Pentagon report on Ford Hood massacre doesn't mention Islam
January 22, 2010
Pentagon report on Fort Hood is a travesty that doesn't even mention Islam
By James Corum
In November, after the killing of 13 US soldiers and the wounding of 28 others by a Muslim US Army Major, I wrote a blog post predicting that President Obama's picks to head the special investigation would come up with a conclusion report that would meet the standards of political correctness, and studiously avoid putting any blame on military leaders or policies that allowed such a dangerous threat to progress through the promotion system. I predicted as much because the top investigators, Mr Togo West and Admiral Vernon Clark, were two Clinton-era appointees who had been central figures in pushing PC personnel policies on the forces.
For decades, the military fostered "diversity" and "affirmative action" policies that established lower recruitment, promotion, and performance standards for politically favoured ethnic groups. Despite the negative effects on morale and efficiency these policies have had, they could not be criticised by anyone who valued his or her career.
Unfortunately, my prediction that the Obama administration report on Fort Hood would be a whitewash has proven spot-on correct. The Defence Department just released the official report called "Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood." The document is worse than nonsense; it is a travesty and an insult to US armed forces.
In an 86-page report dealing with a mass murder that has clearly been linked to radical Islam, the authors failed to mention Islam once! The most fundamental questions about the shootings were studiously ignored. Not only was there no mention of the role Islam and Islamic radical teaching played in the killings, the question of how an officer as incompetent and troubled as Major Nidal Hassan could make it through personnel reviews and even be promoted was never directly asked. If it had been, West and Clark would have had to question the policies they had established – and that would never do.
The report failed to note some of the central facts of the case. For example, the perpetrator, Major Hassan, was never refereed to by name but as "the alleged perpetrator." The report concentrated its efforts on issues such as base emergency response plans. In a way, this is a good idea because the politically correct policies of the Obama administration will do nothing to prevent future Islamist-inspired attacks and so we'd better have a good casualty response system ready for the next mass killing.
As far as preventing future attacks, the report came up with the idea to "develop a program to educate DOD personnel about indicators…" (p 12). But this was not a case in which subtle behaviour indicators were missed. There were years of serious professional problems with this officer. There were some very unsubtle "behaviour indicators" that included showing up in the Intelligence files for corresponding with terror-supporting mullahs.
The Obama administration will welcome this report, as it holds no one accountable, does not question past policies and, most importantly, does not indicate that there might be even a slight problem with radical Islam. However, with so many people dead, this is an issue that will not go away.
A report this bad makes the Obama administration look foolish and undermines the increasingly tattered credibility of the Secretary of Defence Gates and the Pentagon that issued it. By avoiding the central issues, the report is inviting Republicans to demand a real investigation and real accountability.
The administration will, of course, avoid any real investigation for now. But if the Democrats lose control of Congress in 2010 there will be no stopping a thorough investigation that will expose decades of disastrous Pentagon policies. In covering up so enthusiastically for the administration and its policies, Togo West and Vernon Clark have done Obama no favours.
James Corum is Dean of the Baltic Defence College in Estonia. He has taught at American and British staff colleges and is the author of seven books on military history and counter-insurgency. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve (rtd) and has 28 years' experience as an army officer.