I think this man had his own "Islam." If you want to understand that go watch my lecture on the subject on "The Athenaeum."
His personal history intrigues me. I agree with Andy that there is something strange about his path to the DoD medical school.
– He graduated from HS and "joined the army." As what?
– He went to a couple of junior colleges and then to Va Tech. What was his military status during that time.
– One of the junior colleges is in California and the other is in Roanoke, Virginia. Was he in the Army as an enlisted man at that time?
- He was NOT commissioned from ROTC at VA Tech. What was he when he applied to and was accepted by the DoD medical school? pl
Anybody remember Sirhan Sirhan, the killer of RFK?
Palestinian-born, bat-crazy,a murderer, and a christian.
I do believe religion is a factor, but islam or even radical islam as such isn’t at all.
Any such paranoid loon turning nasty will twist any faith into a justification of his bloody “revenge”. He certainly has his own personal islam, just like killer mormons have their own jesus.
All sorts of dirty and criminally insane buggers join the military every day.
To me Major Hasan is no different from the many postmen shooting their co-workers, or emo goth kids shooting their classmates.
There seems to be more questions than answers regarding doctor Hasan.
“All sorts of dirty and criminally insane buggers join the military every day.” What absolute crap! You don’t have a shred of proof for that statement. what you are spouting is just a reflection of your ideological dislike of soldiers.
As for the assertion about religion not being relevent here, that also is PC crap.
You must be an academic.
Islam, because it lacks clergy or hierarchy provides an easy vehicle for all sorts of little groups or individuals to come to their own version of Islam and then to act on it. What do you think Al-Qa’ida is? It is basically an “ijma'” group formed up behind the excesses of people like Qutb.
Go learn something about Islam beside the pathetic pleadings of groups of Muslims who want to persuade you that their Islam is the only Islam. pl
Radical secularists are equating conservative Muslims with radical Muslims, this is a simplistic approach by the media .
The outcome of what took place in Fort Hood,Texas is equivalent to September 11-the bing bang- as far as Muslims and Arabs are concerned .
President Obama reconciliation message to the two groups have been undermined by world’s news coverage that shapes public opinion, namely Major Hasan shooting spree .
The occupation of Palestine- the West Bank and Gaza- are central to how the West view Muslims and Arabs and vice-versa.
Muslims are back to square one, September 2001, back on the defencive, and this might be an overture for another preemptive war on Iran .
The American agenda is hijacked, a war on Iran is eminent.
I thought you might find the link above interesting, and yes I am from Iran.
I agree with you, Colonel. F5f5f5 is rambling some nonsense, as most military recruits are honorable young men and women with undeniable sense of right and wrong. And Islam IS a factor here, if only because those we are fighting in the GWOT just happen to be that. Ponder, if 9/11 were perpetrated by Christain radical Serbs, IRA, or whoever. And we have since then been involved in a global war on “them.” There would probably be some “twisted Christians” causing occaisional havoc like suicide bombings and massacres. Okay, you can argue not Christians because of this or that. And it is hard for me to imagine, too. But f5f5f5 also seems to imply this.
What I’d really like to put forth here is this article from HuffPost, by Kamran Pasha. If nothing else, it offers hope that Islam is not in itself a breeding ground for terrorists. Rather, it seems to me that the combination of history, Arab culture, AQ’s actions (9/11), and other factors is. Unfortunatley, this one psychopath’s actions has done harm well beyond the victims of his murderous derangement.
Recently, a somewhat similar murderous situation took place inside the British military:
I happen to have a friend whos brother is serving in the Belgian detachment, they basically are only there in name and refuse to participate in any ground opperation by coming up with all kinds of excuses. I think the whole problem is one of cohesion.
In my opinion, the attack was terrorism.
I understand the argument that he was simply deranged, but to ignore the location, his alleged battle cry and yes, his personal background requires a measure of cognitive denial that the plain facts rebut.
Sorry if I gave the wrong impression. I realize my choice of words was very bad indeed. I was just trying to keep it short.
I am far from being an academic or even left-wing, I do have experience in the military(engineering), and I lived in muslim countries.
I did read about islam, and I also went to lectures and conferences on radical islam and terror with people like Gilles Kepel and Gerard Challiand in Paris.
I am not saying the military’s crawling with psychopaths.
Some people do join the military with dangerous psychological tendencies, and/or extreme political or religious views. It cannot always be detected. And these tendencies can also surface only after some time.
I do not think Major Hasan’s killing spree was politically or religiously motivated.
Religion was the vehicle of his madness, not the other way around.
Religious/politically-motivated attacks are stereotyped. You kill innocent people you don’t know for publicity.
What Hasan did was revenge against his co-workers out of attention-seeking.
I am not an islam or PC advocate. I look at events coldly, putting aside emotions and knee-jerk reactions.
At the risk of adding off topic information, I will say that I was a ROTC scholarship student more than 40 yrs ago and left the program after one year at Norwich University. I was academically, athletically and militarily (highest company rating, 12 demerits all year)near the top of my class. I resigned my scholarship when I realized after my first year, the Tet offensive, my military science course in which the RA Major told us the Vietnamese could feed much of SE Asia if there was no war ongoing that there was nothing we could do to improve the situation. I now have virtually no option but to buy New Balance running shoes made in Viet Nam.
