The Corner

Subject: Hasan



If Major Hasan is to be excused for the murders because he had to hear stories of Muslims killing Muslims and other horror stories of war,  why are there no cases of jihads in Iraq or Afghanistan going around killing their fellow jihadis…?  Does the jihadi side of these wars see no “horror stories”?


I don’t recall the liberal class referring to PTSD (at least, not as reflexively) when the issue was Iraqi civilians allegedly “murdered” by American soldiers.

E-mail, from someone in the counseling field:

Dear Mr. Lowry,

In response to your column today I would like to inform you that vicarious traumatization is a real entity that can be every bit as disabling as any form of PTSD.  Recent research is showing brain, hormonal and central nervous system changes as a result of extreme stress, a fact we need to consider very carefully and thoughtfully when making our public policy decisions and judgments upon incidents such as the recent shooting in Texas.


Have you considered how it might have been for Dr. Hasan, treating returning soldiers as a Muslim? … Considering the incidence of “fragging” in the Vietnam war (shooting an officer) how much hostility do you think was directed at Dr. Hasan? Plenty, I can tell you. So much, that I’m wondering why he was in that position to begin with; it seems largely countraindicated to me as a clinician.

This event was a perfect storm of 1) an unstable personality who probably should not have been continuing to work as  a psychiatrist in the military (the military’s bad) 2) corrosive ideology and possibly  racism on the doctor’s part not to mention violent action (Hasan’s bad) and 3) being put into a psychological pressure cooker that was  beyond his ability to cope (again, the military’s bad). It is the height of “childish thinking” as you put it to not look at what the military could have done to contain this man, and they had plenty of options.  Yes, this man was unstable.  Yes, he had troubling ideology and racism.  And, why the hell did the military not make better decisions – especially other clinicians who were well aware of his issues?  To take the position that this man is just a Muslim run amok is to play victim in the worst kind of way.  A truly adult perspective is to look at how administrative decisions created the environment for an event like this to happen.  He is not the first and surely will not be the last unstable character to be in the US  Military, Muslim or not.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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