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Takungpao, Hong Kong

Fort Hood Shooting
Proves War Is Wrong

Troop build-up in Afghanistan will only shatter more families. It is Obama’s responsibility to allow soldiers to return to their friends and family soon, in order to prevent more tragedies on American soil.

Translated By Anna Isaacson

7 November 2009

Edited by Katy Burtner

Hong Kong - Takungpao - Original Article (Chinese)

U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan is responsible for the deaths of 13 of his comrades and injuries to at least 30 more. The U.S. media has reported that this is the worst military base shooting in the country’s history, as well as the most serious attack the U.S. military has ever suffered on its own soil in a time of peace. The incident has shocked the nation. President Obama referred to the shooting as a “horrific outburst of violence,” because “it’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.”

The shooting at Fort Hood proves once again that, while foreign terrorists continue to constitute a national security threat, sources of terrorism on home soil are abundant, and the massacre at Fort Hood arose out of those sources. For ordinary Americans, the Fort Hood incident gives rise to even deeper feelings of fear, shock, and hopelessness.

Hasan was born in Virginia to devout Muslim immigrants from Palestine. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he entered the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where he obtained certification in psychiatry. Immediately afterwards, he began his residency at the well-known Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he became a fully-qualified Army psychiatrist. This hospital specializes in assisting returned soldiers with mental and physical recovery.

Through treating veterans, Hasan became familiar with the horrors of war. According to his friends and family, Hasan was frequently subjected to verbal and even physical abuse for being a Muslim. Because of these hardships, he had considered leaving the Army, and had even recruited the services of a lawyer. However, Hasan learned that because the Army covered the costs of medical school, he could not leave the service prior to the termination of his contract. He had no choice by to simply bear the hardships.

What was Hasan’s motivation? Was he responding to the unbearable pressures of religious discrimination? Or was he venting the insurmountable anxiety associated with his impending deployment to the front line? (He had previously expressed opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.) The media has offered varied responses while an official legal investigation is still incomplete. We can say with a degree of certainty that for an experienced psychiatrist to use violence to vent his inner turmoil, the U.S.’s two ongoing wars must have some role.

War is harmful. War breaks up families, making victims of ordinary people. In addition to the soldiers themselves, their relatives must certainly be considered victims as well. How many parents lie awake at night worrying about their sons and daughters in Iraq or Afghanistan, and how many wives stain their pillows with tears for their deployed husbands? Thousands of Americans have died in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the blood of thousands upon thousands of wounded has been shed.

War is inhumane. In the line of fire, soldiers lose their sense of reason. The darkness of war overshadows them long after they return home. Even if they have not suffered bodily injuries, their souls will be scarred. Many former soldiers have great difficulty adapting to normal family life after returning. It is not uncommon for veterans to suffer divorce, heavy drinking, or substance abuse. Because there are not enough soldiers, many have been sent to the front line time after time, and many have witnessed or caused several deaths. Time to recover at home is short and their relatives are naturally gripped with anxiety when a soldier is called to the front line again. Even after retirement from the Army and the commencement of a new life, veterans have difficulty adapting to quieter lives. When faced with countless difficulties and setbacks, many seek a final release from their troubles. The rising suicide rate among retired soldiers is another of the wars’ disastrous repercussions.

The Obama administration needs to conclude Bush’s wars immediately. Too many Americans have paid for his mistakes with their lives. Troop build-up in Afghanistan will only shatter more families. It is Obama’s responsibility to allow soldiers to return to their friends and family soon, in order to prevent more tragedies on American soil.



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