Fort Hood Shooting Final Report: Fear of Political Correctness Allowed Hasan’s Shooting Spree
Posted by iusbvision on February 4, 2011
The report is damning. This is the cost of political correctness:
The next two years were the final year of Hasan’s Walter Reed residency and the first year of his USUHS fellowship (2006-2008), and it was then that his radicalization to violent Islamist extremism came in to plain view. In the last month of his residency, he chose to fulfill an academic requirement to make a scholarly presentation of psychiatric issues by giving an off topic lecture on Violent Islamist extremism. – The presentation was a requirement for graduation from the residency, commonly referred to at Walter Reed as “Grand Rounds”. Hasan’s draft presentation consisted almost entirely of references to the Koran, without a single mention of a medical or psychiatric term. Hasan’s draft also presented extremist interpretations of the Koran as supporting grave physical harm and killing of non-Muslims. He even suggested that revenge might be a defense for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Hasan’s superiors warned him that he needed to revise the presentation if he wanted to graduate and concluded that it was “not scientific,” “not scholarly,” and a mere “recitation of the Koran” that “might be perceived as proselytizing.
At about the same time, the Psychiatric Residency Program Director, who was one of the superiors who reviewed the draft Grand Rounds presentation, questioned whether Hasan was fit to graduate. He thought Hasan was “very lazy” and “a religious fanatic.”so Ultimately, Hasan improved the presentation sufficiently to receive credit, although a review of the PowerPoint presentation and a video of the event shows that it was still essentially a collection of Koranic verses with minimal scholarly content. According to the Program Director, a major reason that his presentation was acceptable was because standards for such presentations did not yet exist. He graduated despite the Program Director’s reservations.
The most chilling feature of both the draft and final presentation was that Hasan stated that one of the risks of having Muslim-Americans in the military was the possibility of fratricidal murder of fellow service members.
Hasan advanced to a two-year fellowship at USUHS. As a threshold matter, had established procedures been followed, he would not have been accepted into the fellowship. According to the Army Surgeon General, fellowships are typically reserved for elite medical professionals. Officers involved in the fellowship selection process recounted that Hasan was offered a fellowship because he was the only Army applicant and the Army did not want to risk losing that fellowship if it was not filled. Hasan confided to a colleague that he applied for the fellowship to avoid a combat deployment in a Muslim country; one of Hasan’s supervisors realized that he had the wrong motivation for applying and warned against accepting him.
Hasan’s radicalization became unmistakable almost immediately into the fellowship, and it became clear that Hasan embraced violent Islamist extremist ideology to such an extent that he had lost a sense of the conduct expected of a military officer. Classmates – who were military officers, some outranking Hasan – described him as having ” fixed radical beliefs about fundamentalist Islam” that he shared “at every possible opportunity” or as having irrational beliefs.
Less than a month into the fellowship, in August 2007, Hasan gave another off-topic presentation on a violent Islamist extremist subject instead of on a health care subject. This time, Hasan’s presentation was so controversial that the instructor had to stop it after just two minutes when the class erupted in protest to Hasan’s views. The presentation was entitled, Is the War on Terror a War on Islam: An Islamic Perspective? Hasan’s proposal for this presentation promoted this troubling thesis: that U.S. military operations are a war against lslam rather than based on non-religious security considerations. Hasan’s presentation accorded with the narrative of violent Islamist extremism that the West is at war with Islam. Hasan’s paper was full of empathetic and supportive recitation of other violent Islamist extremist views, including defense of Osama bin Laden, slanted historical accounts blaming the United States for problems in the Middle East, and arguments that anger at the United States is justifiable. Several colleagues who witnessed the presentation described Hasan as justifying suicide bombers. These colleagues were so alarmed and offended by what they described as his “dysfunctional ideology” and “extremist views” that they interrupted the presentation to the point where the instructor chose to stop it. The instructor who stopped the presentation said that Hasan was sweating, quite nervous, and agitated after being confronted by the class.
The Senate Report continues to describe more of this same behavior in detail and states:
In sum, Hasan engaged in the following conduct in front of or as reported to his superiors
within little more than one year:
• Making three off topic presentations on violent Islamist extremist topics instead of medical subjects.
• Giving a class presentation perceived as so supportive of violent Islamist extremist conflict against the United States that it was almost immediately stopped by an instructor after classmates erupted in opposition to Hasan’s views.
• Justifying suicide bombings in class at least twice, according to the accounts of classmates.
