Friday, March 20, 2015

Today's Reading Assignment (Fort Hood Edition)

...from clinical psychologist (and retired Army Colonel) Kathy Platoni, a suvivor of the Fort Hood massacre five years ago.  As she writes in The Wall Street Journal, the victims of then-Major Nidal Hassan are still seeking compensation for their injuries, and recognition for their heroism.  Meanwhile, no one has been held accountable for the deliberate oversights and white-washing that put the radicalized Muslim officer in a position to carry out his rampage.  From Dr. Platoni's op-ed:

Hasan’s goal was to kill as many soldiers as possible. He was cold-eyed and systematic. We should have seen him coming.

The FBI and the Defense Department possessed sufficient information, collected over several years, to have detected Hasan’s radicalization. During his training, Hasan routinely and unmistakably violated strict standards by communicating with suspected terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki—email that the FBI intercepted. In 2007 he was required for his residency to give a scholarly psychiatric presentation. Instead he lectured on Islam, stating that nonbelievers should be beheaded and set on fire, and suggested that Muslim-Americans in the military pose a risk of fratricide. In another talk, Hasan justified suicide bombings on grounds that the U.S. is at war with Islam.

Both an instructor and a colleague referred to Hasan as a “ticking time bomb.” But his shocking conduct was ignored. Officer-evaluation reports “sanitized his obsession with violent Islamist extremism into praiseworthy research on counterterrorism,” a 2011 congressional review states. Political correctness, to which the military continues to bow, led many to fear that reporting Hasan would result in career-ending charges of racial or religious discrimination.

It is a gross miscarriage of justice that no one who supervised the shooter—overlooked his behavior and promoted him—has been held accountable. That the massacre is still labeled an incident of workplace violence committed by a disgruntled employee is delusional and contemptible.

Unfortunately, that's what happens when political agendas are allowed to trump reality.  Lest we forget, one of the first comments from General George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, was a concern that the service's "diversity" might become a casualty of events at Fort Hood.  It was a feckless comment, clearly aimed at his superiors in the Pentagon and the White House; it deeply angered the Fort Hood community and the rest of the Army, struggling to deal with a horrific terrorist attack within the ranks.  But it many ways, Casey's comments set the template for the service's reaction--and it goes a long way towards explaining why Hassan's superiors were never held accountable.  

But then again, when is the last time a senior officer, federal civilian or cabinet-level official was actually held accountable?  Does anyone really think Hillary Clinton will face charges over her willful violation of federal records accountability rules?  And how many generals have avoided courts-martial over misdeeds that would send a lesser man (or woman) to Leavenworth?  

Colonel Platoni and the other victims of the Fort Hood shooting deserve all they are entitled to.  It's a damn shame that their benefits and recognition have been delayed to preserve a carefully-selected political narrative.  But it's hardly surprising.  Remember: many of the same "leaders" who sought to bury the truth at Fort Hood were still on duty when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died at Benghazi, and officials at the highest levels of government tried to blame it on an "anti-Muslim video," rather than Islamic terrorists.  It's a contemptible pattern that will--ultimately--lead to more attacks, and more dead Americans.   


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