The current issue regarding the horror at Ft Hood and its perpetrator have left me with many questions raised after Col Lang’s presentation of the bits of information.
How did someone manage to be funded for 10+ yrs in “academic” programs without any active deployment beyond the named facilities?
What school in California was he enrolled in?
Did he receive language instruction while in CA?
I have several others, but I will leave it to the more well-informed regarding recent and current military policy to clarify these.
I close with an atheist’s deepest condolences and respect for your loved-ones’ sacrifice.
Seems to me that I would have known if there ROTC scholarships in 1968 or 69. I don’t remember that to be the case.
He is a medical officer that the Army educated. Medical school + internship + residency + fellowship in psychiatry = a long time.
Language. Not that I know of. I presume that he speaks Arabic.
The California college? It is in the papers. I read that in the Washington Post this AM.
Wat’s with the condolence business? pl
“All sorts of dirty and criminally insane buggers join the military every day.”
Like any large entity, the Army attracts a few undesirables that only serve to smear everyone else. Sort of like blaming 911 on Saudi Arabia for the crimes of a few Saudis or blaming all Muslims for al-Qaeda or using this to blame all Muslim soldiers of dual-loyalties. Most undesirables are selectively removed via UCMJ as soon as the Army identifies them or they identify themselves.
Col, see Wikipedia for the best bio out there so far on Major Hasan.
Looks to me like he was under DCP, not ROTC at Va Tech.
Hasan’s educational experience was at Barstow Community college near Ft. Irwin where the school has an on-post program. pl
“his own Islam”
Yes, this may the case. News reports indicate that he was not considered extremist in his religious views over the years by those who knew him. Pious but not extremist. Then a change at some point in more recent time.
Only over the past several years does there seem to have been a radicalization of some kind, according to present press reports. This observed change combined with the stress of his particular job can help explain the violent turn of events.
A lone wolf terrorist, but still a wolf and a terrorist it seems (so far). His use of internet, whether he posted anything or not, could indicate visiting radical-extremist-jihadi websites which contributed to his radicalization. So he may have felt himself a virtual member of the global jihadi realm and then turned active (quite possibly on his own with no prompting)in a clearly methodical and premeditated way to seek martyrdom through violence and death.
He could have done the explosive vest thing and just sauntered into the crowded center and blown himself and many others up. But this would have required some back up from folks who know how to set these up. I expect we will experience this in the future states side and I do not doubt for a minute there are people here in this country today with these skills.
According to a report today from a medic witness, his cargo pockets were “full” of clips. So at 30 rounds each (or 20) he had plenty with him to do a lot of damage. One report today says he jumped up on a desk and started to shoot. This elevated position would have facilitated his op and also stray shots hitting the floor at an angle could have developed some ricochet effects. Also there were dividers outlining cubicles or certain areas and they probably were easy for stray rounds to go through. So the single shooter scenario and damage from that would seem reasonable from present info in the press. I can see that he might have calculated his back up revolver could be used in a finale if his primary weapon jammed.
If his cargo pockets were full of clips he expected an extended period of time in which to shoot and conduct his op.It is not clear to me why he left the building and went running outside where the female policewoman then was then able to spot and engage him. The time period of his shooting is said today to have been about 4 minutes and the overall elapsed time of incident about 10 minutes.
With all due respect Col Lang, there were ROTC scholarships at the time you reference. Mine was awarded in 1966 – 1967; I enrolled at Norwich in Sept. 1967. My cousin had an NROTC scholarship two years earlier, which he undertook at U So Carolina.
My condolence “business” as an atheist was meant to acknowledge that one without a religion can feel empathy and appreciation as well as understand those who have fervent passion for theirs. Sorry if I expressed it poorly,
I think I screwed-up my initial post, here’s most of it again:
Some more info:
Hasan attended high school in VA only in his senior year and graduated in 1988. People who knew him are saying he was a loner even back then. He attended Virginia Western Community College from 1990-92 and graduated with an associates degree. His parents are both dead – his father died in 1998 and his mother in 2001, she was only 49.
It looks like he probably did enlist after high school :
If he did a two year enlistment (I’m assuming here that 2-year enlistments were available in the late 1980’s) at Ft. Irwin (where Barstow has a campus on post) that would put him back in VA in 1990 and able to finish his associate degree. Since he wasn’t in ROTC at VT he probably joined the Army under a med officer program in 1997 after completing his BS on his own in 1995. It looks like he was commissioned as a Captain only after completing his doctorate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Some basic details of that commissioning route :
If all of that is accurate it still leaves a lot of gaps. He might have worked at the restaurant or store his family owned during the intervening years. Hard to know since he was a loner.
Hey. I’ll take your word for it. I graduated from VMI in 1962 and there was nothing like that then. pl
It sounds like he got a hell of a free ride from the Army.
Indeed. As a psychiatrist he also received $20k a year incentive pay in addition to his regular pay and benefits.
This incident reminds me of the 2004 movie “The Assassination of Richard Nixon”.
The Sean Penn character was a disaffected, divorced furniture salesman.
Hassan sounded disaffected as well, but for a different reason.
The Wikipedia post states that Hassan’s weapons were a FN Five-seven semi-automatic and a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver. The shooting “lasted for about 10 minutes with the shooter reportedly firing about 100 shots”.
