The federal government needs to drop the political correctness and call violent Islamic extremism what it is, according to a newly released report on the Fort Hood shooting by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The committee’s chairman and ranking member, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and Susan Collins (R., Maine), held a press conference earlier today to discuss their investigation into the November 2009 massacre. That month, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan opened fire at the Texas base, killing thirteen people. “Our report’s painful conclusion is that the Fort Hood massacre could have and should have been prevented,” Lieberman said. He added that employees at the Department of Defense “had compelling evidence of [Hasan’s] growing embrace of violent Islamic extremism before the attack that should have caused them to discharge him.”
For evidence, Lieberman cited two of Hasan’s associates at Walter Reed Medical Center, who separately referred to Hasan as a “ticking time bomb.” In addition, Hasan openly had suggested revenge as a defense for the 9/11 attacks, defended Osama bin Laden, and said his allegiance to his religion was greater than his allegiance to the constitution.
Hasan’s words, Lieberman concluded, “made him not just a ticking time bomb but a traitor.”
The senator also had some choice words for the Army and the FBI, which, he alleged, were too politically correct in their handling of Hasan. He excoriated the Army’s decision to keep Hasan on because he might provide greater understanding of Islam.
“The Fort Hood attack was a warning that . . . America’s enemy today is not terrorism or a particular terrorist organization or a particular religion,” Lieberman said. “The enemy is the political ideology of violent Islamic extremism.” He affirmed that the Department of Defense can “no longer subsume that reality with politically correct terms.”
Collins observed that the government had full ability to deal with Hasan: “You may recall that at first administration officials pointed to restrictions that they said made it difficult to conduct the investigation. What we have found is that there were no legal restrictions that hindered that investigation.”
Instead, the government’s half-hearted effort to investigate Hasan, which it ended “prematurely,” was “a tragedy of errors,” Lieberman said.