and shortness of breath. And no, I did not immediately think heart attack.

It didn’t go away after about a half fact,the pain increased and was joined with a certain light lightheadedness and a cold sweat. So I dialed 911.

Contrary to popular legend, I was able to get through immediately and was promptly switched from the main operator to the paramedics, where the dispatcher took me through my symptoms, advised me what to do and literally stayed on the line with me and held my hand – I do not exaggerate – until the paramedics got to my home.

On the non-council side Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser looks at the failings of the Pentagon report in the case of the Fort Hood massacre. Dr. Jasser has a unique perspective as a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, and more importantly a Muslim.

“On November 5, 2009, the United States Army was viciously attacked from within by an ideologue bent on pursuing an agenda of Islamist extremism. This ideologue fell under the separatist influence of political Islam while serving as an officer. It is incumbent upon our force to begin to understand this theo-political ideology that threatens our soldiers internally and externally.”

These critical lines are completely missing from the Pentagon’s 84-page report reviewing the massacre of 13 U.S. soldiers and contractors at Fort Hood. Yet this is only one of many omissions that the Pentagon should pursue from this incident.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on Nov. 5 because his adherence to extreme Islamism overrode his allegiance to his country and his sworn oath to protect it against all enemies. While issues of post-traumatic stress will surely be pursued by his defense team, Hasan’s defense is not the job of the Pentagon. The Pentagon has a duty to honestly assess the root of the attack and to ensure that the military is adequately protecting our forces from the threat from within and without.

As a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, I know the culture of the U.S. military. While I served my 11 years pre-9/11, the culture of political correctness was pervasive. This travesty of a report is front and center evidence of that paralyzing culture.

As a Naval physician and former chief resident at Bethesda Naval Hospital, I can also speak to the inadequacies in the counterterrorism, counter-radicalism and insurgency training of commanders like those being held to blame for Hasan’s promotion and movement up the chain of command. Studying theo-political internal threats is simply not part of the training of any military physician. Hasan’s superiors are medical professionals trained to evaluate his abilities as a physician and a psychiatrist. As we have all heard, his commanders were seriously concerned about his actions and the role his faith played in his everyday interactions with patients. Had they brought those concerns to his review process, they would have been vilified as Islamaphobes. Even had Hasan’s superiors appropriately identified his behaviors, a military discharge is light years down the path of administrative counseling and punishment he would have received. Which begs the question, would a demoted Hasan have been any less of a threat?

As a Muslim, I am most fearful that our entrenched mindset of victimization and political correctness is precluding a vitally necessary open discussion of faith-based issues both inside and outside of the military. The current military and governmental culture precluded Hasan’s superiors from questioning anything relating to his faith.

Winning Council Submissions

Winning Non-Council Submissions

Bookworm Room did not participate in this week’s contest.