Is the Election Delaying Nidal Hasan's Trial?

Why the legal wrangling slowing the case down may be about more than just the jihadist's beard.

The legal wrangling continues over Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist and jihadist who at Fort Hood in 2009 killed 13 while yelling “Allahu Akbar!” The issue is supposedly Major Hasan’s beard, which he grew to signify his Islamic faith. The judge, Col. Gregory Gross, says the beard is a disruption and wants to forcible shave Hasan. That has touched off appeals but something else may be driving the delays, such as the presidential election.

Hasan’s action scored good reviews in some quarters. “Nidal Hassan is a hero,” said the website of Anwar Al-Awlaki, imam at the Dar al-Hijirah mosque Hasan attended. “He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people. . . Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done?”

President Obama’s first response to Hasan’s mass murder was brief, low key, and failed to include Islamic terrorism as bearing any responsibility for the deaths. “We cannot fully know what leads a man to do such a thing,” the president said. That now amounts to official policy.

After Hasan’s mass murder campaign, the Obama administration’s Department of Defense issued Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood. As Andrew McCarthy noted in Spring Fever, Major Hasan was a “five-alarm jihadist” but the DoD report casts his actions as “workplace violence,” as though Hasan was a fired postal worker seeking payback.

Protecting the Force contains not a single reference to jihad or jihadists and its only mention of “Islamic” is an endnote reference to “Countering Violent Islamic Extremism,” a 2007 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. The word “hate” occurs only once. Given the reality of the Fort Hood mass murder, the praise from al-Alwaki, and Hasan’s attempts to contact al Qaeda, the omissions are truly breathtaking.

The absence of anything Islamic is surely deliberate and in line with the president’s mission “to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam,” as he said in a major address in Egypt. Note the president’s choice of verb, and consider some institutional background.

The Clinton administration credentialed two institutions for the training of Islamic chaplains: the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS), a division of Cordoba University, and the Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council. The GSISS, now credentialed by the Pentagon for the training of imams, is on record saying that “We abide by every law of this country except those laws that are contradictory to Islamic law.” That creates a problem with U.S. laws on free speech to name just one. If the Obama administration has a problem with the GSISS or Protecting the Force, nobody has said a word. One sees a pattern here.

In 2011 Afghan Security Forces supposedly on our side attacked American troops 12 times. In 2012, 31 such attacks have already taken place. In total, Islamic Afghan Security Forces have killed 116 NATO soldiers and 60 Americans, more than twice as many as any other nation.

President Obama, the most powerful man in the world and commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, has had little to say about such treachery. Indeed, he seems more animated when apologizing for a video and telling the world that “the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” Note the imperative mood of the verb.

Someone of that mindset, dedicated to battling stereotypes of Islam, has a stake in suppressing details of Fort Hood during the home stretch of a presidential election. It was the worst mass shooting ever to take place on a U.S. military base and claimed more victims than the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Hasan’s victims included Aaron Nemelka, 19, and Francheska Velez, 22 and pregnant with her first child.

Major Nidal Hasan killed them while yelling “Allah is great!” yet the President of the United States sees no Islamic or jihadist connection and the Pentagon calls it “workplace violence.” Opponents of the president might have a stake in pointing that out, and those who remain bewildered might consider a couple of comparisons.

Suppose that in 1943 a U.S. Army Major named something like Klaus Von Reich gunned down 13 of his fellow American soldiers while yelling “Heil Hitler!” Suppose president Roosevelt denied that Nazism had anything to do with the killings, and the official military report failed to mention any Nazi connection. What might the response have been from, say, the New York Times?

And suppose that American troops in the Battle of the Bulge had to contend not only with advancing Nazi sturmtruppen but deadly fire from their own allies. Might the battle, and the war, have turned out different?

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