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Hasan, Fort Hood, and the Need to Reassert, "Wow, I'm an American!"

Aug 17, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

The military failed to protect itself from Major Nidal Hasan. Why? Because it has been neutered by the shame and guilt engendered by political correctness.

Too many Americans have been made ashamed of American values and taught to blame America for all of the world's ills. This shame and guilt is expressed through PC values. The psychology of political correctness became so deeply embedded in the army, once the bastion of traditional American values, that the army was rendered unable to protect itself from Hasan's Islamic extremism. All of America has been made vulnerable by this psychological undermining of our values.

Many pundits, columnists and reporters continue to deny that Hasan was a terrorist. Beyond that, they refuse to see him as a traitor who was willing to murder his military brothers and sisters, and to put his family and society at risk of further injury and destruction by militant Islam.

Many Americans are driven by the unfortunate, hobbling psychology of guilt that ultimately blames America and Americans for every problem in the world from the 9/11 attacks to Hasan's Jihadist assault at Fort Hood. In its attempt to blame America and Americans, some claim that Hasan was pushed over the edge as a result of counseling returning soldiers about the horrors of war and/or by religious harassment from his fellow soldiers. Neither is true. First, psychiatrists in the military don't do counseling--their job is to make diagnoses to prescribe drugs. Counseling is done by non-medical psychologists, social workers and stress counselors. Second, Hasan was actually an agent provocateur who regularly baited and distressed his military colleagues.

Those who are driven guilt, self-blame and self-hatred cannot face the reality of an external enemy terrorist or an internal domestic traitor. (Hasan is both.) They fear that the existence of dangerous enemies distracts from America's blameworthy role in causing the world's problems, everything from Islamic violence to global climate change. Identifying a genuine threat from terrorists and traitors distracts from their guilt-ridden obsession with what is the matter with America and Americans.

Political correctness in part seems motivated by moral relativism--the view that all values have equal merit and deserve equal consideration. But it's not really relativism, because these seeming relativists maintain a critical exception to the rule. In relation to other values, Founding American values are not even granted equality, let alone an exceptional place in the world. The covert hierarchy within political relativism puts America at the bottom. Ameriphobia rules the day for most PC relativists. The antidote to this disorder in the heart and soul of our nation is a huge dose of the Founding American Values of freedom and responsibility. We must squarely face the danger of militant Islam and take responsibility for protecting ourselves and our values, including freedom and responsibility. To this end, I have written Wow, I'm an American: How to Live Like Our Heroic Founders. We need to reclaim our pride and rededicate ourselves to the values of liberty, individualism, and personal responsibility that have made America great as a nation and an inspiration to the whole world. It's time to say without shame or guilt, "Wow, I'm an American!"

Peter R. Breggin, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York, and the author of Wow, I'm an American! How to Live by Like Our Heroic Founders. His website is www.breggin.com and he can be emailed at psychiatricdrugfacts.com and phoned at 607 272 5328.