Guy W. Farmer: Fort Hood shooter is a terrorist, plain and simple

I blame political correctness for the reluctance of the Defense Department and mainstream media to recognize the obvious fact that the Fort Hood shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, is an Islamic terrorist.

Maj. Hasan, 39, a career under-achiever who was educated at taxpayer expense, opened fire in a crowded Fort Hood reception center 10 days ago, killing 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounding 30, some critically. There is no valid ideological and/or religious explanation for the major's cold-blooded killing spree, and I don't want to hear any more nonsense about how he was harassed or misunderstood by his military superiors. Hasan volunteered for military service and is solely responsible for his despicable actions.

Maj. Hasan was a mentally disturbed psychiatrist - a ticking time bomb who was counseling fellow soldiers going into battle or returning from service in war zones. Given his sub-par performance ratings and opposition to wars in Muslim countries, how could Hasan have been retained in his sensitive position, and promoted?

"I don't care how hard-up the Army is for mental health professionals, Dr. Hasan ... should not have been shipped off to Fort Hood," said veteran CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, who criticized the Army for "shuffling off" this troubled officer from Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Fort Hood, Texas, the nation's largest military installation.

Unfortunately, that's common practice in the federal government, where no one is ever fired for incompetence. I had to deal with that deplorable practice several times during my U.S. Foreign Service career.

Maj. Hasan committed a horrific terrorist act apparently based on his religious convictions and his personal opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!" (God is great) as he opened fire after exchanging e-mails with a radical imam who moved from Northern Virginia to Yemen after 9/11.

"This was an Islamist terrorist attack, and I'm sorry if it's inconvenient for Washington to face that fact," wrote Army Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters, an international terrorism expert. "The Army let Hasan slide because he was part of a protected minority" - political correctness at its worst. Enough already!

• Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, resides in Carson City.


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