Our country is being carried off to a dark place by shadowy forces. Today it bears an alarming resemblance to the Bizarro World of Superman comics in the 1960s, where up is down and ugly is beautiful and it is a crime to make anything perfect.
Three news items caught my attention this afternoon, one of which will be discussed in a later post. Two have me feeling like I’m living on Htrae, the cube-shaped planet where Bizarro World is. Clearly there are deeper motives driving the Obama administration’s position in these two cases, but that horrible “someone pinch me and wake me up” feeling is gnawing at my ankles as I’ve delved into these stories.
First, Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist on trial for 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder at Fort Hood in 2009, is representing himself. This means he gets to question jurors and personally interrogate his victims. While the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution gives an American citizen the right to confront witnesses offering testimonial evidence, why is this being treated as workplace violence and not terrorism?
Perhaps that’s a dumb question, because I’ve felt all along that the current presidential administration has downplayed this (and other) incidents committed by jihadists. Hasan has openly stated that he is the shooter and that during his two decades of service in the U.S. Army, he switched sides, realizing that he was on the “wrong” side. Yet he continued his career in uniform, giving him an all-access pass to his victims when he finally decided to unleash his rage on his fellow soldiers.
The mass murders were clearly premeditated; Hasan had purchased firearms and equipment, practiced head and chest shots at a shooting range, and had considered carrying out his plans at a different military installation. He has renounced his citizenship and very strongly declared an allegiance to Allah over the United States. You can read this in his own writing here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2013/08/01/statement-by-nidal-hasan/.
Hasan considered Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Islamic leader sometimes called “the bin Laden of the internet” a mentor, teacher, and friend. Al-Awlaki was a senior operative in Al Qaeda who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. The ACLU filed a suit on his behalf, saying that the American government should not be able to target its own citizens like that. It is an interesting question and one that deserves debate.
Should terrorists who are U.S. citizens be treated as enemy combatants– who knowingly forfeit some of their rights– or should they be processed like common criminals? This is an issue that’s come up in the case of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as well. Usually, to be considered a terrorist, a link between the suspect and a terrorist organization has to be shown. In other words, the suspect is supposed to be part of a larger network to be considered a terrorist.
But isn’t that what these guys are? They’ve been heavily influenced by radical Islamic teachings that say it’s okay to kill others, even your fellow citizens, to establish the rule of Allah. Hasan has made it very clear, both through his actions the day of the Fort Hood massacre and in recent statements, that he considers himself a holy warrior for Islam. He WANTS the death penalty. He WANTS to be a martyr.
There’s an interesting and brief discussion of how to treat terrorists here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129941946.
Personally I am outraged that terrorists who are not American citizens can be tried as criminals in civilian courts and not in military tribunals where they should be. Terrorists are committing acts of war on Americans; there are supposed to be special rules for them. They should not be treated as Americans and having open, public trials can just give them what they want and bring more attention to their causes. This can also give them a much better chance of getting away with murder, literally, because of the technicalities that can arise, the appeals, and so on.
This leads me to the second item in the news today that I found deeply disturbing. The U.S. Justice Department has filed sealed criminal charges against a handful of suspects in the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. That happened almost a year ago and we’re just now getting around to this? Why aren’t these terrorists in custody already? What happened there was so horrific it should have led to Obama’s impeachment, but instead witnesses to the attack are said to be monitored by the CIA and having to undergo monthly polygraph tests.
From the perspective of a crime victims advocate, how both the Hasan and Benghazi murders have played out is a tremendous slap in the face both to the victims and Americans in general. Nidal Hasan’s victims can’t get adequate compensation or benefits because of the paltry and dishonest “workplace violence” label applied to his actions. Now they have to submit to his questions in court, which could victimize some of them again. What happened to the Americans murdered in Libya has been lied about and covered up, and now witnesses to that event are being intimidated by our own government.
Whose side is our president really on? What I’m discussing is not a partisan issue in which liberals and conservatives need to rush to take sides. It’s an “either you stand up for America or you don’t” issue. Obviously both liberals and conservatives can unite as Americans on many things and this should be one of them.
I would say these things about any president or leader who throws his own people under the bus regardless of his political party. I was highly critical of Bush in regard to civil liberties and sleight of hand moves to get us to believe in certain military actions and now I’m disgusted by Obama’s antics. As Americans, we should be standing up for our fellow citizens first and foremost, not making special arrangements for those who murder them in the name of a hateful ideology. Seeing how the executive branch is handling acts of terrorism is quite appalling.
If these were cases of domestic violence we would be asking why the suspects are potentially getting special rights, why the victims and witnesses are being intimidated and silenced, and why the authorities aren’t calling these acts what they are. Advocacy organizations would be stepping up to the plate to be sure the victims’ stories are told. Journalists would be investigating the suspect’s past to find other domestic violence connections. There would be a call for the truth to be told and for the murders to be properly labeled as domestic violence-related.
But here on August 6th, 2013, we seem to be living on a cube where we’re just supposed to believe the illogical spins and let those who’ve declared war on Americans have the spotlight to stir up even more unrest. In the meantime, the victims and witnesses are suffering even more, people are questioning the integrity of our federal government (even more), and those wounded in the Fort Hood shooting aren’t allowed Purple Hearts. Stand in their shoes for a moment and feel just how upside down this all is.
What we need is a serious dose of truth, justice, and the American way in the form of every American peacefully standing up for their fellow citizens and demanding that these acts be treated as terrorism– because they are. Ultimately, if we expect to survive as a free nation, we must always insist on being given and acting upon nothing less than the whole truth.
Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood — the virtues that made America. -Teddy Roosevelt
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