- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2013

Nearly four years after massacring his fellow soldiers at Texas’ Fort Hood, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted Friday on more than 40 counts of murder and attempted murder.

The former Army psychiatrist — a Virginia-born Muslim who was not classified as a terrorist despite his own admissions that U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan drove his actions — will be sentenced on Monday, and could face the death penalty.

If he’s sentenced to death, Mr. Hasan would be the first U.S. military member to be executed in more than five decades. His Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood killed 13 and injured 32 more; Mr. Hasan also was shot and remains confined to a wheelchair.

He reportedly had no reaction when the verdict was read Friday afternoon and had mounted little in the way of a credible defense.

Mr. Hasan, 42, fired his defense team before the trial began and acted as his own attorney throughout the proceedings, though he called no witnesses and only cross-examined three of the nearly 90 people called to the stand by the prosecution.

He gave no closing statement as the trial concluded earlier this week, but during remarks at the outset he freely admitted to being the shooter and said evidence would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the killer.

SEE ALSO: Judge adjourns Fort Hood shooting trial after defendant Nidal Hasan calls no witnesses

Prosecutors set out to prove that his attack was premeditated, arguing that his motivation was twofold: to avoid being deployed to Afghanistan and to wage “jihad” against his fellow Americans.

“The accused went out that day with the intent of killing as many soldiers as he could,” Col. Steve Hendricks said during the prosecution’s closing remarks. “There was one caveat to that: Anyone else who tried to stop him.”

Mr. Hasan carried out his attack inside a medical building on the Fort Hood campus, using a semiautomatic handgun and reportedly firing 146 rounds before being shot himself.

Meanwhile, frustration has mounted that Mr. Hasan’s actions are not legally considered terrorism.

A petition started by the National Review, calling on the administration to designate the attack as an “act of terror” rather than “workplace violence,” has garnered nearly 6,000 signatures.

Changing the designation would’ve allow the victims to be eligible for a Purple Heart.

“I hope and pray this verdict will bring some peace to Nidal Hasan’s victims and their families. But if we ever hope to defeat the ongoing threat from radical Islamism, we need to start by calling this terrorist attack on our armed forces by its name,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, echoing the frustrations of many others who believe Mr. Hasan should’ve been classified as a terrorist. “Hiding behind ‘workplace violence’ and excluding evidence on Hasan’s pursuit of jihad will not make terrorism go away or properly honor the American heroes who were slain at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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