When US Army Major Nidal Hassan opened fire last November in the Ft. Hood soldier readiness center filled with military and civilian personnel, he shouted, “Allah Akbar.” He’d been in frequent contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Yemeni cleric. He’d even given a PowerPoint presentation warning of further attacks on Army personnel if Muslims in the U.S. armed forcers weren’t given conscientious objector status. Within hours of the massacre, it was all too clear to anyone with more processing power than an Atari 2600 that Hassan had carried out a jihadi attack on a US military base. Clear unless you’re Army brass, that is…
This week, Brigadier General Joseph DiSalvo presented the army’s Award for Valor to the widow and children of Chief Warrant Officer (retired) Michael Cahill. Cahill, a civilian contractor working as a physician assistant, saw Hassan open fire in the crowded readiness center and charged him, holding a chair over his head for protection. Hassan shot him dead.
At the presentation ceremony this week, General DiSalvo said this:
Although we may never know why it happened, we do know that heroic actions took place that day . . . he will forever be a source of inspiration.
Really, General? Exactly who doesn’t know why it happened?
Hassan was a soldier in radical Islam’s war on infidels in general and America in particular. A war that started in the early ’90s (if not earlier). Since 9/11, this war has included attacks on American soil by the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Little Rock shooter and the Times Square bomber. And that’s just in the U.S. So far.
It’s extremely difficult for me to use this word for what the General exhibited here, but cowardice is the only term that conceivably applies to his reluctance to describe the attack for what it was. It turns my stomach to use the word when referring to an active duty serviceman. Someone who has enlisted and promised to lay down his life to protect this country. Something I’ve never done myself.
But by disingenuously attributing the murders to some sort of cosmic mystery, the General dishonored Cahill, as well as the other twelve murder victims and the twenty-nine people who were injured. Failure to describe them as casualties of war diminishes the circumstance of their deaths and willfully obscures what actually happened.
Cahill’s extraordinary bravery stands on its own. Even DiSalvo’s pathetic attempt to misrepresent the cause of his death as the functional equivalent of a tornado or a traffic accident can’t take anything away from the bravery and valor he displayed trying to stop Hassan.
Because of this PC timidity, Ft. Hood (and just about every other domestic US military installation) remains an unarmed free-fire zone. Soldiers still can’t carry sidearms on base. During wartime. Then again, you can’t carry in New York City either. And DC is only nominally better.
By all means, let’s not allow the rank an file to protect themselves in the middle of a war the enemy has shown the ability to carry to American soil. Someone might be offended.