Hasan Charged With 13 Counts of Premeditated Murder as Obama Calls for Investigation of Warning Signs

150px-Nidal_HasanMaj. Nidal M. Hasan was charged by the Army with 13 counts of premeditated murder. To the chagrin of conservative commentators, he is not charged with terrorism, a controversy I discussed last night on this segment of Rachel Maddow.

While many have been calling for a terrorism charge in the military trial, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not actually have a terrorism provision. Such a charge would be handled in a military tribunal or more likely by waiving jurisdiction in favor of a federal prosecution.

As discussed previously, we have a growing habit of calling every shocking killing a terrorist act today. Many killers are unstable and kill strangers. Many often associate themselves with religious or ideological views, as with George Tiller. However, this does not make them terrorists. You can intend to make a statement with a crime or “go out in a blaze of glory” without being part of an effort to coerce or intimidate a government or society. The parents of Balloon Boy wanted to scare a nation, but they are not terrorists. There is no question that you have a legitimate concern over terrorism with a mass shooting at a military base. However, motivation is central to such a distinction. At the moment, Hasan looks much like other rage killers in recent years. For a prior column on this issue, click here.

At the moment, there is no evidence that this was an act of terrorism, defined by the U.S. Army manual as the “calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies … [to attain] political, religious, or ideological goals.” At the moment, the crime has many of the same characteristics as a workplace rage shooting. It is true that there is evidence that Hasan was becoming radicalized in his views, but there is even more evidence that he was losing his mind. These killings could easily have more to do with rage than religion. The Army is approaching the case with commendable restraint and not jumping to conclusions. At the moment, it is a murder case.

In the meantime, Obama is calling for an inventory of intelligence on Hasan, as accounts grow of indicators of potential violence, here.

Here is the background facts on Hasan from the Post:

Maj. Nidal M. Hasan

– 39 years old.

– U.S. Army psychiatrist.

– 1997 graduate of Virginia Tech University.

– Received doctorate in psychiatry from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.

– From 2003 through this summer, was an intern, a resident and then a fellow at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District.

– Army records show his last address in the 11300 block of Connecticut Avenue in Kensington.

– Commissioned as a captain, he was promoted to major in May.

– He is single and has no children, and he showed no sign of physical or mental problems in examinations as recently as September.

– He is listed by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress as a fellow for disaster and preventive psychology.

– As of Oct. 13, he had less than a year of clinical practice.

– He attended the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring and is a devout, according to Faizul Khan, former imam at the center. He attended prayers at least once a day, seven days a week, often in his Army fatigues, Khan said.

For the full story, click here.

26 thoughts on “Hasan Charged With 13 Counts of Premeditated Murder as Obama Calls for Investigation of Warning Signs”

  1. Jill–

    I hadn’t heard of that book. I bet you’ve also read Jeff Sharlet’s book THE FAMILY. Stupak is a member of “that” family–as well as Ensign…and Coburn…and Sanford… and so on.

    We can only hope that Kristol will meet the same fate as Tucker Carlson. BTW, did Tucker fall off the face of the Earth–or did he have an untimely death?

  2. Because Elaine,

    He is no doubt a ticking time bomb with information on future plots. If you want to be really scared read, Democracy Inc. by Sheldon Wolin. Bill feels himself part of a superior group, already well beyond the rat gene potential, who must lead our nation to its manifest glory. Really crazy stuff. I keep trying to figure out why this man has a job.

  3. Jill–

    Why waste valuable time waterboarding Hasan when we can just declare him guilty and put him to death?

    I think Kristol is getting “worser and worser” with every passing day. Too many of these “talking head” political pundits we hear spouting off on TV and the radio are ideeeeeots.

  4. Elaine,

    OMG! This man has no bottom to what he will advocate for a buck. Although he’s going a little soft because he didn’t want to waterboard him before murdering him. What’s up with that?

  5. Here’s one for you from William “The Constitutional Scholar” Kristol at Think Progress:

    Kristol Urges No Trial For Hasan: ‘They Should Just Go Ahead And Convict Him And Put Him To Death’

    KRISTOL: I was very struck also by Janet Napolitano’s comment, I hadn’t read it before to see her say that, that the number one priority is to bring him to justice is such a knee-jerk comment and such a stupid comment. He’s going to be brought to justice. He is not going to be innocent of murder. There are a lot of eyewitnesses to that. They should just go ahead and convict him and put him to death.


  6. This case shows a number of things. FOX news and Joe Lieberman are two proponents of Hasan being a terrorist. Yet here’s what didn’t have to happen as the result of a Muslim terrorist attack:
    1. we aren’t tortureing Hasan 2. we haven’t suspended the Constitution to deal with the attack, 3. we haven’t created a special tribunal and prison for Hasan, 4. we haven’t randomly rounded up Muslims for questioning and deportation, and 5. we haven’t had to invade another country. These actions have all been called necessary whenever there is a terrorist attack by a Muslim. Why aren’t we doing them now? Were we lied to about the necessity of these actions? Did Joe Lieberman and FOX not really mean what they say about how to deal with terrorists. If so, why aren’t we waterboarding Hasan right now?

    Secondly, there were red flags about Hasan everywhere. I believe part of the reason they were ignored is because he was in a profession. Professionals tend to close ranks to protect each other and others get harmed. That happens all the time.

