2 notes on Hasan

Brief notes on MAJ Hasan -

As you've heard he's been charged (i.e., charges have been preferred). That means he will probably be tried next year, despite earlier accounts that trial might take years. One advantage military justice has over civilian criminal law - it's generally a lot faster, both to get started and to do. Several rules and statutes put pressure on the prosecution to bring him to trial rapidly, beyond the basic Sixth Amendment guarantee of a speedy trial. The basic rule is that trial is supposed to occur within 120 days after charges are preferred; but there are several excludable delays that can easily add months to that. I'd still be surprised if the case took even a year to bring to trial, though my views are not amazingly well-informed, as I haven't tried a murder, let alone a capital murder. Even if his lawyer moves for a psychological evaluation, these can be done with surprising speed.

It wouldn't be quite fair to compare this to the Khalid trial in New York - 8 years after the event - as that at least required much more investigating to bring the facts to light. The full inquiry into Hasan's background and whether something might've been done to stop him may take a while; but the facts of what he did and why it's bad - these won't take so long.

From the original story - Secretary Gates' comment: “Everything will be made public and clear at an appropriate time, I just don’t want to jeopardize this investigation,” Gates added. “So my view is: Everybody just ought to shut up.” As I mentioned in comments before, truer words were never spoken. Partly this is to protect the integrity of the investigations, but part of it is to avoid unlawful command influence - the concern that someone in the command, even at the top (civilian) levels - might say something that could be seen as having a prejudicial effect on the panel. (And if it's a death case, there has to be a panel.) The legal standard on that is very strict - the defense only has to raise the issue "beyond mere speculation"; then the prosecution has to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that there is not command influence.

Also, at ScienceBlogs, of all places, a debate about whether Hasan's chosen weapons were amazingly effective implements of doom, or not. (Incidentally, if the horse lovers who are known to frequent this place follow the link through to Mr. Springer's blog, they should scroll to this for a historical curiosity.)
Even the Guardian thinks Obama is messing up.

A key adviser to Nato forces warned today that Barack Obama risks a Suez-style debacle in Afghanistan if he fails to deploy enough extra troops and opts instead for a messy compromise.

David Kilcullen, one of the world's leading authorities on counter-insurgency and an adviser to the British government as well as the US state department, said Obama's delay in reaching a decision over extra troops had been "messy". He said it not only worried US allies but created uncertainty the Taliban could exploit.

Speaking in an interview with the Guardian, he compared the president to someone "pontificating" over whether to send enough firefighters into a burning building to put a fire out.

The dithering was noticed a while ago. Now the the previously adulant press is beginning to notice. And this administration hasn't even been in office for a year.

That has got to be a record.