by Robert Morrison
May 23, 2013
It could hardly be more of what we used to call an “open and shut” case. Nidal Hasan, an active duty Army major and psychiatrist, walked into a room at Fort Hood, Texas, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and shot thirty people, killing fourteen. One of his victims, Francheska Velez, was pregnant at the time.
She cried out “My baby! My baby!” but Hasan killed her and her unborn child anyway. The Obama administration has elected not to charge Hasan with violation of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, even though the law was passed explicitly to cover such instances.
The Fort Hood shootings occurred in November 2009. Hasan is only now slated to be brought before a court martial. The proceedings are scheduled to begin by July 1st, three and a half years after the killings. The old maxim is: “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The foot-dragging on the part of the Obama administration in this case is unconscionable.
Because of these interminable delays, Hasan has been allowed to accumulate some $278,000 in pay and benefits as he awaits his court martial. Army spokesmen say Hasan has “earned” that much because he has not yet been convicted of anything and we must presume his innocence.
Must we presume it for three and a half years? It’s useful to compare the Obama administration’s treatment of Nidal Hasan with the Roosevelt administration’s actions toward captured Nazi saboteurs in World War II.
Eight German and German-American fighters in two squads were landed in June 1942, by U-boats on the beaches of Florida and Long Island. The Long Island group was spotted by a young U.S. Coast Guardsman. Seaman John C. Cullen refused a bribe from the Nazis and alerted his superiors back at his station. Because they had changed into civilian clothes, the saboteurs would be regarded as spies if apprehended.
Apprehended they soon were, as one of their number, George Dash, ratted out his cohorts. They had orders from their Nazi superiors to blow up war industries and military installations. By order of President Roosevelt, they were tried before a secret military tribunal on July 2, 1942.
Matters moved quickly for [Army Judge Advocate General Myron C.] Cramer since he and [U.S. Attorney General Francis] Biddle began presenting evidence to the tribunal on July 8. Preliminary arguments and the taking of testimony took 16 days—an average of two days for each accused. The military commission completed its work on August 1, when it found all eight defendants guilty of “attempting to commit sabotage, espionage, and other hostile acts” and “conspiracy” to commit these same offenses. Cramer and Biddle argued that the Germans must be sentenced to death, and the commission agreed. Roosevelt approved the death sentence for six of the eight men, and those six were electrocuted on August 8, 1942. The other two were imprisoned and later deported to Germany after the war. The U.S. Supreme Court later upheld the jurisdiction of the military commission, and the lawfulness of its proceedings, in the case of Ex parte Quirin, which continues to be cited with approval by today’s Supreme Court.
Cramer’s work as co-prosecutor was praised by his superior as “historic evidence of his legal ability and sound judgment.” He and Biddle had successfully completed the first military commission convened by a President and had achieved the best possible results for the government.
I am not necessarily endorsing capital punishment in this column. FRC has not taken a position on that question. But clearly this was no drumhead court martial. Instead, it was a serious and expeditious judicial proceeding. Our government was then able to act with speed and justice in prosecuting our enemies in wartime “to the full extent of the law.”
Nidal Hasan was known to federal investigators. He had been under surveillance for some time. As a medical graduate student, he had openly advocated jihad and justified killing “infidels.” And still he was allowed to continue in uniform as a major in the Army.
Even after his murderous spree in 2009, political correctness was not furloughed. The Army’s Chief of Staff, General George Casey, rushed to the Sunday TV talk shows and said: “As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.” What the general seems not to have understood is that it is only by enforcing the Oath of Office that all service members voluntarily take that we can have the level of trust for all our troops that a vigorous national defense requires.
While Nidal Hasan continues to accrue pay and benefits, this administration has classified his killings as “workplace violence.” Thus, his injured victims have been denied Purple Hearts and the status of combat-wounded veterans. A bi-partisan group of congressmen, including Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.) have written to Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel urging him to re-classify theFortHood killings as “combat-related.”
This would seem to be the bare minimum this administration could do to show it is serious about the defense of theUnited States. And it could also benefit from reading how their great liberal Democratic model, Franklin D. Roosevelt, acted in time of war.