Trial of Hasan a sham

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 02:04 PM.

The sham trial of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan goes on at the sprawling Fort Hood Army base in central Texas. Located near the city of Killeen in the Edwards Plateau geographical area of Texas, Fort Hood sits in an arid, sparsely settled, region that is suitable mostly for grazing.

So along with the domesticated animals that populate the region, the Army, too, was forced by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to go grazing. Grazing that is for a judge in Hasan’s trial, one who would bow to political correctness.

The first judge assigned to the trial, Col. Gregory Gross, was removed by the military appeals court because he was demanding Maj. Hasan — who had been permitted by the Army to grow a beard during the unconscionably-long, four-year delay in going to trial — comply with Army grooming and appearance standards and shave. Hasan was refusing to shave and Gross, rightfully, threatened to have him forcibly shaved.

It’s pretty simple. If you want to join our volunteer armed forces, you agree to comply with the military’s grooming standards regardless of any personal, religious, or cultural idiosyncrasies you may desire to display. In the Army (or the Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Navy for that matter) beards are not permitted. Col. Tara Osborn, apparently more pliable than Judge Gross and appointed to replace him as Hasan’s judge, ruled in pre-trial hearings late last year that Hasan could continue to disregard appropriate military standards and disobey legal military orders and keep his beard.

While photographs of Hasan in his ongoing trial have not been published, courtroom artists have penned accurate drawings of a scraggly, unkempt, and unmilitary Hasan permitted to wear an Army uniform along with his illegal and illogical beard. Osborn’s submissive refusal to force him to square himself away, comply with Army grooming standards, and look like a soldier during his trial both disrespect the Army uniform and dishonor the millions of soldiers that preceded and will follow Hasan in U.S. Army service.

This display of political correctness by the Army is at best cowardly and at worst sets a precedent for any number of soldiers to use the "Hasan Defense" in deciding that their individualistic personal desires transcend that which is good for the whole Army.

And there’s another problem with the Army’s show of weakness in this matter. By permitting Hasan to sport a beard, his appearance mocks the uniform and the Army’s traditions of being well-turned out, organized, and "STRAC" — as the Army calls being sharp and squared away. And regardless of the instructions to the jury by Osborn to disregard Hasan’s appearance in deciding the verdict, the reality is that his appearance, permitted to remain as such by Osborn and like it or not, invokes that of a "typical" Muslim terrorist. Profiling shmofiling. That’s exactly what Hasan is: a typical Muslim terrorist.

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