The Corner

What Hasan Wasn’t Taught

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,

I am a lieutenant colonel in the Army and believe you and other writers are missing some critical questions concerning Major Hassan.

1. How much training did Major Hassan receive as a direct commission officer compared to his West Point or ROTC counterpart in the area of Army Values and moral/ethical areas?

2. Why didn’t Major Hassan resign his commission if he was unable to fulfill his oath to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the officers appointed over him”?

3. Is there a leadership issue unique to the officer component of the medical community that failed to address Major Hassan’s indicators or should it be applied to the whole officer corps?

4. How did his 3-6 raters fail to notice his lack of living to Army Values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage)? They all marked him successful in those areas or he never would have been promoted to major.

5. Who recruited Major Hassan into the Army? Is anyone being held accountable for that decision?

The comments that Major Hassan allegedly made would have led to immediate intervention from seniors or peers who view themselves as professional “officers” concerned about the welfare of subordinates.

I submit many of our technical professionals (officers) view themselves as a “lawyer”, “doctor” or “nurse” first. In that light, it is not suprising to me that he was viewed more as a “unhappy” Muslim or “far left” officer in the service than as a man who was given off warning signs that required immediate intervention.

West Point and ROTC provide young men and women substantially more opportunities to discuss ethical and moral problems they will face after commissioning. Direct commissions don’t have the same ability to process these problems with officers before they become officers. I see this as a fundemental problem for the Army.

I ask that you keep my name out of any future articles you write on the subject. These views are my own and certainly do not reflect the views of the Army, Department of Defense, or my [institution]


[Name withheld]

Update: From a longtime reader:

Dear Jonah,


As a direct commissionee in the Army, your letter from the LTC is patently offensive.  If only Hasan had gone to West Point, he would have never been a lunatic. Please. Further, I served in Iraq very near the tip of the spear. I have heard a lot more shots fired in anger than a lot of West Pointers.  I know a lot of very good people who give up big slaries and careers to serve their country. They deserve better than the letter you posted.