Friday, November 06, 2009

The Military Is Responsible For The Shootings At Ft. Hood

The Pentagon, the US Army and the Commander of Ft. Hood are responsible for the deaths of 13 soldiers at Ft. Hood.  Major Hasan was a devout Muslim who has for years openly opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Major Hasan had asked for a discharge from the Army because he would not fight a war that he oppose conscientiously.  Federal law enforcement officials have revealed that six months ago Major Hasan became a suspect in the authoring of Internet postings that discussed homicide bombings and other threats.  Major Hasan is well known for arguing with military personnel who support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Major Hasan defended the acts of suicide bombers, whom he said did not commit suicide but rather sacrificed their lives for their fellow soldiers.

Why didn't law enforcement and/or the military take action to prevent what should have been an obvious risk of violence?

It's important to note that Ft. Hood has the highest suicide rate in the military.  Since 2003 they have averaged one suicide per month.

Now 13 murdered can be added to toll of lives lost at Ft. Hood under the ineffective and seemingly incurious command of our military.

I've complained about the higher than normal suicide rate of uniformed military personnel, not to mention veterans.  When I was in boot camp in San Diego in 1965 five recruits committed suicide and within my training company three recruits were discharged when they suffered severe emotional breakdowns.  These breakdowns were no surprise to their fellow recruits and our company commander, yet no preemptive active was taken.  These men were only hospitalized after they acted out uncontrollably.

The military also has a serious spousal abuse problem.  The rate has been increasing since the 1990's and is as high as 24 per 1,000 couples in the Army and Marines, 15 in the Navy and 14 in the Air Force.  The Dept. of Defense has sought help from civillian professionals to develop the means to prevent or properly respond to spousal abuse but the problem keeps growing.

If I were the parent or spouse of one of the soldiers killed or wounded at Ft. Hood I would sue the military for their wanton negligence.  The Dept. of Justice and the President should intervene to ensure that the military is doing everything possible to prevent violence and suicides in its ranks.

6 comments:

brian said...

I don't get this, Joe. Why join the army if you're a conscientious objector? There's always the possibility of being deployed. I wonder how long Major Hasan was in and why he didn't get out when his time was up? We've been in Afghanistan a long time.

I can't blame the military for hold the man to his commitment. And, as I understand it, he wasn't being asked to fight; was he?

Laura said...

My understanding is that his objection was not to fighting but to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many Americans share that feeling. He joined the Army directly out of high school. Therefore, he was already in the Army about 10 years before the US started fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hasan has been trying to get out of the Army for years citing not only his opposition to the war but the harrassment that he took from other soldiers because he is Arabic and a practicing Muslim. It's my experience that most military personnel are conservative and would not go easy on a Muslim, when many of them believe that Islam is a violent religion that promotes the destruction of Christians. I'm sure that Hasan was as aware as you and I that Bush and Rumsfeld thought of the war against terror as a crusade against Islam. This ridiculous idea was not limited to those two idiots.

Put aside the fact that Hasan had reasons to want out and ask yourself if the military had good reasons to discharge this soldier for the good of the military. Should the Army discharge any soldier, especially an officer, who was so openly opposed the war, who argued with other soldiers about the war and Islam, who had employed a lawyer to help him secure a discharge, who defended suicide bombers for sacrificing their lives for their fellow soldiers, who was being investigated by federal law enforcement for Internet postings regarding bombings and other acts of violence, who had received poor reviews from his superiors, whose colleagues did not refer soldiers to him for psychiatric counseling.

If the Army didn't want to discharge Hasan for his benefit then they certainly should have discharged him for the benefit of the Army and the safety of the other soldiers.

The military has the option of discharging a person other than honorably or dishonorably. They could have given him a General Discharge or an Other Than Honorable Discharge for his conduct and attitude that was not beneficial to the Army and their mission.

If it had been my call I would have discharged Hasan even if he was opposed to being discharged. That is the mistake that the military made, in my opinion.

The military doesn't hesitate to discharge career soldiers for violating "don't ask, don't tell" but they won't discharge a high risk personality like Hasan.

That's irresponsible, to say the least. Considering the evidence that Hasan was not fit for the military, I think the Army was wantonly negligent in not discharging Hasan.

brian said...

Perhaps the military should have discharged Hasan. But, the question remains in my mind why didn't he get out when it was time to re-up? We've been in Afghanistan for over five years. I wonder when the last time was that he could have gotten out and when he started requesting to get out.

In hindsight, it's easy to say the military should have discharged him, honorably or dishonorably.

Joe said...

(The comment from Laura was actually Joe responding on Laura's computer.)

Brian, it IS easy to say that the Army should have discharged him and in my opinion it needs to be said.

Hasan received his medical training and doctorate from the military's training center. Therefore, Hasan was obligated by contract to serve several years in the Army beyond the completion of his training. My understanding is that he had not completed a 10-year commitment.

My take is that Hasan originally joined the Army to make it his career and began his medical training well before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. His conflict with the wars started after he had made his commitment to the Army in exchange for the medical training and that commitment was not completed before he was to be deployed to Afghanistan.

I'm sure that the Army can't release every soldier that disagrees with the wars. If that were the case I think the Military would quickly lose a lot of soldiers.

However, my point is that the Army needed to discharge Hasan because he had become unfit for service. In spite of the evidence that existed well before the shooting, the Army did not act to eliminate the risk that Hasan presented both to the Army's mission and the safety of its soldiers.

I'm not sayin that the Army should have let the poor guy quit; I'm saying that the Army should have thrown him out. Instead, the Army chose to hold Hasan to his commitment in spite of his lack of fitness and 13 soldiers are dead, dozens are seriously injured and the taxpayers will have to execute Hasan or imprison him for life.

Same old, same old.

Kansas Bob said...

I agree with you Joe. My son has told me of soldiers that were sent back to the front lines in Iraq with antidepressants.. the Army is in denial about some of these practices. The military is a bureaucratic organization that usually takes the road of least resistance in matters like the firing of a guy misbehaving like the major.

brian said...

Thanks for the explanation Joe. I haven't seen this analysis anywhere else. I wondered why his commitment was so long that if he so seriously protested the war(s) he could not have simply not re-enlisted by now.

Peace,
Brian