With a revolver and a semi-automatic that comes with a ten or twenty shot clip? Even if “a bunch of clips” were found in his cargo pants pockets, this still doesn’t sound right.
Just read Mr. Kiracofe’s comments, regarding Hassan’s weapons capacity, in the previous post. I was being redundant.
My movie analogy remains….
Annoying isn’t it? It’s like flight pay for aviators. It shoud be divided up and given to the infantry. pl
The Major was seriously conflicted First Generation American Muslim. He used the system to get training and rise in grade for free but now the system was going to use him in Afghanistan. He used his training to talk about the Holy War in the Middle East but in the end there was no resolution to the contradictions within himself nor any way to save himself or his patients. No one listened to him.
He chose death by others.
He is much like Tim McVeigh, he had his own loners ideology. War pushes these people over the edge.
War is Crazy. That is Catch 22. If you recognize that war is insane, by definition, you have to be sane.
Whatever the truth is, the narrative will be Muslim terrorist. Too many people have an incentive in it. If you want escalation in Afghanistan here is your talikng point. If you are “al Qaida” here is your chance to pretend to be a global network. I’m waiting for the new bin laden video on this.
I have no idea how many Muslims serve in the millitary. Wonder how this will play out between them and their fellow servicemen.
Hasan never would have done what he did if he had been accepted politely by his soldier peers. The anti-Muslim bigotry by certain Fort Hood soldiers who pushed this guys buttons need to man-up and accept some of the responsibility here …. we must always look at cause and effect … like the bullying in American schools that causes kids to feel rejected and alone which has contributed to the school shooting epidemic in America.
We need to be more kind to the weak, different, outcast in our society just like Jesus’ example.
I’ve read through the whole set of comments, but my reaction to the initial posting from F5F5F5 was to nod and smile at my recollection of basic training as an 11B. My platoon started with four or five obvious crazies of varying kinds — a sprinkling of sadists, a wildly sociopathic liar/manipulator, etc. — and a couple of them managed to finish their training. I kept track of one, and it took the army a while to get rid of him.
(In basic training, a kid ripped down a bird’s nest outside the DFAC and stomped on the baby birds. Another one snuck a knife out of the same DFAC in his sleeve, and got caught. The drill sergeants were, how can I say this, not very nice to either one.)
Years later, I was walking across Camp Buehring, Kuwait, when I passed a pair of soldiers deep in conversation. One was very proudly telling the other about his convictions for breaking and entering.
All sorts of dirty and crazy people join the military every day, and get on the bus from the MEPS with a lot of good people. The sorting out takes a while.
It looks like the army may have missed a few signals and opportunities, here.
Press reports indicate that he lived in an extremely modest apartment paying $350 a month. He seemed to have very few possessions in it as reported so far: two bookcases (what books?), a few chairs, an air mattress, computer. He is said to have paid a neighbor to use their computer from time to time for internet despite having his own computer in his apartment.
Further he is said to be a loner with very little social life. No lavish lifestyle at all it seems. For example, simple cup of coffee and hash browns for a usual breakfast at a local convenience store.
Given the discussion on this thread about how much money he was taking in from Uncle Sam his very modest lifestyle seems anomalous. Where did his money go? Unusual travel abroad? Unusual donations to so-called Islamic “charities”?
Eyewitness account of the shooting:
Not strictly on topic but relevant in general:
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones received a letter from an eye witness. It can be seen here.
I think Clifford’s info might have come from the same source.
You don’t know that. So far, I know of one instance of some yahoo who lived at his apartment building having vandalized Hasan’s car. The jackass keyed Hasan’s car and scratched out a bumper sticker. The Killeen police would have been very interested and the perp was known, but Hasan evidently did not report the crime. Your claim that Hasan was harassed by other soldiers is unsupported. pl
What a snide comment that is. You imply that the US government staged the massacre. Do you also think that the US government staged 9/11? pl
I have received a threatening letter crom a character who calls himself Norman Cone. He is upset with me because I do not share his attachment to a certsin foreign country. I have forwarded his threatening letter to the FBI. pl
I reconstructed the crime scene situation by carefully going through dozens of open source newspaper articles I located via Google News/US etc. Never saw this report you mention.
Also, I am familiar with pistols such as the ones the terrorist had and have had some experience over the years in various places in various situations. I enjoy shooting at the pistol range down in Roanoke from time to time.
I noticed today a report from a witness that he saw the terrorist changed his clip “several” times.
Thus, using a new 30 round clip twice equals 91 rounds, or three times times would be 121 at max. This is starting from 31 which would be 1 in the chamber and thirty in the extended clip originally in the weapon at the beginning of the incident. You would have different numbers using 20 round clips or a mix of 30 and 20 round clips so…
Thus the reports from investigators that “over 100” rounds were fired by the terrorist are quite reasonable. He would simply drop the spent clips and reload either pausing briefly or while in motion. This is possible within the 4 minutes reported of elapsed shooting time. Takes a little practice. He reportedly bought the FN locally in August 2009, so three months to practice with this particular weapon. The 357 revolver seems to me to have been back up in case the FN jammed so he was thinking through his operation in advance it appears.
He is reported to have had a typical rail mount laser sight for the FN. So this would help him some with his aim points but there is still the matter of muzzle control/recoil, movement, tension, and all that. Although reports say he was “methodical” and careful in his movements so I take it his better killing shots were assisted by the laser sight and probably point blank type range in the room. I would expect his shots were within say 10 yards of victims. Maybe much less.???
