Less than a week after he attacked a military formation on Ft Hood, Major Nidal Malik Hasan has moved from being the shooter, to being the “alleged” shooter. But wait, it gets even more blurred than that. According to this Washington Post article, he is “the Army psychiatrist believed to have killed 13 people at Fort Hood.” (italics added)
Believed to have done it? Is there any doubt? Is there any possible way he didn’t? The only way he could possibly be believed to have killed 13 people at Fort Hood (instead of actually being the perpetrator) would be if one or more of those he wounded finally succumbed to their wounds and died. Then we could say that originally we believed he killed 13 people, but subsequently had to up the total. We may possibly be wrong about the total number of dead, but certainly there is no doubt about his actions; that he was the one pulling the trigger.
I understand the niceties of the legal profession. And I understand all about the “innocent until proven guilty” part of American jurisprudence. And yes, he has not yet been judged guilty in a court of law. But, come on. When something happens right in front of your face, is it necessary to pretend it didn’t until the legal beagles have all weighed in on the matter? And in any event, since when did newspapers become legal journals? Had the attack been perpetrated by a neo-Nazi (or a “right-wing radio talk show host”), would there be any doubt?
Instead, we are once more doing the Muslim tap-dance routine. Let’s not mention the man’s name so prominently (I am now seeing him referred to in print as Nidal M. Hasan instead of Nidal Malik Hasan. We mustn’t mention the full, three-name Islamic moniker. (Kind of like saying Barack Hussain Obama; a no-no during the Presidential election.) It might be considered pejorative. It might get folks all riled up against honest practitioners of the religion of peace.
I’m sure it is just a coincidence that he was shouting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) as he gunned down his fellow soldiers. He was under a lot of stress apparently, and being Muslim, he probably just shouted the first thing that came to mind.
Early stories reported him shouting the same phrase that it seems all Muslims engaged in terror attacks or attacks on US service personnel shout. Just coincidence though.
I wonder if Timothy McVeigh shouted “Praise God” when he blew up the Muir Federal Building in Oklahoma City?
There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what this event should properly be called. I have heard it referred to as a “killing spree”, similar to when someone goes off the deep end at a shopping mall. I have heard it called a “killing rampage”, like perhaps what happens when a person is mad about being slighted at work and uses a gun to get his “revenge”.
A terrorist act? Well, maybe. Senator Lieberman allowed that it might be construed to be such. Of course, if we label it a terrorist act, then we have to take official notice of his name and religion, whereas if we call it a “killing spree” or a “rampage”, we can sweep all that under the carpet. It then becomes an unfortunate event by an individual who happens to be Muslim, rather than a terrorist event perpetrated by a Muslim extremist against the US population.
It’s too bad he isn’t conveniently dead. Soon after the event, when there was much confusion and it was thought that he was dead, speculation began on exactly why he would do such a thing. There was a lot of “no one will ever know for sure” verbiage being bandied about. Unfortunately, he really wasn’t dead. Not only that, but he is now apparently conscious and talking. Unless things get hushed up, no doubt we will find out exactly what he was thinking and continues to think.
This is not the first time this has happened. Back in March 2003, Sgt Hasan Karim Akbar shot one officer in the back and rolled grenades into several of the tents where his fellow soldiers lay sleeping. The reason? By his own admission, he wanted to stop U.S. troops from “coming into our countries…raping our women and killing our children.” Akbar was convicted by Army Courts Martial of assassinating two of his fellow soldiers, and sentenced to death on 29 April 2005. Currently he is still in detention at Ft Bragg awaiting execution.
His religion? Muslim. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course, just saying…
Anyway, Sgt Akbar was never accused of being a terrorist, although his lawyer did try to use insanity as a defense, saying that his client was mentally ill. I expect the same defense will be mustered for Maj Hasan as well, even though evidence is mounting that this was not just a temporary aberration on his part; he has harbored anti-American, pro-Extremist sentiment for quite some time now.
In June 2007, at a meeting where Maj Hasan was presumably to give a lecture on medical matters to his supervisors and approximately 25 other mental health staff members, he instead delivered a lecture on Islam, suicide bombers, and threats the military could encounter from Muslims upset about the fighting against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims.” he said in his presentation. Indeed, he advocated releasing Muslim soldiers as conscientious objectors. Many who attended the briefing were concerned – but there is no evidence their concern resulted in any action, such as informing counterintelligence or law enforcement officials for investigation.
Of course, Army leaders have cautioned, we wouldn’t want to jump to any conclusions about what might have been the motive for the attack. In particular, we wouldn’t want to trigger a backlash against other Muslim soldiers. I mean, anyone could start yelling Allahu akbar and shooting up the place; it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is an Islamic extremist, or even have anything remotely to do with Islam.
No, of course not. In fact, the Army Chief of Staff seems to be more concerned about the possibility of such backlash than he is for those killed and wounded by Maj Hasan. I mean, the dead are already dead, right? And the wounded are being taken care of. So what seems to be the Army Chief’s biggest concern now?
“It would be a shame – as great a tragedy as this was – it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”
He goes on to say “A diverse Army gives us strength.” Excuse me?
