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Fort Hood review may challenge political correctness up the ranks

Critics want Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey fired for being too concerned about ‘diversity’ amid Fort Hood carnage. Will Obama go that far?

By Staff writer / November 14, 2009

A flag flies at half-staff during a memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting last week.



President Obama says he will hold accountable those who ignored Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s alleged fanaticism as US investigators try to unravel the prologue to last Thursday’s 4-minute rampage that left 14 dead (including an unborn child) and 29 wounded at Fort Hood, Texas.

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“If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability,” Obama said in his Saturday morning radio address. “[We] must quickly and thoroughly evaluate and address any flaws in the system, so that we can prevent a similar breach from happening again.”

The review is likely to come up not just against individuals who failed to heed numerous red flags thrown up by Maj. Hasan, but a system that some say has gone too far in coddling certain populations to the harm of the military as a whole. Some critics trace the source of political correctness that may have played a role in the Fort Hood massacre straight up to the Pentagon. But will the President?

“In the military everybody has to be treated the same, it’s what holds everybody together,” says Elaine Donnelly, the president of the Center for Military Readiness, a non-partisan group that focuses primarily on military personnel. “You have horizontal cohesion among the troops and you have vertical cohesion between the commander in chief and the troops that he leads. The vertical cohesion is now at risk, and the President should restore it, and realize this was not a breach, as he says, but a consequence of skewed priorities.”

To be sure, the Army has always been a leader in social equality, including efforts to integrate in the Jim Crow era, per the orders of President Harry Truman.

But traditionally the strength of the US military has been that it treats everybody the same.

Today’s diversity-conscious Army is moving in a different direction, critics say, molding itself to the sensitivities of the few, including recent waivers to allow a Sikh soldier to wear a beard.

Moreover, NPR reported that Army professionals taken aback by Hasan’s bizarre behavior explained that, in reporting him to superiors, they were “worried that they might be ‘discriminating’ against Hasan because of his seemingly extremist Islamic beliefs.”

Other red flags include the opinion expressed by one doctor at Walter Reed military hospital that he wouldn’t want to share a foxhole with Hasan.