Last week's arrest of Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo thwarted an attempted terrorist attack at Fort Hood, the military base that was the site of a 2009 rampage that left 12 soldiers dead. Abdo is at least the third Muslim-American soldier suspected of trying to kill his fellow troops since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2003, then-Sgt. Hasan Akbar threw a grenade into a tent in Kuwait, killing a pair of American soldiers. Six years later, Maj. Nidal Hasan was charged with opening fire on a crowd of troops at Fort Hood, killing 13 people--including 12 soldiers--in the worst act of military-on-military violence in U.S. history.
Is this a growing trend within the military, or a handful of troubling incidents? How much of the radicalization has to do with the Muslim-American troops' own changing feelings toward the United States after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan--as opposed to adopting the views of extremist Islamist clerics? What can be done to prevent troops from adopting--and acting on--violent Islamist beliefs? How can this be done without alienating Muslim-American troops, or suggesting all such personnel are somehow suspect?