- A personal note - This writer was stationed at Fort Hood
in summer 1956, a quiet time, post-Korea and pre-Vietnam, when terrorism
and Islamophbia weren't issues, and shooting only happened on firing ranges
to learn and improve marksmanship.
- On November 5, The New Times headlined, "Mass Shooting
at Fort Hood, saying:
- "the Army confirms that the gunman (thought to be
killed) was Army Major Malik Nadal Hasan. Reports said 12 were dead (raised
to 13, including one civilian) and 31 others wounded from an incident at
the base Readiness Processing Center where troops prepare for deployment.
Two other soldiers were detained as suspects. Another was believed at large.
The shooting began about 1:30PM after which Fort Hood was locked down."
- CNN reported over 100 rounds fired. Some military retirees
were skeptical, calling it bogus. An unidentified Army captain said it's
impossible for a non-combatant like Hasan to fire that much with two pistols
without being subdued. He'd have had to reload giving someone a chance
to do it. Others said the same thing.
- Sergeant Donald Buswell called the official story illegitimate
saying a room full of combat veterans wouldn't let one shooter do this
kind of damage. "Multiple shooters is the only plausible scenario.
This sounds like Major Hasan has been used, and perhaps is a patsy."
Vietnam veteran Michael Gaddy said the Army's version doesn't compute.
"People on the ground have told me cell phone towers were jammed to
prevent unauthorized dissemination of information after the shooting."
- Citizens for Legitimate Government (legitgov.org) said
"Hasan's neighbors, medical trainers, colleagues, friends, cousin,
uncle, grandfather - even the store owner where he bought his food - all....praise(d
his) temperament. This appears to be a psy-ops, six ways to Sunday."
His grandfather called the act "impossible. He is a doctor and loves
the US. America made him what he is."
- Early November 5, the day of the incident, "he showed
no signs of worry or stress when he stopped at (a) 7-Eleven for his daily
breakfast of hash browns, said Jeannie Strickland, the store's manager....(there
was) nothing weird, nothing out of the ordinary."
- The FBI and Pentagon investigated alleged contacts he
had with a "Yemen-based militant" over the past year after intelligence
agencies reported emails he exchanged with imam Anwar al-Awlaki, known
for his anti-American teachings. Al-Awlaki was once spiritual leader at
the suburban Virginia mosque where Hasan worshipped. The communications
suggested nothing out of the ordinary. Yet Charles Allen, former Bush administration
Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, described Al-Awlaki (with
no proof) as an "al-Qaeda supporter..who targets US Muslims with radical
online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen.
- Members of two Joint Terrorism Task Forces contacted
Hasan's superiors, reviewed his military records and computer for suspicious
activity and found nothing. Yet Senator Joe Lieberman told Fox News (Sunday,
November 8) that "strong warning signs" showed he was an "Islamic
extremist," and two officials said on ABC News that intelligence authorities
knew he tried to contact suspected al Qaeda members. On November 11, Senator
John McCain called the tragedy an "act of terror."
- Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R. MI ranking House Intelligence
Committee member) plans an investigation on "homegrown Jihadism."
He sent a preservation order to the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DNI chiefs directing
them to save relevant documents for his committee's review.
- A November 7 UK Telegraph report linked Hasan to three
9/11 "hijackers" because Al-Awlaki was their "spiritual
advisor." The FBI will now check if he met them. Telegraph writers
Philip Sherwell and Alex Spillius said "the army missed an increasing
number of red flags that Hasan was a troubled and brooding individual within
its ranks." It quoted an unnamed source warning military officials
that he was a "ticking time bomb" after he allegedly defended
suicide bombers, expressed anti-Jewish sentiments, and claimed the "war
on terror" is a war against Islam. So do many others.
- ABC News said Hasan "wanted out of the Army after
being constantly harassed by others in the military and was called a 'camel
jockey,' his family said. As (he) was about to be deployed to (Afghanistan),
he was suffering from some of the same stresses that he was trained as
an Army psychiatrist to treat." As a result, he hired a lawyer to
help him get out of the Army.
