11 November 2009

Shooting at Fort Hood

Bottom Line Up Front:

My Battalion took 4 KIA, 11 WIA. My company lost no Soldiers, but has two in the hospital.

There's no way I can write about this on any of the blogs that are connected to my real name because I disagree intensely with the Official Party Line.

Read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page. Not Kidding.

Next disclaimer:

The vast majority of Muslims in the United States Army (and our sister services) are perfectly good Soldiers who do their duty, much as I did mine in Kosovo, though I intensely disagreed with that mission, primarily on religious grounds.

A few, though, seem to hold opinions like this:

There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that "IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE" and Allah (SWT) knows best.

This should have raised red flags. It didn't.

He prayed at a radical mosque that was attended by 9/11 hijackers.

He presented creepy "briefings" described thus (and obtained by the WaPo):

"Hasan apparently gave a long lecture on the Koran and talked about how if you don't believe, you are condemned to hell. Your head is cut off. You're set on fire. Burning oil is burned down your throat.

"And I said to the psychiatrist, but this cold be a very interesting informational session, right? Where he's educating everybody about the Koran. He said but what disturbed everybody was that Hasan seemed to believe these things. And actually, a Muslim in the audience, a psychiatrist, raised his hand and said, excuse me. But I'm a Muslim and I do not believe these things in the Koran, and then I don't believe what you say the Koran says. And then Hasan didn't say, well, I'm just giving you one point of view. He basically just stared the guy down."

That should have raised red flags. It didn't--at least not officially. No formal complaints were made, for fear of appearing "disciminatory"

He had a spotty work record, and at least one coworker avoided sending referrals his way.

At some point, he attempted to contact al-Qaeda. The FBI knew, but there are questions about what they did with that information. Finger pointing and bureaucratic ass-covering has already begun.

He walked into the medical clinic attached to the Soldier Readiness Center (formerly the Sportsdome, a sports bar). The clinic is actually a separate building some 100 meters or so from the Sportsdome building. He opened fire with a pistol lauded by a media disinformation campaign as being more lethal than it really is, and shot 54 Soldiers after shouting Allah Akbar, or 'Allah is Great', a typical battlecry for Islamic militants. An eyewitness that I have met and know somewhat gives his take. Eventually he was taken down by MPs and DA civilian police officers.

Evidence mounts that this action was deliberately planned, complete with stereotypical 'suicide' preparations.

The lawyers are already playing delaying games and attempting to do their job of keeping this failed suicide from being railroaded--as if there is any doubt about the eventual outcome of a trial. The only question in my mind is whether he will do as his lawyers will undoubtedly insist and claim an insanity defense, or whether he will stand on his convictions.

Many in the media rushing to a defense of PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'll link to a Wall Street Journal counter-argument rather than gracing 'Dr. Phil' with a link. Let me just say that anyone with the faintest acquaintance with real PTSD (brought on by trauma, you know) would disagree vehemently. I will provide one summarized clinical study and leave the rest as an exercise for the reader.

Mayor Daley thinks it's because America has too many guns. Seriously?

I would ask that before reading further, you take a moment to read the various links. This essay is incomplete without the information contained in these links. Once you're done, we can move onto my opinion.

Whether the United States admits the reality or not, our opposition to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and similar groups places us in the position of being at war with Islam, from the point of view of certain schools of Islamic thought. In overthrowing Muslim governments, in attacking "the Faithful", and in attempting to set up functional "Westernized" states, we have placed ourselves in opposition to the schools of thought characterized variously as Deobandi, Wahabbi, or Salafist. We are also in direct opposition to Iran's state-sponsored imams who push for a Sharia-ruled Shi'a state which includes southern Iraq, and for whom Muqtada al-Sadr has frequently as a sock puppet.

These schools of thought are characterized by an adherence not merely to the Koran, but to the Hadiths and Sharia law. Highly scholastic and legalistic, they emphasis Islamic unity and guarding the 'ulemma' against impurity in word, deed, and thought, whether the impurity is competing schools of Islam or generalized "Western influences."

Further, these schools of thought tend to label even Muslims who disagree as 'apostates', subject to being killed when and where convenient just as we 'unbelievers' are. They emphasise pan-Islamic unity based around a largely Arabic cultural milleu at the expense of local culture and traditions, and deny the validity of any allegiance to a state other than one that meets their criteria of being 'truly' Islamic.

