One thousand and fourteen days. One hundred and forty-five weeks. That how long the thirteen families who lost their sons, husbands and fathers will have waited until the court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan begins in late August. And that date could be extended once again, perhaps until after the election in November. Where is the timely justice for these families? How many of the families have called the White House and asked when will they receive closure?
From the Killeen Daily Herald – kdhnews.com from April 24th, 2012, by Phillip Jankowski, we read:
FORT HOOD – A military judge delayed the court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan for the second time, pushing it back more than two months.
The accused Fort Hood shooter’s trial was set to start in mid-June, but his military-appointed attorneys last week sought a continuance until October.
The presiding judge Col. Gregory Gross partially granted the defense request April 18, setting an Aug. 20 start date for seating the jury.
Lead defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris R. Poppe asked for the second postponement to give Hasan’s legal team more time to review evidence documents that he described as “staggering.”
Hasan could face the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted pre-meditated murder for the Nov. 5, 2009, shootings on post. Originally, the Army psychiatrist’s court-martial was set for March.
The deadly incident has been described as the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.
Fort Hood police shot Hasan the day of the shootings, and he’s now paralyzed from the waist down. He remains in custody at Bell County Jail.
Thank you Mr. Jankowski, a solid piece of reporting on an important national issue.
Hmmm, I wonder how the New York Times spun this continuance of the court-martial until August 20th? Go to nytimes.com, type in “Nidal Hasan” in the search box and…are you kidding me ? The New York Times search engine shows only one reference to Nidal Hasan this entire year. Here is that entire reference, a single sentence; “In that year , the authorities were surprised by a series of terrorist plots or attacks, including the killing of 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., by an Army psychiatrist who had embraced radical Islam, Maj. Nidal Hasan.” The article was ironically titled “Radical U.S. Muslims Little Threat, Study Says.” I couldn’t make this up.
Wait a second that just cannot be right. Let’s try “Nidal Malik Hasan” in the NY Times Topics section. OK, there are a handful of more current references including a February 2012 article concerning the problems Maj. Hasan’s family have faced since the shootings. But I found no current news or updates on the shooting itself, the court martial, or the families of the dead soldiers.
So, when was the last article the New York Times published any news concerning Maj. Nidal Hasan and his court martial? July 20th, 2011. Nine months and twenty-three days ago. Nothing since then either about the series of controversial defense continuances and their political implications or any new stories about the families of the soldiers who were killed in “… the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.”
Was this lack of current information a deliberate omission to tamp down the emotions surrounding this heinous terrorist act by a Muslim in an election year? After all, the base commander reported Hasan shouting, “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire. Could a rational observer harbor any doubts as to Hasan’s motive for the shooting spree? In an unexpected homage to George Orwell, the Department of Defense classified the thirteen deaths as “workplace violence.” I couldn’t make this up.
Did the Washington Post report the new continuance until August 20th? Yes, according to Google, but the article is no longer available. How about CBS? Yes, the dfw. cbslocal.com had the story on its website and the CBS national website ran the AP wire story. Did it run on the CBS Evening News? The story doesn’t have a video link, so I can’t be sure. How about NPR and the Chicago Tribune? They ran articles about the defense asking for a continuance, but don’t list any follow up articles; how nine days later the court-martial date was moved to August 20th. The websites for the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle had nothing on the August continuance, so the New York Times is in good company.
Will the court-martial begin on August 20th? Presumably so, but there are powerful political considerations involved with having a Muslim, with a Palestinian heritage who murdered US soldiers, leading the evening news each day. Will the mainstream television networks give daily, wall-to-wall coverage of Hasan’s court-martial? A very intriguing question, with so many ramifications.
Let’s look at of the speed of military justice in another high-profile court-martial. The My Lai Massacre was finally brought to the attention of the Pentagon, the Washington political establishment and the national media in March of 1969, a year after the actual incident. Twenty months later, Lt. Calley’s court-martial got underway. (He was convicted of premeditated murder after a four-month trial and was initially sentenced to life in prison at hard labor. Two days later, then President Richard Nixon had Calley released from prison, pending his appeal. Calley ended up serving a total of three and half years under house arrest at Ft. Benning, Georgia.)
Do you recall the soulful song “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”?
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure – Measure A Year?
In Daylights – In Sunsets
In Midnights – In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches – In Miles
In Laughter – In Strife
In – Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure
A Year In The Life?
These military families have endured almost two and half years without their murdered loved ones. And while our Commander in Chief may feign concern, we all clearly understand that justice has been uncommonly and unacceptably delayed. This delay- political in nature – has brought to the forefront our President’s contemptuous disregard for military, and specifically, for the emotional closure of the families of the fallen.