- A London Guardian article cited base commander, Lt. Gen.
Robert Cone, saying Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great)
before shooting. One of his colleagues, Col. Steven Braverman, said he
did his job well. There were no signs of trouble. "We had no problems
with his job performance while he was working with us." But he was
"mortified by the idea of" deploying to Afghanistan, according
to his cousin Nader. "He had people telling him on a daily basis (about)
the horrors they saw over there."
- More from The New York Times
- On November 5, writer James Dao headlined, "Suspect
Was 'Mortified" About Deployment....because he knew all too well the
terrifying realities of war," according to his cousin Nader Hasan.
- Earlier, the FBI "became aware of Internet postings
by a man calling himself Nidal Hasan....but the investigators were not
clear whether the writer was Major Hasan. In one posting (he) compared
the heroism of a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to protect fellow
soldiers to suicide bombers who sacrifice themselves to protect Muslims."
The emailer said:
- "If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers
because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic
- "It could not be confirmed, however, that the writer
was Major Hasan."
- On November 8, writers James McKinley Jr. and James Dao
headlined, "Fort Hood Gunman Gave Signals Before His Rampage,"
saying "relatives and acquaintances (said) tensions that led to the
rampage had been building for a long time....In recent years, he had grown
more and more vocal about his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
and tortured over reconciling his military duties with his religion."
- He was "a troubled man full of contradictions (who)
complained bitterly to people at his mosque about the oppression of Muslims
in the Army. He had few friends, and even (some who knew him said he was)
a strange figure...."
- On November 9, writers David Johnston and Scott Shane
headlined, "US Knew of Suspect's Tie to Radical Cleric....known for
his incendiary anti-American teachings....Given (his) radical views,"
Congress will likely investigate potential links to terrorism.
- The Times' David Brooks said political correctness clouded
the reporting, portraying Hasan:
- "as a victim of society, a poor soul who was pushed
over the edge by prejudice and unhappiness....This response was understandable.
But it was also patronizing. Public commentators assumed the air of kindergarten
teachers who had to protect their children from thinking certain impermissible
and intolerant thoughts."
- On November 10, writers Peter Baker and Clifford Krauss
headlined, "President, at Service, Hails Fort Hood's Fallen (in assuming)
the role of national eulogist (and leading) the country in mourning...."
- In shamelessly promoting America's imperial wars, ahead
of new troop deployments, Obama referred to:
- "....trying times for our country. In Afghanistan
and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue
to endanger America, our allies, and innocent Afghans and Pakistanis. In
Iraq, we are working to bring a war to a successful end, as there are still
those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that Americans and Iraqis
have sacrificed so much for." Fort Hood's fallen soldiers "reaffirm
the core values that we are fighting for (to give) others half a world
away the chance to lead a better life."
- The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder said it's "The Best
Speech Obama's Given Since....Maybe Ever. Today, at Ft. Hood. I guarantee:
they'll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good."
- The New York Times called it "soaring rhetoric."
Political Wire.com said it's his best speech ever. Attending politicians
from both parties agreed that he touched all the right points. Other media
comments expressed strong undertone support for America's imperial wars
and need to fight terrorism.
- More Islamophobic Response
- On November 6, in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, retired
Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters headlined, "Fort Hood's 9/11" calling
it "the worst act of terror on American soil since" that day.
"This was a terrorist act. When an extremist plans and executes a
murderous plot against our armed forces to protest our efforts to counter
Islamic fanatics, it's an act of terror. Period."
- From the Wall Street Journal:
- -- On November 10, Evan Perez and Keith Johnson headlined,
"Hasan, Radical Cleric Had Contact (but it) Didn't Raise Red Flags
to US Authorities; and
- -- editorial writer Dorothy Rabinowitz's same day op-ed
saying, "His (Hasan) terrorist motive is obvious to everyone but the
press and Army brass."
- The press? Apparently Rabinowitz doesn't read her own
paper that wreaks with innuendoes and accusations. From the dominant media
- From the Washington Post:
- -- lots of inflammatory reporting and a November 12 editorial
headlined, "In plain sight?" It mentions the same "red flags"
saying, "In isolation, they may have appeared less than actionable.