It seems obvious, reading hundreds of press reports over the past days, that the terrorist was stressed, was “conflicted”, and most certainly had an extremist Islamist bent whether of his own personal creation out of books he read, or through exposure via Internet, or through contact with individuals in person or virtually via Internet.
Did the terrorist travel abroad? If so, just where?
For some time in Europe, the “home grown” terrorist phenomenon has been present. This would be either native Europeans who have converted to Islam, male and female. And those from Muslim countries who were born in European countries. Naturally, it is difficult to profile the native “European” person as the Nigerian heroin smuggling orgs know. There was a case of a native “European” Belgian female who was married to an Arab Muslim terrorist who was arrested several years ago in an incident as I recall….
I assume it is the same Norman Cone that popped up at the “Giraldi on Harman” thread back in April 09. Also a Norman Cone left a potentially revealing comment that appeared in a thread titled “Ok, the same Now for Pakistan-Israel” as well as “A Clean Sweep for AIPAC”.
Apparently doesn’t believe AIPAC should be registered under FARA, to say the least.
I should have mentioned that I will not again post anything or comment on anything from NC. They will have to find another name. pl
“Hasan never would have done what he did if he had been accepted politely by his soldier peers.”
What astonishing nonsense. Were people mean to him sometimes? I don’t know but am willing to accept that some were. He committed mass murder for what he imagined where ideological reasons, apparently believing he was defending the “ummah” (his “us”) from the evil “them” (his erstwhile comrades and the army that fed, clothed and trained him).
Every shred of evidence i’ve read so far is that he pursued and nourished his own sense of Moslem otherness and faced with a deployment to a war he opposed and feared involvement in he pursued a course of mass murder.
He didn’t find the army a congenial place? Well, then fight through legal channels to get out. Legal route fails? A “principled” stay in the brig followed by a dishonorable discharge was a course open to him. He decided on murder and betrayal instead.
That insensitive comments were perhaps occasionally lobbed his way is a very small part of this picture.
To the outcast attacking the institution theme — look no further than the date this crime was committed on…Guy Fawkes Day. True this is a brit historical date but the symbolism is the same.
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
I see on the tevee that some (FoxNews, surprise) are referring to Ft. Hood tragedy as “The New 9/11”
In no sense was this man an “outcast.”
He was a highly valued member of the Medical
Corps. If he were not the Army would not have have spent 10 years educating him, promoting him and putting up with his obvious oddness. pl
I should have said that some of your info might have come from this source even if you didn’t see the report that I and confused ponderer came across this morning. It is likely that various witnesses have given multiple interviews and you have possibly come across the same source interpreted by several reporters. My thanks to you for trying to extract the facts from the confusion.
With respect to religion it is certainly a factor although as pointed out above it’s not clear considering some possible coincident mental illness whether it’s a chicken or an egg factor. A certain sect of Christianity is definitely a factor in our own home-grown right-to-life death squads. I also fear that sooner or later some tea bagger will resort to deadly violence. All the elements are in place there too–the religion, the madness, and the weapons.
Here’s a piece from the huffpost by Kamran Pasha who interviews a Muslim soldier at Fort Hood who knew Hasan. Very insightful about the shooter and his version of Islam–there is a radical Imam connection there.
In an informational vaccuum the media is painting a picture of Hasan as an outcast, feeling profound and distressing cultural alienation
I have heard on the tevee countless times today — Did the military not see/address this man’s suffering? He was a loner with no friends or outside life. How was such an emotionally dysfunctional man allowed to serve and counsel others? He was teased and derided for being a Moslem. Why was this conflicted man being deployed? How could the warning signs have been missed? And on and on and on.
You say he was not an outcast in his professional life within the military. Ok. Perhaps the military should speak to the value and/or the nature of this man’s service.
This guy was treated like a pampered child by the Army. Why? Outreach! Multiculturalism! Broaden the social base of the officer corps! He never did anything in the Army but go to school at out expense. pl
Our willingness to celebrate diversity is one of this nation’s greatest assets. We can’t allow our reactions to who Major Hasan is and what he has done to put this at risk.
I was glad to see Vietnam Vet mention Major Hasan in the context of Timothy McVeigh as someone who also had “his own loners ideology.” IMO this fits with your on-tape explication of the personal, self-directed and idiosyncratic theology of the followers of Islam and may genuinely account for Hasan’s horrific actions.
Before McVeigh was a suspect, I remember only too well how immediately after the bombing of the Murrah Building the media put together panels of ‘experts’ who explained ad nauseum that the bomber(s) could only be foreigners. On TV in particular, the thought that this might be the product of ‘domestic’ terrorists was literally unspeakable. It was as if we couldn’t wrap our collective mind around the idea. Unfortunately, we’ll have no trouble doing that with Major Hasan.
Like that of McVeigh, Major Hasan’s plainly pathological and seemingly irrational behavior challenges our own needs to see the world as a rational, predictable and safe place. The idea that anyone whether McVeigh or Hasan would do what they did for personal, self-directed idiosyncratic reasons while still remaining sane defies belief and we quickly look for easier to understand alternative explanations.
