Gone over the edge

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By John Barnhart

    I’m still not sure what to make of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who allegedly killed 12 soldiers and one civilian employee of the Army at Fort Hood three weeks ago. I use the phrase “allegedly killed” because, under our legal system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty in court.

    One conclusion I’m coming to is that some senior Army brass are in serious need of a plexiotomy. A plexiotomy is a surgical procedure in which a sheet of plexiglass is implanted in the abdomen of a person suffering from a cranial/rectal inversion. It enables him to see where he’s going.

    From stories I’ve read, mostly in the Wall Street Journal, Hasan was noted for substandard performance during his six years of work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He wasn’t so bad he was failing, he just wasn’t very good at what he did. Other doctors didn’t refer patients to him.

    Another thing he was noted for were radical Islamist views. Colleagues say that he occasionally unnerved them with some of his statements and his opposition to U. S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Furthermore, one story stated that a senior officer there described him as having a “loner personality” and an anger problem.

    The Army was going to deploy this guy to Afghanistan. You can see why I have the above mentioned suspicion about where some Army brass have their heads. They have a guy who seems like he has something serious stewing inside and they’re going to send him to a combat zone? Granted, he wouldn’t be a combatant, but in asymmetrical warfare, there really isn’t a rear echelon. Everything is front line.

    The Army is going to do an investigation, as well it should. Senator Joe Lieberman has called for an investigation and the Senate has begun calling senior Pentagon officials for questioning. President Barack Obama has initiated an investigation that, among other things, is looking into whether U. S. intelligence agencies properly shared information about Hasan.

    President Obama’s investigation is important because the FBI was monitoring e-mail going to Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric living in Yemen. It intercepted a number of e-mails that Maj. Hasan sent to al-Awlaki. The FBI’s action, or lack of action, is mind boggling. It discovered that an Army major is sending e-mail to a radical Muslim cleric who knew some of the 9/11 hijackers and writes rants on the Internet advocating Muslim holy war against us —  and it didn’t bother telling the Army about it? Maybe some folks in the FBI are also in dire need of a plexiotomy.

    Right now, it looks like Hasan’s rampage was a one man, do-it-yourself Muslim holy war against the United States Army. It appears that he’s the one who did all the shooting. It doesn’t appear that anybody helped him or encouraged him to do it. Even al-Awlaki, who hailed Hasan as an Islamic hero after the murders, seemed to have been suspicious of him during their e-mail exchange. His action seems to have been the result of a lethal stew of emotional problems and professional failure, stirred by the influence of Islamic extremism until it boiled over. The investigations now underway need to discover why nobody noticed the warning signs, that Hasan was broadcasting, and took action before he killed. They also need to come up with some concrete proposals to prevent this from happening again.

    As it is, a number of families are going to have a grim holiday season this year, thanks to Nidal Malik Hasan. It probably also makes a number of us uneasy, wondering how many other guys like him are out there — young extremist Muslim men who have gotten their towels wrapped too tightly around their heads and are waiting until something finally pushes them over the edge.