Reporters are interviewing friends and acquaintances of Nidal Malik Hasan, and troubling facts are beginning to come out. Troubling, but frankly not very surprising:
His fellow students complained to the faculty about Hasan’s “anti-American propaganda,” but said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.
“The system is not doing what it’s supposed to do,” said Dr. Val Finnell, who studied with Hasan from 2007-2008 in the master’s program in public health at the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. “He at least should have been confronted about these beliefs, told to cease and desist, and to shape up or ship out.” …
Twice this summer, [Osman Danquah, co-founder of the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen] said, Hasan asked him what to tell soldiers who expressed misgivings about fighting fellow Muslims. The retired Army first sergeant and Gulf War veteran said he reminded Hasan that these soldiers had volunteered to fight, and that Muslims were fighting against each other in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.
“But what if a person gets in and feels that it’s just not right?” Danquah recalled Hasan asking him.
“I’d give him my response. It didn’t seem settled, you know. It didn’t seem to satisfy,” he said. “It would be like a person playing the devil’s advocate. … I said, `Look. I’m not impressed by you.'”
Danquah said he was so disturbed by Hasan’s persistent questioning that he recommended the mosque reject Hasan’s request to become a lay Muslim leader at Fort Hood. But he never saw a need tell anyone at the sprawling Army post about the talks, because Hasan never expressed anger toward the Army or indicated any plans for violence. …
Finnell said he did just that during a year of study in which Hasan made a presentation “that justified suicide bombing” and spewed “anti-American propaganda” as he argued the war on terror was “a war against Islam.” Finnell said he and at least one other student complained about Hasan, surprised that someone with “this type of vile ideology” would be allowed to wear an officer’s uniform.
But Finnell said no one filed a formal, written complaint about Hasan’s comments out of fear of appearing discriminatory.
“In retrospect, I’m not surprised he did it,” Finnell said. “I had real questions about what his priorities were, what his beliefs were.”
When someone commits an atrocity, there is a common impulse to second-guess authorities of various kinds with a view toward blaming someone other than the perpetrator. Generally, I don’t sympathize with that impulse. But in this case, there appears to be a legitimate question whether political correctness has infected the Army to a degree that has endangered military personnel. That possibility deserves a sober and serious investigation.
UPDATE: More here.