Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why Congress must investigate Ft. Hood

Under normal circumstances, congressional investigations produce more partisan heat than unbiased light. In this case that is a risk worth taking because such hearings are the least bad alternative and offer the best chance to uncover the truth.

This great article by Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn provides a great starting point for an enterprising legislator or staffer. Maj. Nidal should have set off more than a few alarm bells. Why did no one in authority listen?

Connecting the Dots

This is especially relevant:

Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood that claimed 13 lives and wounded more than 40. Three hours later, while the base was still in lockdown, an FBI spokesman dismissed suggestions that the attack was terrorism and said that a link between Hasan and terrorist organizations "is not being discussed."

On the day of the shooting all the cable news channels kept repeating this FBI statement. I wondered at the time, "how could they be so sure so fast?"

Now we know that they were fast but wrong. We deserve to know why. In addition, we deserve to know why dismissing a terrorist motive was such a high priority when an investigation had not even begun.

Most importantly, we must know if the FBI was telling the truth. Did they immediately dismiss the possibility of terrorism? Or was that just PR to calm the public's nerves? The latter might be (might) justifiable, but the former is outrageous. Surely after Beslan and Mumbai, the possibility of terrorism is something the FBI should consider.

This article in the Dallas Morning News raises questions about the Army's initial response:

Fort Hood captain: Hasan wanted patients to face war crimes charges

Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan sought to have some of his patients prosecuted for war crimes based on statements they made during psychiatric sessions with him, a captain who served on the base said Monday.

Other psychiatrists complained to superiors that Hasan's actions violated doctor-patient confidentiality, Capt. Shannon Meehan told The Dallas Morning News.

One day after the Nov. 5 attack that killed 13 and wounded 29, a Fort Hood official said she had never received complaints about Hasan's job performance. Col. Kimberly Kesling, deputy commander of clinical services at the base's Darnall Army Medical Center, also said he was a "hardworking, dedicated young man who gave great care to his patients

So, did Col. Kesling receive complaints or not? If she did, why did she lie for a man had just perpetrated an atrocity?

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