The Corner

First Thoughts of the Day (FTOD)

More and more information continues to come out about Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood massacre. As I surmised, memos will be released and institutions or institutional officers will not look good. Already some of this is coming out. This needs to be bigger than the 1991 Tailhook incident which dominated the news for a year, I fear that it will not be. You may recall the Tailhook scandal involved a party of Navy personnel where tens of women and men complained of sexual harassment by fellow servicemen and women. Nobody, however, was killed. 4,000 male military attendees were interviewed several times, many as much as five times or more, and heads rolled. I want the same thing here — I fear the story ends in a month.

But as I said, already we’re learning more and more: CNN is reporting that Hasan’s communications with a radical Imam were flagged as early as 2008. Listen to this, quote: “Military officials told CNN on Monday that intelligence agencies intercepted communications (some 10 to 20 e-mails) from Hasan to al-Awlaki (a radical imam on the U.S. intelligence radar screen going back to the 1990s) and shared them with other U.S. government agencies. But federal authorities dropped the inquiry into Hasan’s communications after deciding that the messages warranted no further action, one of the officials said. “According to the FBI, investigators from one of its Joint Terrorism Task Forces determined ‘that the content of those communications was consistent with research being conducted by Maj. Hasan in his position as a psychiatrist at the Walter Reed Medical Center [in Washington].’“

So there you have two investigations — dropped: one by the FBI and one by army personnel at Walter Reed.

You have ABC reporting that “a fellow Army doctor who studied with Hasan” said “He would frequently say he was a Muslim first and an American second. And that came out in just about everything he did at the University.”

That officer “said he and other Army doctors complained to superiors about Hasan’s statements.

“And we questioned how somebody could take an oath of office . . . be an officer in the military and swear allegiance to the constitution and to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and have that type of conflict.”

And the Washington Post reports today a year and a half ago, this model officer was telling people in his chain of command the military should allow Muslim soldiers to be released as conscientious objectors instead of fighting. Hasan stood before his supervisors and about 25 other mental-health staff members and lectured on Islam, suicide bombers, and threats the military could encounter from Muslims conflicted about fighting in the Muslim countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. He said, “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.”

How many signals, nay, how many direct statements, threats, and pieces of evidence, did the military need here?

We have had other testimony from colleagues as well.

But my larger point is this: Hasan was known — by the military, by the FBI, and by his fellow officers to be suspicious at the very least. If we can turn the Navy upside down over sexual harassment, if we can discharge officers for stating they are gay, why can we not separate officers suspected of having ties to terrorists and stating things like, “non-believers (infidels) should have their head cut off, and oil poured down their throat, and be set on fire”?

Why are chiefs of staff of the army saying things like: “I think we have to be very careful. . . .Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse”?

You connect those dots and you will have your answer. I’m used to this kind of talk in a university — perhaps a university that outlaws ROTC. I’m surprised to find this kind of talk and attitude from on high at institutions ROTC trains under and for, namely one of the last “hard places” in America.

I well recall the 2006 Nickle Mines Amish School massacre of six children. And I recall Jay Nordlinger saying: “This is what we would have thought would have been one of the last safe places in America.”  He was wrong — we would have thought a place like Ft. Hood a safe place in America, safe from our own U.S. military hosting an officer-terrorist (that’s what we shall call him, an officer-terrorist). I also would have thought the Army would have been one of the last, or one of the first, hard places in America as defined by Michael Barone (“the part of American life subject to competition and accountability where the military trains under live fire — as opposed to a soft America that seeks to instill self-esteem. Hard America plays for keeps.”).

Well if we want to be safe, if we want to defeat the jihadist threat, we’d better reinforce hard America — and, sad to say, starting with our military leadership.

President Obama is going to Ft. Hood today for a memorial service there. We will all be sorrowful and our hearts and minds and souls will be with everyone at Ft. Hood. My worry about these services now is that they are a) not angry enough and b) that they are the end and not the beginning. Ever since the week after 9/11/2001, anger has eluded memorial services (with the exception of Paul Wellstone’s memorial — that, somehow, was a moment of anger for the Left). It is an American thing to pray, to be sorrowful, and then to be angry and fight. I hope we still have the stuff for the last two parts.