An October Surprise in the Waiting

At the Republican National Convention last month, Carl and Marsha Mueller told the nation how in 2013 their daughter Kayla was kidnapped by Islamic State terrorists, tortured, and repeatedly raped by the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. During this 18-month ordeal, Kayla’s father explained, the government let them down, but “if Donald Trump had been president when Kayla was captured, she would be here today.”

That is uncertain, but another reality is undeniable.

Under President Trump, the U.S. military set up Task Force 814, named for Kayla’s August 14 birthday. In Operation Kayla Mueller last October, the task force took out al-Baghdadi. The ISIS chieftain was not the only terrorist in Trump’s sights. 

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the RNC, “the president approved a strike that killed the Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani. This is the man most responsible for the murder and maiming of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Christians across the Middle East.” That went down on January 3, but President Trump still has unfinished business on the terrorism front. 

On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, U.S. troops prepared for deployment to Afghanistan. U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, a self-described “soldier of Allah,” shouted “Allahu Akbar” and opened fire on the unarmed Americans. Hasan killed 13, including, Private Francheska Velez, 21 and pregnant. The soldier of Allah wounded 42 others, including Sargeant Alonzo Lunsford, an African American who took seven bullets from Hasan. 

The killer was never described as a racist, and the Obama Administration passed off the mass murder as “workplace violence,” not even gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden issued a 58-word statement expressing sympathy for the families of “the brave soldiers who fell today.” No word from the vice president about who killed the brave soldiers, in the “senseless tragedy.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lamented the “unspeakable tragedy,” and “the losses of those who were killed.” On the other hand, the San Francisco Democrat failed to number the victims or name any of them. Pelosi also failed to call out Hasan and offered no thoughts on what might have motivated “the gunman” to murder 13 Americans.

For all but the willfully blind, this was Islamic terrorism and it could have been prevented. The facts are easily accessible in Lessons from Fort Hood: Improving Our Ability to Connect the Dots, a 2012 report based on congressional hearings.

Hasan came to the attention of the FBI for the 18 emails he sent to jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki. That rang alarms at the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Diego, and agents alerted the Washington Field Office, which dropped the case. There has never been any word about who gave the order to stand down, and whether they were ever held accountable. 

Hasan was sentenced to death in 2013 but nearly 11 years after his crime, this soldier of Allah remains alive. If Alonzo Lunsford and other victims think something is wrong about that, it would be hard to fault them. As Michael Corleone might put it, “where does it say you can’t execute a convicted mass murderer? I am talking about a terrorist who murdered 13 Americans, was sentenced to death, and finally got what was coming to him.” 

The soldier of Allah is currently residing at Leavenworth, so no need to hunt him down. A good date for the execution would be October 26 or 27, to coincide with the al-Baghdadi hit. Joe Biden said that hit happened despite President Trump’s “ineptitude as commander-in-chief.” In a statement, Pelosi said, “the death of al-Baghdadi is significant,” but “our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.” By ordering the strike on Soleimani, Pelosi said, Trump was “engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions” and “provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.” 

Biden said President Trump “flat-out lied” about Soleimani’s plans to attack U.S. embassies. Iran was now “in the driver’s seat” and “this is a crisis totally of Donald Trump’s making.” Biden did not recall reports that in 2015, when he was Obama’s vice president, the United States tipped off Soleimani that Israel was closely tracking the Iranian general. 

Hasan’s execution would give Biden a chance to speak out about the soldiers who “fell” at Ford Hood. For her part, Pelosi might call the execution a “provocative and disproportionate” action, and the nation might hear from the previous president, quite outspoken of late. For those who have forgotten, Obama could restate the official “workplace violence” interpretation.

Five years after the attack, in 2014, the Department of Defense was still refusing to classify the Fort Hood shootings as terrorism, and the victims were still denied the medals they deserved and the medical treatment they needed. “We believe that if the president could hear, first-hand, our plight and our mistreatment at the hands of his bureaucracy,” wrote Lunsford, “that he would take the steps needed to set things right. Therefore, we ask for 10 minutes of his time.” President Obama declined to meet with the survivors of Hasan’s terrorist attack.

If this terrorist finally got what was coming to him, that would be a terrific story. With an election just around the corner, American voters might like an October Surprise like that. 

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