January 26, 2017
Office of the President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear Mr. President:
I write to urge you, among your first acts as Commander in Chief, to close the book on one of the most disgraceful pages in the history of the United States Army.
On November 5, 2009, Nadal Hasan, a Major and a psychiatrist in the United States Army Medical Corps, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, murdered 13 people and injured 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas.
That massacre was investigated by the Department of Defense, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and by the United States Senate. The FBI concluded that Hasan acted alone, and not in concert with any terrorist organization; the Department of Defense report called Hasan’s action “workplace violence”; and the Senate described the mass shooting as the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.
In August of 2013, a panel of 13 officers convicted him of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder, and unanimously recommended that he be dismissed from the service and sentenced to death.
Despite that recommendation, Hasan remains incarcerated in the custody of the United States Army to this day. Not only has the Army failed to carry out the judgment of execution, but it has indirectly excused Nasan’s heinous action as that of an “enemy combatant.” Relying on an amendment to an appropriation bill, the Army has awarded the Purple Heart, legally reserved for battlefield injuries, to victims of the Fort Hood Massacre.
It is patently obvious that the Army’s failure to carry out the execution of Hasan can be traced to the Commander in Chief, if not by his direct order, then by permitting the chain of command to assume the wishes of their civilian superior.
President Bush, in the face of the 9/11 massacre, concluded that it was an act of war. For want of any more culpable adversary, he launched a retaliatory attack on Iraq, the nation against which his Father had waged war a decade before.
Barack Obama attempted to redirect the conflict from classical warfare to a struggle for the hearts and minds of the followers of Muhammad. His conciliatory speech in Cairo on June 4, 2009, just six months into his first term was aptly entitled “A New Beginning.” For the next seven and a half years, he tip-toed around the existence of radical Islamic terrorism, hoping all the while that his own Muslim inheritance and his acceptance and admiration of Islamic history and tradition would win enough friends in Mosques around the world to stifle the terrorist fringe.
You have aptly characterized his strategy as weakness. It is patently obvious that his attitude toward Nidal Hasan has been influenced by a fear that the recommended execution would trigger a frenzy of retribution by the most radical of the Islamic Terrorists.
By electing you, the American people have sent a signal to the world that Islamic Terrorism will be treated as exactly what it is: an irrational religious cult which is committed to achieving domination of human society by every form of criminal force and terrorism.
Calling it by its true name, Radical Islamic Terrorism, you have identified the culprits as criminals, enemies of civilized society, who are not to be reasoned with or placated , but who must be eradicated from the planet.
Internationally, they cannot be allowed to establish a Caliphate, or permitted to sit among the nations of the civilized world as an equal. Domestically, they must be summoned to the bar of justice for every violation of the laws of the United States, and subjected to the full measure of criminal punishment permitted under our Constitution and our laws.
You, Mr. President, can set a stirring example of this classic American response to domestic terrorism by allowing Nidal Hasan to be dispachted in the manner provided by law.
Thomas E. Brennan
Thomas E. Brennan
Former Chief Justice of Michigan