While today marked the beginning of two days of congressional hearings on the Ft. Hood incident, lawmakers and other federal officials are wondering why this seemingly vital information was left out of the report:
John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 commission and Navy Secretary during the Reagan Administration, says a reluctance to cause offense by citing Hasan's view of his Muslim faith and the U.S. military's activities in Muslim countries as a possible trigger for his alleged rampage reflects a problem that has gotten worse in the 40 years that Lehman has spent in and around the U.S. military. The Pentagon report's silence on Islamic extremism "shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become," he told TIME on Tuesday. "It's definitely getting worse, and is now so ingrained that people no longer smirk when it happens." [...]
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut said he was "disappointed" because the inquiry "does not adequately recognize the specific threat posed by violent Islamist extremism to our military," and added that the homeland-security panel he chairs will investigate. The Congressman whose district includes Fort Hood agrees. "The report ignores the elephant in the room — radical Islamic terrorism is the enemy," says Republican Representative John Carter. "We should be able to speak honestly about good and bad without feeling like you've done something offensive to society."
The report lumps in radical Islam with other fundamentalist religious beliefs, saying that "religious fundamentalism alone is not a risk factor" and that "religious-based violence is not confined to members of fundamentalist groups." But to some, that sounds as if the lessons of 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq, where jihadist extremism has driven deadly violence against Americans, are being not merely overlooked but studiously ignored.