As the trial of Nidal Hasan grinds on, it’s worth remembering that the federal government’s actions at Fort Hood offered a grim preview of its actions in Benghazi.
First, the government was incompetent. Forget NSA surveillance, in the case of Hasan (I refuse to call him “major”), one had only to read his business card or understand PowerPoint presentations to know something was seriously amiss. Or, if you prefer the high-tech solution, intelligence agencies intercepted his communications with notorious (and now-deceased) al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Yet no serious action was taken. As for Benghazi, the warnings didn’t even require reading comprehension: The diplomatic compound was bombed twice before the fatal September 11 attack. The security atmosphere was so bad that other nations were moving diplomats out of the city. Our response? We decreased security.
Second, the government lied. It still staggers the imagination that an “official” Army report on the Fort Hood shooting – which began with Hasan shrieking “Allahu Akbar!” — failed to even mention Islam. His jihadist, religious motivations could not have been more loudly broadcast. Yet this lie of omission was exceeded only by the Obama administration’s blatant falsehoods in the days after the Benghazi shooting, blaming a video for the violence when there was never any evidence that the video played the slightest role in the attacks.
Third, the government betrayed the fallen. Yes, betrayed. The refusal to award purple hearts to the Fort Hood casualties (they are not “victims,” they are casualties of war) is inexplicable and inexcusable. Even worse, we refuse to properly honor their sacrifice while at the same time we extend every courtesy to Hasan, including allowing him — even though he’s still an active-duty soldier (as disgusting as that is) — to keep his jihadist beard. In Benghazi, the betrayal was real-time and extends to this day. We left men to die — isolated and embattled — without even a serious attempt to bring military assets to their rescue. The sting of this abandonment has been compounded by the failure thus far to strike back at terrorists hiding in such plain sight that they’re available for CNN interviews.
It is difficult enough to secure civilians and soldiers from terrorist violence, and no security system will ever be foolproof, but the task becomes incalculably more difficult when security efforts are hampered by mindless political correctness compounded by politically motivated deception and betrayal. At the very least, even if our human frailty leads to cascading failures, we must never, ever break faith with those who voluntarily lay down their lives for their country.
Twice now we have broken that faith, and that’s what stings most of all.