If ever anybody deserved the death penalty, Maj. Nidal Hasan does. Even opponents of capital punishment should concede that.
After all, Maj. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire with a laser-sighted handgun on a crowded room in a medical complex at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009, killing 13 people and wounding 32 more.
But while a military jury’s death sentence, announced Wednesday at Fort Hood, condemns that mass murderer to the ultimate legal penalty, troubling questions linger about his horrendous crime — and its prelude and aftermath. Among them:
Why didn’t the Pentagon remove Maj. Hasan from the armed forces — and members of our military from the indisputable menace he posed — after his repeated proclamations of Islamic radical zealotry and vows of vengeance against the United States over its foreign policy?
Why didn’t the FBI act decisively against Maj. Hasan after it discovered that he had often communicated via emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent al-Qaida propagandist killed by a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen?
Why did the Pentagon absurdly label the Fort Hood slaughter as “workplace violence” instead of accurately identifying it as a terrorist act committed while the killer invoked the name of Allah.
Why did it take nearly four years to deliver a guilty verdict and death sentence against a man who admitted killing 13 people as dozens of witnesses watched?
Clearly the powers that be seemed all too determined to overlook the massacre’s root cause both before and after it occurred: Maj. Hasan’s radical Islamic ideology.
Yes, in this land where freedom of religion is a fundamental right, we must respect those of the Islamic faith. But that doesn’t require America to look the other way when twisted interpretation of any creed moves its followers to declare violent “holy war” on “infidels.”
And long before his brutal rampage, Maj. Hasan had plainly revealed the dangerous depths of his anti-American beliefs. He repeatedly defended Islamic terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and suicide bombers.
He was correctly identified by some superiors as “a ticking time bomb.”
Yet those alarms went unheeded by the Pentagon. As a result, 13 innocent people died.
Now Maj. Hasan is sentenced to die, too.
Better late than never.
And political correctness shouldn’t blind the authorities, in or out of the military, to the threat that Islamic radicalism poses.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.