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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: The Fort Hood Shootings and Catch 22

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fort Hood Shootings and Catch 22

I agree with the solemn remark by President Obama concerning the shooting death of thirteen soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas (Alexander Burns and Carol E. Lee, Politico, "President Obama: Fort Hood shooting 'horrific').
These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to the rest of us on a daily basis.  It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."
I have lived within an hour Fort Hood for more than a decade and have met many wonderful soldiers and their families.  I fully concur with President Obama. 

When evidence existed that the shooter had questioned U.S. military involvement in the Muslim world, why was he allowed to serve?  Joseph Heller's provides insight in his brilliant satire, Catch 22.
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. 'Orr' was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.
Heller criticized military bureaucracy, the quote being but one example.  I would like to use his words to defend the Army against charges that they should have recognized that the shooter, Major Malik Nadal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was crazy and should have been kicked out.  My opinion is based on information that has been released to the public as of 9:00 am.  It was easy to learn that he did not want to serve in Iraq.  He wrote crazy things on a web page and he hired an attorney to help him fight deployment.  Perhaps he did more crazy things.  But these acts might be considered those of a rational mind attempting to evade deployment.  If the military caved to all the demands of servicemen who did not want to serve, if they released servicemen from their obligations because they wrote crazy things, infinitely more crazy things would be written and done and the ranks of the military would be depleted.  The Army did not have the main data point, the shootings, when they made their decision.  I don't believe that it is easy to discern the crazy from those who want out of their contractual obligations. 
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  1. Suspicious military worker that wasn’t taken serious…
    To me you have to be a little bias when hiring or recruiting army personal. When Dr. Hasan was posting internet blogs that talked about killing Americans and performing terrorist acts there should have been some kind of action taken against him. If you work for the United States Army you should have a clear background and actually be from the UNITEDS STATES OF AMERICA. This should or could have been an avoidable situation if the right actions would have been taken earlier.

  2. Tyler Fadal8/11/09 9:10 PM

    I completely agree with Dalton. If you are going to work for any part of the American government, especially the military you must have a clean background, and most importantly be an AMERICAN! I also believe that some sort of action should have been taken when knew Dr. Hasan talked, and blogged about his anti-american beliefs. What he said should have been taken as a terroristic threat. This entire situation could have been avoided if it had been delt with properly. Instead innocent, brave, and patriotic lives were lost in this horrific event.

  3. Cory Becker8/11/09 9:56 PM

    well its plain and simple that somebody should have caught wind of dr. hasan's mysterious blog posting about his anti-american beliefs. Hello! its the american military and a true american soldier is always patriotic to their country.

  4. Luke Wornat8/11/09 10:03 PM

    Okay people had to think somthing was up when the guy wasn't even from the United States, and then when he starts posting blogs about killing Americans... There is somthing wrong there as Dalton pointed out in the post above. When somebody talks about how they don't believe in American ways and talk about killing Americans there should be a big pop-up in your head that sais "Terrorist".

  5. Austin Burke9/11/09 3:12 PM

    This whole situation could have been avoided very easily. 1st, i think any military job or anything of that nature should perform background checks on everyone that they allow to work for them. I think it is ok to let people not from this country join the military as long as they prove their patriotism. 2nd, After seeing/ hearing about his beliefs of America and the people in it should have set some alarms off in someones head. This should have then made someone higher up in the army take some kind of action towards him since you could tell that he hated Americans. You would think someone would take some action against it, but because no one did anything after all this lots of families are at loss. I just hope this will open the eyes of other jobs such as this to check their employees better so nothing like this will happen again.

  6. Jordan Rhodes12/11/09 6:20 PM

    I believe this event was a freak occurance and that the US military is not at fault nor should they change any policy to cater to this event. What the military should keep an eye on now is how fellow soldiers treat their more loyal Middle-Eastern comrades. The shootings opened up the opportunity for racisn and prejudice to rear its ugly head. Hopefully nothing will happen that will compare to the Japanese encampment during WWII.

  7. One article reported some details about Nidal Hasan behaviors before the day of the shooting and it reported that how he was treated while he was been a muslim in the military. He told his brother about how he was discriminated as a Muslim in the military. Maybe that's part of the reasons why it led to such fatality in Fort Hood. In addition, the article mentioned that he was "a good neighbor" and "a good friend." It has made so many people asked the same question that why he was still occupied in the army while he had many charges in the past for having terroristic thoughts. I would be glad to hear the reason, too. And one ironic fact that he is a psychiatrist, that also made a lot of people wonder how could this happen. I think the fact that he was a psychiatrist has little to do with the incident that he caused.

  8. jacob hoeffner17/11/09 12:19 AM

    The motives of this man's actions are hard to dig up. Did his occupation as a psychiatrist have an impact on his sanity? Was he fed up with people discriminating against him and his faith? Or was he just outright scared of being deployed overseas? Why someone chooses to pull a weapon and deliberately take the lives of others is beyond me. With this in mind, I don't see a fault in our military. This man's actions were of his own responcibilities and the government is not to be blamed. If we need to take something from this event it is that we are a nation of brave men and women who understand what it takes to be free and still choose to protect our country wherever the need is.

  9. A. Katherine Tuel2/12/09 2:02 PM

    I agree with you that this was a very tragic happening for our country. My belief is that the government should keep a closer eye on those affiliated with muslim terrorist groups. It was said on the news that Nidal Hasan was friends with some of the same terrorists who participated in the 911 trageties. He also attended the same mosque as them located in Virginia. The government needs closely monitor people like this.

  10. erin wilbanks4/12/09 11:36 AM

    This whole situation could have been totally avoided. Although no one would think that someone on the inside would commit such an awful thing, everyone needs to be ready for everything. The army needs to monitor their soldiers a lot closer. It's really sad they had to learn this the hard way.

  11. libby sullivan9/12/09 11:42 PM

    Wow. Apparently, there is a fool-proof acid test for military personnel: you must have a spotless record, be 100% "American," and prove your patriotism at every turn. If this were implemented, the U.S. wouldn't have had enough troops to send to any battle since WWII, and certainly wouldn't today. A vast number of Vietnam infantrymen were college dropouts with criminal records, and they served valiantly and heroically. And the idea that to be in the American military, you must be American, as if this is going to prevent tragedy, is silly. I seem to remember a guy named Timothy McVeigh, who was "100% American," AND a serviceman, perpetuating far more death and destruction. American citizens from other countries have fought and served this country well for years. Isn't it a bit ironic that the very values for which these American servicemen are laying down their lives are the exact same ones which give Hasan the right to express his views? Hasan is not a criminal because he wrote anti-American rants; militaryman or not, there were no terroristic threats involved, and that was his right. He is a criminal because he slaughtered innocents. But once we start believing that the military can root out every madman, or spot one because of his country of origin, then we are the witchhunters, and resembling our enemies more and more at every turn.