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Ignoring Evidence Suggesting Otherwise, Fox News Military Analyst Ralph Peters Likens Fort Hood Shooting To 9/11

Reported by Ellen - November 7, 2009 -

There are still many questions to be answered about Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged gunman at Thursday’s Fort Hood massacre. But instead of showing forbearance, Fox News deliberately whipped up fear and, probably, intolerance, in their audience, by calling on “military analyst” Ralph Peters, a retired Lt. Col. with a history of extremist, incendiary opinions. Sure enough, while the rest of the world waits for the results of the investigation, Peters ignored reports that Hasan rejected religious extremism and announced on last night’s (11/6/09) O’Reilly Factor that Hasan was an Islamic terrorist, declared Fort Hood “the new 9/11,” attacked President Obama for asking Americans not to rush to judgment and suggested that the Army’s political correctness was to blame. With video.

The last time I saw Peters, he was advocating that the Taliban shoot a captured American soldier who, Peters alleged, had deserted his unit. “I don't care how hard it sounds, as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills,” Peters told Fox News’ Julie Banderas. That prompted a bi-partisan group of 23 veterans in Congress to demand an apology from Fox News for Peters' remarks. But, apparently, you can never be too divisive or hate monger too much on Fox -- unless, of course, you're a liberal.

Peters told O’Reilly that the Fort Hood shootings were “the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11… It was committed by a Muslim fanatic.” But in an article called, Big Questions on Gunman; Few Details, the New York Times reported, “Muslims who attended mosques with Major Hasan in Virginia, Maryland and Texas said they had never heard him express extremist views about politics or religion. And though openly opposed to the wars, he did not express anti-American sentiments, they said… Yahya Hendi, a part-time chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, said Major Hasan had once praised him for giving a sermon opposing extremism. 'He felt that Muslims needed to speak about peace and love,' Imam Hendi said."

But Peters didn’t need any more facts. He said with disgust, “Our president tells us not to rush to judgment, to wait until all the facts are in. What facts are we waiting for? This was an Islamist terrorist act… We knew he was an Islamist. The military did nothing about it, out of political correctness. So, Bill, what am I missing?”

Maybe, Ralph, you’re missing that being an “Islamist” is not a crime, it’s not a synonym for un-American (as Peters was suggesting) and it’s not cause for the military to “do something.” In fact, the military wants more Muslims to serve. The BBC reported that the Pentagon says there are 3,572 Muslims in active service (some estimate the number is much higher). BBC also reported, “The US government has made no secret of the fact that it would like to see more people from Arab and Muslim communities joining the armed forces. More American Muslim troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan has long been seen as a vital part in helping the US in its missions to win hearts and minds in those countries. ‘They are a great asset to the army,’ Lt Col Nathan Banks, army spokesman for the Pentagon, told the BBC. ‘When they do deploy they help facilitate a lot of our missions. American Muslims in the army work hand in hand with local Muslims, and we welcome that.’"

But, apparently, retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters knows better.

O’Reilly was more reasonable. “Let me tell you what you might be missing,” O’Reilly said, noting that he was “not disagreeing… I simply don’t know.” He allowed as how there was a possibility that despite being “a rabid Muslim” Hasan was “so troubled, personally, that he just snapped and that the Muslim thing wasn’t the primary motivator (my emphasis) for him killing all of those people.” O’Reilly added that the ongoing investigation will reveal the answer. But he seemed to assume that Hasan's religion had something to do with the crime, it was just a question of how much.

Of course, Peters didn’t need to wait. He said, “(Hasan) clearly was planning it for at least several days. It was a cold-blooded act. It wasn’t a crime of passion… This was something very, very different. It was a terrorist act. Now, you don’t have to be directly into Al Qaeda to be an Islamist terrorist.”

Peters continued by attacking the “P.C.” Army and the media. “What troubles me beyond the fact that this was a terrorist act and the media, the mainstream, lame-stream media won’t deal with it as such, it troubles me that our army has become so politically correct that they didn’t get rid of this guy.”

O’Reilly asked, “You think there was enough evidence, Colonel, from what you’ve heard and what you know, to cashier the guy? Was there enough evidence?”

“Oh, God, absolutely,” Peters declared. He went on to make the dubious claim (and I could not find any evidence for it) that Hasan had given a talk “about how Islam calls for infidels to be murdered.”

Peters added, “I want our president to take a stand. Stop this ‘Oh, There is no Islamist terrorism.’ Fort Hood, the new 9/11, active Islamist terrorism on our soil. Let’s be honest about it.”

Yes, let’s be honest. Our president did not say there is no Islamist terrorism.

Peters continued, “The charge that (Hasan) was harassed and he broke – Good, God… He’s been a trouble maker and a sad sack for a long time but because he was part of a protected species, a protected minority, the Army let him slide. Just re-assign him… It’s time to get rid of the P.C. culture in the Army, in society and the media.”

Peters concluded by saying he thought the Factor viewers “understand that this was an act of Islamist terror” and complained about the rest of the media ignoring the suffering of the victims in order to focus on the suffering of Hasan. “And I am ready to puke,” Peters said.