Nidal Hasan isn’t in the news. I can’t find his name in the New York Times or in USA Today. Not last week or last month.
The most recent public mention of the army psychiatrist who murdered thirteen people and wounded dozens more at Fort Hood in 2009 was a story on April 10, 2015 to the effect that 47 people who were injured in the Fort Hood massacre were given either the Purple Heart or the Defense of Freedom Medal.
The Purple Heart has normally been reserved for members of the U.S. military who are wounded in battle. That qualification has been expanded to include members of the armed services who are injured on American soil by acts of international terrorism.
I pondered this story. Certainly the Fort Hood casualties were not injured in battle. If they had been, are we to assume that Nidal Hasan is now classified as an enemy combatant? Or if it was an act of international terrorism, has it been determined that Hasan was acting on instructions from a foreign terrorist organization?
In either case, I have to wonder if the decision to award those medals – which, incidentally involved a reversal of the original classifications of the offense as work place fatigue and/or domestic homicide, might just foretell a request for a new trial based on the claim that Hasan was, indeed, an enemy combatant.
Far fetched as that may sound, the fact is that in August of 2014 Hasan wrote to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spiritual leader of ISIS, to request that he be admitted to citizenship in the Islamic caliphate Baghdadi leads.
Hasan perpetrated the Fort Hood massacre on November 5, 2009, more than six years ago. The history of his confinement and trial since then is a disgraceful account of American military ineptitude, bungling, stumbling and procrastination.
It took almost four years just to bring Hasan to trial. Among other nonsensical delays was one incident of judicial paralysis brought about by the defendant’s refusal to shave his face before appearing in court.
The best I can divine out of the current Fort Hood news blackout is that Nidal Hasan has been convicted of murder, and the jury has returned a recommendation of the death penalty.
I think we can assume that the jury recommendation will require some sort of judicial confirmation; that sooner or later Hasan will be brought before a military court and a military judge will pronounce the sentence of death by whatever means is specified in the code of military justice, and will order that the sentence be carried out on a day certain to be pronounced by the court.
That court order will trigger immediate appeals, both to the higher ups in the military chain of command and to the Article III courts of the United States, including the Supreme Court.
There is one thing I can predict with almost moral certainty: Nidal Hasan will not be executed during the tenure of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States.
From his first moments in office, the forty-fourth President of the United States has postured himself as a diplomatic link between the people of the United States and the 1.7 billion Muslims on Planet Earth. By his name, his paternity, his early education and his political disposition, the President has been perceived as a good will ambassador, whose presence in the White House was supposed by many to be insurance against Islamic hostility.
It has not been so. Neither has the era of domestic post-racial brotherhood he predicted come to pass. Americans have been disillusioned by the ineffectiveness of symbolism especially when augmented by indecision and procrastination.
The Obama era is coming to a close. America needs and perforce will have new leadership. I have Tweeted the major Presidential candidates and the news media, asking who will announce that on his or her first day in office the army will be instructed to carry our the sentence on Nidal Hasan.
The silence is deafening.