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Color me conflicted

17 Jun

I firmly believe that one of the greatest things about America is that for the most part we do a far better job than most at not discriminating on the basis of race, creed, color ect. We have certainly had our black marks in history and I assume there is always room for improvement. But if you go to any of major city its pretty diverse with many cultures being represented at the same time.

The American military is no different while the military is not a perfect cross section of American society its certainly not homogeneous either. While I have never served I am sure that the combination of different attitudes, cultures and personalities combined with the stress of the environment could cause some serious strife. However it seems that we very rarely hear of these instances turning violent. However there has been a pattern of Muslim soldiers attacking other service members. First in 2003 we had the case of Sgt. Asan Akbar who tossed a grenade into a tent killing another servicemen in Kuwait and wounding 15. Then in November of 2009 we had the Ft. Hood attack perpetrated by Nidal Malik Hasan. Today I wake up to the story of Yonathan Melaku who was found in Arlington National Cemetery at 0130 this morning. In his backpack were 5 pounds of a yet to be identified substance that was labled as ammonium nitrate but field tests came back as negative for explosive material. Details are still coming out as to what exactly his plan is or weather this was a test run for something larger or not. However what is clear is that his man was a Marine Corps reservist and a practicing Muslim.

I am afraid that this series of events is going to damage morale for our troops overseas. It would seem logical that these men and women need to know that there is a ZERO chance that the soldier next to them is “playing for the other team” My initial reaction was that there needs to be some sort of additional screening or procedure for practicing Muslims in the US Military but that doesn’t sit right with me, I don’t like the idea of instantly assuming these individuals are working against us. I would also hope that the chain of command would send up red flags for any individual who was showing signs of radicalization regardless of the individuals creed or belief system.. Should these men and women be limited to non-combat roles? Should they be screened differently? Is this just an unfortunate downside to having a military that is as diverse as it is? I don’t have the answers and I don’t really have any suggestions to make the problem better, however what I do know is that we have too many brave men and women fighting for me and my family, and I don’t need to add any burden to them.

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