A good speech with a superb ending. Skip ahead to 11:18 of the clip or scroll down to the paragraph that begins “For history is filled with heroes” and go from there. This isn’t the first time The One’s risen to the occasion for a military address: His speech at Camp Lejeune in February was also surprisingly strong, albeit surreal given his prior rhetoric on Iraq. (Same here in the jarringly Bushian line, “They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war.”) I don’t know if his speechwriters are simply inspired by the subject or if his military rhetoric profits from the contrast with his usual gassy “we are the world” Hopenchange pap, but he did well today. And laying a challenge coin at each of the memorials was an elegant tribute.
Stephanopoulos thinks The One signaled here that he too now subscribes to the terrorism theory of Hasan’s attack. I think that’s already fairly clear from the fact that the president and Gen. Casey attended today; a simple lone nut scenario involving a guy who, say, just got laid off and opened fire in frustration wouldn’t have drawn the same response. Most of you will have read the new WaPo story by now about Hasan delivering a jihadbot lecture at Walter Reed two years ago during what was supposed to have been a medical presentation. What you might not have read is Time’s new piece confirming that that wasn’t the only time he got his jihad on in full view of military personnel:
This officer said he was so surprised when Hasan gave a talk about “the war on terror being a war on Islam” that he asked the lieutenant colonel running the course what Hasan’s presentation had to do with health care. “I raised my hand and asked, `Why are you letting this go on — this has nothing to do with environmental health.’ The course director said, `I’m just going to let him go.'” The topic of Hasan’s presentation, the officer says, had been approved in advance by the lieutenant colonel.…
A retired four-star officer says that, based on the evidence gleaned so far, it was Hasan’s career that should have been cut short. “They could have given — him a dishonorable discharge and said what he’s doing works against good order and discipline,” said the general, who also requested anonymity. But rather than any preferential treatment given to Hasan because of his religion, “My guess is he fell through the cracks,” the general said.
The officer who was at Hasan’s presentation thinks “the cracks” had nothing to do with it, that it was a straight-up case of political correctness that kept him on. Exit quotation from Patrick Poole, who lectured an audience of officers about this very problem two years ago and is still waiting for concrete action to be taken: “The military brass can’t claim that they haven’t been warned.”