Ideology Matters: Time to Call the Fort Hood Attack Terrorism

Staff Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford told prosecutors this week that Major Nidal Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” before he opened fire on military personnel at the Fort Hood base in 2009. Hasan’s Islamism-animated killing spree caused the deaths of 13 people and one unborn child, and wounded 32 other individuals.

In a remarkable and heartbreaking Washington Post opinion piece today, Shawn Manning, who barely survived Hasan’s rampage, urged the U.S. Army to designate the murderous act as terrorism. Sadly, the U.S. Army and the Pentagon steadfastly insist on the labeling the jihadi killing a non-ideological form of “workplace violence.”

Manning described Hasan’s horrific violence:

His fourth or fifth shot went into my chest. As screams broke out around me, I collapsed to the ground. The bullet had punctured my lung and I was gasping for breath. As I lay there, he shot me five more times in my back and legs. Eventually soldiers helped me get medical attention. The bullets had narrowly missed my heart, but one had lodged in my liver. I still have two bullets in my body and deal with near-constant pain in my legs and back.

Hasan, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian origin who is an observant Muslim, opposed his deployment to Afghanistan because he did not want to engage in combat against Muslims. His fused his devout Muslim belief with a radical Islamic ideology. To a detached objective observer, it should seem obvious, based on the aforesaid evidence, that Hasan was steeped in a fanatic ideology and this was not a violent employment dispute.

The senior prosecutor handling Hasan’s case, Colonel Michael Mulligan, argued that Hasan’s departure point was “that he had a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible.”

As Manning stressed in his article, the refusal to see Hasan’s act as a form of warfare has real consequences for the victims. Certain benefits are not being provided to the victims because the terrorism attack was not “combat related.”

The Obama’s administration has underestimated the psychotic lethal ideology spawning terrorists like Hasan and the jihadi recruitment structures behind Islamic terrorism. This week’s series of planned al-Qaeda operations targeting American diplomatic facilities ought to be massive wake-up call for President Obama — to the effect that his claim of al-Qaeda being “on the path to defeat” is not grounded in reality.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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