Because McVeigh was plainly not a foreigner and had no obvious ‘foreign’ connection it became virtually impossible for us to see him as the tip of a foreign conspiracy spear. Thus, we ended up explaining him away as a lunatic member of our own domestic far right wing.
It is hard for us, however, to deny the foreign connection with Hasan even if we find that he had a ‘loners ideology,’ i.e., consistent patterns of behavior molded by his unique view of his religious obligations, which was the primary basis for his acts. In short, it is almost impossible for us to marginalize and ignore Hasan as we did McVeigh. Because of his obvious ‘foreignness’ Major Hasan is already on the verge of becoming an icon for those who want to reject diversity and blame our troubles on the strangers in our midst.
For me, whether and how Hasan did this terrible thing is no longer a question. What worries me is how to avoid having Major Hasan become a symbol for the ideologues among us who are preoccupied with the issues of good and evil. As a country we’ve become especially prone to this kind of Manichean thinking and unless we’re careful we will end up drawing down even more of our already limited political energies in yet another fruitless pursuit of ideological purity.
“It is likely that various witnesses have given multiple interviews and you have possibly come across the same source interpreted by several reporters”
No, let me again state that this came from a review of dozens of articles from a number of newspaper stories over a number of days containing data on the weapons and shooting and then many more of a general nature about the terrorist, his family and all that. I used the Google News aggregator.
The stories are not single sourced from the one witness presenting his view which you placed into the thread. The stories cite a number of witnesses plus military and police officials statements and so on prior to the publication of the story you placed on the thread.
Once the FN was identified as the primary weapon then it was not difficult to work the math. The terrorist’s movements during the period of the shooting itself were commented on by numerous witnesses not the later single report you inserted. And so on.
Wasn’t McVeigh a cultic type? Supposedly he was a Roman Catholic but I believe he had links to the Aryan Identity movement people???
The Aryan Identity/Christian Identity movement grew out of the bizarre and cultic “British Israel” movement created in the Victorian era in the UK which spread to Canada and the US etc. The present Christian Zionist movement in the US as represented by Hagee etal was created in the UK back in the 1820s and 1830s and I cover that in my recent book, “Dark Crusade.”
Yes, there are a lot of nut cases out there some are Muslim, some are Christian, some are Jewish, etc…and some of the nut cases are violent and some become terrorists.
“I think this man had his own “Islam.””
Sunna Islam is susceptible to that. The KSA w/ his control of the Hajj, his oil wealth, his title as Custodian of the Shrines has some influence, b/ the backwardness and corruption of the kingdom mitigates against it. The Twelver Shia seem to be more hierarchial.
The Protestant Xtians really have gone off each his own way.
“His personal history intrigues me. I agree with Andy that there is something strange about his path to the DoD medical school.”
It appears that he “pulled himself up by his own bootsrap” Joined as an enlisted man. Went to community colleges, took basic science courses, eventually earned a B.S. in biochemistry- quite impressive. Then, qualified for a competitive admission to medical school.
He obviously was able to use his prefrontal cerebral cortex ACADEMICALLY. But at the same time, his personal life was controlled by his reptilian hindbrain at the level of honor killing, revenge, instinctive dumbass, no-thinking, impulsive action.
A total lack of higher order executive control.
It seems to me that anybody in psychological counseling should themselves be reviewed by a fellow counslor once a month.
The 12er Shia only appear to be “more hierarchical.” In fact the various certifications by the Howza bestow prestige for their opinions, not authority. pl
IMO your argument is a rationalization for unwillingness to accept that Islam is a particularly facile vehicle for the rise of ggroups likie this. Can this occur in other settings? Certainly, but, so what? We are talking about Islam here.
As for McVeigh, my memory of the event was that he had sought inclusion in many groups, most notably the Army and had been rejected by all. pl
my comments about the Custodian of the Shrines were in retrospect just shooting from the hip. Al-Azhar University is recognized as an authoritative center for Sunnis. I think the point the Col. makes is there is nothing comparable to the Curia & the Pope.
Something else to share, CNN reports that Hasan did make a trip to Palestine about 15 years ago & someone that looks like him in Army fatigues is in the audience while the Israeli Ambassador expounds on the Ghaza operation last Xmas.
Still a mature man with an executive control mechanism and the loyalty mechanism of your common Canis lupus familiaris should have been able to handle all of that.
The Saudi king has authority religiously only among those who accept his authority and the consensus of his tame ‘Ulema.
The sheikh of Al-Azhar has authority for his scholarly opinions among those who accept the consensus that he leads and for no one else. The sheikh of Al-Azhar does not think those who disagree with him to be Muslims? So what? They think they are, and if they will kill you for what they believe, the sheikh of Al-Azhar’s opinion has limited utility. You can hardly expect that Sunni Muslims who follow other Mathahib will accept Al-Azhar’s opinion.
The pope has a claim to be the vicar of Christ deputed to speak authoritatively for God. There are no rival opinions within the Catholic community once the pope has spoken. There is no personage in Islam (any Islam) who can make such a claim to divine authority. Their opinions are always just opinions. You can always find an ‘Alim with a different opinion. You can find Catholic priests with varying opinions as well but they have no teaching authority if they wish to remain within the Church.
There are many eastern Christians and Protestants who do not accept the pope’s authority in theology and matters of faith but that does not matter to Catholics.
There is no one in Islam who can make a claim to divine deputation.