Unfortunately, (the Fort Hood) tragedy....linked the puzzle pieces. (So)
it's fair to ask whether red flags should have become red alerts."
The editorial's conclusion - "A serious investigation must probe these
issues, among others."
- On November 10, Newsmax.com's Ronald Kessler said "10%
of US mosques preach jihad," according to FBI estimates. "That
sums up the problem facing us as we ponder the meaning of (Hasan's) slayings
of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. Given his association with a pro-al-Qaida
imam in northern Virginia and his preoccupation with radical Islamic Web
sites, it's clear that the radical element of Islam influenced Hasan."
- From right-wing ideologue Michelle Malkin:
- -- The "military's blind pursuit of diversity allowed
Fort Hood shooting" to happen. "Fort Hood jihadist Maj. Nidal
Hasan made his means, motive and inspiration clear for those willing to
see and hear."
- On November 9 on The 700 Club, Pat Robertson used the
tragedy to vilify Islam, calling it:
- -- a "violent religion," then adding, "Islam
is not a religion, it is a political system....bent on world domination;"
- -- "Muslims should be treated like "members
of the Communist Party (or) some fascist group."
- On November 10, CNN's Lou Dobbs said:
- "Tonight, the government faces tough questions.
Intelligence agencies now (admit) they knew (Hasan) had terrorist ties
almost a year ago. Why were there no investigations....Warning signs (were)
ignored. Red flags (were) missed."
- He referred to a December 2008 "bombshell"
revelation that he was communicating with a Yemeni cleric and other "red
flags ignored....Could the Fort Hood massacre have been prevented?"
- Under pressure from critics, Dobbs announced his resignation
on November 11. According to New York Times writers Brian Stelter and Bill
- Months ago CNN president Jonathan Klein "offered
(him) a choice. (He) could vent his opinions on radio and anchor an objective
newscast on television, or he could leave CNN."
- The article said Dobbs met with Fox News head Roger Ailes
in September. Perhaps that's where he's headed.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was one of his
most vocal critics. On November 12, it issued the following statement:
- "Last night, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs announced his
departure from the network. As you know, we've been highly critical of
(him) because he has used his platform to spread myths and propaganda -
poisoning the debate over immigration reform and inciting fear and hate
- The SPLC was one of the first groups to bring public
attention to Dobbs' use of false information provided by racist hate groups....we
took a stand (to fire him), and our actions made a difference."
- On November 10, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly's "Talking
Points" featured "The Truth About Major Nidal Malik Hasan's (attempt)
to contact associates of Al Qaeda. If true, that's huge. Why would the
Army allow any soldier to serve under those circumstances?" Later
in the broadcast he added: "I have the highest rated show. I've decided
it was an act of terrorism."
- On November 9, Fox News' Sean Hannity asked what the
tragedy says "about Barack Obama and our government."
- The same day on Fox News, right-wing columnist Charles
- "Surprise, surprise, that somebody who shouts Allahu
Akbar (God is great) as he shoots up a room of soldiers might have Islamist
motives in doing that. I think the real moral scandal....is trying to medicalize
- On his November 9 radio show, Rush Limbaugh also blamed
Obama for the Fort Hood shootings saying:
- "We could almost say this is Obama's fault, because
this guy (Hasan) said he believed Obama was going to get us out of Iraq
and Afghanistan. Obama hasn't done it, and that's one of the reasons why
the guy cracked....I am sure they're not going to call this (a) hate crime....but
let's not forget this man had no problem with killing people. (He's) not
a pacifist (or) a conscientious objector. He didn't like Americans in Afghanistan
- AP headlined, "Who knew of Fort Hood suspect's radical
contacts (in suggesting) opportunities were missed to head off the massacre
in which 13 died and 29 others wounded last Thursday."