This form of Islam is incompatible with military service, and indeed with citizenship in the United States. It directly contradicts the oaths sworn by military members to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." When the United States was struggling against Communism during the Cold War, we did not allow Communists to enlist in the United States Army. Why do we permit our enemies to enlist in the Army today?

Commentators of various ideological stripes have asked how this was possible on a military installation. The answers are very simple. Fort Hood has tens of thousands of people entering the gate daily. It would be simply impossible to search each vehicle. We rely on Soldiers registering their cars on post, and presenting identification when they enter the post. A serving officer stationed at Fort Hood would be required to register his vehicle and get a post sticker shortly after arriving. And of course he is required to make sure his ID card is up to date. No security measure exists on the books to stop a Soldier stationed at Fort Hood from coming on post. Once he gets on post, very few Soldiers, other than MPs on law enforcement duty, carry their weapons around the installation. Of course there are Soldiers going to rifle ranges and similiar training, but live ammunition is tightly controlled to maintain accountability. Under Federal Law, no personally owned firearms may be carried on post. Once Major Hassan got on post, the only question was when and where was he going to carry out his attack.

The choice of target is part of what convinces me this was political/religious. Recall that for an adherent of many types of Islam there is no difference between politics and religion -- sharia is derived from the Koran and the Hadiths, and these are both legal and religious pronouncements, with proper forms of prayer right next to decrees on inheritance.

The Soldier Readiness Center prepared Soldiers administratively and medically for deployment. I updated the power of attorney for my wife, and could have updated my will had I desired to do so. I verified emergency contact data and how I want my life insurance distributed. I got an HIV test and a flumist and made sure my other immunizations were up to date. Other Soldiers got smallpox and anthrax and so forth. The SRC is a bottleneck in deployment preparations. No other target could easily concentrate deploying Soldiers, impact deploying units, and potentially delay deployments without an attack requiring explosives. Among other indicators, it was the perfection of this choice that makes me doubt the theory that Major Hassan just 'snapped' or was otherwise mentally ill. A "crazy" person would not be capable of precision targeting. A man who had decided that he could no longer bear the contradictions of his Islamic beliefs and the reality of the world is capable of that targeting. A man who decided that he was tired of pretending to be something he was not, who finally decided to stand up for his beliefs--as incomprehensible as they are to a normal Westerner--is capable of that.

My belief is that Major Hassan was exposed to radicalized forms of Islamic belief and at some point, possibly very early, he adopted these beliefs. He could not stand the contradictions inherent in his role as an officer in the United States Army. He decided to attack his enemy in a manner calculated to inflict maximum damage while almost ensuring his status as a Shaheed.

He was not 'crazy' or 'insane' in the clinical sense of being so mentally ill that he could not tell right from wrong, unless you wish to use the definition that Islam is in and of itself a form of mental illness, an argument which has some validity from a Western point of view.

He was merely our enemy.

Now, lessons learned from this, and how to prevent.

Lesson one: Political correctness needs to die a horrible death. While many Islamic Soldiers serve the United States faithfully and loyally, Muslim Soldiers (or indeed, any Soldier) who repeatedly attacks the foreign policy of the United States, our government, or make statements supporting our enemies, must be scrutinized. Their coworkers must be free to point out dangerous indicators without fear of having a career-ending Equal Opportunity complaint lodged against them . The standards of proof must be lowered so that it takes something less than 54 casualties to take action.

Lesson two: The advice of Muslim Soldiers should be solicited in putting together some information for Commanders and for Muslim Soldiers. This should lay out, in Islamic terms, the arguments for loyalty to a nation that permits freedom of worship and the arguments for combat against our enemies. A Christian Soldier struggling with a religious qualm regarding the morality of killing has plenty of resources to turn to, there are Christian chaplains all over the place. Where does a Muslim Soldier go?

Lesson three: When a Muslim Soldier does give these warning signs that he cannot reconcile service in the US Army with his version of his faith, he needs to be given the boot. Unceremoniously and without veteran's benefits, a GI Bill, or the other benefits of military service. Thanks for playing, don't let the door hit you on the way out, and oh, by the way, you really don't need to be permitted to purchase firearms in this country. Ever.

Will this discourage some Muslim Soldiers from enlisting or reenlisting? Probably. Not the good ones. Will it be foolproof? Probably not. Is it a complete program in all the endless bureaucratic glory that a complete program would entail? Nope. Does it come close to infringing on freedom of religion? Not in the least--although it denies freedom of religion to an interpretation of Islam that is fundamentally incompatible with the United States Constitution. But that type of religion DOES need to be infringed upon because it is a threat to the body politic.