All the ‘ulema are mere scholars. pl
A commenter up above describes Hasan’s actions as “irrational.”
It seems to me perfectly rational given his world-view. His apparent intent was to add his small contribution to an approach that rests on exacting sufficient pain and expanding the field of jihad (to bring the fight home to the “far enemy”) enough to chase the US away from Afghanistan, Iraq, support for Israel, support for Saudi Arabia, etc…
We can argue about mistaken assumptions over whether this strategy will work but it seems to me to be a fairly rational approach for people who imagine themselves to be at war with a foe of overwhelming conventional superiority (and yes, I think they are quite pleased they goaded the US into a response that brought so much suffering to Moslems since they believe that will win them friends and hasten their inevitable, if far off, victory).
Hasan decided that the US is the enemy. This is treason among other things. But it isn’t insanity.
His old prayer leader, the US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, is very proud of him. Awlaki writes:
“Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.”
Awlaki isn’t crazy either. He represents a minority strain in Islam that has many adherents.
w/ respect to Dan’s post of the Al-Awlaki blog site. What incitement is found there! What are the limits of free speech?
You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater! Can you incite mutiny? Who can host his site?
i recall from constitutional law class that that the folk singer Peter Seeger, who used to be a communist, invoked the First Amendment, right to free speech & association (not the Fifth) when he refused to testify before the UnAmerican Activities Committee.
There seems to me to be an awful lot of people here making conclusions they ought not to be making about Maj. Hasan and his motives. It’s clear that he had some serious problems that should’ve been addressed before he was shipped off to Ft. Hood. I have been told, for example, that he was actually re-traumatizing combat-stressed soldiers whom he was counseling at Walter Reed. Col. Lang’s explanation as to why he was sent to Ft. Hood suggests a bureaucratic system hugely indifferent to the social and psychological problems that it exists side-by-side with. Such a characterization is coherent with the comments made to me by two people who have been working the problem of the Army’s inability to handle the psychological stress issues that have multiplied inside the Army since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Army suicide rate has skyrocketed over the past few years (a good portion of those suicides have been among soldiers that had NOT deployed) and there have been dozens of cases of murders committed by soldiers within a few months of returning from combat tours (there was an investigation of this at Fort Carson completed in July). There are particulars in the case of Maj. Hasan, as there are in every case, which need to be examined, but there’s also the environment in which the incident occurred. When looking at that broder picture, it should be easy to see that the Army has been handling the issue of PTSD/pshychological stress, poorly, and soldiers and their families are paying for that failure with their lives.
On the contrary. I thought my argument, based on the information you made available, was an aknowledgement “that Islam is a particularly facile vehicle for the rise of groups like this.” For that reason I am more than willing to accept that Major Hasan’s unique religious beliefs are responsible for his criminal actions.
The problem I thought I was addressing is how do we quell our natural tendency to tar everyone with the same brush so that Major Hasan does not become the exemplar for all of Islam.
As to McVeigh, his Wiki history suggests that he was more like Hasan than we might have thought in that he conformed overtly to the Army’s expectations.
Wiki reports that he was an honors high school graduate and enlisted in May of 1988. He received the Bronze Star in the first Gulf War, was a top scoring gunner with the Bradley 25mm cannon, took and completed the (now) Warrior Leader Course at Fort Riley, and on returning from Desert Storm entered the selection program for Special Forces but did not meet the physical fitness requirements. He then decided to leave the army and was discharged in December 1991. He was given an honorable discharge from the Army Reserve in May 1992.
I beg to differ that Islam is a facile vehicle for Hasan or Al Qaeda. If it were you would have more Hasans and Al Qaeda would have more support.
If you are looking to do something like this or 9-11, then yes you can find a member of the Ulema who will tell you its blessed.
But then Israeli soldiers will all too easily find Rabbi’s that will tell them how killing Palestinian children is the right thing to do.
So what? The actions of men based on what they want their religion to be so that it may justify their actions does not make the religion the culprit, any more than the bands the Colombine kids were listening to before their massacre are responsible for the actions of those kids.
99% of the true Ulema will have told this man why his actions were wrong in Islam. 99% would have told him that his actions had no justification in Islam.
To any other Muslims reading this and are thinking Hasan is a hero I say this: If you want to fight in the name of your religion fight as it tells you to, as the men of Salaheddine did and the men of Hizballah do. Fight with honour, fight against armed enemies and kill only where it is permitted: On the battlefield.
So military or Federal court?
“A finding of terrorism could trigger a decision by the Obama administration to take the case to federal court, and an admission that Hasan’s alleged action was the first act of terrorism on American soil since Sept. 11. President Obama flies to Texas on Tuesday to participate in a memorial for the 13 victims.
Murder in either case is punishable by the death penalty, but the appeals process in the military justice system apparently tends to discourage executions. According to the Houston Chronicle, of the 47 service members charged with murder in recent decades, 15 have received a death sentence, and none has been executed since 1961….”
“…the true Ulema.” Who authorized you or anyone else to decide who are the “true ‘Ulema?” Was it the sheikh of al-Azhar? Was it the Ayatollah Sistani? Who authorised them?
I did not say that Islam’s characteristics of organization mandate behavior like Hasan’s. pl
As you have already said, as a Muslim I need no authorisation to judge whom I believe is true.
