09 November 2009

Fort Hood

I apologize for my absence the last few days. I haven't had the opportunity to follow the story from Fort Hood as closely as I would have liked to over the weekend. Fortunately, a number of great milbloggers have been able to fill me in.

First, I would like to thank Jason Sigger (and I believe Greyhawk as well) for linking to a charity known as TAPS--the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors--which is extending their counseling services to support the families of the victims affected during last week's tragedy.

That being said, a number of people have been tackling the story from several different angles. I should be the first to note that I shouldn't pass judgement too quickly until we have all the facts from the investigation. Nevertheless, some disturbing news to come out of the shootings.

While there were likely many factors which caused Major Hasan's rampage, I think it's safe to say that religion and ideology were two of the largest factors. From Maj. Hasan's vehement disagreement with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (calling them a "War on Islam") to his shouting of "Allahu Akbar" while unloading dozens of rounds into unsuspecting Soldiers, it's undeniable that there was a definite religious influence that should not be trivialized.

A number of bloggers far greater than I have tackled this issue in greater detail than I have, and from a lot of interesting angles.

  • (H/T Andrew Exum) The New York Times ran an article comparing the stress and adjustment difficulties many veterans face upon returning home to the wanderings of Odysseus. Quotes the NYT:
But it is “The Odyssey” that most directly probes the theme of the war veteran’s return. Threaded through this fairytale saga, amid its historic touchstones, are remarkable scenes addressing aspects of the war veteran’s experience that are disconcertingly familiar to our own age. Odysseus returns home to a place he does not recognize, and then finds his homestead overrun with young men who have no experience of war. Throughout his long voyage back, he has reacted to each stranger with elaborate caginess, concocting stories about who he is and what he has seen and done — the real war he keeps to himself.

I've always found the classics from ancient Greece and Rome fascinating, but I'm particularly amazed at how many stories of returning Greek warriors relate to the experience of modern-day Soldiers. For more on this, check out a post from this past summer regarding the Philoctetes Project, which links classical Greek drama with modern-day post-traumatic stress and re-deployment readjustment.

  • Karaka Pend has the roundup on one of the heroes of the day--Kimberly Mundley, the female police officer who, despite being wounded, was able to shoot Major Hasan.
  • Spencer Ackerman also quotes extensively from a blogger named MikeD, who has the inside scoop on Amber Bahr, a female Soldier who tended to the wounds of fellow Soldiers. (MikeD is also somewhat puzzled regarding the use of the term "blouse" to describe the top garment in the Army Combat Uniform)
  • Tom Ricks--Five Questions on the Army and the Fort Hood Shooter. (Great discussion)
  • The New Media is only as good as those making use of it, judging by the sensationalism and (in many cases) pure fiction coming from microblogger Tearah Moore, a Fort Hood Soldier.
  • Boss Mongo is back in the US and is back to blogging--tackling the topic of Muslim backlashes in the US military--or, rather, the lack thereof.
  • Sic Semper Tyrannis looks into Maj. Hasan's background and records, and notes that many things don't seem to add up. (Interesting read--some good questions asked).

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