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Tragedy and Questions at Fort Hood: Why wasn’t Hasan discharged before this?

06/11/2009

Thirteen people were killed and 31 wounded when Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a US Army psychiatrist, opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas.

Some good coverage from the Telegraph:

The major is a psychiatrist who had been treating soldiers returning from Iraq for post-traumatic stress and alcohol and drug abuse problems.

“He was making outlandish comments condemning our foreign policy and claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans,” Col Lee told Fox News.

“He said Muslims should stand up and fight the aggressor and that we should not be in the war in the first place.” He said that Maj Hasan said he was “happy” when a US soldier was killed in an attack on a military recruitment centre in Arkansas in June. An American convert to Islam was accused of the shootings.

Col Lee alleged that other officers had told him that Maj Hasan had said “maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Time Square” in New York.

He claimed he was aware that the major had been subject to “name calling” during heated arguments with other officers.

Federal law enforcement officials have said Maj Hasan had come to their attention at least six months ago because of internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats.

The officials said the postings appeared to have been made by Maj Hasan but they were still trying to confirm that he was the author.

Maj Hasan’s cousin Nader Husan said he was happy working for the military but did dread deployment to Iraq.

Another good article on Hasan from MSNBC.  It is beyond me why this extremist was still allowed to be an officer in the US Army and had access to firearms.

I hope there will be two investigations: One into Hasan himself, his process of radicalization, and his ties and another into how the Army handled Hasan once it came out he held these beliefs. I would hope names will be named (in both) and people will be fired or dishonourably discharged for not seeing the danger in someone who advocated attacks on American soldiers.

My heart goes out to the victims, their families, friends, and brothers/sisters-in-arms.

Please feel free to post your thoughts and link to other articles on this as more information goes out.

 

 

UPDATE: See footage of Hasan on the morning of the attack, provided by CNN.  We also see a conflicting portrait of Hasan emerging:

Staff Sgt. Marc Molano, based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, told CNN Hasan treated him for post-traumatic stress disorder earlier this year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

“Dr. Hasan provided me with nothing but the best care,” Molano said. “He was a very well-mannered, polite psychiatrist, and it’s just a shock to know that Dr. Hasan could have done this. It’s still kind of hard to believe.”

Molano described him as “far and away one of the best psychiatrists I ever dealt with.”

A soldier who served two tours in Iraq and is awaiting medical retirement for chronic PTSD and severe mental disorders called Hasan “a soldier’s soldier who cared about our mental health.”

“Hasan hears nothing but these horror stories from soldiers who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” the soldier said. “Just hearing it I’m pretty sure would have a profound effect.”

Mindy B. Mechanic, an associate professor of psychology at California State University, Fullerton, said listening to horror stories can have an impact, but such as extreme one is unlikely.

The impact on therapists who work with traumatized individuals is known as vicarious traumatization or compassion fatigue, Mechanic said.

“But they don’t go out on shooting sprees,” she said. “They might get depressed or have some emotional fallout from it, but to go on a shooting spree is not part of what happens to people from having to deal with trauma survivors all the time.”