The American Humiliation Buried at Fort Hood
It’s now been seven full days following Thursday November 5, 2009, when U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, using only unremarkable handguns, murdered 12 fellow American soldiers and a civilian, and wounding 30-odd others, including combat veterans. Hasan — an American-born-and-bred Muslim who initiated his attack by jumping on a table and in Arabic shouting the Muslim affirmation “God is Great!” — continued to shoot unarmed soldiers and civilians unopposed by any armed military personnel, and was finally stopped only when — after ten-minutes — two civilian police officers with no previous combat experience arrived on the scene to return his fire.
These days have allowed the commanding officers at Fort Hood — America’s largest army base with a population the size of a small city, and their superiors at the Pentagon and the Department of Defense — to make official statements and answer reporters’ questions.
These seven days allowed the current President and Vice President of the United States, Barack Obama and Joe Biden — and the White House press secretary and communications office — plus former living U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, the most recent U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidates, John McCain and Sarah Palin, past and present United States Senators and Members of Congress too numerous to mention, and all other official voices who have debated and shaped our national life, all to go on the record with both their immediate gut-reactions and, later, more considered reactions.
These seven days have been filled with coverage on the twenty-four-hour-news-cycle cable news networks, on network and syndicated talk radio, on newspaper editorial and Op-Ed pages, and in web-based forums such as this one.
These seven days included both Veterans Day — a day for honoring those who have defended the United States wearing its military uniforms — and a memorial service, attended by the President and First Lady of the United States, held for the fallen at Fort Hood.
These seven days have resulted in thirteen counts of murder, to be tried in a military court martial, against Major Hasan, with debate over whether his murder of a pregnant woman might result in a 14th murder count. There has been no charge of treason.
So I have been watching, listening, and reading my prominent countrymen for a week, now, waiting for a reaction I have never found.
I have found sorrow for the dead and wounded victims.
I have found praise for the military at Fort Hood as caregivers and rescuers.
I have found bewilderment, apologetics, and even pity for the minority attacker, on the one hand, and frustration at his not being regarded by the political establishment as part of a more widespread ideologically-driven enemy on the other.
I have heard angry questioning of why neither the FBI nor Army intelligence — both of which were aware of Hasan’s conflicted loyalties for over a year before his attack — left him in a position of military authority, and unwatched.
I have even seen echoes of my discovery of a Clinton-era Army regulation which I disclosed in the article I published here this past Monday — and which the magnificent John R. Lott, Jr., put on his own web page — reverberate to the editorial page of the Washington Times — without, of course, any credit to my copyrighted article, because doing so would have foiled the Washington Times‘ editorial redaction of that part of my article where I pointed out that the Bush administration had left this Clinton administration policy untouched for its eight years.
After the unannounced December 7, 1941 Imperial Japanese attack on American naval and army bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which resulted in 2,402 killed and 1,282 wounded, the American commanding officers of the bases at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel and Army Lieutenant General Walter Short, quickly saw their long and distinguished military careers ended. They spent the rest of their lives defending their reputations to a generation of angry Americans who held them accountable for their unpreparedness to defend their bases against attack. To the World War II generation, Pearl Harbor wasn’t just a military defeat; it was a humiliating defeat.
The Japanese knew what they were doing. Little, despised Japan — the Yellow Peril on American radio shows, in dime novels, in Hollywood movies, and in comic books — had taken their revenge by making the mighty United States of America lose face.
What I have been looking for this week and have not found — except in private telephone conversations with my friend, fellow libertarian author Brad Linaweaver and several of our friends — is a seething anger that a lone man armed only with a couple of smuggled-in handguns was able to engage in an unopposed ten-minute attack of murder and mayhem on the largest Army base of the United States of America, and even combat veterans were unarmed and unable to fight back because their superiors had deemed that regular carrying of handguns was too dangerous to be trusted to officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Army.
That the snake-oil security of gun control has become so dominant that our own army can’t ordinarily be trusted with a gun — that soldiers on an American army base need to dial 911 to call civilian cops for rescue from a lone gunman on an unabated rampage — is the single-most humiliating, despicable, evil, dishonorable, and disheartening loss of face in the entire history of the United States military … and nobody but Brad and myself seem to have felt it.
That’s far, far worse than the insanity of continuing a broken policy … that none of the people who speak from the American heart even notice that it’s broken.
Bill Clinton apparently doesn’t feel the shame that imposing gun control on the Army got them killed. If George W. Bush feels awful about leaving that policy in place after 9/11 so that our soldiers were sitting ducks for an attack by a lone gunman on American soil we have not heard his apology. I heard no indication of humiliation about making American soldiers scamper away for the lives in the voice of President Barack Obama. I have no sense from those who have beaten the drums of the War on Terror since September 11, 2001, that they feel ashamed.
Here was Sarah Palin’s only public reaction, posted to Facebook at 4:05 PM on the day of the attack: “Todd and I would like to offer our condolences to the families of the victims of the tragic shooting today at Fort Hood. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them.”
Where was the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments we would have been led to expect from the rugged Alaskan moose-hunter many Republicans still hope will become a future Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army?
Where were tough guys Dick Cheney or Rudy Giuliani’s lamentations about how far we have fallen that a single pistol-toting turncoat can run rampant on a U.S. army base?
Where is anyone calling for a charge of treason against the son-of-a-bitch army officer with the gun … and court martials and Congressional investigations for Defense Department and Pentagon post-9/11 dereliction of duty that let this happen?
Why is it that it takes two American science-fiction writers — J. Neil Schulman, whose only quasi-military experience was as a teenager wearing a U.S. Air Force uniform in the Massachusetts Civil Air Patrol, and Brad Linaweaver who did a year of Air Force ROTC — neither of us military veterans — to feel this disgrace?
Is there a science-fictional explanation behind this emotional non-reaction? Has my country been taken over by Jack Finney’s pod people or Heinlein’s puppet masters or the Invaders from Mars and we just haven’t noticed? Are reptilian invaders from V running things, or has the United States turned into Stepford? Have our leaders and pundits had their memories wiped like everyone except Julianne Moore in 2004’s The Forgotten?
If Senate and House Democratic Party leaders want to haul post-9/11 Bush administration officials into hearings to explain why they never contemplated the need to arm American soldiers against a possible terrorist attack on their own bases, they have my full support.
You can be sure that Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez feel America’s humiliation, and they are laughing their asses off about it.