Ft. Hood: When PC Kills

George Handlery about the week that was. The killing spree in Ft. Hood. Snake medicine and the snakes. Ignore what you see, believe what they say. How to legalize the Sharia without alarming anyone. Aid to the destitute, poverty through aid.

1. In the past, this writer has repeatedly handled themes related to political correctness. This was done to depict it as an idiocy that survives because so many of us are too foolish or cowardly to defy it. No wonder, the unmasked doubters of PC are quickly tagged as “bad human beings”. Now, we find out that that the killer’s associates had suspicions regarding the Ft. Hood murderer. These reservations concerning his political reliability and commitment were shared by the Major’s superiors. No one dared to undertake anything to deal with the problem that signaled itself through Hasan’s statements and his behavior. It was not the amount and the weight of the evidence that held back the concerned. It was that no one wished to jeopardize his career. Everybody stood in danger of being labeled a “racist” for speaking up and for stating what in PC terms was not supposed to exist at all. Such as that Hasan rated what he considered to be Islam’s command, more highly than his sworn duty to America.) The conclusion: PC is at its best stupid in its motives and ridiculous in their outcome. The case at hand demonstrates that PC also kills. Not only in Texas.

2. The reports that deal with Major Hasan’s slaughter like to quote the “suspect’s” relatives. These emphasize that the man is not capable of doing such a thing. He is a good person, devoted to healing, loves God, besides that, he is also a kind person. (Perhaps George Bush is really to be blamed in this case, too.) Actually, about the same thing could be said of a number of the great killers of history. It is to be assumed that Genghis Khan loved his horse. Lenin was kind to his cat. Hitler, scores as a vegetarian and he had strong feelings for his dog. About “Stalin and the animals” – except his camp guards – I know nothing. However, he smoked a Digby pipe. As this pipe smoker can tell you, pipe smokers are relaxed peaceful contemplative and wise characters. Seriously, as the joke recognizes, one can love mankind but hate ones neighbor. Some forms of devotion to a concept of the “good” do not exclude criminal behavior. If the “good” to which one is committed is an exclusive and not an inclusive concept then, cruelty is not an aberration but an intended consequence of the commitment. A creed might teach that it is more than the best path leading to the “good”. Those that take other approaches are not only wrong but their error is an expression of evil. In this case, proceeding with any means against these becomes not only permitted but also a command for the righteous (Soldier of Allah).

3. Quite naturally, the issues that flow from the growing Muslim presence provoke discussions in Europe, too. The trigger is the perceived resistance of a sizeable element within the Muslim community that goes beyond simply resisting adjustment to their chosen environment. Visible members of this migration hold the view that the local culture, the way of life and religion is to be rejected as inferior, even as improper. Over the resulting issue, the “uncouth” perception of the public collides with that of the fans of multi-culturalism. This becomes a conflict between the experienced reality of the “barefooted” and the favored PC-hatched theory of the privileged “political class” with opinion-making influence and media access. A campaign is rolling over the landscape. Its aim is to convince people not to notice what they see. A typical product of it has been a recent essay that appeared in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (rated to be within the global top ten). Its tenor was that the God of the Jews, Christians and Moslems is the same God. Therefore, there being no difference, there is also nothing to be concerned about. One of the important arguments made is that, consequently, a politically and socially unfolding Islam can represent no problem. After all, most resident Muslims do not practice their faith. As a responding letter-writer pointed out, this argument makes the earlier claims regarding the “religion of peace” irrelevant. What is being said is that the aggressive and dominant aspects Islam can show are not to be feared. That is supposedly so because the nominal practitioners of the faith do not take their religion seriously. The question that arises is: and what if they become serious about what they outwardly avow to be no more than folklore.

4. Nowadays, any talk about the possible incremental introduction of the Sharia in currently non-Muslim countries, sounds like a fiction that extrapolates a figment of paranoid political imagination. Those who react by dismissing even the possibility of the impossible happening should be reminded that a number of countries have already begun to bend their laws to accommodate Islamist demands. With that, a fundamental principle is coming close to being violated. It is that religious conviction is not admitted as a justification to violate the law applying to all. Reason suggests that this pertains to a special extent to immigrant communities. These have knowingly chosen to live under the system of their choice whose rules they claim to have a right to not only to ignore but also to breach. Therefore, the concessions mentioned involve a critical matter. Giving way here by creating law-free-zones means ignoring the foundations of the host’s own system. If the past century teaches us something it is that, what is popularly regarded as impossible has a way of coming about.

The creeping in of the Sharia will be difficult to oppose. The process will begin by admitting it in some areas that will be declared to be private and therefore outside of the intended reach of the law. In these areas then, among consenting individuals, arrangements that conform to the cultural peculiarities of the participants will be permitted. If in such cases the application of the Sharia by “consenting adults” will take place, then so be it. Even when the decision is made, those permitting the practice will know, but refuse to admit that, the “consent” will be extorted. The decision resulting will also do more than legalize the settling in private matters in a way agreed upon by a closed community. The judgments rendered will not only disregard the basic law of the hosting land: It will be likely to violate it.

5. Latin America is ailing of a state of pleasant and self-induced state of historical amnesia. One might add that, a corresponding phenomenon is detectable among the – due to their experience – more unlikely candidates located in what used to be the Soviet Empire. Consequently, incrementally Socialism and planned economies are being introduced south of the Rio Grande. Unlike the area where the trial was first launched and crashed, the experiment – which, having been tested, is not really an experiment at all – is not becoming government policy by force or conquest alone. The writer does not intend to overlook the role of violence in places such as Cuba and Venezuela. Nor does he ignore the threat of government by force that Allende was about to shackle Chile with before his overthrow. Nevertheless, Socialism, a form of communalist dictatorship dedicated to re-making man, his values, way of life and mores, can still draw support. It comes from those who are enabled to ignore the consequences of such snake medicine. This applies even in Eastern Europe where, it became obvious that not only the patient but even the snakes are decimated by the potion touted as curing all ills.

Chile VI

Pale Rider,


To my mind, Pinochet is not that unique.  While he did heed the advice of the Chicago Boys, he is not personally responsible for the Chilean Miracle.  All of the countries in the Southern Cone postwar were ruled by anti-communist authoritarian regimes that relatively peacefully transitioned to democracy over a decade from the early 1980s to the early 1990s.  Moreover, similar regimes in the Asian Tigers Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan were even more focused on economic development and liberalization than Pinochet’s. 


Was the coup of 1973 justified?  Probably: although more due to political polarization and economic paralysis rather than any “totalitarian” tendencies of Allende.   Was the failure to immediately return to civilian and democratic rule justified, or the subsequent dictatorship and “Dirty War”?  Absolutely not. 


Pinochet was preferable to Castro in the same way that Xiaoping was preferable to Mao.  However, this does not excuse either Pinochet or Xiaoping’s gross violations of human rights.  To some extent you are preaching to the choir: I am not a voracious consumer of opinions from mainstream media outlets.  I do note an over-emphasis on Chile’s part of the “Dirty War”, as well as omission of Castro’s domestic and foreign human rights abuses and war crimes.  In fact, I was disgusted by David Suzuki’s lauding of the Cuban medical system and other social programs, when these were underwritten by Soviet funds.  Even the most conservative estimate of Castro’s murders is more than double the figure attributable to Pinochet...  


Marc Frans,


I am quite taken aback by your vehemence, and will address your accusations below:


1.  I never attributed the “penchant” in question to a particular ideology; I attributed it to authoritarian regimes in general.


2.  Some Western MNCs have “circumvented” market forces to secure profits in foreign markets, including subsidizing “friendly” authoritarian governments in these markets and/or leveraging domestic political clout to bring pressure to bear on them.  Even the recent beneficiaries of TARP demonstrate the dangers of big business’ “incestuous” relationship with the state.  Small and medium-sized businesses in the United States remain unable to secure necessary credit, but Goldman Sachs is rescued and allowed to prevail over competitors Lehman Bros. and Bank of America (whose rivalry with Wall Street was legendary).  Do you truly believe that these bloated bureaucracies who preach laissez-faire or protectionism according to their needs are exemplars of capitalism?


3.  Neither Castro nor Pinochet were civilians; Allende was. 


4.  You ARE an apologist for Pinochet.  How can you decry Belgium or the EU (SSR), when their infringements on civil liberties pale in comparison to those of Pinochet’s regime?  How does the EU’s campaign against racism and xenophobia compare to the parrilla?

Allende # 3

@ Pale Rider

I fully agree with your latest comments, and I would add that the Kapitein seems incapable of proportional and contextual judgements.  More specifically, note:

- his parroting of leftist media generalisations about the presumed 'penchants' of "rightwing dictators" (as if these are any different from those of leftwing dictators!), "exploitation" by Western multinationals, etc... Media ideologues have a lot to be ashamed of with their historical distortions. In terms of sheer 'brutality' and victim numbers there is no comparison between Pinochet and, say, Castro.

- his morally reprehensible refusal to make necessary judgments, e.g. calling Castro an "insurgent leader" and not a politician.  By that standard, surely Pinochet was a military patriot and not a politician either. To many contemporary Europeans, being from the 'military' is worse than being a leftist tyrant who blocks all democratic development.

One minor point. Pinochet started making moves for the restoration of constitutional (and democratic) rule after about a decade (in large measure under US pressure), although full restoration took much longer (as one would expect in such polarised societies).

RE: Chile V

Pale Rider,


I find that even your economic analysis of Chile is based on ideological commitments rather than facts.  Chile is a peripheral economy, as it is dependent on commodity exports to core economies, such as the United States.  However, Chile is very relevant due to its sound economic policies, which have worked to take full advantage of commodity booms and attempt to insulate the economy during busts.  Moreover, Chile’s economy is highly efficient, and is expanding its internal market, which will provide additional growth and stability. 


Various right-wing dictators have favored economic liberalization; however, Pinochet sought the sound advice of his Chicago Boys.  The “Miracle of Chile”, of course, encompasses the transition to democracy and it occurred despite Pinochet’s authoritarian government, rather than because of it.  Other right-wing dictators’ idea of laissez-faire was to accept bribes from Western multinationals in exchange for unfettered exploitation of a country’s natural resources, excluding the vast majority of the population from either economic participation or social benefits.  These did share Pinochet’s penchant for murder, torture, rape and indefinite incarceration.  Given the atrocities committed under Pinochet’s direction, your statement that “certain things…were morally wrong”, is rather weak.  The same could be said of any dictator.


Had democracy prevailed in 1973, it is unlikely that Allende’s successor could have pursued any cohesive strategy, given the sheer polarization of interests and trading volatility; mismanagement would have prevailed.  I am averse to comparing Allende to either Castro or Morales.  Castro was an insurgent leader, not a civilian politician, and Bolivia has an indigenous majority, unlike Chile or Cuba. 


Finally, there are conservatives who appear to regard Pinochet as much a “saint” as does the New Left Castro and Che.  Few of course (in the West at any rate), are truly willing to submit a teenager to rape and the parrilla for a free or planned economy.

RE: Chile V

While it is true that some conservatives deify Pinochet, my objections to your earlier comment are not ideological. If you equate my praise of Pinochet in some regards to full support for his regime, then you are mistaken. What you still do not seem to get is that I responded to you because you downplayed Chile's economic miracle and minimise Pinochet's role in all this. Again, I have no knowledge of any other despots who turned their countries into relatively prosperous and economically free nations, especially not in a Latin American context. I also have not heard of any other so-called bloodthirsty 'Fascist' dictators who listened to the will of the people and willingly restored the constitution and representative government after a mere twenty years of rule. But maybe that is just me and popular media outlets know better. On the issue of Chile being 'peripheral' country, may I remind you of Chile's peculiar geography? The country is located in one of the most remote parts of the world, just like New Zealand. And even so, the country has historically played a significant diplomatic role in mediating conflicts in the Americas (i.e. between the U.S. and Mexico) and this is likely to continue. The Chilean military Junta did not commit a coup d'état to introduce a free market system but to prevent Chile from being destroyed and controlled by an international league of Communists disregarding the history, traditions and Constitution of Chile. Being the early 70s, in the midst of the Cold War, I am not ashamed to say I would have supported the coup if I had been a Chilean, although I would not have supported the prolonged rule of the military junta/Pinochet.

RE: Chile III

Marc Frans,

I am equally dismissive of nation-building by a foreign occupier, although not for the same reasons.  History has demonstrated unequivocally that individuals and communities prefer self-determination to development under the rule of another.  Therefore, to my mind, ingratitude is hardly surprising.  Germany and Japan were the beneficiaries of a new bipolar international order, which necessitated that the United States transform each into strong allies lest their total defeats cause them to drift into the Soviet orbit. How Afghanistan and Iraq can ever become strategic partners of the United States, beyond providing bases for power projection or facilitating Central Asian energy infrastructure remains a mystery to me.   