- National Public Radio's (NPR) Daniel Zwerdling called
Hasan "cold (and) unfriendly," according to a fellow psychiatrist
"who worked very closely with (him) and knows him very well....the
medical staff was very worried about this guy....He did not do a good job
in training, was repeatedly warned, you better shape up, or, you know,
you're going to be in trouble....more relevant (was that) he was very proud
and upfront about being Muslim....he seemed almost belligerent about (it),
and he gave a lecture one day that really freaked a lot of doctors out....he
was the kind of guy who the staff actually stood around in the hallway,
saying: Do you think he's a terrorist, or is he just weird?"
- NPR's Steve Inskeep called Hasan "disturbed"
- On Public Broadcasting's (PBS) News Hour, Gwen Ifill
discussed his "extremist" views and "ties" to a "radical
cleric" with Washington Post writer, Dana Priest. Focusing on her
November 10 article titled, "Fort Hood suspect warned of threats within
the ranks," she explained his late June 2007 Power Point presentation
to supervisors and other physicians and mental health staff expressing
"a quite radical view of Islam and the Koran, with warnings throughout
that Muslims (will be conflicted) if they are asked to fight and kill other
- Titled, "The Koranic World View As It Relates to
Muslims in the US Military," Priest stressed elements like:
- -- guilt feelings and religious conflicts facing Muslims
in the military;
- -- offensive jihad, or holy war;
- -- Hasan saying: "If Muslim groups can convince
Muslims that they are fighting for God against injustices of the 'infidels;'
ie, enemies of Islam, then (they) can become a potent adversary; ie, suicide
- -- another comment saying: "We love death more than
you love life;" and
- -- under conclusions, writing: "Fighting to establish
an Islamic State to please God, even by force, is condoned by Islam (and)
Muslim soldiers should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk
to hurting/killing believers unjustly."
- Not addressed in Priest's article was the following:
- -- Muslims' objections to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars;
- -- out-of-date Pentagon information about Muslim attitudes
in the military;
- -- over 4,000 armed forces members are Muslims, not the
media-reported 2,000 - 3,000 number;
- -- most are African Americans, so it raises troubling
implications about extending imperial wars to Africa using black Americans
to fight them; and
- -- more than 3,000 armed forces members converted to
Islam while stationed in the Persian Gulf in the 1990s.
- Priest mentioned Hasan's recommendation urging the Defense
Department to release Muslims as conscientious objectors "to increase
troop morale and decrease adverse events."
- Reporter Ray Suarez painted a "conflicting portrait
(of the) accused Fort Hood gunman," devout, quiet, hardly known or
understood by his neighbors, disenchanted with the military, and eager
to get out. He cited the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Ibrahim
Hooper saying his BlackBerry buzzed with hostile messages, "one calling
for all-out war on Islam."
- BBC highlighted Hasan's "contact with a radical
cleric (known to be) sympathetic to al-Qaeda (and for) run(ning) a website
denouncing US policy. It praised Major Hasan's alleged actions at Fort
Hood as heroic."
- Darren Hutchinson's Dissenting Justice blog asked why
Hasan wasn't fired for his views when gay and lesbian soldiers are on grounds
of their sexual orientation, saying:
- "Apparently, the military retained a person who
suffered from known (or reasonably discoverable) psychological problems
and who attempted to contact an anti-US terrorist group. Meanwhile, the
military continues to enforce Don't Ask, Don't Tell and to discharge mentally
fit and loyal gay and lesbian service members...Hasan's religious views
were prominent, if not exclusive factors for why he slaughtered fellow
American soldiers. The motives appear as clear as any could be."
- Real Clear Politics' Debra Saunders referred to an "unstable
person (immersed) in extremist ideology before he turned his rage on his
- On November 11, an Islamophobic NEFA Foundation Alert
headlined, "Afghan Taliban Celebrate Ft. Hood Massacre," saying
- "issued a new official communique in response to
the massacre at Ft. Hood....titled, 'The Attack in Texas Is A Proof On
The Disagreement Among American Soldiers Over The War,' the Taliban celebrated
the 'fight and trance and enormous fears within the military and civil
circles in America' caused by the incident."
