Fort Hood massacre update

This video is called Afghan Massacre – The Convoy of Death.

A US Army major reportedly about to be deployed to Afghanistan opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas Thursday, killing 12 and wounding 31 others: here.

From British daily The Guardian:

Fort Hood shooting: Major who shot 13 dead is still alive …

It is believed that the dead included troops making their final arrangements for deployment to Iraq.

The largest US military base in the world stayed closed yesterday after an army psychiatrist trained to help personnel deal with post-combat stress shot dead 13 soldiers about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: here.

Mass shooting at Fort Hood: collateral damage from Iraq and Afghanistan wars: here.

Right-wingers [like Pat Robertson] have been looking for a fresh excuse to scapegoat Muslims, and Fort Hood gave them one: here. See also here.

Editor’s Note: The horrific shooting Thursday at Fort Hood that claimed 13 lives and hospitalized another 30 people has set off a great deal of speculation as to why the alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, did what he did. See here.

IVAW reaction: here. VFP statement: here.

When The War Comes Homes: Iraq Veteran at Fort Hood Speaks Out About Last Week’s Mass Shooting: here.

7 thoughts on “Fort Hood massacre update


    Fort Hood massacre was ‘ticking time bomb’

    November 8, 2009 – 2:50PM

    “There’s a lot more of this out there, potentially. Anyone coming back from war with PTSD could do the same thing,” said Matthis Chiroux, a former US Army sergeant who refused to go to Iraq. “We’re talking about nightmares yet unseen here.”

    One day after what’s being called the biggest shooting rampage ever on a US military base, investigators are searching for clues.

    The carnage at Fort Hood military base, where a Muslim army doctor is accused of killing 13 people in a shooting spree, was a ticking time-bomb, observers say.

    “There’s a lot more of this out there, potentially. Anyone coming back from war with PTSD could do the same thing,” said Matthis Chiroux, a former US Army sergeant who refused to go to Iraq.

    “We’re talking about nightmares yet unseen here.”

    Around 20 per cent of the more than 1.6 million US troops who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and the US military has come under fire for failing to give soldiers and their families adequate treatment for the condition.

    Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, a psychiatrist and specialist in combat stress who was about to deploy to Afghanistan against his wishes, also wounded 30 people in Thursday’s rampage at the sprawling Fort Hood army base in Texas.

    The suspect himself was wounded when an officer shot him to halt his attack. And as he lay unconscious in a military hospital, speculation swirled as to why Hasan had opened fire on his fellow soldiers.

    Others questioned why the military hadn’t noticed that the psychiatrist was himself in need of help.

    Hasan reportedly got a “poor” rating while at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, and Ann Wright, a retired US Army colonel and former diplomat, told AFP “one of his clients said he thought the psychiatrist was in as bad shape as he was.”

    “This man was a psychiatrist and was working with other psychiatrists every day and they failed to notice how deeply disturbed someone right in their midst was,” said Selena Coppa, an active-duty soldier who is also an activist for Iraq Veterans Against the War.

    Wright, who resigned from the foreign service to protest the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, speculated that Hasan might have cracked after arriving at Fort Hood and seen “these young kids that are going to be deployed versus what he had seen before at Walter Reed, where he saw them as they came back.”

    Hasan worked as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed, where he spent most of his career before shipping out this year to Fort Hood. He was due to be deployed to Afghanistan.

    Hasan’s family has said he repeatedly asked to be discharged and reports have said he did not want to go to Afghanistan to fight fellow Muslims.

    “But the military is stretched so thin these days, they’re deploying people who have medical conditions that should make them not deployable or even discharged,” said Bill Galvin, counselling coordinator at the Center on Conscience and War.

    Hasan might have sought a discharge as a conscientious objector, said Galvin, but he had a major strike against him on that front: the army had paid for his education.

    “When the military has invested a lot in educating and training someone, they are more reluctant to release them,” said Galvin.

