The U.S. Army plans to rename Fort Hood, Texas, a 214,968-acre base “ideal for multifaceted training and testing of military units and troops.” The name change does not alter reality of a terrorist attack that marks an anniversary three days before the midterm election.
At Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, U.S. Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan murdered 13 unarmed American soldiers and support personnel and wounded more than 40 others. The massacre marked a failure of political and military leadership, but there was more to it.
The Fort Hood massacre was also the worst failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 9/11, which the FBI also failed to stop. The attack could have been easily prevented, long before Hasan, an ally of the Taliban, claimed so many American lives.
Born in 1970 to Muslim immigrants, Nidal graduated from Virginia Tech and in 2003 completed psychiatry training at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. Hasan served his residency at Walter Reed Medical Center, where instructors cited his “pattern of poor judgement and lack of professionalism.”
As Lessons from Fort Hood notes, during his residency and post-residency fellowship, Hasan demonstrated evidence of violent extremism and wrote papers defending Osama bin Laden. Two officers described Hasan as a “ticking time bomb,” but the Army promoted the “soldier of Allah,” as Hasan described himself, and considered him competent to counsel soldiers returning from combat.
On December 17, 2008, Hasan visited the website of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the al Qaeda leader who endorsed deadly violence as religious duty. Hasan sent a message to al-Awlaki and another on January 1, 2009. The messages were acquired by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in the San Diego Field Office. In early January of 2009, the emails were sent to the Washington Field Office (WFO) and FBI headquarters.
In May of 2009, the Army promoted Hasan to Major and two months later sent him to Fort Hood. On May 31, Hasan again emailed al-Awlaki about suicide bombers whose “intention is to kill numerous soldiers,” and “save his fellow people.” As Hasan explained, “this logic seems to make sense to me.” In another email to al-Awlaki, Hasan wrote, “Please keep me in your Rolodex in case you find me useful, and please feel free to call me collect.”
In June of 2009, the FBI’s Washington Field Office emailed the San Diego office that “Given the context of his military and medical research and the content of his, to date, unanswered email messages from al-Awlaki, WFO does not currently assess Hasan to be involved in terrorist activities.” The FBI then dropped the case until November 5, 2009.
At Fort Hood Hasan deployed an FN Five-Seven handgun and carried a .357 magnum revolver in reserve. At the Soldiers Readiness Center, Hasan slipped behind a desk, bowed his head in prayer, then stood up, yelled “Allahu akbar,” and began firing. At first he shot into the most densely packed areas then began targeting individual soldiers, including Capt. John P. Gaffney, Spc. Frederick Greene, and civilian physician assistant Michael Cahill.
Hasan shot Maj. Eduardo Caraveo, Staff Sgt Justin Michael DeCrow and Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, who took a fatal bullet in the back. Hasan shot Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, Pfc Michael S. Pearson, and Capt. Gilbert Russell Seager. Hasan’s head shot took out Pfc. Kham See Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Hasan killed three women, including Pfc. Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant and yelled “My baby! My baby!” Hasan shot her in the chest, and her pre-born child was never counted among the murder victims. The wounded included Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford who took seven bullets from Hasan, including shots in the head and abdomen. Soldiers commandeered a table and rushed Lunsford to triage.
Hasan grazed the right side of Staff Sgt. Shawn M. Manning and shot him in the left upper chest, left back, lower right thigh, upper right thigh, and right foot. And so on, for more than 40 others, including civilian police officer Kimberly Munley. She managed to wound the man FBI bosses claimed was not involved in terrorist activities.
Composite character president Obama failed to name or openly condemn Nidal Hasan, and did not speculate about his motive. The former Barry Soetoro called the killings “incomprehensible,” adding that “no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts.”
For Hasan, it was fully comprehensible, and he certain believed Islam justified his actions. For the president, the mass murder of unarmed Americans was a “tragedy,” and the commander in chief failed to mention a single victim by name. His Defense Department called the attack “workplace violence,” not even gun violence.
This was an effort to avoid portrayals of the attack as terrorism, and to deny the victims the benefits and medals they deserved. In 2014, president Obama declined to meet with Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford. Those are tough acts to follow but vice president Biden was up to the task.
“Jill and I join the President and Michelle in expressing our sympathies to the families of the brave soldiers who fell today,” Biden said in a statement. “We are all praying for those who were wounded and hoping for their full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the entire Fort Hood community as they deal with this senseless tragedy.” Vice president Biden failed to name a single soldier who “fell,” the man who killed them, and what motivated Hasan to act.
In his court-martial in August of 2013, Hasan admitted he was the gunman and told a judge he killed the soldiers to protect Muslims and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. On August 23, 2013, the jury found him guilty of all 42 counts and sentenced him to death. The sentence was not carried out, and that too had consequences when Joe Biden occupied the White House.
In his withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden left behind billions in high-tech American weaponry. Biden’s military shared intelligence with the Taliban, and gave them a list of Americans still trapped in that nation. Biden also hired the Taliban for security at Kabil airport, which facilitated the terrorist bomb that claimed 13 American lives.
In his delayed response to the atrocity, Biden mumbled something about his late son Beau but mentioned not a single American victim by name. From his cell at Fort Leavenworth, Nidal Hasan was loving it.
“We have won!!!” the convicted murderer wrote to his attorney. “All praises be to All-Mighty Allah!” adding “I pray to Allah that He helps you implement Shariah Law fully, correctly, and fairly.”
Like Obama, who sent planeloads of cash to Iran, Joe Biden is in effect a financier and arms supplier for terrorists. Like Obama, the Delaware Democrat ignores Islamic terrorism and targets his domestic opposition as the major threat.
Biden’s “woke” military wants to rename Fort Hood after the late Gen. Richard Cavazos, a hero of the Korean and Vietnam wars. The 2009 terrorist attack at the Texas base, part of the ongoing war with radical Islam, could render some better candidates.
Consider Fort Warman, after Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman, shot dead by Nidal Hasan at the age of 55. Consider also Fort Krueger, after Staff Sgt. Amy Sue Krueger, 29, who took a fatal bullet in the chest. And don’t exclude men like Capt. John Gaffney and Spc. Frederick Greene, who died in a hail of bullets while trying to subdue Hasan.
Also deserving consideration is Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, at only 19 the youngest of Hasan’s victims. Facilities at the fort could be named after the wounded, such as Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, and the heroes who risked their lives to save him.
The attack would not have happened if the U.S. military had rejected the incompetent Nidal Hasan for duty as a psychiatrist and kept him away from Fort Hood. Likewise, the terrorist atrocity could have been avoided if FBI bosses had not looked the other way. That enabled Maj. Nidal Hasan to “kill numerous soldiers,” wound many others, and keep his own life. So the solider of Allah has good reason to cry “We won!”
In 2022 moving forward, the lesson of Fort Hood is simple. The struggle against radical Islamic terrorism is the struggle of memory against forgetting.