If a man preaches against the teachings of the Koran (or any of the holy books for that matter) he is no learned man in my humble opinion, no matter what theological interpretation he wraps it in –
And I certainly would not look at the kooky sheikh of Al Azhar or Sistani for guidance….
I believe you have made my point. pl
On the legal side, I find this most interesting:
“Former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Sunday called last week’s shooting at Fort Hood “the worst terrorist act carried out on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.”
“Mukasey made his remarks in a little noticed speech to military families at Veterans Day ceremony in central Pennsylvania. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is suspected of opening fire at the Texas military base last Thursday in an attack that killed 13 and wounded 30….
“The former Attorney General criticized the New York Times and government officials for appearing to rule out the possibility that Hasan’s shooting spree was directed or inspired by any terrorist group. Mukasey told the military families that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has sought to create a “leaderless jihad” that promotes solo attacks…
Mukasey presided over the 1995 trial of the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, who led a precursor organization to al-Qaeda in Brooklyn in the 1990s. Rahman was tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later convicted of a plot to blow up New York City landmarks.
“On Sunday he told the military families that Hasan didn’t need to have formal ties to a foreign terrorist organization to have carried out a terrorist attack. ”To tell us to believe that someone has to have a membership card in al-Qaida or any other organization in order for them to act as a terrorist, and in order for us to call what he does an act of terrorism, is to tell us to refuse to look facts in the face, and to refuse to believe what we see and hear with our own eyes and ears,” Mukasey said, according to The Patriot-News.”
This terrorist incident is not going to be easily shoved under the rug by those with various agendas, and there are many out there.
It is not that often that I can say I fully agree with Senator Lieberman but I am very pleased to see that he intends to have his US Senate Committee take a very hard look at this from top to bottom.
And to Carl O’s remark I would add that we need a very comprehensive counterintelligence dimension. And I am not referring just to the extremist Islamist issue. There is also the issue of the penetration of the US military by various organized criminal gangs in many cases recruited by the military itself as it lowered standards for Iraq.
I did not challenge your point and would go further as to say that every Muslim has his own personal version of Islam.
I merely question the assertion that it is Islam that makes it easy for someone to do what he did; My point is that Muslims who wish to do what he did simply look to Islam to validate their actions no matter how contrary to they are to the actual teachings.
Some significant context from Atty Gen. Holder back in July:
“Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News in an exclusive interview today that he is increasingly concerned about Americans becoming radicalized and turning to terrorism.
“”I mean, that’s one of the things that’s particularly troubling: This whole notion of radicalization of Americans,” Holder told ABC News during an interview in his SUV as his motorcade brought him from home to work. “Leaving this country and going to different parts of the world and then coming back, all, again, in aim of doing harm to the American people, is a great concern.”
Holder said the ever-changing threat of terror and the pressure to keep up with it weighs heavily on his mind as he tries to ensure that the government has done all it can to anticipate the moves of an unpredictable enemy.
“In some ways it’s the most sobering part of the day,” Holder said of his morning intelligence briefing, in which he gets the latest report on the landscape of “the organizations, the people who are bound and determined to do harm to our nation.”
….””The American people would be surprised by the depth of the threat, but also reassured to see the assets that have been deployed around the world,” Holder said, adding that the United States interacts closely with its foreign partners.”
Islam is a most attractive religion, fortunately devoid of the trinitarian conundrum. If it were not constipated by the pietist obsession with “bid’a” it would be even more attractive.
What do you think of the great Sufis? Not the riff-raff in the tariqas, but the real people. pl
“If it were not constipated by the pietist obsession with “bid’a” ”
“Salafabists argued that colonialism had ingrained into Muslims a lack of self-pride or dignity, convincing them of the inferiority of their religion. This has trapped Muslims into an endless and futile race to appease the West by proving Islam’s worthiness. According to this model, there are only two paths in life: the path of God (the straight path) and the path of Satan (the crooked path). In attempting to integrate and co-opt Western ideas such as feminism, democracy or human rights, Muslims have fallen prey to the temptations of Satan by accepting ungodly innovations (bida’, sing. bid’a). Islam is the only straight path in life, and must be pursued regardless of what others think and of how it impacts on their rights and wellbeing.”
So, you are accusing me of this? pl
i was furnishing one person’s definition of “bida.”
i failed, however, to explain his definition of salafabist which is whahabi + salafi = prevailing religion of the KSA (kingdom of Saudi Arabia).
On Sunday, our priest suggested that in surviving Hasan has been given an opportunity for redemption and forgiveness by God; that there is still a possibility of saving this soul..if he attones.
If Hasan planned, plotted and carried out this evil crime in the name of (his version of ) Islam, I am most interested in learning how/if he will seek redemption and atonment. And how the Moslem world will react.
How is redemption rendered and treated in the Islamic religion? Please excuse my ignorance.
Hasan is just a common thief, he steals an education and then steals lives he was trained and commissioned to protect. Somebody else, who very well would have likely gone on to do very good things, was denied Hasan’s slot in his medical education. In a “just” world, he should have both his arms cut off before he begins serving his time at Ft. Leavenworth.
Some Moslems are embracing and praising him now. Others are condemning him. If he “repents” those who praise him now are likely to condemn him and vice versa.
Off topic but I think Will was interested: Awlaki’s website has gone off line, though I don’t know at who’s behest.
