In the flood of theories about the murder siege at Fort Hood, Texas, too many analysts are going to extremes to try to explain, even justify, what happened and how it should be dealt with.
Bottom line, there are really only two items to consider. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan either is insane and should be confined for life in a mental institution or he is a domestic terrorist with ties to the Middle East and should be executed. Several television commentators have gone overboard in describing how “the Muslim gentleman” is being dealt with in the hospital. He did the crime and needs to do whatever version of “the time” is appropriate after a fair trial.
We are given the message that the rampant psychiatrist was distraught about facing deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. While he never has been in a war zone, some are saying he generated a personal attitude of combat fatigue after allegedly counseling troubled military people who returned from the war zones. That is a flimsy and disgusting defense.
There is strong evidence that Hasan had been quite outspoken, verbally and electronically, about his feelings toward America and its policies. The depressing aspect of all this is that while there were numerous indications of the man’s tendencies, nobody decided he should be taken out of situations where he could put others in harm’s way. We can only imagine the flurry by various human rights zealots had such action been taken. We are getting that even now, after the fact.
One of Hasan’s comments was to the effect that Hasan and his Islamic allies value death far more than Americans value life. A number of capable people have not ruled out the possibility he was acting on behalf of some radical group such as the Taliban or al-Qaida.
Justifying the killings on the basis of his religion beliefs is a poor defense. President Barack Obama analyzed it perfectly:
“It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy,” Obama said at a memorial service in Texas. “But this much we do know: No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts.”
There is little doubt that defense attorneys will try to use the “insanity plea” if Hasan lives to stand trial. If mental experts decide the man is so unbalanced he cannot be given a normal trial, then the verdict should be “guilty but insane.” Then he should be locked away so he never again can prey on society, military or domestic.
The evidence, however, is that Nidal Malik Hasan is an out-and-out terrorist who planned to attack Americans and is guilty of killing 13 and wounding 30. It is sad that the signs of anti-American violence he flashed were not heeded and dealt with in time to prevent the Fort Hood tragedy. It will be even sadder if various ruses are employed to protect him from the capital punishment he deserves.