When the Boston Globe and other liberal outlets criticize President Obama’s subdued reaction to the Fort Hood massacre, we should be worried. In fact, the president’s comments were strangely sandwiched between praise of a just-completed Tribal Nations Conference (in which Obama yelled out to a Medal of Freedom whom he apparently thought had won the Congressional Medal of Honor) and comments by the Columbia/Harvard graduate to the Native American contingent that he too had been “ignored” and “forgotten.” (“I know what it means to feel ignored and forgotten,” Obama said.)
In passing, the president has made it clear that we should not (as he did in the Professor Gates mess) rush to judgment. Yet at some future time, we hope that he will address the problem of a military culture that did not take firm action to thwart someone like a Major Hasan, who had a long paper and electronic trail of contact with radical Islam (besides his disturbing postings, Hasan had attended the Islamist Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Va., at a time when the mosque’s preacher was the unhinged Anwar al-Awlaki).
The president apparently did invoke Fort Hood in stronger terms while urging Democratic House members to support the health-care bill. According to Rep. Robert Andrews (D., N.J.), Obama referenced Fort Hood and his “remarks put in perspective that the hardships soldiers endure for the country are ‘what sacrifice really is,’ as opposed to ‘casting a vote that might lose an election for you.’”
If we are going to contemplate the importance of Fort Hood, I think the commander in chief should be assuring the American people that he will not tolerate the sort of hateful ideologies that fuel such extremism, rather than pressuring his partisan troops to enact his health-care proposals by contrasting their possible legislative cowardice with the sacrifice of those who were recently gunned down. Obama’s was not a good or well-timed comparison.