Hasan’s trial is set for March. Meanwhile, no public memorials were planned at Fort Hood to mark the second anniversary of the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation, an act that the Obama administration and military officials have done their best to avoid even labeling as terrorism. Instead, some of the victims’ families met informally in a small private ceremony outside the fence now surrounding the boarded-up building where the shootings occurred. A large public ceremony isn’t necessary, they say, as they find their own ways of honoring their relatives. “The thing I’ve heard a lot of families who’ve lost people in Iraq and in Afghanistan (say) is that they just don’t want people to forget,” said Kerry Cahill, whose father was murdered trying to stop Hasan:
People don’t bring it up because they don’t want to remind you — well, I remind myself every day. I don’t want people to forget that it happened, and I don’t want people to forget my father.
On November 4, 1979 – exactly thirty years before the Fort Hood shooting – Iranian students inspired by the America-hating Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the United States embassy in Tehran, taking 66 Americans hostage and holding 52 of them for 444 days in a diplomatic crisis that only ended at the moment Ronald Reagan completed his inaugural address after being sworn in as President.
It was America’s first real showdown with Islamic fundamentalism, and then-President Jimmy Carter blinked. First came a series of increasingly humiliating concessions and failed negotiations. Then came an ill-fated rescue mission that almost literally never got off the ground, in the wake of which Khomeini’s prestige skyrocketed as he credited divine intervention from Allah for it. Meanwhile the hostages were treated abysmally, despite being reassured by their captors that they were “guests of the Ayatollah” (the title of Mark Bowden’s riveting book on the subject).
Since the Iranian revolution and the taking of the embassy hostages, Iran has gone on to become the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and is currently racing toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons, with which it threatens to wipe Israel from the map, utterly upend the balance of power in the Middle East, and hold America hostage anew to its apocalyptic madness. (Despite this, when presidential candidate Ron Paul was asked recently what he thought was the best way to deter Iran’s nuclear program, he said “maybe offering friendship to them.”)
Unlike the Baghdad massacre of Christian infidels, which was commemorated with “an intimate memorial mass,” and the Fort Hood massacre, which was remembered in a private ceremony, the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis passed virtually forgotten. If only all three grim anniversaries had attracted more public attention, perhaps they would serve as sobering reminders that we are locked in an existential conflict with Islamic supremacism – something that too many in our government and media would rather ignore.
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