Contrasting Incidents

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In the past few years, there have been two major tragedies involving our military personnel. One quite recently, and the other from a few years back. Although they were similar in result, I believe the motivations to be completely different.

The most recent one of course is that of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. The incident from a few years back, if you recall, is that of Major Nidal Hasan. You would have to be living under a rock not to know about Sgt. Bales, but when one was the last time you heard about the Major.

If you recall, in 2009 Major Nidal Hasan, yelling “Allahu Akbar!”, ran through a compound at Fort Hood Texas, killing 13 unarmed military personnel and wounded 29 more.

Refusing to call it what it was, an act of terrorism, the Obama Defense Department classified the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence”.

Now we have Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who has charged with multiple counts of murder for the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians. It is doubtful that the Obama administration will tie this one up with a pretty bow.

Evidently what Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales did was far more heinous than the actions of Hasan.

How could this be? How is what Sgt. Bales did so much worse than what Maj. Hasan did?

Well, that’s an easy one to answer. The fact is Maj. Hasan is in a politically protected class. He’s a Moslem. Sgt. Bales is a white American. Yes, Sgt. Bales did allegedly kill innocent civilians, but were the Afghan civilians anymore innocent than the unarmed military personnel murdered by Hassan at Fort Hood?

To any reasonable person, the answer should surely be no.

Contrasting Sgt. Bales and Major Hasan is fairly simple. From interviews of friends and fellow military men, Sgt. Bales appeared to be a model soldier. I’m no psychiatrist, but after four long tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, not to mention a foot and head injury, it appears that Sgt. Bales may have just flipped out. That is certainly no excuse for what he did, but from all the accounts I’ve read it certainly doesn’t appear as if this was premeditated. It was still a horrible act of violence and one that he should pay a steep price. He should, however, pay no steeper price than the dear Major.

On the other hand, Major Hasan had at least 18 e-mail communiqués, intercepted by intelligence agencies, to and from known Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. I’m sure this is a common occurrence in the military. 

It happens to me every week. There are I was, just sitting in my office, when all of a sudden an e-mail appears from an Al Qaeda operative. If I had a nickel for every time that happened…

Hassan was also known to have tried to convert disgruntled military personnel to Islam and thereby radicalize them.

Major Hasan is still receiving his full military pay plus all his medical expenses are paid for, three years after the fact. I suppose that is reasonable. He is after all, innocent until proven guilty. Hasan is not due to go to trial until June of 2012, three years after the “workplace incident”. This may very well be typical of military trials but it seems to be excessively slow.

I will bet, for political expediency, Sgt. Bales trial will somehow be fast tracked.

The Hasan case sould be a slam dunk. He is guilty. There were plenty of witnesses to attest to that. There apparently are few if any in the Bales case.

If Bales and Hasan are found guilty of these brutal attacks, they should be executed. Let’s hope they both receive a fair trial and let justice prevail.