MASSACRE AT FORT HOOD
5 November, 2009 has become a date that will live in infamy. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly used a personally owned Fabrique Nationale Five-seveN handgun to shoot nearly four dozen of his fellow soldiers. 13 were dead, and at least 30 were wounded.
Adding to the horror of this attack is the fact that warning signs were missed. Much like 9/11, the dots were there, but no one connected them in time to save the lives of those lost or to prevent the wounded from being maimed.
HEROES END THE SLAUGHTER
Foremost among the heroes of 11/5/09 are two civilian police officers who responded to the scene, Sgt. Kimberly Munley and Senior Sgt. Mark Todd. The two officers exchanged fire with Hasan, who wounded Munley when she broke from cover. While Hasan was exchanging fire with Munley, Todd outflanked him and fired five rounds, taking him down and putting him in custody. Both officers officially shared credit for stopping the assault.
Other heroes included medics, like SPC Francisco De La Serna, who was among the first to treat the seriously wounded Sgt. Munley. Others were wounded Soldiers whose first thoughts were not for themselves, but for their fellow Soldiers. Despite being shot, PFC Amber Bahr not only applied a tourniquet to another wounded Soldier, she carried him out to receive medical assistance.
But that is all upside down. Our troops should not have to defend against a one-man offensive on their bases, where they are supposed to feel the safest.
THE MAKING OF A JIHADIST
Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged shooter, was born in Virginia, the son of Palestinian immigrants to the United States. He joined the military over the objections of his parents and eventually entered the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Virginia Tech. After going through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, Hasan served his internship at Walter Reed before he was promoted to major and transferred to Fort Hood.
Hasan is one of at least 5,000 and as many as 20,000 Muslims serving in the United States military. Most Muslims have served honorably. In an October 2001 article for the American Forces Press Service, Jim Garamone interviewed a number of Muslim personnel, many of whom condemned 9/11. One of them, Marine Corps Capt. Aisha Bakkar-Poe, said, “This isn’t about Islam, [i]t’s about terrorism.”
However, Hasan’s views were different. He spouted jihadist ideology on multiple occasions. In one notable instance he delivered a 50-page PowerPoint presentation on Islam at Walter Reed instead of the medical topic he was supposed to discuss.
The 50 slides included the chilling statement, “We love death more then [sic] you love life.”
While stationed at Walter Reed, Hasan attended services at a Falls Church, Virginia, mosque, the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center, where a radical imam once preached. This imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, was American-born, but fled to Yemen in 2002.
SINISTER CARDS, SOLDIER OF ALLAH
Hasan also made a number of comments that left fellow students on edge. On one occasion, he openly defended murder-suicide bombers to a fellow military doctor. He also had been reprimanded for pushing Islam on his patients. The most ominous was his apparent rejoicing in the aftermath of the shooting at the Army recruitment station in Little Rock, Arkansas.
But another significant clue that was missed was Hasan’s personal calling cards. The cards he handed “Soldier of Allah,” a phrase often used on web sites frequented by jihadists. The second three are initials for the Arabic phrase Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, or “Glory to God.”
WHERE’S THE MONEY?
As an Army major (O-4), Hasan earned a monthly base salary of $6,325.50. This income was taxable. In addition, Hasan was eligible for a monthly housing allowance of $1,128, and a subsistence allowance of $223.04. Neither allowance was taxable, which when combined with his base bay allowed someone in his circumstances (unmarried, no children) to live quite comfortably.
Yet despite these allowances, Major Hasan chose to live in an apartment with a monthly rent of $320–$350 and drive a 2006 Honda Civic. The rent was less than a third of his monthly housing allowance. A 2010 Honda Civic EX sedan’s monthly payment runs about $380 (assuming payments over five years at a five percent APR).
That came down to a total of $730 a month for housing and transportation. Where the rest of the money went… nobody seems to know. Nobody even bothered to look. Why?
PROTECTED BY PC
Fox News strategic analyst and New York Post columnist Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, USA (Ret.) would write in his column, “Just as we’d expect the Army to get rid of a disruptive white supremacist, we need to cashier anyone who espouses violent Islamist extremism—as Maj. Hasan did, again and again.”
Sounds like common sense, right? Wrong. In something reminiscent of school shootings like Columbine, or the prelude to 9/11, the warning signs were ignored. The reason: political correctness. In a column at RealClearPolitics.com, Major Shawn Keller wrote, “Jihadist rhetoric espoused by Hasan was categorically dismissed out of submissiveness to the concepts of tolerance and diversity.”
“Only a week before the massacre at Fort Hood, the FBI killed one and arrested a dozen radicalized African-American converts in Detroit, who believed in and trained for violent jihad against fellow citizens, and were radicalized in the U.S. long before they reached out to foreign jihadists for training and support,” Alex Alexiev wrote for ToThePointNews.com.
However, the worst was not the missed warnings. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette national security columnist Jack Kelly wrote, “Worse than the willful blindness with regard to his motives were the efforts by some to make excuses for Maj. Hasan’s behavior.”
It was PTSD. No, he just snapped with the possibility of going to Iraq (or was it Afghanistan?). Yet there were multiple eye-witness (and earwitness) accounts of Major Hasan shouting “allah u akbar!” (“God is great!”) as he opened fire, a cry often used by terrorists as they launch their attacks.
Peters, a former Army intelligence officer, wrote, “Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the few lawmakers willing to whisper the word ‘terrorism,’ needs to call the officers who sat on Hasan’s promotion board before the Senate, put them under oath, then ask if Hasan made major because of minority-quota requirements.”
Kelly goes further, writing, “My question is: shouldn’t those responsible for such negligence be courtmartialed?”
Harold Hutchison’s first novel, Strike Group Reagan, from Comfort Publishing, is available at http://www.tinyurl.com/strikegroupreagan