  7. I just read on the Time web that this guy had some HIV meds in a shoe box and he might be paralyzed.

    Butt Towel indeed.

  8. Buddha:

    I understand your points. Personally I think Hassan is probably off his rocker, at least that is my initial thought. Although the lines are a bit blurred and I can certainly understand why people are jumping on this as a terrorist action.

    Unfortunately I think my conservative brethren want to use this as a cudgel against Obama, as in he has been in office only 10 months and already we have a terrorist attack on our soil. I hope that they aren’t using the deaths of 13 people for political maneuvering but it wont be the last time a politician or political party does that.

  9. Byron,

    I will not argue that point and stipulate to your “butt towel” analysis.

    I do, however, think it’s critical when examining whether an act is or is not terrorism to keep focused on method. Let’s forget the media for a minute and ask this question: What is the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist? Simply target selection, methodology in execution and winning the PR war. But it’s a really important distinction. Because “terrorism” is a crime of desired outcome and therefore of method. If the creation of terror incident to mental illness occurs, it is often ancillary to the actors motivation. Their drive is not primarily the creation of fear for political gain, but their pathology.

    McVeigh was a Christian terrorist and Hasan is probably just an insane Muslim. If you want an inverse example, compare the church shooting that occurred earlier this year with the Madrid bombings. One was an act by an insane Christian but the other was the act of Muslim terrorists.

  10. Byron,

    I think I can shed some light on sane vs. insane in contrasting Hasan and McVeigh as related to “terrorism”.

    McVeigh’s plan was calculated to maximize damage and maximize his survival. In addition, he targeted a building with a large civilian contingent in addition to Federal offices: a recipe for fear in the general populace – the very definition of terrorism.

    Hasan’s plan was not really a plan. He opened fire on a military base. Even if Hasan were a “suicide” attacker, he still really didn’t have a plan now did he? Sidearms on a base where fully automatic weapons and explosives ordinance are kept? To be honest, I’m a little shocked he was able to go on as long as he did before being shot himself. But to me these are the actions of a man who wants to die as much as he wants to kill. As an aside, I bet there are few sorrier bastards on the planet than Hasan was when he woke in hospital. And it serves him right too. Dying would have been the easy punishment in the karmic sense.

    I’m see these two and I see one man as an exercise in control and the other as a person driven by impulse. Hasan has more in common psychologically (based only upon his attacks and what I’ve read about the behavior leading up to this) with a spree killer than a terrorist. There is no doubt in my mind at all the McVeigh was a terrorist. One man was mostly madness and the other was mostly method.

    And it’s the method that defines the terrorist, not the motive.

  11. supposedly he had “SOA” on his business card.

    Allegedly SOA stands for Soldier of Allah.

    Although my guess is that he just went nuts as you would think any postal worker or other that went nuts. Think Texas Tower, that guy was a Marine and we don’t attribute that to terrorism.
    Although Charles Whitman wasn’t trying to contact Al Qaeda.

    It looks to me like he was trying to serve 2 masters and the dichotomy caused him to have a major meltdown.

    He should have resigned his commission as soon as it became clear to him that he could no longer intellectually or emotionally support our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Whether he was nuts or he was doing this, in his mind, for the greater glory of Islam, his act was utterly despicable and cowardly.

  12. I would like to suggest a new “Appearances” section to the Turley blog, in which you would post your upcoming appearances. Maybe you don’t have enough lead time to make this new section useful. I don’t watch TRMS as often as I used to.

  13. It seems this guy just went “postal”. If he had been white or black and done this at an office building in Atlanta, lets say, no one would be talking about terrorism. As a country founded on the principle equality for all we shouldn’t pick and choose what laws are applied where and to whom. It’s disappointing to listen to the media advocate the terrorism issue in this case when they rarely mention it in others, such as Tiller, Rudolph or even McVey.

  14. The CMJ Trumps and you are Fired.

    Rules of evidence are what they say they are at the time. Sharing of files? Worse than trying to get DOJ Officials acknowledge before the day of trial certain evidence exists. It usually does get to you on the eve of the trial.

    I can see why the military wants it tried on base: 1) No Media; 2) No Rules of Evidence; 3) It is what I say it is; 4) If you disagree with rule No 4, see Rule 3.

    This is basically a Court Marshal and Civilian Courts have no authority to hear these matters. Worse yet is it all happened on a Military Installation so no competing state interest will prevail. The person charge, well a military employee subject exclusively to the Code of Military Justice whether on base or off, on duty or off.

    The bottom line is like trying to force another country to enforce our laws and requests save Roman Polanski.

  15. The only thing that will make this worse for victims families is a gutless “Systemic Failure”.

    (Sorry – EDIT for “thing”).

  16. “Indicators of potential violence?”

    This is all so terribly troubling. We need a new era of responsibility. In Australia we have had military service deaths deemed “Systemic Failure”.

    A sailor died when he was left outside his submarine as it dived, despite similar incidents that hadn’t resulted in deaths.

    Three sailors died when the known unsafe fuel hoses on their ship’s engine caught fire.

    Two airservice men died when a known reckless pilot crashed them into the sea attempting a helicopter ship landing.

    In each case the “system” was at fault. PEOPLE knew, but the SYSTEM failed.

    The only think that will make this worse for victims families is a gutless “Systemic Failure”.

  17. So, then, the REASON that Hasan gives authorities for why he did what he did would determine whether or not it meets the definition of “terrorism”?

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