Fort Hood tragedy seen through personal political lenses
Was alleged Fort Hood attacker Nidal Malik Hasan a ‘radical Muslim terrorist,’ or had he been experiencing ‘Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder’?
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Meanwhile, the debate rages over whether Hasan -- aside from his religion, ethnicity, and what he’s reported to have said about two US wars in Muslim countries -- himself was a victim of combat-related stress. Even though he’d never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan himself, presumably as an Army psychiatrist he would have treated and counseled many combat veterans physically broken and mentally battered by war.Skip to next paragraph
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“Imagine every day trying to help young men and women somehow put their lives back together despite their night terrors, flashbacks, and chronic sleeplessness,” writes psychologist and full-time therapist Todd Essig. “While you reach out to help, they mistrust your every move and respond with hair-trigger tempers, not to mention all the physical symptoms, alienation, and hopelessness. Surrounded by thoughts of suicide -- and homicide -- you try and keep faith with the honor and challenge of providing care.”
“Could it be that the psychiatrist we want to hate saw the unbearable suffering of warriors he was tasked to treat? Could it be that he identified with the suffering of those he treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital? Did he become one of us, another soul tortured by war’s anguish? I cannot forgive this man who betrayed us but I must try and understand him nonetheless.”
Many of the online comments to Mr. Kinney’s blog post expressed outrage that Hasan’s alleged attack should be seen this way. One person wrote: “You want to understand him? Here’s the explanation: at some point, he became a radical Muslim terrorist. Period. Whether that was brought on by PTSD is irrelevant….”
On Huffington Post, Kamran Pasha describes his conversation with another Muslim soldier at Fort Hood, a 22-year Army man and Iraq combat veteran who recently converted to Islam. This soldier (referred to only as “Richard”) knew Hasan. He told Mr. Pasha (a Hollywood filmmaker and the author of “Mother of the Believers,” a novel on the birth of Islam) that he now believes Hasan’s alleged murderous act was motivated both by religious radicalism as well as having worked in a situation where combat stress was always present.
As more becomes known about what happened at Fort Hood -- and, most importantly, why -- many Americans may be less likely to see the tragedy in the context of their own opinions about the war and those of all backgrounds called to fight it.
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