The large number of killed and wounded was due to Hasan’s ability to catch an unusually large number of soldiers, off guard as they gathered together in two separate events. At a Soldier Readiness Center, 300 lined up for vaccinations and eye exams and right nearby, others were lining up for a commencement ceremony, hailing soldiers who had recently earned degrees before their families who were in in attendance for the ceremony.
Currently, the American people are being asked not to jump to any conclusions regarding the motives behind this act of soldier on soldier terrorism. At this point, preliminary probes by the media have produced conflicting reports on such things as Hasan’s perceived emotions over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and on how he felt about being deployed the region. According to one report, an anonymous military official who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the military, had indicated Hasan did not want to go to Iraq but was willing to serve in Afghanistan.
At the moment, beyond speculation, there are no confirmed sources of information or history that assures us that the Fort Hood massacre was a premeditated act of domestic terrorism connected to Islamic fundamentalism but there is a highly questionable, possibly related event which occurred 6 months ago. It is said that Hassan posted several references on the internet regarding suicide bombings and supposed claims which equated suicide bombers to troops who throw themselves on a grenade to save the lives of their fellow soldiers. This had come to the attention of law enforcement officials but no one had confirmed if Hasan was actually the author and a formal investigation was not pursued. That is a decision which could prove to have been fatal.
The disturbing recent history of soldier-on soldier violence has become an increasing concern.
In the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in March of ‘03, another Hasan, Hasan Akbar, of the 101st Airborne Division, launched a grenade attack and started firing his gun on fellow soldiers at an American military base set up in Kuwait. The attack killed two soldiers and injured 14. Akbar was sentenced to death on April of 2005.
In September of last year an American soldier killed two American soldiers on a patrol base about 25 miles south of Baghdad near Iskandariya.
This May, 5 American service members were killed at Camp Liberty, an American military base near Baghdad. The 5 were at a counseling center where they were seeking help for combat stress.
Despite this recent spate of deadly soldier-on-soldier attacks, non have been as deadly as Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s.
Although religious extremism , even by that of the an American born Muslim like Hasan, is a likely connection here, an unadulterated investigation must be allowed to continue unhindered by prejudices, preconceptions and outer influences. Our nation’s military must be allowed to find out the truth around the circumstances and sentiments which led up to this disturbingly tragic and gruesome event.
Those involved, including civilian police officer Kim Munley, and the rest of those who proudly where a uniform in the line of civil and military defense of our nation, deserve nothing less than a comprehensive conclusion that gets to the bottom of the attack and offers the type of knowledgeable assessment that cam possibly prevent or at least reduce the chance of similar events from killing more of our bravest men an women.
For now, all that we as Americans can and must do is withhold judgments until we have enough facts to allow us to draw the right conclusions that will allow us to have the right reaction. As the case and investigation moves forward, it is our duty as Americans to properly mourn and pay tribute to the fallen soldiers taken away from us in the midst of their service to our nation.
We must say a prayer for them and offer our prayers to their loved ones.
And let us not forget to offer or thanks to Officer Kim Munley and her dedicated service which helped to prevent the deaths of even more of soldiers at Fort Hood. May she have a quick recovery and may we never forget to regard as a true hero, who carried out her job, quickly, properly, effectively and with a selflessness and bravery that allowed her to put the lives others ahead of her own.