Discrimination and politically-correct blinders can be deadly. It was obvious in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings that the killer was inspired by Islamic extremism. Obvious, that is, to anyone but officials in the Obama administration, who continue to cling tightly to a culture of political correctness and preferential treatment that helped make the shootings possible.
Nidal Hasan shot dead 12 soldiers and a civilian at Fort Hood, while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” But the Obama administration’s inquiry into the shootings falsely suggested Islamic extremism was not a factor in the shootings. Its report on the Fort Hood massacre did not even “mention the words ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ once,” referring to the killer simply as the “alleged perpetrator.” Instead, it claimed the tragedy resulted from “bureaucratic shortcomings” in the “sharing of information.”
But now Senators like Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are taking issue with that whitewash report: “the federal government needs to drop the political correctness and call violent Islamic extremism what it is, according to a newly released report on the Fort Hood shooting by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.”
The shooter’s Islamic extremism was obvious. Prior to the shooting, he had 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 engaged in hate-speech against non-Muslims, publicly calling for the beheading or burning of non-Muslims, and 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.” “In addition, Hasan openly had suggested revenge as a defense for the 9/11 attacks, defended Osama bin Laden, and said his allegiance to his religion was greater than his allegiance to the constitution.”
But the military did nothing to remove him from a position where he could harm others. Although his views were common knowledge, “a fear of appearing discriminatory . . . kept officers from filing a formal written complaint,” the Associated Press noted. Moreover, “a key official on a review committee reportedly asked how it might look to terminate a key resident who happened to be a Muslim,” as NPR noted. Instead, the military effectively exempted Hasan from rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, in order to promote its conception of “diversity.”
As military attorney Thomas Kenniff notes, there was a climate of “obsessive political correctness” in the military. As Major Shawn Keller pointed out, in a column entitled “An Officer’s Outrage Over Fort Hood.” “There was no shortage of warning signs that Hasan identified more with Islamic Jihadists than he did with the US Army. . .But just like September 11, those agencies and individuals charged with keeping America and Americans safe failed to connect the dots that would have saved lives. Jihadist rhetoric espoused by Hasan was categorically dismissed out of submissiveness to the concepts of tolerance and diversity. . . . the leaders in Hasan’s chain-of-command failed to act . . . out of fear of being labeled anti-Muslim and receiving a negative evaluation report.”
Indeed, even after the shootings, government officials worried more about the fate of “diversity” than about the lives of their troops: “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength,” Army Chief of Staff George Casey told NBC’s Meet the Press. “And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said.
The military is not like the outside world. In the civilian world, hate speech and anti-American speech are protected by the First Amendment (under Supreme Court decisions like R.A.V. v. St. Paul, and court rulings like Dambrot v. Central Michigan University). But in the military, soldiers get punished for bigotry or disloyalty all the time – but not Nidal Hasan, who escaped any punishment due to obvious favoritism.
In court cases like Goldman v. Weinberger, the Supreme Court has said that soldiers have fewer First Amendment rights than civilians. The military cites this all the time when it wants to punish soldiers for politically-incorrect speech, like the soldier who was punished for a sexist insult about liberal Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) in the aftermath of the Tailhook Scandal. But the military did not apply its policies against seditious speech and hate-speech to Hasan, because of political correctness. Instead, it kept him working with injured American veterans, a position for which he was manifestly unfit.
Obama could barely bring himself to mention the tragedy, much less express sympathy for the victims, in his initial remarks about it, in which he buried any expression of sympathy in the middle of a speech filled with “wildly disconnected” ramblings about an unrelated topic, starting with a “joking shout-out.” Even for liberal journalists, President Obama’s initial response to the tragedy was embarrassing. Even the liberal Boston Globe, which endorsed Obama in 2008, chided the President for a speech lacking in “empathy” for the victims. Despite the shooter’s open hatred towards America, the military, and America’s non-Muslim majority, Obama’s remarks insisted that the shooter’s motive for the killings was unknown.
The Obama Administration then did its best to hide the role of political correctness in spawning the tragedy by appointing two supporters of racial preferences in the military – former Army Secretary Togo West and Admiral Vernon Clark – to handle the federal inquiry into the tragedy. This was like appointing a fox to guard a henhouse. At the conclusion of their inquiry, West and Clark came out with a ridiculous report that did not even mention the word “Islam” or “Muslim,” much less address the Islamic extremism that motivated the shootings. Based on these men’s track record, the Obama Administration expected – and wanted – exactly such a whitewash report.
“Clark was such an enthusiast for ‘diversity’” that “he redefined the Navy’s concept of special minorities to include religious (read Muslim)” groups, not just racial minorities. Similarly, Togo West, a supporter of restrictions on politically-incorrect speech, “never saw an affirmative action policy or minority preference policy he didn’t like,” and was such a diversity zealot that he filed an amicus brief in an affirmative-action case that didn’t even involve the military, unsuccessfully urging the Supreme Court to uphold racial quotas in the public schools – something it instead struck down in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District). Clark’s devotion to preferential treatment was reflected in his order “that the Navy increase the number of minority candidates for officer commissions by 25 per cent,” which “led to a double standard” at “places like the Naval Academy at Annapolis, where the entry standards for minorities are noticeably lower than for white applicants.”
Even today, military leaders remain wedded to the concept of “diversity” at the expense of equal treatment and the Constitution, engaging in racial discrimination at the military academies in the name of “diversity,” including mandating racial preferences in admissions. The Naval Academy illegally retaliated against a faculty member who criticized its use of racial preferences in admissions (the Naval Academy listed “diversity”as its “number one priority,” above learning), violating the First Amendment and anti-retaliation provisions contained in the civil-rights laws.
Military leaders, catering to liberal congressional leaders and the Obama administration, cling tightly to the “diversity” dogma, demanding that those in the military keep silent rather than saying things that might call into question their “diversity” obsession:
“Naval Academy senior commanders decided during the World Series to remove two Midshipmen from the color guard that appeared. What was their offense? The color guard was deemed too white and too male. . .Two members of the color guard were removed and replaced by a Pakistani and a woman to achieve the requisite ‘diversity.’ The Pakistani unfortunately forgot his cap and shoes. He himself had to be replaced at the last minute by one of the two middies removed earlier. The midshipmen have reportedly been ordered not to speak of these events.”
I am definitely not arguing for a ban on Muslims in the military, or discrimination against them — quite the opposite. The military has a critical shortage of, and need for, translators who speak languages like Pashto (spoken in Afghanistan), Urdu (spoken in Pakistan) and Arabic. These translators are often Muslim, and they should be welcome in the military. But neither should the military exempt Muslims from the rules of conduct imposed on soldiers of other religions. That is an insult to the principle of equality under the law. Hasan’s anti-American rants would not have been tolerated even in the armies of Muslim countries allied with the U.S., like Albania.