- Referring to Hasan as a "hero," it warned that
if the US doesn't withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, "it will become
normal for (similar) incidents and attacks (to) expand to the Pentagon
and the rest of the American military bases...."
- Instances of Violence in the Military
- On November 9, New York Times writers Michael Moss and
Ray Rivera headlined, "At Army Base, Some Violence Is Too Familiar,"
citing past examples from combat stress:
- -- after returning to Fort Hood in 2008, Sgt. Gilberto
Mota shot his wife Diana, an Army specialist, and took his own life;
- --in July, two returning First Cavalry Division members
were at a party when one killed the other; and
- -- the same month, Sgt. Justin Lee Garza, over-stressed
from two deployments, shot himself in a friend's apartment outside Fort
Hood four days after being told no therapists were available for counseling.
- The article said "Reports of domestic abuse have
grown by 75 percent since 2001, (and) violent crime in (adjacent) Killeen
has risen 22 percent...." Other stresses showed up in 76 Fort Hood
suicides, 10 in 2009. Overall, record numbers of them are occurring, likely
more than officially reported, as well as on average 10 failed attempts
for each lost life. The reasons - extended, repeated combat zone deployments
causing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression.
- In January, the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) reported
178,483 Iraq and Afghanistan vets diagnosed with mental illness between
2002 and September 2008. Included were cases of PTSD, depression, neurotic
disorders, and psychoses, as well as drug abuse and alcoholism. A 2008
RAND Corporation study estimated that 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan vets
(or 350,000 people) suffered from PTSD, nearly double the VA figure. In
addition, up to 18 US veterans of foreign wars commit suicide daily - over
6,500 annually. The numbers are troublesome and unreported by the major
media supporting calls for more troops.
- The Times said interviews with Iraq and Afghanistan vets
and with family members of those killed in Texas show that the Army hasn't
dealt with this crisis. "Even some alarm bells rung by the Army leadership
have gone unanswered." Open-ended billions go for militarism and imperial
wars. Appallingly little helps the young men and women fighting them when
they most need it.
- The Fort Hood tragedy is a profound "red alert"
indictment of America's imperial wars and the immense human cost to soldiers
and non-combatants alike.
- Fragging in Vietnam
- War-induced stress sparks violence in the ranks. Fragging
was the Vietnam term for rank-and-file soldiers killing NCO and officer
superiors by fragmentation grenades, shootings, and other means. According
to Texas A&M historian, Terry Anderson, the Army knew of at least 600
officer cases from 1969 - 1973, plus "another 1,400 who died mysteriously."
He believes that late in the conflict, the Army was more at war with itself
than the Vietnamese.
- Congressional hearings in 1973 estimated that from 1961
- 1972 up to 3% of NCO and officer deaths were from fragging by fragmentation
grenades alone. Many others were by "handguns, automatic rifles, booby
traps, knives, and bare hands (by) increasingly pissed off enlisted men."
- Writing in 1971, a Col. Heinl said:
- "The morale, discipline and battleworthiness of
the US Armed Forces are....lower than anytime in the century and possibly
in the history of the United States. By every conceivable indicator, our
Army that remains in Vietnam is in a state of approaching collapse, with
individual units avoiding or having....refused combat, murdering their
own officers and NCOs, drug-ridden and dispirited when not mutinous."
- Despite today's all-volunteer force, the longer America's
wars go on, the closer a similar state approaches critical mass because
of declining moral, repeated deployments, combat stress, battle fatigue,
and what Vietnam vet Steve Hesske wrote in 2003 on newdemocracyworld.org:
- the "negative universals in all warfare. Lousy nutrition.
Cramped, dirty, awful living conditions. Terrible weather. Unreasonable
often senseless demands made by superiors. And what Michael Herr describes
in DISPATCHES (as) 'long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of stark
- Leaving Iraq occupied, letting conditions there fester,
and expanding the Afghan-Pakistan theaters promise enough growing resentment
in the ranks to perhaps cause the type Vietnam breakdown Col Heinl described.
One no Islamophobic media response can hide or prevent.
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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