Why was Hasan still in the Army?

posted at 9:30 am on November 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

About three hours ago, the AP finally joined the Washington Post and some other national news organizations in reporting the “troubling portrait” of Nidal Malik Hasan, the man believed responsible for 13 deaths and dozens of wounded at the world’s largest army base.  In hearing these details, many people wonder why the Army had ordered Hasan into a war zone — and perhaps why Hasan remained in the military at all:

For six years before reporting for duty at Fort Hood, Texas, in July, the 39-year-old Army major worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center pursuing his career in psychiatry, as an intern, a resident and, last year, a fellow in disaster and preventive psychiatry. He received his medical degree from the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in 2001.

While an intern at Walter Reed, Hasan had some “difficulties” that required counseling and extra supervision, said Dr. Thomas Grieger, who was the training director at the time. …

At least six months ago, Hasan came to the attention of law enforcement officials because of Internet postings about suicide bombings and other threats, including posts that equated suicide bombers to soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save the lives of their comrades.

They had not determined for certain whether Hasan is the author of the posting, and a formal investigation had not been opened before the shooting, said law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case. …

On a form filled out by those seeking spouses through a program at the mosque, Hasan listed his birthplace as Arlington, Va., but his nationality as Palestinian, Khan said.

“I don’t know why he listed Palestinian,” Khan said, “He was not born in Palestine.”

USA Today has even more this morning:

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin, was briefed by military officials and said Hasan had taken some unusual classes for someone studying about mental health.

“He took a lot of extra classes in weapons training, which seems a little odd for a psychiatrist,” McCaul said.

McCaul said Hasan had received poor grades for his work at Walter Reed and was not happy about his situation in Fort Hood, where Hasan apparently felt like “he didn’t fit in.”

“He’s disgruntled because he had a poor performance evaluation, he doesn’t believe in the mission, he’s looking at getting transferred to Afghanistan or Iraq,” McCaul said. “He’s not happy about all that.”

McCaul added that officials planned to interview Hasan to try to determine for sure that he was not working with foreign agents.

“From an intelligence standpoint, that’s key, finding out if he talked to anyone overseas,” McCaul said.

With all of these red flags, why was Hasan still in position to get deployed into a war zone?  Why hadn’t the Army taken action to isolate Hasan, or remove him entirely?  A Hot Air reader who served as a medical officer at Fort Hood earlier in this decade explains that the military has a great reluctance to act against his former colleagues, and that promotion of marginal medical officers is not unusual at all:

It is true that the promotion for medical and dental officers in the Army is extraordinarily easy. Just as long as you don’t kill anyone, fraternize with enlisted or come out of the closet, and get decent Officer Evaluation Reports, you’ll easily make Lieutenant Colonel in 20 years. With a little more work and additional schooling, you could make full Colonel. But basically you can set your clock to getting promoted every 7 years. So he may have had one bad report, but probably did barely enough to get him through the promotion board. But we don’t know what “bad” means…he may have simply failed the physical fitness tests, or he may have no clinical skills at all.

The Army has a unique way of handling providers who pose an obvious threat to soldiers they are supposed to care for. We had one dental officer who practiced dentistry far below the standard of care. He was moved first to doing examinations only (the most benign job) and eventually moved to an administrative job. The Army unfortunately can’t fire anyone, they just take them out of the equation or move them around to where they can’t hurt anyone. Being released from the military is a different story. Hasan’s obligation to the military depends on how much ROTC time, medical school time and residency time added up to. So if the Army paid for his education, he is obligated to serve, and there’s almost no way out of that. He could pay the Army back that money and get out of the contract, but that’s a long, long paper trail. There’s always the conscientious objector route, but if he was sincere, and not the loon he is appearing to be, his chain of command (superior officers) might have exempted him from deployment. However, he is a medical officer and NOT a combat soldier, so that argument just about flies out the window, since his role is medical support, and not combat. I’ve heard a lot of ways out of deployment (ie Ehren Watada, Tina Mahuika) and each case is unique. Ultimately the final decision can be influenced by the chain of command’s perception of the officer.

So not only would the Army be highly reluctant to discharge him, Hasan probably had few options for leaving the service, assuming that the Army paid for his medical education. That explains his rank, and his predicament in getting shipped out to Iraq and/or Afghanistan.   As a medical officer and not (necessarily) a combat officer, the conscientious objector route would not have applied anyway.

We’ll keep up with this story during the day as more developments occur.

Update: I agree with Rick Moran to some extent that casting this as an example of a pending wave of Islamic jihad in the US is just a wee bit premature, as well as a pending wave of fraggings over US war policy, etc etc etc.  Hasan appears to be a lunatic whose motivations — at least as far as we know at this point — are entirely his own delusions.  We shouldn’t be afraid to report the facts, but we should be wary about drawing wide-reaching conclusions from them until we have a lot more certainty.


