Fort Hood’s Lessons: Treat People Equally, Without Politically Correct Double Standards

Intelligence officials knew that Nidal Hasan, the soldier who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, was trying to contract Al Qaeda.  (He once attended the same mosque as 9/11 terrorists.)

Although the killer’s extremist rantings were common knowledge, “a fear of appearing discriminatory . . . kept officers from filing a formal written complaint,” reports the Associated Press.  As a result, he escaped any disciplinary action or review of his fitness.

The Fort Hood shooter had previously said that Muslims should rise up against the military, “repeatedly expressed sympathy for suicide bombers,” was pleased by the terrorist murder of an army recruiter, and publicly called for the beheading or burning of non-Muslims, talking “about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire.”  But thanks to a politically-correct double standard, nothing was done to remove him from a position where he could harm others.

The lesson of the Fort Hood shootings is that applying politically-correct double standards, rather than treating people equally, can be lethal.

In a desire to curry favor with the liberal Congress that funds it, the military has increasingly adopted politically-correct policies that abandon equal treatment, such as imposing racial preferences in admissions to the military academies in the name of “diversity.”  (In practice, “diversity” seems to mean “racial proportionality:” it is harder for Asians to be admitted to the academies than for whites and Hispanics, and harder for whites and Hispanics to be admitted than for African-Americans.  Such preferences are of dubious legality under Supreme Court precedent.)

In this climate of political correctness and double standards, it is understandable that officers were afraid to file complaints about Hasan, for fear that they would incur the wrath of the “diversity” police.  Even now, the Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, seems mainly concerned that the shootings will undermine the army’s commitment to “diversity,” rather than being concerned about the double standard that spawned this tragedy.  He seems more concerned that “diversity” will become a “casualty” of such shootings than that his soldiers will.

President Obama’s initial response to the tragedy was embarrassing, even for some liberal journalists.  Obama’s initial remarks about the tragedy came buried in the middle of a speech laced with “wildly disconnected” ramblings about an unrelated topic, starting with a “joking shout-out.”  Even the liberal Boston Globe chided the president for a speech lacking in “empathy” for the victims.

In an absurd display of political correctness, early media reports chose to harp on the false claim that the killer had PTSD (which he didn’t: he never even served overseas) or the unsupported claim that he had been subjected to harassment (support groups for Muslim soldiers say they have received no recent reports of a Muslim soldier being harassed “simply because he was Muslim”).  They also jumped to conclusions in denying (as Atlantic Magazine’s Max Fisher did) that the shooter’s motives had anything to do with his extreme religious beliefs or “any related political causes.”

In the aftermath of the shootings, some commentators have criticized a gun-control policy that disarms soldiers while on military bases to create “gun-free zones,” leaving them defenseless in the face of an attack.  The policy succeeded in disarming the killer’s victims, but not the killer himself.