In a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) criticizes the U.S. Army’s recently released final report on the Fort Hood shooting, accusing it of “avoiding the role that radical Islam played in the killing of 13 American soldiers.”
He calls on Gates, and the Department of the Army, to “update the report to accurately address this threat and detail what appropriate measures are necessary to counter it.”
“How many more soldiers must be sacrificed at the altar of political correctness before our military changes course?” Coffman asks at the end of the letter. The report, Coffman says, concedes that the military failed to identify Major Nidal Hasan as an individual threat, but, more generally, “falls short of identifying the significance of the threat that the radicalization of Muslims can pose within our military.”
Coffman, who enlisted in the Army in 1972, served with the Marines in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, and sits on the House Armed Services Committee, argues in the letter that the country must recognize its “ideological struggle” with radical Islam the same way it once identified its “ideological war with Marxist Communism.”
I can clearly remember as a young soldier being ordered to affirm, under oath, whether I was or had ever been a member of the Communist Party and whether I had any associations or sympathies with other related organizations that might call into question my allegiance to the United States government.
Coffman says the nation “must come to terms” with “accurately describing” the threat posed by radical Islam, and says the Obama administration is constraining the military for fear of offending “loyal adherents to the virtues of political correctness.”
When he was in Iraq, Coffman says, he met Muslim Americans who served “with distinction and were every bit as patriotic as other members of our military.” And he argues that a strong “vetting process” would be in their favor.
I strongly believe that it would be in the best interest of not only our military but to Muslim Americans, in particular, to have a vigorous vetting process whereby members of our Armed Forces would have full confidence that all our service men and women could, at all times, be counted on.
Neither Coffman’s office nor the Department of Defense immediately responded to TPM’s request for comment.
(h/t Denver Post)
Late Update: Coffman’s Communication Director Nathaniel Sillin tells TPM the Congressman’s office has “not heard anything back officially from them.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com