[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/11/09/fort.hood.shootings/story.memorial.mon.gi.jpg caption="A memorial to the victims was erected at the apartment complex where suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived."]
Less than 1% of America's 1.4 million troops are Muslim — and that number is only the military's best guess, since just 4,000 troops have declared their faith in their service records. By all accounts, the percentage of Muslims who are outstanding, competent or misfit soldiers is proportional to that of every other ethnic group. But that logic is increasingly hard to hear in the aftermath of Major Nidal Hasan's killing spree at Fort Hood in Texas.
While the word was merely whispered in the hours following Hasan's rampage, Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, made it close to explicit on Fox News on Sunday. He didn't call Hasan a terrorist, but Lieberman suggested the psychiatrist became "an Islamic extremist" while in the Army and should have been weeded out of the ranks. Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer representing a not-insignificant strain inside the U.S. military, said in the New York Post that Hasan raised all sorts of red flags and that the Army was too timid to address them. "Political correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Fort Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did," wrote Peters. "Maj. Hasan will be a hero to Islamist terrorists abroad and their sympathizers here."
Determining whether Hasan's actions were inspired by religious fervor (he reportedly said "Allahu akbar" before opening fire), his exposure to the mental trauma of the soldiers he counseled or other unknown factors may be impossible. Hasan is in intensive care at a San Antonio hospital, breathing without a respirator. But given his mental state, even he may not know what caused him to kill.
Filed under: Fort Hood Shooting
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