Friday, October 15, 2010

Nidal Hasan Faces His Accusers in a Military Hearing

One news event that's being overshadowed by the political melees breaking out around the country is the military hearing of the Fort Hood Shooter, now in its third day. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether there is probable cause for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to face a court martial. Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Some of Hasan's victims were soldiers waiting for bloodwork or immunizations before deploying to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan or were undergoing medical screening prior to receiving officer training.  Hasan, a psychiatrist whose business card identified him as a "soldier of Allah," himself was supposed to deploy with the 467th Medical Detachment, which had arrived at Fort Hood a day earlier.

Among the injured survivors was another soldier in Hasan's detachment, Specialist Grant Moxon, who threw himself over the body of his squadron leader "in hopes of protecting" the heavily bleeding man" "from the onslaught of bullets."
[Private George Stratton III] said he knew he would be shot after kneeling to help a bleeding friend and then turning to see Hasan, who Stratton said had just reloaded his gun November 5 at the post's Soldier Readiness Processing Center. Stratton, who was shot in the shoulder, echoed testimony of other witnesses on Wednesday at Hasan's Article 32 hearing.

“We looked eye to eye,” now-retired Staff Sergeant Alvin Howard said, “and he just shot me. 

“I will never forget his face,” Howard said when asked if he recognised Hasan in the courtroom.
Staff Sergeant Joy Clark told the court that one of two friends pulled her to the ground when the gunfire began. Lying on the floor, she called her friends' names, then checked their pulses. Captain Russell Seager and Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman had been fatally shot
[Staff Sgt. Patrick] Ziegler spoke carefully and sometimes paused as he described the horror that left his left side so damaged that he had to relearn to walk and his head so riddled with bullet and bone fragments that 20 percent of his brain had to be removed. His fiancée listened intently from an aisle seat, sometimes biting her lip.
Some witnesses testified that Hasan used two weapons, both with laser sights. A number of the witnesses said that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he started shooting.
Several witnesses described watching the gunman stalk wounded soldiers and fire at people on the ground. Testifying from a video link from Afghanistan, Spc. Alan Carroll recounted being hit and then taking three more rounds as he tried to help a wounded comrade. 
"I was told never to leave a fallen colleague," Carroll said. "I needed to get him out with me."
These soldiers' courage must be honored. We forget their nightmare and Hasan's evil intent at our own--and our country's--peril. 

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  1. There are no words to describe Hasan. The filthiest thought in my mind does not even come close.