The Constitution is not a mutual suicide pact. When someone finds a loophole and exploits it to kill us, then the loophole should be closed.


Blogger Dex said...

Excellent! Permission to link?

5:02 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Sure. Where?

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most excellent!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Dex said...

My LJ -- 3fgburner. Will only refer to this site, none of your RL identifiable ones.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Mind if I link, too? Again, LJ.

Very well said, BTW.

8:29 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

Be careful what you ask for ... restricting the right to buy firearms just because someone expresses potentially dangerous religious views is not necessarily a bad idea (see gun control laws in other countries), but probably not something you would really want to endorse.

On the other hand, I find the argument, expressed by a lot of atheist acuqaintances, that any and all forms of religions are a form of mental illness that replaces sound judgment with blind faith in authority, more and more compelling.

After all, fundamentalist Muslims and orthodox Christians aren't distinguishable that well, and the repeated mention of Maj. Hasan being single in the articles you cite supports my suspicion that the main difference between a murderous religious nutcase and an upstanding member of society is a level-headed spouse who impresses some common sense upon him. If necessary, by hitting him with a stick.


10:57 PM  
Blogger Tim Covington said...

1. I beg to differ on telling apart most fundamentalists and RIFs. One believes in doing their best to convert you. The other tells you to convert or die.

2. I am afraid that they are not going to charge this scum with treason. So far they are only talking about assault and murder charges.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are making convenient assumptions about what one can and can not do when insane (as in not competent responsible for ones actions).

I am not sure how you can claim to uphold the Constitution while and the at the same time denigrating the defendant's lawyers who's job it is, under our adversarial justice system, to be as strong an advocate for the defendant as possible.

Your linked PTSD article, at least in the summary, says nothing about vicarious, or second hand PTSD, and ignores the fact that therapists and the like have a higher rate of suicide than the general population. Then again, I don't think PTSD would generally drive people to this sort of action in the first place. Which is not to say that consoling injured soldiers who's looks can be horrifying, isn't stressful--or you have to do it in an environment that adds to your stresses and doesn't seem to support you.

Thirdly, do you want troubled Muslims fighting the system to stay in the Armed Forces so they can get their benefits, and not be looked down upon for not getting an honorable discharge or do you want them out? What if, after years of service do they find they can no longer reconcile their 2 views? Do they loose all previous credit?

And your advocating that they face a lower standard of proof and greater punishment when that lower bar is crossed? And this isn't wouldn't come across as punitive to Muslims how? Or blatantly unfair?

11:28 PM  
Blogger Tim Covington said...

Yuripup, the legal definition of insanity is being capable of telling that your actions would be considered illegal and wrong by the majority of people. His actions show that he knew that what he was doing was illegal and considered wrong.

The actual legal hurdle for insanity is quite high, and the burden of proof is on the defense. It is highly doubtful that his defense can actually prove that he was insane at the time of his crimes. Generally speaking, most insanity defenses only work for heat of the moment crimes. This crime was premeditated and well planned.

11:34 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Yuripup, *anyone* who gets out before 20 and isn't rated for disability "loses all previous credit."

Yeah, you can still go to the VA, but you're ranked barely above dependents.

You get the cookie after 20 years, and that's the way the game is played.

As for the "secondary PTSD" bullshit, I'd buy it *if* this guy had done more than a year of listening to people. Give me a break. Also, I'm relatively sure that the shrinks have shrinks that shrink their heads, so why didn't he take advantage of that?

6:01 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

Why not take advantage of shrinks that shrink heads?

Because religion is not properly identified as severe mental disease, and consequently mistreated ... by administering more of it. This happens to all forms of collective insanity ... and you get something similar to PTSD if you're the target of such collective insanity long enough.

cMAD <- happy to be safely out of reach of sticks and out of sight of the Five-Eyed Monster (a pack of Horrible Attack Dogs).

10:28 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

cMAD- Not everyone who's religious is crazy, darling. No matter how badly you want it to be so.

2:02 AM  
Blogger cmad said...

Actually, I want that you religious folks are right, but the odds that you are are just so infinitesimal. The world just lost a beautiful mind. Forever.

cMAD <- but that's an entirely different story.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Yes, all true... but if he was gay, that would be even more of a threat, right?

I think we may have our priorities wrong...

11:25 AM  

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