    Recruiters, according to Wright, are offering men and women as young as 18 up to $US20,000 ($A21,946.67) just to sign up, along with the usual benefit of paying their university tuition.

    And they tell recruits that they won’t ship out to war, which may only compound the exasperation of a soldier who gets deployment orders.

    In the last three months three soldiers at Fort Hood have refused to deploy to Afghanistan, said Wright.

    Chiroux, who is now a student and anti-war activist, said “the idea of going in and blowing everyone away as the solution to your problems is a story repeated – I hear this all the time.”

    “I was talking to this kid, who’d been to Iraq three times, his back was all messed up and he was about to get out of the military when they stop-lossed him,” meaning they extended his service and ordered him to Afghanistan.

    “He was in the midst of what I would call a full personality meltdown and he said, ‘I’m going to go out and shoot everybody.'”

    The military “has to look at mental health as a very serious thing,” said Coppa.

    “Having had poor results at Walter Reed because of stress, Hasan should never have been sent to Fort Hood in the first place,” she said.




    The Violence within is the Veteran without
    by Matthis | Wed, 11/11/2009 – 7:49am

    “For years, Maj. Hassan listened to the horrors of the occupations which resulted, and it made him crazy, as it made me crazy.”

    It’s time to take care of your troops, America. We are mired in violence and gun lust, post traumatic stress and substance; outward anxiety and inward extremism. Maj. Nidal Hassan is one of us.

    Eight years we’ve been at war now. The youngest victim of Hassan’s murderous rampage was but 11 when the towers fell. For years, Maj. Hassan listened to the horrors of the occupations which resulted, and it made him crazy, as it made me crazy. Then they told him it was his turn to go, as they told me it was my turn.

    We military few are carrying a burden larger than most in this country would care to comprehend. Blood has been spilt, and the only solution we’re given is more spilt blood. So we kill, like they do in combat, like they did in Fort Carson, Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Oklahoma City.

    We kill ourselves, like we do on every base, in every state, in my bedroom…all too close. I was called up for Iraq. Five years I survived to be discharged and recalled. While I never deployed, I was a journalist. I heard stories.

    As Maj. Hassan heard stories. The kinds of which nightmares are made of and then medicated. If they were like the ones I heard, memories have rubbed off on Maj. Hassan of murder, torture, racism, rabid aggression, sexual deviance, mutilation, brutalization and dehumanization.

    When they told me to deploy, after I was out, after I’d started college, all I could see was the same thing I’d seen the night before I flew home from the Army: myself in a chair with a pistol in my mouth. It goes off. My problems seem to end.

    But I have always directed my violence inward, despite the Army’s coaching to the contrary. The angrier I feel, the more I want to destroy myself. Maj. Hassan directed his violence outward as trained; violence which resulted from entrapment by endless war and occupation.

    Maj. Hassan knew this war is not against terrorists but the indigenous peoples of his Father’s land. He begged his command on several occasions not to make him deploy. They refused because in America, a Soldier does not have that right.

    Seeing no institutional recourse, Maj. Hassan chose a tragic redress of his grievances. I chose the path of outright resistance. I did not end my life. I reclaimed it and refused deployment to Iraq. I was found guilty of misconduct, but I know from experience how often the Army’s dead wrong, as is our nation. Resisting slavery was once illegal too.

    But the usual suspects are asserting that it’s not the war, the guns, or the Army’s brand of illness and callousness at fault here. It’s Islam and the terrorists, they say, while their ethnocentricity goes unchecked by good people and knowledgeable veterans.

    So he screamed Allahu Akbar before he pulled the trigger. Ever hear what Soldiers scream in combat? It’s a combination of profane, blood-lustful jargon and cries for reassurance from the almighty. “Ain’t no such thing as an atheist in a fox-hole,” I’ve heard. What about Christians behind mass murder?

