On November 11, an Islamophobic NEFA Foundation Alert headlined, "Afghan Taliban Celebrate Ft. Hood Massacre," saying it:
"issued a new official communique in response to the massacre at Ft. Hood....titled, 'The Attack in Texas Is A Proof On The Disagreement Among American Soldiers Over The War,' the Taliban celebrated the 'fight and trance and enormous fears within the military and civil circles in America' caused by the incident."
Referring to Hasan as a "hero," it warned that if the US doesn't withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, "it will become normal for (similar) incidents and attacks (to) expand to the Pentagon and the rest of the American military bases...."
Instances of Violence in the Military
On November 9, New York Times writers Michael Moss and Ray Rivera headlined, "At Army Base, Some Violence Is Too Familiar," citing past examples from combat stress:
-- after returning to Fort Hood in 2008, Sgt. Gilberto Mota shot his wife Diana, an Army specialist, and took his own life;
--in July, two returning First Cavalry Division members were at a party when one killed the other; and
-- the same month, Sgt. Justin Lee Garza, over-stressed from two deployments, shot himself in a friend's apartment outside Fort Hood four days after being told no therapists were available for counseling.
The article said "Reports of domestic abuse have grown by 75 percent since 2001, (and) violent crime in (adjacent) Killeen has risen 22 percent...." Other stresses showed up in 76 Fort Hood suicides, 10 in 2009. Overall, record numbers of them are occurring, likely more than officially reported, as well as on average 10 failed attempts for each lost life. The reasons - extended, repeated combat zone deployments causing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression.
In January, the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) reported 178,483 Iraq and Afghanistan vets diagnosed with mental illness between 2002 and September 2008. Included were cases of PTSD, depression, neurotic disorders, and psychoses, as well as drug abuse and alcoholism. A 2008 RAND Corporation study estimated that 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan vets (or 350,000 people) suffered from PTSD, nearly double the VA figure. In addition, up to 18 US veterans of foreign wars commit suicide daily - over 6,500 annually. The numbers are troublesome and unreported by the major media supporting calls for more troops.
The Times said interviews with Iraq and Afghanistan vets and with family members of those killed in Texas show that the Army hasn't dealt with this crisis. "Even some alarm bells rung by the Army leadership have gone unanswered." Open-ended billions go for militarism and imperial wars. Appallingly little helps the young men and women fighting them when they most need it.
The Fort Hood tragedy is a profound "red alert" indictment of America's imperial wars and the immense human cost to soldiers and non-combatants alike.
Fragging in Vietnam
War-induced stress sparks violence in the ranks. Fragging was the Vietnam term for rank-and-file soldiers killing NCO and officer superiors by fragmentation grenades, shootings, and other means. According to Texas A&M historian, Terry Anderson, the Army knew of at least 600 officer cases from 1969 - 1973, plus "another 1,400 who died mysteriously." He believes that late in the conflict, the Army was more at war with itself than the Vietnamese.
Congressional hearings in 1973 estimated that from 1961 - 1972 up to 3% of NCO and officer deaths were from fragging by fragmentation grenades alone. Many others were by "handguns, automatic rifles, booby traps, knives, and bare hands (by) increasingly pissed off enlisted men."
Writing in 1971, a Col. Heinl said: