Editorials | November 2009
|Fear and Loathing in the Wake of Fort Hood|
Raϊl Benoit - Diario La Prensa
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November 12, 2009
It should not come as a surprise to us that a US Army psychiatrist stationed at a military base where soldiers come and go to fight in irrational and pointless wars killed 13 people and left 30 others wounded, as happened this past Thursday, November fifth, in Fort Hood, Texas.
|What should surprise us is that, in spite of all the paranoia in the United States, the nation did not take better measures to prevent what happened at Fort Hood, the very site where two incidents of a smaller scale had already taken place.|
These wars themselves are insane, and the US military practice of plucking people from Hispanic, African-American, other minority and poor white communities to send them off to fight for "freedom," offering them the promise of a"brighter future," is abusive, offensive and harmful to the health of this nation and this world.
Not to mention the fact that what our occupying forces have done in Afghanistan and Iraq is a sin against humanity: all the killing, the torture and the degradation have sown seeds of hatred and resentment, creating deep wounds that future generations on this planet will somehow have to find a way to heal.
What also shouldn't come as a surprise to us is that the American people, who, generally speaking, ignore much of the reality of what takes place on planet Earth, have begun to consider the idea that the psychiatrist did not go mad by repeatedly bearing witness to the tormented stories of haunted and grief-wracked patients, but rather that this attack was part of a terrorist conspiracy carried out by Nidal Malik Hasan. It appears that the reasoning behind this latter theory is based soley on the fact that Hasan's name sounds foreign and that he is a Muslim of Palestinian descent.
What should surprise us is that, in spite of all the paranoia in the United States, the nation did not take better measures to prevent what happened at Fort Hood, the very site where two incidents of a smaller scale had already taken place.
Clearly there was negligence on the part of Hasan's superiors, subordinates and even his friends, who were well aware of the anger and immeasurable grief it caused him to be in the Army, yet they ignored every warning sign and did nothing.
Given his statements and his behavior leading up to the shootings, it was obviously a mistake to charge Hasan with the task of nursing the mental health of US soldiers, and it would have been an even greater mistake to send him to the battlefront, where he would witness not only the death of his fellow Muslims, but also his fellow soldiers, who hailed from a country that had once welcomed him.
Authorities must investigate who was looking after and looking over Malik Hasan before he launched his attack, because it is well known that madness can be contagious, and that psychiatrists are put into positions where they are at risk for mental illnesses that, in many cases, can lead to suicide. We will have to give the investigations time, and hope that the authorities tell us the whole truth, rather than feed us a partial reality through sieve of an obliging press.
In the meantime, what we must do as citizens is prepare ourselves for an increase in ethnic tensions and outright cultural aggression here in America. This applies both to Arab and Hispanic populations.
This tragic slaughter, which struck, literally, at the very heart of the US military, will undoubtedly inject another dose of paranoia into the frightened bloodstreams of American society, a society in which fear-based discrimination is rampant, and immigrants with foreign-sounding names are already seen as potential enemies, or bombs waiting to explode.