Islamic Radicalization in the U.S. Military Surfaces Again
Islamic Radicalization in the Military Surfaces Again
Investigative Project on Terrorism
In November 2009, U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers at a Fort Hood, Texas processing facility, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. An ensuing investigation determined Hasan had exhibited outward signs of his Islamist radicalization to fellow Army officers. Even though his superiors were aware, officials did nothing to counter Hasan’s radicalization nor his position in the Army.
In July 2011, another U.S. Army soldier, Naser Jason Abdo, was arrested by the FBI near Fort Hood with bomb making materials and a firearm. He planned to bomb his fellow soldiers at a nearby restaurant and shoot any survivors trying to escape to safety. Abdo was convicted for attempting use of a weapon of mass destruction and sentenced to life imprisonment. Abdo told his mother the reason for his actions was religion.
There have been other cases of Islamic radicals in uniform, to include here. The latest case appeared Saturday, with the arrest of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Ikaika Kang in Hawaii on federal terrorism charges. An FBI affidavit describes Kang’s radicalization process beginning as early as 2011. Kang publicly expressed his radical Islamic intentions, to include his support for ISIS and his desire to commit violence against fellow soldiers. The Army, in response, merely temporarily revoked Kang’s security clearance in 2012 but reinstated it in 2013 after Kang “complied with military requirements stemming from the investigation.”
By early 2016, the affidavit says, “it appeared that Kang was becoming radicalized” and the Army referred the matter to the FBI that August. From December 2016 to March 2017, the Army provided “negative counseling” to Kang, apparently in an attempt to counter his radicalization that included his pro-ISIS statements to his fellow service members. Among them, if deployed to Iraq he would not shoot at ISIS fighters, that U.S. military personnel were terrorists and the 9/11 attacks were an inside job by the U.S. government.
The Kang case demonstrates the longstanding military practice of genuflection before the altar of political correctness remains. Lethal lessons from Fort Hood have not been learned. Outside the military, the government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program founded under the prior administration sought to downplay radical Islamic terrorism and up-focus “right-wing” extremism, even when facts and statistics failed that narrative. The current administration has begun the effort to turn that CVE process in the better direction, but that process is not easy.
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