On Nov. 5, 2009, the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base occurred on the base of Fort Hood, Texas. Until the trial and sentencing of the Fort Hood mass murder issue is resolved, every newspaper and media outlet in the nation should refuse to move on. While many of you may be aware of this, others do not yet understand that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, the Fort Hood shooter, is still drawing a paycheck. That is technically correct because the Uniform Code for Military Justice (UCMJ) requires that only after he has been found guilty by the ongoing court martial can he be dishonorably discharged.
That’s right. After Maj. Hasan walked through and sprayed bullets inside a crowded medical processing center for soldiers returning from or about to be sent overseas, military officials said Hasan methodically shot fellow soldiers and two civilians, including a pregnant woman, killing 13 and wounding more than 30. He, too, was shot four times by arriving Army police. Hasan was allowed to recover in a local hospital and was eventually placed under arrest. Due to his wounds, he is paralyzed from the waist down. There was never any doubt that Hasan was the shooter. Not only were there numerous witnesses, and Hasan helpfully admitted to the killing, the federal government did not want to call his actions terrorism.
However, the military was aware of Hasan’s growing anti-American feelings. Post Sept. 11, 2001, Hasan reported to his superiors that he felt harassed by fellow soldiers because of his Muslim faith. In the spring of 2009, the federal government became aware of Hasan’s Internet postings regarding such serious topics as suicide bombings and the motives of extremists.
Yet two months later, he was promoted to Major. On Nov. 5, the day of the murders, Hasan gave his possessions to a neighbor in Kileen, Texas, instructing her to give whatever items she did not want to the Salvation Army, stating, “I’m ready.” Presumably, he was preparing for his suicide mission.
In November 2011, a group of survivors and family members filed a lawsuit against the government for negligence in preventing the attack, and demanding that the government classify the shootings as terrorism.
How is it possible that he was given first class medical care off-base? How can we justify presumably to keep him alive and paying an Army officer who shot fellow American soldiers? The answer is in the UCMJ, i.e. (Article 32) requires an investigation leading to the military equivalent of a grand jury, and Major Hasan was charged with murder and attempted murder of more than 30. Our Constitution requires a fair trial for anyone, even if the subject is a traitor who turned on fellow soldiers.
Strangely, at the same time, there are some Americans who proclaim that a government contractor with a Top Secret clearance, Edward Snowden, is a “patriot” for telling the world about the most sensitive intelligence operations. By turning against his own country, supplying other nations with our secrets, empowering our enemies, e.g., terrorists, and aggravating our friends and overseas allies, he put untold American lives in danger. To date, military intelligence officers do not fully understand the devastation Snowden has caused our nation. Relations that took decades to build have been destroyed by one man. Yet, as soon as he publicly admitted betraying to various news agencies, he fled like a coward and is now taking up residence in Russia by decision by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent and power-hungry dictator wannabe. Snowden, it appears, wants admiring attention and perhaps publishing a book and making a good deal of money.
As ugly as Snowden’s betrayal, it is not nearly as terrible as what Hasan did. Hasan was arraigned by a military court on July 20, 2011 and was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder under the UCMJ. At the June 2013 beginning of his court martial, Hasan declared his motive as wanting to defend the lives of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan, where he was about to be sent. The Army judge accepted the prosecutors charge that Hasan sought to align himself with Islamic extremists. A review of Hasan’s computer and his multiple e-mail accounts have revealed visits to websites espousing radical Islamist ideas, a senior law enforcement official said. Assuming that Hasan will be found guilty, there are two possible sentences: It could be a death sentence, or it could be confinement for his life with the rank of private and no more pay. At present, the prosecutors are seeking the death sentence, which would be carried out by hanging. There is also hints that Hasan wants to be put to death. As a practical matter, there has not been an Army execution since 1961.
Here’s an interesting issue: Why give Hasan what he may prefer vs. life imprisonment? In the latter instance, he would spend the rest of life paralyzed below the waist and isolated from any other prisoners at Ft. Leavenworth, home of the Army’s primary prison.
As we ponder why it was Hasan continued to be paid after executing Americans and how that money was spent, there needs to be continued discussion about Snowden, our relations to Russia and how, if at all, sports and politics intertwine. As the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia approach, we must consider how we feel about participating in games hosted by a nation that is now protecting, courting and extracting information from Snowden.
Now residing in “the nicest city in Texas,” Alexandra Allred is the author of numerous books, including White Trash, Damaged Goods and the Allie Lindell series. Visit her website, www.alexandratheauthor, or Twitter @alexandraallred but always check out her column the WDL as she ponders all things Waxahachie and beyond its borders.