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Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

No, little man, it’s the fault of the army and its policies
Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Make up your simple mind @$$-wipe. Earlier today you called me a “Big Smart Boy”. You were closer the first time. I tower over you, physically and mentally.

ronnyraygun on November 6, 2009 at 4:41 PM
—–
Now THAT’S funny. Ha!

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Time to bring back public hangings.

Greed on November 6, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Draw and quarter him in public and feed four swine with the remains.

NoDonkey on November 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM

I’m not in denial whatsoever. I’m well aware of the extremists’ agenda.

The more extremists who die the happier I am.

It’s the knee jerk ALL MUSLIMS ARE EXTREMISTS AND CANNOT BE TRUSTED that is so stupid.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:33 PM

You are such a freaking hypocrite. When Palin was harassed out of office you thought it was funny, because she was some right winger dummie or whatever, you have no problem passing judgment on all sorts of people every day. Anyone right of center sucks as far as you are concerned. And yet, somehow or other the fact that there are people out there who might have the same sort of mindset concerning Muslims just totally offends your delicate sensibilities.

BTW, if the military had kicked this man out of the Army, wanna bet there would not have been a stink about it?

Terrye on November 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM

And btw, Dave, I don’t hate all Muslims. I do hate radical Islam however, and the truth is one of the reasons it exists is that there are not enough people in the Muslim world who are willing to stand up to these people.

Terrye on November 6, 2009 at 4:49 PM

And btw, Dave, I don’t hate all Muslims. I do hate radical Islam however, and the truth is one of the reasons it exists is that there are not enough people in the Muslim world who are willing to stand up to these people.

Terrye on November 6, 2009 at 4:49 PM
——
I too wish painful death on all the extremists.

Even if the ball-less leadership grew some and spoke out against the extremists I really wonder if it would do any good. It would have to be a sweeping act of hundreds of millions of people acting out and killing the tiny minority of a$$holes. I doubt that will ever happen, so military intervention is the best solution, and that unfortunately comes with collateral damage that (in my view) is acceptable.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:56 PM

You are such a freaking hypocrite. When Palin was harassed out of office you thought it was funny, because she was some right winger dummie or whatever, you have no problem passing judgment on all sorts of people every day. Anyone right of center sucks as far as you are concerned. And yet, somehow or other the fact that there are people out there who might have the same sort of mindset concerning Muslims just totally offends your delicate sensibilities.

BTW, if the military had kicked this man out of the Army, wanna bet there would not have been a stink about it?

Terrye on November 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM
———
I don’t even understand what you’re saying I did. I think Palin IS bad for your country. She isn’t smart enough to lead.

The mindset that all Muslims cannot be trusted is as stupid as the all Japanese cannot be trusted back in the 40′s.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:58 PM

BTW, if the military had kicked this man out of the Army, wanna bet there would not have been a stink about it?
Terrye on November 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM
———–

No stink at all. Because there would be documented evidence of his stupid rantings and ravings. Nobody would defend him. Not even jacka$$ Sharpton.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:59 PM

No stink at all. Because there would be documented evidence of his stupid rantings and ravings. Nobody would defend him. Not even jacka$$ Sharpton.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Under which Article of the UCMJ would hasan have been dismissed? And, if he had been dismissed, what would have been the reaction from the ACLU? CAIR? Other advocacy groups?

As a retired career federal officer, I can assure you that any official who went to higher authority and tried to make a case for dismissal of a person based on religious views would have been told to mind his own damn business.

Since Hasan’s alleged views were tied in whole to his religion, yes, there would have been a huge stink.

coldwarrior on November 6, 2009 at 5:18 PM

I heard he yelled “Allah Akbar!” before opening fire. That tells me all I need to know about his motivation. Everythig else is just smokescreen for the PC crowd…

I am an Army PA and have seen this for years. Officer gets education paid for… then wants out. I have seen them fail Physical Fitness tests, get pregnant, acquire strange and “convienient” injuries that prevent them from wearing body armor/helmets… they ALL did their time. The Army will get it’s pound of flesh (they already paid for it). I don’t blame them. I blame those who heard this islamic lunatic make antiAmerican comments and didn’t say anything. do that around Soldier from Combat Arms units (who don’t get as much “sensitivity” training) and no wonder he felt like people harassed him.

BadBrad on November 6, 2009 at 5:28 PM

No stink at all. Because there would be documented evidence of his stupid rantings and ravings. Nobody would defend him. Not even jacka$$ Sharpton.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:59 PM

I bet CAIR would…

BadBrad on November 6, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Infanticide is contrary to all faiths except atheism.

