Maybe Egypt’s new rulers know terrorists when they see them

Egyptian colonels and generals who overthrew the regime of former President Mohammed Morsi probably have more experience with and knowledge of terrorists than do U.S. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Morsi’s government, linked to the Muslim Brotherwood movement, was ousted by the military in a move that appears to have been supported by most of the Egyptian people. Afterward, Morsi and many of his Brotherhood supporters were jailed.

During a visit to Cairo, McCain, R-Ariz., and Graham, R-S.C., urged Egypt’s military to release the detainees, then negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood. Other U.S. officials have said the organization ought to be part of the process of restoring democracy to Egypt.

Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, rejected the suggestion by McCain and Graham.

A substantial number of Muslim Brotherhood members appear to believe in violence, even outright terrorism, as a tool to gain political power. It is no wonder that Mansour wants to keep them locked up.

Perhaps he is aware of the U.S. experience in releasing detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison. Many of those set free returned immediately to careers in terrorism. Egyptian leaders may simply want to avoid making the same mistake.

Army Maj. Nidal Hasan went on trial in a military court at Fort Hood, Texas, this week, with his life on the line.

Hasan killed 13 people and wounded dozens more in a 2009 shooting rampage at the post. He has admitted that, meaning the Army court martial’s purpose amounts to determining whether he should be sentenced to death.

More than a formality may be involved, however.

It already is known that Hasan, a fanatical Muslim and supporter of Islamic terrorists, displayed many warning signs during a very troubled career as an Army psychiatrist. Yet military authorities did virtually nothing about him until it was too late.

Of course, Army officers in charge of the court martial will not want testimony about that fatal neglect to be heard. But more needs to be known about it, and perhaps the trial will offer an opportunity for the American people to hear such testimony – and then to ask whether the Pentagon has changed anything.