    They happen in Iraq and Afghanistan all the time. There’s a million dead, and they didn’t all kill themselves. Knowledge of this is what drove Maj. Hassan to the realization that our wars are genocidal. Lack of legal recourse is what drove him to violent madness, as it nearly did me.

    I wish we could have just said no and walked away, but the law is wrong, and many in our all-volunteer Army would actually consider themselves prisoners of war. Bound by contract often signed under duress to carry out the bloody will of others; waiting for their time in service to end, praying to avoid stop-loss.

    The Greatest Generation’s involvement in WWII lasted three-and-a-half years. Three and a half years ago, we were already trapped in a civil war that we helped start two years prior! With 30 percent of those deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan coming home with mental illness, we can expect a lot more tragedy where this came from, unless we do something now.

    Soldiers must be given the right to walk away as Maj. Hassan tried to do so many times. If half the military quits, so be it. We’ll rest assured knowing our truly volunteer force is getting twice the care and attention. But the first step in repairing trauma is curtailing the trauma, a luxury not afforded to our troops, many on their third and fourth tours. What better way to put needless war in check?

    Next, we must provide health care professionals at any cost. We need a VA that is fully funded and staffed, like a defense contracting firm, oil company or bank. Six month waiting lists for mental health services are simply unacceptable when the number one killer of Soldiers is not combat but self.

    Lastly, we must meaningfully grieve. We must grieve for our lost. Our lost in Fort Hood. Our lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, at home, those who are slipping away. We grieve for you, and we are sorry.

    The orphans, the widows, the homeless, the hopeless. We grieve for your losses and will support you, we promise. The survivors and the truth-tellers, the veterans, the Winter Soldiers. May we one day be forgiven and in turn forgive ourselves. Happy Veteran’s Day America.


  3. An Update from Ft. Hood

    As you can imagine, Ft. Hood is still feeling the aftershocks of the massacre that happened over two weeks ago. While we still have yet to learn the twisted motivations of the shooter, the fact that he was a psychiatrist responsible for counseling other soldiers is a tragic testament to the dire lack of adequate mental health care for troops.

    IVAW Ft. Hood has been speaking out about the issue, holding a candlelight vigil honoring the victims, and offering Warrior Writers workshops and free professional counseling sessions at Under the Hood Cafe, one of the only safe environments for anti-war soldiers near the base. See news clip here of IVAW’s Veterans Day vigil.

    As the Army conducts a probe into the shootings, and units go back to preparing for Afghanistan deployment, IVAW members have been targeted for being outspoken about the health care needs of their fellow soldiers. One was threatened with a physical beating by commanding officers for wearing his IVAW shirt, and then forcibly held and interrogated.

    A new Army mental health survey of soldiers in Afghanistan shows that morale is down and mental stress increases with an increased number of deployments. Currently there is one mental health specialist for approximately 1,100 troops in Afghanistan. The Army says it hopes to improve that ratio to one for every 700 soldiers in Afghanistan. This is obviously still totally inadequate.

    Next Steps
    The professional therapist we brought down to Ft. Hood counseled soldiers and also researched a referral list of area therapists friendly toward anti-war soldiers. IVAW Ft. Hood will continue to aggressively outreach to other soldiers about the need to for mental health services on the base and provide them with referrals to quality counseling outside the gates of Ft. Hood.

    Will you give a donation now to support our continued important work at Ft. Hood? Click here to make a contribution.

    Hiroshima survivor and IVAW war resistor give joint talk

    Victor Agosto, former Ft. Hood soldier and Afhganistan war resistor, and Emiko Hakada, a survivor of the Atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima gave a joint talk at Pom Gallery in NYC as an IVAW fundraiser. Listen to a podcast of their remarks here

    New film, THE MESSENGER, depicts hidden pain of U.S. casualties

    The Messenger, starring Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, and Ben Foster, is the story two soldiers assigned to the Army’s Casualty notification service. Click here to find a screening in your area. Watch the trailer here.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    Iraq Veterans Against the War


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