Jerricho68 on November 6, 2009 at 1:20 PM
——
2 dozen children on a bus died in that massive bomb in Iraq recently. So Islam is perfectly fine with killin’ kids.

Atheism isn’t a faith, fool.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Of course it is.

Jerricho68 on November 6, 2009 at 5:32 PM

If he was alive, they knew it. If was dead, they were sure! He wasnt resurrected til the FBI showed up. All seems odd.

OSUBuciz1 on November 6, 2009 at 10:02 AM
Yes, it does seem odd it took about 5 hours to mention he “is” still alive. I won’t speculate. I would just like the truth.

diogenes on November 6, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Isn’t this a case against allowing muslims in the country in the first place? Even morse against giving them any positions of authority. The US is in effect waging a war for modern Western values and against the backwards, exploitative and aggressive cult of islam. Why then let agents of the enemy infiltrate the armed forces?

JC Silverberg on November 6, 2009 at 5:58 PM

WOW! Even FNC said nobody knows why this guy “snapped”. My guess is that he snapped just like bin laden snapped and stole 4 passenger jets.

obleo on November 6, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Comparing him with pigs is so irresponsibe to pigs.
Dr Phil comes on (he is a mere psychologist) and is called on his psychobabble. Then a black solder starts calling non pc people Very dnagerous. Guess what. A Psychiatrist is for real under an oath to do no harm. He never committed to that oath and he decided to prove it. The Hyppocratic oath and Islam are noc compatible.

seven on November 6, 2009 at 7:24 PM

If they try to push the idea that the stress of an impending deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan had anything to do with this blow up, they are almost as nuts as he may be. Iraq, while it still sees the occasional suicide bombing, is in recovery/rebuilding mode and so far as Afghanistan goes, very little of the fighting in near any of the major bases.

Being as this dude was a shrink, I don’t think he’d find himself any closer to the fighting than a clerk at a Base here in the US….well except for a clerk at the US base HE shot up.

Also, I heard some comments that being a Muslim, he shouldn’t be sent off to fight other Muslims. Well again, B.S. shrinks don’t fight, even in war zones, they stay quite safely behind the very well fortified perimeter of a base, and never have need of firing a gun in anger….well at least not at the actual enemy.

Besides, considering where all the car bombs go off in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who the primary targets are, I’d say Muslims killing Muslims is not an unusual phenomenon. If Taliban Muslims have no problem killing non-Taliban Muslims, I see no reason why a non-Taliban Muslim should be any less hesitant to repay the Taliban the same courtesy.

flyfishingdad on November 6, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Another muslim scum bag killer nothing to see here

Denniscat on November 6, 2009 at 8:33 PM

The mindset that all Muslims cannot be trusted is as stupid as the all Japanese cannot be trusted back in the 40’s.

Dave Rywall on November 6, 2009 at 4:58 PM

How many munition plants did Japanese civilians blow up in World War Two?

Chris_Balsz on November 6, 2009 at 8:42 PM

There have been white supremists that were discovered in the military and they were released immediantly. Our Military is becoming Politicized and this is very dangerous.The military is NO PLACE for this kind of appeasement it makes everyone of our family members in a more and more dangerous place right here in there own country under the guise of the Military in control of every aspect of your life, but if you are not, white and christian everything else is appeased and second guessed! This is either the beginning of the end of our freedoms or the beginning of our fight for our way of life, to be “AMERICAN” it is not a dirty word!

peoriaindian on November 6, 2009 at 9:13 PM

PC muslim turd!!!

jgdp on November 6, 2009 at 10:18 PM

But Ed, how does one differentiate clearly between this lunatic “whose motivations . . . are entirely his own delusions” and those lunatics who share their delusions with Ayman al-Zawahiri. They all end up committing mass murder, so why be so tentative?

What other explanation has anybody given us for Hasan’s actions? Are we laying out his defense ahead of time? When somebody provides one, I’m going to demand that somebody in authority provide us with some better explanations than just, “Let’s not jump to conclusions!”

flataffect on November 7, 2009 at 2:22 AM

Draw and quarter him in public and feed four swine with the remains.

Not before shrub w. bush and Mr Defermentx5 Cheney in relation to 4,000+ US soldiers and 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead.

kokobin on November 7, 2009 at 3:01 AM

kokobin on November 7, 2009 at 3:01 AM

BushCheneyHaliburton!… BushCheneyHaliburton! Another broken puppet monkey troll. Welcome $#!+ for brains. Prepare to be mocked and ridiculed. I see you got your figures from the Rev. Jerry Wrong and company.

ronnyraygun on November 7, 2009 at 8:01 AM

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