Maj. Nidal M. Hasan’s murderous rampage at Fort Hood leaves us horrified and bewildered. And also very angry. We learn from the Washington Post that the perpetrator of this bloodbath was not merely a “very devout” worshiper at a local Muslim community center:
A co-worker identified as Col. Terry Lee told Fox News that Hasan opposed the U.S. role in Iraq and Afghanistan and told others that “we should not be in the war in the first place.” He said Hasan acknowledged that soldiers have a duty to follow the commander in chief’s orders, but was hoping that President Obama would order a pullout from the conflicts.
“When things weren’t going that way,” Lee said, “he became more agitated, more frustrated with the conflicts over there.”
And that is not all:
The Associated Press reported that Hasan attracted the attention of law enforcement authorities in recent months after an Internet posting under the screen name “NidalHasan” compared Islamic suicide bombers to Japanese kamikaze pilots. “To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate,” the posting read. “It’s more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause.”
He steered clear of female colleagues, co-workers said, and despite devout religious practices, listed himself in Army records as having no religious preference.
A longtime Walter Reed colleague who referred patients to psychiatrists said co-workers avoided sending service members to Hasan because of his unusual manner and solitary work habits.
How is it possible that all this was overlooked or excused? The entire country will be asking this, first in stunned, hushed voices, then, as the shock subsides, with rising fury. Many today already have a nagging sense that we are still collectively sleepwalking through the imminent and ongoing danger of Islamic fundamentalism, unable or unwilling to focus on what is before our eyes for fear of recrimination or causing offense. And 13 are dead and 30 are injured. It defies comprehension.
UPDATE: From this morning: “Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the base commander at Fort Hood, said on NBC’s Today Show that witnesses heard Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shout ‘Allahu Akbar!’ before opening fire. The phrase means ‘God is great!’ in Arabic.”