Last Thursday, Nov. 5, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist and devout Muslim, fatally shot 13 American citizens (12 service members) and wounded an additional 29 people at the largest U.S. military base, Fort Hood, Texas.
For six months, authorities had been tracking the extremist thinking of Hasan. Internet postings like this one go back to May 20, 2009: "Scholars have paralleled (a U.S. soldier's falling on a grenade to save surrounding troops) to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers."
Hasan vehemently opposed the U.S. missions in the Middle East, arguing with co-workers, senior officers and even patients. He quarreled with Col. Terry Lee, who testified that Hasan said, "Maybe the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor." Dr. Val Finnell, a former classmate of Hasan's, said that Hasan was "very vocal" about equating the war on terror with a war on Islam. He said Hasan even gave a PowerPoint presentation once justifying Islamic suicide bombing.
A few days before the killing spree at Fort Hood, Hasan proved his premeditated intentions by giving away all his belongings (including his Qurans) to his neighbors, saying he no longer would need them and adding, "I'm ready."
Just hours before the shooting spree, he attended prayer services at a local mosque, where he normally wore street clothes but that morning wore white Muslim attire.
Firsthand witnesses at the Fort Hood murder scene say they heard Hasan yelling "Allahu akbar" (meaning "God is great") before he opened fire.
And authorities just revealed that Hasan has made contact with other al-Qaida operatives. In 2001, authorities say, Hasan attended a mosque whose leadership was associated with two of the 9/11 hijackers. He even apparently stirred up anti-American sentiment within other Muslim soldiers at Fort Hood.
Yet despite all of this U.S. adversity in his background, Hasan was promoted this past May to the rank of major.
And the questions that keep coming to my mind are: Have we become so tolerant and politically correct that we can't see or confront a rotten apple when it's right in front of our eyes? When our fear of discrimination enables our enemies, can't we see something is grimly amiss?
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