From National Review. This one is a must-read. It was hard to even find the “best part” to excerpt.
On December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked. Three years, eight months, and eight days later, the Japanese surrendered. These days, America’s military moves at a more leisurely pace. On November 5, 2009, another U.S. base, Fort Hood, was attacked — by one man standing on a table, screaming “Allahu akbar!” and opening fire. Three years, nine months, and one day later, his court-martial finally got under way.
The intervening third-of-a-decade-and-more has apparently been taken up by such vital legal questions as the fullness of beard Major Hasan is permitted to sport in court. This is not a joke: See “Judge Ousted in Fort Hood Shooting Case amid Beard Debacle” (CBS News). Army regulations require soldiers to be clean-shaven. The judge, Colonel Gregory Gross, ruled Hasan’s beard in contempt, fined him $1,000, and said he would be forcibly shaved if he showed up that hirsute next time. At which point Hasan went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which ruled that Colonel Gross’s pogonophobia raised questions about his impartiality, and removed him. He’s the first judge in the history of American jurisprudence to be kicked off a trial because of a “beard debacle.” The new judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, agreed that Hasan’s beard was a violation of regulations, but “said she won’t hold it against him.”
[…]Maybe this Clinton-era directive merits reconsideration in the wake of Fort Hood? Don’t be ridiculous. Instead, nine months after Major Hasan’s killing spree, the Department of Defense put into place “a series of procedural and policy changes that focus on identifying, responding to, and preventing potential workplace violence.”
Major Hasan says he’s a soldier for the Taliban. Maybe if the Pentagon were to reclassify the entire Afghan theater as an unusually prolonged outburst of “workplace violence,” we wouldn’t have to worry about obsolescent concepts such as “victory” and “defeat.” The important thing is that the U.S. Army’s “workplace violence” is diverse. After Major Hasan’s pre-post-traumatic workplace wobbly, General George W. Casey Jr., the Army’s chief of staff, was at pains to assure us that it could have been a whole lot worse: “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty.” And you can’t get much more diverse than letting your military personnel pick which side of the war they want to be on.
It’s so depressing. I guess we can only hope that we come to our senses before the next attack.