Our training gives us strength. Our commitment gives us strength. Our unity gives us strength. Our moral clarity gives us strength. There are many things that give our Army strength. But, diversity?
Perhaps the Army needs a new Chief of Staff. I’m sure that there is a college or university campus somewhere that would benefit from General Casey’s concern for diversity; I’m not sure that it qualifies however, as a premier requirement for an organization whose primary responsibility is fighting and winning our nation’s conflicts.
I’m sure that if we can just find the right mix of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and Atheists; the proper distribution Blacks, Whites, Yellows, Browns and Reds; and a balanced proportion of men and women, why then we can lick anyone in the world who dares to stand against us.
Training? We don’t need no stinkin’ training. We’re DIVERSE!
Then there is Anwar al Awlaki, radical Muslim imam and spiritual leader at two mosques where three of the 911 hijackers worshipped. He is a big fan of Major Hasan, posting on his Web site Monday that “American Muslims who condemned the attacks on the Texas military base last week are hypocrites who have committed treason against their religion.” He followed that up by stating that “the only way a Muslim can justify serving in the U.S. military is if he intends to ‘follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal.’”
Could this be any clearer? Are there others like Hasan within our armed forces waiting to take similar actions? Will the example of Hasan, and the call to action from al Awlaki be the trigger for more attacks? Who knows? Certainly Army leadership doesn’t seem to be too worried; they are more worried it seems about a backlash than further attacks. I would be real surprised to see any sort of investigations of Muslim service members take place; that would not be politically correct, and could lead to lawsuits and bad PR for the military; certainly a career-ender for aspiring officers looking to make the military a career.
But I started this article with the title, Major Hasan: Not a Terrorist. And I haven’t addressed that issue. Is Major Hasan a terrorist? It may surprise you to hear that I really don’t think he is. But if he isn’t then what is he? A murderer? An insane lunatic? A hapless victim of the American gun culture? How about a Muslim patriot fighting to save his people from the fascist imperialistic American military?
No, I don’t think he is a terrorist. He was a military member. He attacked a military target with a military objective. He did not perpetrate a random act of senseless violence against a civilian population. His attack was premeditated and well thought out. I doubt he expected to survive, and one could say he has this in common with a suicide bomber. Perhaps. But just because one undertakes a mission one does not expect to survive does not make one a terrorist. There have been many times in the history of warfare where military units were assigned missions that those in them did not expect to survive.
To me, Maj Hasan is a soldier in the army of Jihad; an enemy combatant, masquerading as one of us. His target was a legitimate military target. Only problem is, Maj Hasan is an American, a member of the American military. Because of this, Maj Hasan’s actions are not the same as if he were on a battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan, facing American troops across a field of fire.
Major Hasan wore our uniform, took our pay, and shot and killed fellow soldiers who had no reason to view him as the enemy. As soldiers, they knew that they might have to pay the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country; they did not expect that sacrifice to be made in the middle of Texas at the hands of an officer appointed over them in a position of trust.
Major Hasan is a traitor to his country, the uniform he wore, and the constitution he swore to uphold. Under the rules of war, an enemy combatant wearing the uniform of the other side is subject upon capture to summary execution as a spy. For the actions he took there is no defense. This is not simply a common crime, a law enforcement action against someone who simply broke a law, any more than the attack on the World Trade Center was simply an act of violence that happened to kill 3000 people. Like the other, it is an act of vileness that cannot be treated as an ordinary crime.
Major Hasan needs to be afforded the best medical care we can provide. He needs to be nursed back to health, such health as he can attain. He then needs to stand trial at a summary court-martial. And he needs to be executed. By firing squad. As soon as possible. I don’t care if we have to tie him to the post.
I don’t want to hear about poor Major Hasan and all he has suffered. I don’t want to hear about how he may be justified in what he did, or that he may be crazy. I don’t want to hear all the tripe, and second guessing, and psychobabble, and left-wing handwringing. I don’t want to hear about how difficult it is to be a Muslim in the United States Military; it’s an all volunteer force. No one forced you to join.
I don’t want to hear about how we shouldn’t be in Iraq or Afghanistan anyway.
I don’t want to hear about how Islam is a religion of peace, or about diversity, or about how we somehow forced this action upon Major Hasan.
What matters is what he did.
When I was little, there was a TV series I used to watch called “Branded”. In that series, a soldier was accused and convicted of cowardice under fire, which lead to his entire unit being wiped out. At the beginning of each episode, there was a scene where he was marched out in front of a group of soldiers. He was stood at attention, and stripped of every emblem on his uniform, the last act being the breaking of his sword. He was then marched off post in disgrace. I would like to see the same thing happen with Major Hasan, except that after he had his uniform stripped of every emblem connecting him to the United States Army, he would then be marched to the post where the firing squad would put paid to his existence on this Earth. Then he can find out if he really gets 72 virgins or not.
The blood of 13 dead and 30 wounded cries out for Justice. It won’t bring back the dead, or heal the wounds of the injured, but that is not the point. Traitors must be dealt with as traitors should be dealt with.
Justice must be served.