Ft. Hood: Murdered by Political Correctness
In the wake of the horrific jihadist attack on American troops and civilians at Ft. Hood, Texas, many Americans are asking how could this happen? How could someone whose Islamic jihadist views were so well known have been allowed to remain on active duty? Why did the military pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the medical education of Nidal Malik Hasan?
The answer lies in the failure of our society to understand what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The American military got the skin-color part right long before the rest of our society. Historically, our military has been, for the most part, a meritocracy. So, promoting those who can do the job, irrespective of skin color, came fairly easily to our military.
But the existentialist, Political Correctness Movement of the 1960s said, in essence, that one person or institution really does not have the standing to sit in judgment of the character of any person because there are no longer any absolute truths or norms of behavior. We are all so different in our upbringing and in our life experiences, that virtually anything we do can be explained away by “too-early-toilet-training” or some such pseudo-scientific, psycho-babble.
As they should be, today’s military promotion boards are composed of officers with a mix of skin colors and genders. But has the PC Movement caused the instructions issued to promotion boards to put character issues aside in order to be politically correct? If that is the case and you combine that with the military’s “up-or-out” promotion policy, you have the recipe for what just happened at Ft. Hood.
Apparently, fear of being thought of as religious bigots silenced those who knew of Hasans Islamic jihadist views. He was even promoted to major, a field-grade rank. Only after he left academe and had an actual, line supervisor was his job performance evaluated. Some brave officer gave Hasan’s job performance a “poor” rating.
But, as yet, we do not know if any of the rating officers who allowed him to be promoted so many times ever commented on his “character” or about his adherence to the oath he took which read, in part: “I, Nidal Malik Hasan, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Of course, the state-run, Sinistra-Media fell all over themselves trying to explain away Major Hasan’s behavior. They implied Hasan snapped because someone “harassed” Hasan for being a Muslim. Harassment? Try being a law student and suffering the daily humiliation meted out by law professors trying to simulate courtroom “combat.” Try Airborne or Ranger or Navy SEAL Training, or Marine Boot Camp, during which one and all are harassed by their instructors on purpose with the objective of separating out those unsuitable for the rigors of military service.
Major Hasan was never subjected to any kind military rigor. He spent his active duty time learning to be a psychiatrist. Major Hasan was afraid to go to Iraq or Afghanistan where the chance of harm to a psychiatrist would be somewhere between slim and none.
The failure of those in the chain-of-command to make judgments about the character of Hasan got 13 Americans killed and scores wounded. Our hearts go out to the victims and their grieving and distraught loved ones.
What will happen to those in Major Hasan’s chain-of-command who knew of Major Hasan’s jihadist character yet failed to act? For them, buying a bunch of new uniforms is probably not a wise investment.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a retired Army officer and a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
© 2009. William Hamilton