Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Ominous Parallel

On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued its report on the Fort Hood shootings; this report faults the Army and FBI with missing warning signs that could have prevented the massacre:

Our basic conclusion is as follows: Although neither DoD nor the FBI had specific information concerning the time, place, or nature of the attack, they collectively had sufficient information to have detected Hasan's radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it. Our investigation found specific and systemic failures in the government's handling of the Hasan case and raises additional concerns about what may be broader systemic issues. [P. 7, “A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons From The U.S. Government's failure To Prevent The Fort Hood Attack” (emphasis mine).
This conclusion parallels my own concerning the murder of my late husband Phillip Esposito by Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez in 2005; that is, leaders in Phillip’s unit did not have specific information concerning the time, place, or nature of Martinez’s attack against my husband, but they did have sufficient information to have detected Martinez’s vicious animus toward Phillip, only to fail to act properly against it.

The difference is that I believe that leaders in my late husband’s unit understood Alberto Martinez’s hatred toward my husband, but they simply allowed themselves to be disarmed in the face of it, either because they resented my husband for his role in instilling proper military discipline among those under his command, or because they were charmed enough by Martinez to grant him exception to the rules that govern the conduct of members of the armed forces and forbid gestures of hatred and contempt toward one's commanders.

This explains one of the reasons I seek the records from the court-martial of my husband's killer: I seek to understand why leaders in my late husband's unit failed to protect my husband's life and how such failures may be prevented in the future. I believe that Phillip's murder reflects systemic problems within the Army as do the killings at Ft. Hood, and that to leave these problems unaddressed is not acceptable, neither to me, nor the American people.

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