Watching the early stages of CNN's coverage of the shooting at Ft. Hood with my son and husband, I asked aloud - already knowing the answer, "Why's it gotta be a terrorist attack, or possible gang activity before they even know what the hell is going on???"
And when the "lone" shooter was identified - with that "funny-sounding" Middle Eastern name and they began the "terrorist" speculation in earnest (still not knowing what the hell was going on!) - I asked, again already knowing the answer, "Why can't it be that this guy - a CARE-DAMN-GIVER for the legions of soldiers returning from war zones, suffering the effects of having seen some horrific shit - be suffering some PTSD of his own??" Or, "Why can't it be that some people (military troops ARE people) are just damned tired of fighting, killing, dying, losing limbs and worse - for wars in which there are no rational explanations!!"
The answers to my first questions are pretty clear: - He is Muslim. And the MSM puts more stock in "being first with a story" way more than they do in being first with facts. Such is the current mindset of America's Fourth Estate. And the answers to the second set of questions? He is Muslim. And the MSM has long been in bed with politicians who'd rather fan the persistent fears of the "other" upon which this country was founded. But more importantly, this country is a patriarchy, immersed in the language of manliness - Real soldiers can't be broken.
Though we, as a country, are doing a little better (and that's VERY little!) with domestic violence, violence against women, child abuse and sexual abuse, we - and that includes some of the "experts" - are a terribly long way from understanding a simple, yet important fact - TRAUMA IS TRAUMA no matter its origins and if its effects are left untreated, it not only threatens those sharing the sphere with the perpetrators - but the perpetrators themselves. As a country, we just can't seem to get that through our, I'm-okay-so-you-must-be-okay consciousness, even though the manifestations of that bass-ackward thinking have been swirling around us from 1619 to today.
We function as if our branches of government, our corporations, our banking industry, our churches and certainly our military services - all those seats of perceived power - are not all bastions of "manliness" and intolerance - still. And if we're honest, that women have managed to break into them and/or advance up any of those chains-of-command has not made one bit of difference over all. Conversely, the complicit female presence has pretty much maintained the status quo, or made it worse - all in the name of feeling powerful themselves. So where do the "damaged within" go for real help?
Chris Hedges explains where, in Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad:
"The soldiers and Marines who return from Iraq and Afghanistan are often traumatized and then shipped back a few months later to be traumatized again. This was less frequent in Vietnam. Veterans, when they get out, search for the usual escape routes of alienation, addictions and medication. But there is also the escape route of violence. We risk creating a homegrown Freikorps, the demobilized German soldiers from World War I who violently tore down the edifice of the Weimar Republic and helped open the way to Nazism.
The Afghanistan and Iraq wars have unloaded hundreds of thousands of combat troops, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, back into society. According to joint Veterans Affairs Department - University of San Francisco study published in July, 418,000 of the roughly 1.9 million service members who have fought in or supported the wars suffer from PTSD.
As of August 2008, the latest data available, about a quarter-million military veterans were imprisoned on any given day-about 9.4 percent of the total daily imprisoned population, according to the National GAINS Center Forum on Combat Veterans, Trauma and the Justice System. There are 223,000 veterans in jail or prison cells on an average day, and an unknown number among the 4 million Americans on probation. They don't have much to look forward to upon release. And if any of these incarcerated vets do not have PTSD when they are arrested, our corrections system will probably rectify the deficiency. Throw in the cocktail of unemployment, powerlessness, depression, alienation, anger, alcohol and drugs and you create thousands, if not tens of thousands, who will seek out violence the way an addict seeks out a bag of heroin." (emphasis mine) All of you, screaming that Maj. Hasan had never been deployed so he couldn't possibly be suffering PTSD, need to re-read the highlighted portion above. Are we so blinded by his Muslim-ness, or too caught up in that "Real soldiers can't be broken" manliness, or that, "I'm-okay-so-you-must-be-okay" craziness to put two and two together and come up with four?
According to Hedges (and I concur), the answer is a resounding Yes!:
"There is a yawning indifference at home about what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hollow language of heroism and glory, used by the war makers and often aped by those in the media, allows the nation to feel good about war, about "service." But it is also a way of muzzling the voices that attempt to tell us the truth about war. And when these men and women do find the moral courage to speak, they often find that many fellow Americans turn away in disgust or attack them for shattering the myth. The myth of war is too enjoyable, and too profitable, to be punctured by reality. And so these veterans nurse their fantasies of power. They begin to hate those who sent them as much as they hate those they fought. Some cannot distinguish one from the other." (emphasis mine)In what little the media did get right about the major, it seems the Army, through the use of a "bad performance review," could have been doing some "muzzling" of it's own while he was stationed at Walter Reed, the facility about which the lack of real treatment and, in some instances, abusive treatment have been copiously reported. But of course, that's not how it's being spun.
Without even knowing what was in the review, I challenge - any of you - to make some damn sense of what was just said in that video! If the review was so bad, why didn't it affect Maj. Hasan's promotion and subsequent transfer to Ft. Hood? Was it a toe-the-line-and-shut-the-hell-up-you-ungrateful-bastard-or-you'll-lose-everything warning (muzzling) to the major? What was it's purpose??
If he was unable or unwilling to continue to provide poor, or no treatment to his patients after hearing, for the last six or so years, what they had been, and continued to go through, why was he still there? Even Greta seemed to be sidling up to that question! Call me stupid, but that twisted logic, along with that pesky Stop-loss policy Congress created, is nothing but a recipe for the disaster that happened at Ft. Hood.
Fort Hood, written on the body, by Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon, is an interesting and prescient piece about the soon to be aired documentary about our "fighting men" - at Ft. Hood, set to begin airing on PBS starting November 8 at 9:30 p.m.:
"Much will be written in the days to come of the mind-set of the alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist who counseled military personnel and was reportedly distressed over his own imminent deployment. Though Schiesari's film predates the horrifying violence at the fort yesterday, it reveals a military culture rarely seen. By following both returning and deployment-bound young soldiers and the stories told on their bodies, she gets under their skin." (emphasis mine)The trailer alone is, or should be, enlightening: