The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow.
They come to be accepted by degrees, by precedent, by implication, by erosion, by default, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other - until the day when they are suddenly declared to be the country's official ideology.
Re Fort Hood, Paul in Houston touches on something I had wondered myself:
Why are British papers covering the jihad aspect of the story better than American papers?
Why, even as the rug is pulled from under them, are media and the left desperately and underhandedly pushing the "snapped" meme?*
Media and left are looking to the Iraq and Afganistan arguments: they want to win the ideological arguments about American policy. Media and left are not looking to the truth of Fort Hood. Media and left are looking to the "larger truth" about Iraq and Afghanistan; are always willing to sacrifice "truth" on the altar of "larger truth." Perversely, sacrificing "truth" makes them feel virtuous.
If the whole of fundamentalist Islam amounts to an insignificant number of kooks, then Iraq and Afghanistan are not strategically justified. The argument is: the U.S. ought take occasional terror attacks in stride, as wise Europe has allegedly done for decades.
If Iraq and Afghanistan are not strategically justified, media and the left will - over the upcoming 5-10 years - pound the additional theme that Iraq and Afghanistan are unjustified on humanitarian grounds, i.e. that Iraqis and Afghanis are worse off now than before, i.e. that Iraqis and Afghanis were better off under Saddam and under the Taliban.
Left blogs are already willing to make this argument to their dying breath. Left blogs use anecdotes to justify their assertion. A typical anecdote: a father of four, Ahmed, was killed as a result of hostilities. Under Saddam or Taliban, Ahmed would still be alive. Ergo: U.S. invasions are humanitarian atrocities. Vast numbers of Ahmeds have been killed; vast numbers of fatherless children exist. "Freedom and democracy" (activate expectoration) are provincial and over-simplistic concepts. Who are we to say that life under Saddam and the Taliban was truly oppressive? Ahmed was happy (!) - as opposed to all the Americans who enjoy "freedom and democracy" (activate expectoration) and yet are suffering without healthcare!
Media and left hold out hope that Iraq and Afghanistan can be sold as unjustified on both strategic and humanitarian grounds. Media and left believe that just a few more years of pounding the theme will get the job done.
"...by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other..."
*something about "snapped", as pointed out by Tunku Varadarajan:
When a citizen "snaps", he leaves behind his normal rationality.
When a jihadi "Goes Muslim", his true rationality is revealed. In other words, the jihadi has been living amongst us in disguise; has been biding his time until - and this day may never come (or it may) - the time is right to fulfill his religious destiny. "Going Muslim" = revealing who he was all along. This is not "snapping". This is, at long last, revealing true self.
"Why did you sting me?", asked the frog, "Now we shall both die." Replied the scorpion, "It is my character."