This column originally appeared on Townhall.com on November 30, 2009.
We don’t yet know how bad the Ft. Hood shooter’s case was. We do not know–and we must find out–how it was possible for an Army medical officer to openly express treasonous statements and not be court martialed. We do not know if the shooter or his family members were under surveillance by the FBI or other federal law enforcement agencies. We must soon find out.
But we do know this much: Gen. George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, raced to the Sunday morning talk shows to express his deep concern. Gen. Casey’s concern was not for American victory in the war on terror, not for the safety of the American people, nor for the safety of U.S. military personnel. Gen. Casey’s greatest concern was for diversity.
He said if diversity was a “casualty,” then it would be an even greater tragedy than the murders of fourteen innocent Americans.
If we want to know how such an obvious terror threat was ignored, how such a mass killer was enabled, we need look no further than the command climate created by Gen. Casey and his politically correct subordinates.
If you are serving in a forward unit of the Army today, can you have confidence that your fellow soldier can be trusted to “have your back?” Can you sleep soundly in an Army barracks wondering whether your bunkmate might be a jihadist?
Unit cohesion is essential to any effective fighting force. Troops must trust one another when their lives are on the line. By winking at treason, Gen. Casey and his subordinates allowed Major Nidal Hasan’s conduct to unfortunately taint every Muslim currently serving in the U.S. military.
No one has a right to serve. Service is an honor and a privilege. But it is not a right. Color-blind people, people with heart murmurs are perfectly loyal Americans. It casts no aspersion on them or their families to be excluded from military service.
All military personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces must demonstrate they are loyal to the United States of America. When they raise their right hand and take that oath before God to protect the Constitution of the United States “from all enemies foreign and domestic,” Americans have a right to expect that that oath will be enforced. No one gets a pass.
This Gen. Casey has clearly failed to do. Nothing could reassure our troops more in the wake of the worst case of domestic terrorism since 9/11 that national security and loyalty to the United States is the first requirement for military service than dismissing Gen. Casey.
Our all-volunteer military should know that even a four-star general is held to the same high standard that we expect of the lowest-ranking enlisted man or woman. From now on, it should be understood by all our serving men and women that you can report disloyal, insubordinate, and treasonous statements by anyone in the military and that that report will be acted upon promptly.
Only if this lesson is forcefully made by the prompt, public dismissal for cause of Gen. Casey will the troops have renewed confidence that they can trust all their fellow soldiers. They must know that the United States will be loyal to them even as they are loyal to the United States.
In this, as in so many things, George Washington said it best. In his historic letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport in 1790, he wrote:
[The] Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
Notice this strong pledge of respect for rights of religious minorities comes with a stern requirement: All good citizens must give their “effectual support.” Can anyone say that Major Hasan–after more than a decade of taxpayer-funded education and special treatment–gave the United States his effectual support? Of course not.
There were warning signs aplenty. Many of the shooter’s classmates and fellow officers raise concerns about this man’s loyalty and reliability. The command climate created by Gen. Casey stifled those warning cries. The result is the death of innocents. Gen. Casey must be replaced as Army chief of staff.