Why Fort Hood Really Happened
by Daniel Henninger
Published 12 November, 2009
Wall Street Journal
The only good news out of the Fort Hood massacre is that U.S. electronic surveillance technology was able to pick up Major Hasan's phone calls to an al Qaeda-loving imam in Yemen. The bad news is the people and agencies listening to Hasan didn't know what to do about it. Other than nothing.
Next week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) will convene the Homeland Security Committee to find out if someone in the Army or FBI dropped the ball on Hasan. At Ford Hood itself, grief has been turning to anger as news of possible dropped balls has emerged.
Earlier in the week at Fort Hood, President Obama spoke about the consequences of doing nothing. He named and described each of the 13 dead. That properly gave individual reality to what soon will become "the victims of Fort Hood."
This is how it always goes. For about a week after these awful incidents—such as the USS Cole bombing in Yemen (year 2000, 17 dead)—the rest of us feel, just a little, what the surviving families feel. This week, 13 American families are shattered, forever. It's a big deal, the biggest deal there is.
On Tuesday night at 9:06 p.m. in Virginia, the state executed the Beltway sniper, John Allen Muhammad, who gunned down 10 in 2002. The day before the execution, the father of a dead daughter described why he would witness it:
"I want to see what he made me see. He forced us to look at our little girl laying in a coffin. I want to see justice done. I want to see him take a last breath. I want to be able to describe it to the rest of the family."
Pretty rugged. But that is what they are feeling at Fort Hood. They think Hasan should have been caught. The reason we erect an apparatus of surveillance and intelligence in what some don't want to call the war on terror is to avoid this death and unfathomable grief.
The national grief won't last.
In our time, nothing was bigger than the nearly 3,000 killed on September 11. But anyone who got involved with the development of public policy then knows that for the next seven years the battle never stopped over the details of the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, then Guantanamo, then waterboarding, renditions and secret prisons and all the other issues that for some could be summed up in two words: "Bush-Cheney."
This will never come up in the Lieberman hearings next week, but I think that nonstop policy battle is why Hasan's overseers dropped the ball.
The most-heard reason for the possible failure is political correctness. No doubt. But Sen. Lieberman's committee should avoid making this its main line of inquiry, because that is a problem without a policy fix. It minimizes the real problem.
The problem is confusion. The combatants at each end of the spectrum in the war over the war on terror know exactly what they think about surveilling suspected terrorists. But if you are an intel officer or FBI agent tasked with providing the protection, what are you supposed to make of all this bitter public argument? What you make of it is that when you get a judgment call, like Maj. Hasan, you hesitate. You blink.
Now everyone thinks the call was obvious. But it wasn't so obvious before the tragedy. Not if for years you have watched a country and its political class in rancorous confusion about the enemy, the legal standing of the enemy, or the legal status and scope of the methods it wants to use to fight the enemy.
In war, uncertainty gets you killed. It just did.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently described in these pages the fight over renewal of the Patriot Act, expiring at year's end. At issue is "lone wolf" authority—the ability to monitor a target not connected to a terrorist organization or foreign power, such as Zacharias Moussaoui, the "20th" 9/11 hijacker.
Mr. Mukasey noted bills sponsored by Democrats to narrow the scope of surveillance. This led to a debate in our letters between Mr. Mukasey and Sen. Russ Feingold over the meaning of "foreign power" and whether search warrants were or were not obtainable in the "lone wolf" surveillance of Moussaoui.
Everyone has seen the pictures of inconsolable grief amid the coffins of Fort Hood. Only one person can resolve the confusion that let this happen: the president.
This is the president who told his attorney general to decide if the CIA officers who water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be held criminally liable.
But two weeks ago, Mr. Obama met 18 coffins returned from Afghanistan. Whatever he decides about the Afghan troop deployment, what won't change is that over there or here at home, they will keep trying to kill us.
To give us better odds of protection than we had last week, President Obama should do two things: Call off the CIA investigation. Then call in the guys who didn't make the right call on Hasan and ask why not. Then, whatever set the bar too high, lower it. His "base" won't like it. So what? What he saw in Texas was worse.
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Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A23
I am livid with Barack Obama and place the blame for the Fort Hood massacre directly on his shoulders. Because Obama has such a healthy hate on for America, the second he absconded with the presidency he started investigating the CIA. The CIA were the ones keeping us safe by doing their jobs and doing them well. Suddenly, under the Obama Administration, being a good CIA agent became criminal and each agent was facing potential criminal charges. Barack Obama has stated over and over that the "War on Terror is over." Sayin' it ain't so, doesn't make it so! What are you, Obama? Two?
We are at war with a people who have no compunction with committing heinous and monstrous act of war. We are at war with an ideology which demands the complete eradication of all peoples, governments and cultures that do not accept Sharia Law and Islam. We are at war and the enemy walks among us.
When I was in college I overhead some Lebanese students discussing blowing up a nearby dam. I remember thinking that I couldn't possibly have heard what I'd just heard. I vacillated back and forth for hours, trying to decide whether I should call the police or not because I didn't want to be calling wolf. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, I decided I couldn't ignore what I'd overhead. I called the police. They called the FBI. By the next evening those students were gone. I don't know what happened. I know the dam stands to this day and no lives were lost because I chose to ignore what I'd heard.
As Americans we have a responsibility to be alert, attentive and aware of what is going on around us. If Barack Obama is going to hamstring law enforcement, then Americans must take up that task. We cannot allow this to happen again. We good citizens. When you hear troublesome information, immediately turn it over to the police. They will know whether to take it seriously or not.
In Utah, over 30,000 women carry weapons and that number is growing daily! I beseech all Americans who love this nation, believe the U.S. Constitution to be the superior rule of law and a Democratic Republic the superior form of government, to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights. Take the training. Learn how to shoot a gun. Get licensed and even get a Concealed Carry Permit. If our law enforcement cannot protect us, as the soldiers of Fort Hood should have been able to all be carrying, we must protect ourselves. If someone walks into to a building where you are and starts shoot, shoot back and shoot to kill.
I am sick to death of Americans behaving like ducks in a pond. We are descended of revolutionaries, patriots, soldiers, pioneers, noble and great peoples ... we cannot allow Obama's government to disarm us and make us helpless in the face of attacks on America.
May God bless this great nation and may we stand up, as a whole people, and demand the return of our nation.
Of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for which it stands,
One nation, Under God,
With liberty and justice for all.
This is my pledge. The U.S. Constitution is my law.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.