Following reports that members of the U.S. military may face reprimands for their handling of the Nidal Malik Hasan case, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates not to "scapegoat" military personnel in connection with the Fort Hood massacre investigation.
"The ideology of political Islam is at the heart of the Fort Hood incident," Jasser observes. Yet former Army Secretary Togo West and Admiral Vern Clark, authors of a new Defense Department report on the military's handling of Fort Hood, he says, "have failed to publicly address the Islamist roots of the shootings."
Asked by reporters at the Pentagon if the immediate problem at Fort Hood had been Islamist radicalization, West dismissed the question, saying "radicalization of any sort" is the issue and that "our concern is with actions and effects, not necessarily with motivations."
Yet Gates acknowledged January 15 that "Current policies on prohibited activities neither provide the authority nor the tools for commanders and supervisors to intervene when DoD personnel [are] at risk of personal radicalization."
Hasan, who is charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the November 5 rampage, routinely received favorable performance reviews and kept his security clearance. He continued to rise through the ranks despite poor performance and giving a bizarre presentation that appeared to justify terrorist attacks. Some of his colleagues wondered whether Hasan was psychotic.
According to Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a Navy veteran, the malfeasance of Hasan's superiors was not the primary reason for the military's failure to act before the massacre. The crux of the problem, Jasser says, is the military's "political correctness in its handling of Islamist radicalization issues."
The military needs to come up with "specific guidelines and directives for supervising officers" that provide what "has been glaringly missing: guidance and support with regards to various ideological warning signs which Islamists may harbor in the ranks of the military, DoD and other branches of government, " Jasser writes.
"To scapegoat those officers without addressing the pathologies and the impact of the climate in which they operate compounds the problem rather than solves it," Jasser says. "Our greatest liability is not those officers but the politically correct climate in America today which is negligently blind to the threat of political Islam. Secretary Gates cannot let this stand and we cannot ignore the impact of victim-mongering, litigious organizations like [Council on American-Islamic Relations] CAIR and their Islamist brethren."
The military "cannot allow the mantra of victimization of Muslims to dominate how it handles force protection," Jasser warns. "If the military's solution is to scapegoat these soldiers instead of fighting the root problem we will see many more Nidal Harsens."
Read more about the Hasan and the Fort Hood investigation here.