• Suggesting in writing in his proposals for presentations that some actions of Osama bin Laden may be justified.
• Telling several classmates that his religion took precedence over the U.S. Constitution he swore a military oath to support and defend.
• Stating three times in writing that Muslim-Americans in the military could be prone to fratricide.
Despite Hasan’s overt displays of radicalization to violent Islamist extremism, Hasan’s superiors failed to discipline him, refer him to counterintelligence officials, or seek to discharge him. One of the officers who reported Hasan to superiors opined that Hasan was permitted to remain in service because of “political correctness” and ignorance of religious practices. That officer added that he believed that concern about potential discrimination complaints stopped some individuals from challenging Hasan.
The Report goes on to say that while political correctness and fear of being hit with a “Muslim discrimination” charge were obvious motivators most of Hasan’s superiors were unwilling to say that they didn’t act because of these reasons which were obvious according to the interviews with those he worked with and the circumstances. Officers felt compelled to invent reasons that sounded justified for continually giving him glowing performance reports and recommendations for promotion.
One of the officers who reported Hasan to superiors opined that Hasan was permitted to remain in service because of “political correctness” and ignorance of religious practices. That officer added that he believed that concern about potential discrimination complaints stopped some individuals from challenging Hasan. We are concerned that exactly such worries about “political correctness” inhibited Hasan’s superiors and colleagues who were deeply troubled by his behavior from taking the actions against him that could have prevented the attack at Fort Hood.
This is where the report talks about Hasan’s rigged performance evals. Having served in the military I know that much of the time these performance reviews do not reflect the ability of the officer or NCO at all. These are often done by popularity, who was “kissing up” to the brass, if said person had powerful relatives etc. Reports are also skewed down on those who are more prone to follow the rules and whistleblowers.
When it came to this situation this is no surprise. This very writer was a part of one of the first co-ed Basic Military Training Unit’s in the USAF. The pressure to make the unit work completely overcame the fact that the unit was a disaster. I remember several female trainees who could not perform some of the basic tasks and were moved along anyways because the political pressure to make it work and the fear of being reported to “social actions” always won (There were some male trainees who couldn’t handle it and they were discharged). If you get reported to social actions you ARE guilty unless you can prove beyond all doubt that you are innocent. That is not how the system is intended to run on paper, but that is the reality.
Hasan was a chronic poor performer during his residency and fellowship. The program directors overseeing him at Walter Reed and USUHS both ranked him in the bottom 25 percent. He was placed on probation and remediation and often failed to meet basic job expectations such as showing up for work and being available when he was the physician on call.
Yet Hasan received evaluations that flatly misstated his actual performance. Hasan was described in the evaluations as a star officer, recommended for promotion to major, whose research on violent Islamist extremism would ass ist U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
• His Officer Evaluation Report for July 2007 to June 2008 described Hasan as “among the better disaster and psychiatry fellows to have completed the MPH at the Uniformed Services University.” The report described how Hasan had “focused his efforts on illuminating the role of culture and Islamic faith within the Global War on Terrorism” and that his “work in this area has extraordinary potential to inform national policy and military strategy”. The report also sta ted, “His unique interests have captured the interest and attention of peers and mentors alike”.
• His Officer Evaluation Report for July 2008 to June 2009 gave him passing marks for all even Army Values and all 15 Leadership Attributes.90 “Islamic studies” was listed under the category of “unique skills” Hasan possessed.91 The evaluation commented on Hasan’s “keen interest in Islamic culture and faith and his shown capacity to contribute to our psychological understanding of Islamic nationalism and how it may relate to events of national security and Army interest in the Middle East and Asia”.
These evaluations bore no resemblance to the real Hasan, a barely competent psychiatrist whose radicalization toward violent Islamist extremism alarmed his colleagues and his superiors. The lone negative mark in the eval uations was the result of Hasan failing to take a physical training test. Other than that, there is not a single criticism or negative comment of Hasan in those evaluations.
Now look at why the FBI dropped the investigation of Hasan after they caught him corresponding with Al-Qaeda:
The DCIS [Defense Criminal Investigative Service] [FBI] agent believed it was relevant that Hasan had not tried to hide his identity [REDACTED] in his communications with the Suspected Terrorist, which the agent believed implied that the communications were legitimate research efforts.
They looked as Hasan’s juiced up performance reviews and concluded that his contacts with Al-Qaeda were legitimate research. If the truth was in his performance reports the DCIS would have been all over him.