Proceed with caution

Fairness, firmness will let justice prevail in Fort Hood case

You would think it would be the biggest slam-dunk verdict in the quickest court-martial in U.S. military history.

Maj. Nidal Hasan faces charges in the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood. He has insisted on representing himself.

And he has said he did it.

“Fellow members, good morning,” Hasan said in his opening statement Tuesday. “On Nov. 5, 2009, 13 U.S. soldiers were killed and many more injured. The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter.”

So why is that courtroom still full? Why are people estimating the trial could take weeks?

Because that’s the way it has to be.

Hasan must have every legal right extended to him carefully so this trial can proceed flawlessly. If he sees grounds for any future appeal he will take it. That will drag the case on further, and compound the agony of the victims’ families, the survivors and their families.

The military judge in the case, Col. Tara Osborn, should strive to maintain a fair trial with a firm hand to keep proceedings on point. With Hasan defending himself, he could try to seize any number of opportunities to proselytize for radical Islam, or to put America on trial.

Let’s call this trial what it is. This is about terrorism on U.S. soil.

Four years ago, the public was asked by the Obama administration, and certain media talking heads, to strain the bounds of credulity and not jump to a certain conclusion – that the gun-wielding Army psychiatrist who shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) during the Fort Hood bloodbath was connected with radical Islam.

Even today the government officially is classifying Hasan’s horrendous act as “workplace violence,” which is like calling the Hindenburg disaster a parking mishap. And it’s a stinging slap in the face to this disaster’s survivors, our military service members and anyone who has died trying to preserve a safer America.

A furious public likely wants this trial done quickly. But it must be done methodically.

The key here is patience, and the goal here is justice.

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