I don’t have all the answers, but most likely he was not in ROTC at VT, rather he was accepted to the Uniformed Services F. Edward Herbert Medical school and commissioned when he entered. As a result, depending on the year, he owed time not only for his med school but for residency and fellowship. He may have had a year or two in between residency and the fellowship in trauma that he finished. The average time owed is about 16 years in psychiatry. Most just finish out their twenty years and retire. Just like it was designed.
I also read that he had “eight years of enlisted service” which may have been two years active and six years in some reserve capacity. It is even possible that he was in IRR during his time at VT.
It is common for “journalists” to not understand what happens when one joins the military. After all, Wolf Blitzer, the former Defense desk for CNN, stated that he never heard of “F. Edward Hebert Medical School” and “I live in Bethesda.” The implication was that he thought it was some kind of off-shore school. (He also insisted on calling Ft. Hood a “base’ in spite of gentle hints from others.)
So if the information on MAJ Hasan is garbled, it is not a surprise.
All very interesting. Can an enlisted reservist go to school on “bootstrap?” My arithmetic would support the idea that he was on active duty for perhaps two years and then a reservist, but I heard someone say today that there exists a file of ten years worh of OERs on him. That would mean he had been a commissioned officer for ten years. All the way back to his graduation from VT. He did not enter the Hebert Medical school for two years after that. What was he? pl
A day or so after Major Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood, an unemployed engineer in Florida when to his last employer’s offices and shot up a bunch of former co-workers. He apparently snapped over the fact that the company management had blocked his collecting unemployment.
We are going through tough times as a nation and as a world, and we are seeing an increasing frequency of these kinds of incidents of people cracking and going out in a flurry of violence, usually targeting people with whom they have closely interacted.
I do worry about the possibility that Major Hasan’s gradual slip into a more radical form of Islamic beliefs may have been encouraged by some Jihadi networks. I also worry that it appears that the Army failed miserably to handle the Hasan case. There were queries by some of his fellow psychiatrists and supervisors at Walter Reed that me might be going psychotic. There were two FBI/Army inquiries into his correspondence with a known radical cleric, who he knew personally in Virginia, and corresponded with in Yemen.
Even after these factors were known at some level of the Army structures, he was promoted to Major in May 2009, and was transferred to Fort Hood and assigned to go to Afghanistan. There were plenty of warning signs that this guy was wound too tight and might explode. Nothing was done about it, and perhaps the treatment he got from the Army itself contributed to his rampage. No one will ever know for certain, but it cannot be ignored as a factor. Since Major Hasan is alive, there is going to be some opportunity for closure on this case–if he is willing to talk.
There are veterans activists who are horrified at the Army’s mishandling of returning soldiers, diagnosed with PTSD. The case of Major Hasan, ironically, seems to fit the same profile of institutional indifference to a serious problem.
There may not be many more Major Hasans out there, but the idea of the hollowed out military going with automatic promotions, and turning a blind eye on cases where there were warning signs of people going over the edge, is worrisome in the extreme.
It is my understanding that, when President Obama met with the JCS, the chiefs were not universally gung-ho for McChrystal’s push for fullscale COIN and 40-80,000 more troops. They spoke of concerns about a hollowing out of the ranks, problems with rotation schedules, shortages of officers and non-coms, etc.
These larger issues loom over the Hasan case, as much as the issue of the role of his “personal” Islamic beliefs in his actions. We have an institutional crisis that needs to be addressed. It is a crisis within the military, and it is a societal crisis, that will only get worse until some of the deeper problems are addressed and solved.
I worry about whether some of the media aren’t play into into his self-delusion by linking him into a grand bold jihadist conspiracy. Seems to me this murderer was the “perfect storm” of Islamist & mass-shooter. All I can speak too intelligently is the latter, and this is what they look like in general tems:
* Social aienation – not just isolation, but a failure at gaining acceptance from desired sources – sometimes even rebuffed by same due to marked deviance from their social norms.
* Blunt shallow affect, but able to mimic socially appropriate interactions with effort.
* Victim Stance – believes he’s persecuted, and may experience some but it is far disproportionate to eventual response; also, externalizes responsibility for mistakes/failures onto others or larger social structures; and, maintains a “grudge list” sees others as thwarting his success causing chronic disappointment, frustration and failure.
* Unable to effect changes in his own environment that he deems urgent
* Catastrophically inadequate psychosocial skills supplemented by intermittent substance abuse and related impulse control issues
* Collapsed psychosocial support due to loss, death, estrangement, or relocation
* Escalating hopelessness and resignation
* Obsessive revenge fantasies that “settle the score” – sees act as ultimate showdown that others “brought upon themselves” by failing to hear, listen, respond, etc.
* Inability to assimilate into highly structured social systems, but may be able to perform complex tasks alone.
My hunch is that he craved acceptance into what he saw online – seeking status in some “inner circle” of Islamists. Being rebuffed or ignored would have been intolerable to his malignant narcissism.
I also question whether he might have recently self-prescribed some anti-depressants. The behavioral activation effect of meds could have allowed him to organize a plan to accomplish something.
In short – maybe he wasn’t just a home-grown terrorist, but an intelligent (albeit psychotic) organized (albeit delusional) home-grown terrorist who effectively carried off an atrocity inside the perimeter of a target-rich environment of his choosing.
I bunked next to Hasan in basic training.