However, providing financial aid and materiel to “friendly” dictators and terrorists is not the same as debating their actions.  Irrespective of Colombia’s internal problems or the involvement of the current government in Bogotá with right-wing paramilitaries, Chávez clearly crossed the line by providing FARC with arms and sanctuary.  Cold War paranoia of course was not the exclusive domain of either the West or the East, and all sorts of undesirable politicians and militants benefited from the rush to secure clients.  Often, these would later turn on their benefactors as their ambitions exceeded their allegiance to any particular ideology.


I have never allowed the irrational extremes of any particular ideology, whether I agree with it or not, to imbalance my opinions or convictions.  The actions of foreign and domestic anti-communist forces in Chile were as much reactions to reasonably perceived threats, as they were products of a cynical lust for power and dangerous paranoia.  Criticism of Allende should not equal support for Pinochet, nor should Cuban ambitions in Latin America and Africa excuse the sadism of Pinochet’s Chile.  However, none of this implies that Allende should have remained in office.  In fact, I am emotionally attached to neither, which is more than I can say for Pale Rider…

Chile IV

I won't deny I have favourable views of Pinochet in some regards. You are quite mistaken, however, if you believe I want to make a saint of out him. Was the coup justified or not? One can argue about those things, and as a matter of fact there are arguments as to the legal validity of the 'coup'. But that was not my point. I also agree that certain things happened under his regime that were morally wrong. But again, that was not the argument. The reason I responded to your post about Chile, was to correct your notion that Chile is but a peripheral and seemingly irrelevant country, ignoring the level of achievement and significant progress this country has made, especially given its regional context. Again I will say - whether you like it or not - that were it not for Pinochet's reforms and hard-line action against the Communist threat, the nation might have looked a lot like Cuba or Bolivia today. I for one am glad for Chile that this is not the case. The truth is that Chile today is an exemplary country in Latin America, indeed a model for many other countries in the region to follow.

Without Pinochet...

Chile would still have been one of the many Latin American banana republics à la Venezuela in 2009 A.D. The country is the most developed South American nation and its market ranks among the freest and most innovative in the world. Pinochet's vision of a Chile of entrepreneurs and proprietors was a noble and courageous one in a region ruled by economic pessimism and statism. Unlike true Fascists and ardent Socialist traitors elsewhere, Pinochet and his economic non-interventionism actually got Chile somewhere. The silly hateful leftist propaganda that likes to portray Pinochet as the devil incarnate is ironic since he was not an antisemite and he is the only so-called Fascist pig to have respected the will of the people to restore democracy, quite unlike those bearded retards who rule(d), sorry, ruin(ed) Cuba but are nonetheless cheered by popular media. For such a remote country with only 15 million inhabitants in Latin America, I think what Chile has achieved so far is by all means impressive.

Allende # 2

For the record:

- This conservative does NOT support "nation building", be it in Germany, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else.  Such 'building' will only get you ingratitude and scorn from selfish ingrates, virtually everywhere.  The necessary elimination of major threats or obstacles should not be confused with "nation building".  

- This conservative does not approve of "paling around" with dictators and terrorists, although he knows that the word "pale" cannot be used as a verb in the way that the Kapitein intends.  Such "paling" would be despicable, whether it is undertaken by politicians or internet bloggers in their appeasement and attempted justifications of behavior by manifest dictators (and, sometimes, even by terrorists).

In Response to KO and Marc Frans

I have no doubt that many of Allende’s domestic detractors had a much more extreme view of his presidency than Mr Handlery.  Allende was neither a totalitarian nor a “saint”.  His ambitions far exceeded his talents, and his determination to revolutionize Chile within his term of office wrecked the economy, destabilized democratic institutions, and encouraged the intrigues of his enemies.  If Allende is a martyr, then it was for devotion to Chile, not any cosmopolitan ideals. 


Zelaya’s presidency in Honduras was reminiscent of Allende’s in Chile, albeit the former had much stronger congressional and electoral support.  Latin America is not the Anglosphere or Western Europe, and often adhering to a mandate to improve the lot of the lower classes, and adhering to democracy, can seem mutually exclusive.   If La vía chilena al socialismo was impossible to achieve, than so too was Pinochet’s desire to transform Chileans into entrepreneurs or proprietors.  Chile remains a mainly peripheral economy at the mercy of global commodities prices (esp. copper), not unlike the rest of the Southern Cone.  Democracy is difficult if not impossible when a country is dependent on exporting commodities abroad, and its natural resources are firmly in the hands of an elite who dominates its civilian and military leaderships.


