John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 commission and Navy Secretary during the Reagan Administration, says a reluctance to cause offense by citing Hasan’s view of his own Muslim faith and the U.S. military’s activities in Muslim countries as a possible trigger for his alleged rampage reflects a problem that has gotten worse in the 40 years Lehman has spent in and around the U.S. military. The Pentagon report’s silence on Islamic extremism “shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become,” he told TIME on Tuesday. “It’s definitely getting worse, and is now so ingrained that people no longer smirk when it happens.”
The apparent lack of curiosity into what allegedly drove Hasan to kill isn’t in keeping with the military’s ethos; it’s a remarkable omission for the U.S. armed forces, where young officers often are ordered to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War with its command to know your enemy. In midcareer, they study the contrast between capabilities and intentions, which is why they aren’t afraid of a British nuclear weapon but do fear the prospect of Iran getting one.