Updated: September 7, 2013 6:12AM
Nearly four years after Nidal Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” and opened fire at a medical processing center at Fort Hood, Texas, he goes before a court martial Tuesday for killing 13 people and wounding 32, most of them fellow soldiers but a couple of them civilians. Against all evidence and common sense, Hasan stands accused of “workplace violence.”
That’s right, workplace violence — not terrorism or “combat related” murder. It’s but one of the parade of embarrassments surrounding the handling of this case.
The workplace designation by the Defense Department and the Army means the military victims have been denied Purple Hearts and survivors have lower priority access to medical care and a lower level of financial benefits than available for combat-related injuries.
But Hasan, an Army Medical Corps officer, has been able to collect more than $300,000 in pay since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack.
Someone might argue that the shootings can’t be classified as terrorism since the targets were soldiers undergoing final medical checks before deployment to the war zone. But that ignores the two civilians shot, one a physician assistant killed and the other a police officer wounded. And the soldiers were unarmed and far from any war zone. Clearly, terrorism is a reasonable description of Hasan’s crime.
Hasan asserted the preposterous defense that he killed the Americans to protect the lives of the Taliban. I suppose a designation of the shootings as “combat related” could conceivably open the way for a defense that Hasan was fighting in a war and thus he should not be criminally charged with murder. Even if you accept that — and I think it’s a stretch given, again, that the military personnel he attacked were unarmed — he’s certainly guilty of being a traitor.
The Constitution reads, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Hasan — guilty on all counts.
Another embarrassment is the clear record that in the several years before the attack, Hasan made no secret of his increasing fanaticism and dedication to radical Islamism. Only political correctness kept the Army brass from seeing him as a threat.
Beyond embarrassment, the case descended into parody with Hasan’s growing a beard in defiance of military regulations. Legal wrangling over the Army’s clear right to have him shaved actually delayed the trial. At last report he remained bearded.
The workplace violence tag is an embarrassing denial of the reality that the United States, the West and civilization face a long struggle against barbaric Islamist fanatics. Proof of the tenacity and unrelenting threat of our enemies came over the weekend when U.S. embassies and consulates across the Muslim world had to be closed out of fear of attack from al-Qaida. Only months ago during the 2012 election campaign, President Barack Obama claimed al-Qaida was “on its heels.”
Hasan is an erratic individual who demanded the right to act as his own defense counsel. Perhaps he will try to use the court martial as a show trial to exult his extreme Islamist views, building on his previous statements about “an inherent and irreconcilable conflict” existing because “American democracy places the sovereignty of man over the sovereignty of Almighty God.”
Hasan will get his day in court, but this is an open-and-shut case: He’s guilty of terrorism against civilians, of murder in killing soldiers unarmed, out of the fight and posing no threat to him, and of treason.