Given the threats from the military (incl. failed coup attempts), paramilitaries and foreign intelligence agencies, is it surprising that Allende was receptive to KGB advice on state security?  It is telling that despite the bloodlessness of the 1973 coup, Pinochet was averse to relinquishing power.  To incarcerate and torture tens of thousands is unnecessary and vindicative, especially when nearly all were persecuted for their political beliefs rather than participation in the very low–level insurgency.  If these people were truly threats to Chile, then they should have been executed outright.  Of course, Pinochet did not shy away from executions either, even when these far outnumbered the number of left–wing paramilitaries. 


Kissinger famously stated that Chilean voters were irresponsible, and were voting on “issues” of too great an importance for them to “decide for themselves”.  Korry was convinced of the need to collectively punish all Chileans for electing Allende, ostensibly due to his nationalization of the copper industry rather than his politics. 


Republican foreign policy has changed dramatically since the days of realpolitik, so it surprises me to see conservatives who on the one hand support Bush’s nation–building in Afghanistan and Iraq, and on the other Nixon’s paling around with dictators and terrorists.


I am uncertain as to what Putin has to do with the Sino–Soviet Split, but I can say that if Nixon had been born in the Soviet Union and not the United States…


Furthermore, Castro is beside the point.  The problem with pre–emption is that you lose much of the moral high ground, and it is your convictions that are up for debate.    


@ KO

1) I agree with you on Allende. Mr Handlery was very 'mild' in his commentary. But, realise that Allende was declared a martyr and a 'saint' by the leftist western media (especially in Europe, and to a lesser extent in the US), while Pinochet was the devil incarnated to them. Absurdly, for many West Europeans Castro is still a 'saint', even though he makes Pinochet look like a choir boy with a mustache. Inconvenient facts are easily dismissed when they clash with ideological 'prejudices'.  

2) Recently in Honduras, following earlier examples elsewhere in Latin America (Venezuela, Ecuador etc...) the former President tried to do another 'Allende', but was deposed in a constitutional way. This time the Western media (particularly in the US) seems more sensible and cautious before embracing the latest leftist democracy-killing caudillo. Perhaps there is some 'progress'?

3) I thought that the Kapitein made some sensible comments on 'religion' under his third point, but got his usual sunglasses on when it comes to the former Soviet Union. Something about Putin, and 'order' in general, seems attractive to many Germans. Perhaps, too attractive! I am not denying that I like a fair amount of 'order' and discipline also.

RE: When PC Kills



1–2.  Duly noted.


3.  There are legitimate anthropological and theological reasons for the concept of placing Christianity, Islam and Judaism in the category of “Abrahamic” religions.  However, I have always been of the opinion that religion lends itself to the prevailing culture.  Judaism is entirely Hebraic, despite its derivation Zoroastrianism and Mesopotamian mythology.  Islam is a pan–Arab and supremacist underpinned by a charismatic leader and a quasi–Judaic belief system.  As Christianity was a “rebellious” sect of Judaism, its early adherents needed to embrace cosmopolitanism and universalize their “wayward” sect in order to ensure its survival. 

Of course, neither Christianity nor Islam have been tramsitted intact across ethnic lines.  Could the Germanic tribes truly accept Roman spiritual authority or union with Spain?  Could the Pashtuns or Persians consider themselves Arab? 

Religion is but one type of ideology, and if we refuse to tolerate fascism, we can do the same with Islam.  Despite the Brussels Journal’s association of multiculturalism and political correctness with the left, the Soviet Union was hyper–vigilant, which brings me to my point.  If Marxist–Leninists can rightly see fit to deploy more air force formations in the east opposite the Maoists than in the west, Abrahamic links with Islam should not give us the slightest pause. 


4.  Duly noted.


5.  Does Allende really need to be posthumously tarnished in order to justify Pinochet’s Dirty War, Operation Condor, etc.?

Allende tarnished?

If you read Carlos Rangel on Allende's attempted leftist revolution in The Latin Americans, you will see that Mr. Handlery's comments are mild in comparison with those of an observer with a nearer view. Allende and his overreaching leftist allies tarnished themselves.