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Fort Hood: In War, There are no Unwounded Soldiers

Fort Hood: In War, There are no Unwounded Soldiers

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” ~ José Narosky

“Since Christ his new commandment gave to men, ‘Love One Another’, full two thousand years have passed away, yet Earth is red with blood…”
From The Edict of the Sex – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

On Thursday Nov 5, at the Fort Hood Army post in central Texas, a 39-year-old man killed 13 people and wounded 30 others. The killing spree took place inside a crowded medical processing center for soldiers returning from or about to be sent to Afghanistan or Iraq, and ended with the gunman being shot by law enforcement officials. He is still alive after being shot four times.

The shooter turned out to be Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who had been in the service since 1995. Hasan was about to be deployed to Afghanistan to help soldiers with combat stress, a task he’d done stateside with returning soldiers. According to reports, Hasan had tried to leave the Army, even hiring an attorney to try to come to a settlement with the government, but his attempts failed. He apparently resisted his deployment up to the day before he was due to leave. That resistance culminated in the deaths of 13 people and the wounding of 30 more.

As Air America Editor-in-Chief Beau Friedlander wrote,

“I can identify with the abject terror Hasan must have felt when he was apprised of the fact that he would be deployed to the place that wrecked so many of his patients. I remember when Desert Storm was brewing and we all thought we’d get conscripted and sent to Iraq back in 1991… Imagine how much worse it would be if your job was to listen to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who had just returned from the place you were going?”

A fair amount of attention has been drawn to Hasan’s anger about the wars in the Middle East. Some are pointing to this (amongst other things) as evidence that Hasan was planning a terrorist attack. However, in his opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Hasan held a position that many Americans share. He’s not alone at Fort Hood, either. Since the Iraq invasion, ‘desertion rates have soared’.

According to Mark Ames, author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion:

“Fort Hood has had some high-profile objectors making the news this year, such as Spc. Victor Agosto, who was court-martialed in August after he refused to go to Afghanistan, and Sgt. Travis Bishop, who filed for conscientious objector status after serving in Iraq for 14 months… Today, if you read through some of the forums out of Fort Hood, the anti-war mood is clearly strong and clearly a problem for the authorities.”

Fort Hood holds the record for the most soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan – 685 so far. Over the same period, there have been 75 suicides amongst Fort Hood soldiers, 10 of which occurred in 2009 – the highest of any base. In 2005, in two separate incidents, two soldiers, having just returned from Iraq, killed themselves in one weekend. Last year, a 21-year-old Specialist from the 1st Cavalry Division shot and killed his lieutenant, then killed himself when police arrived.

Perhaps all this violence and bloodshed at home ought to make us seriously reflect on what it is we are asking our young people to do. Out of all the heartbreak left in the wake of this tragedy, an opportunity arises. It’s a chance to look more deeply at this horror of horrors; this vile practice that we call war, where men and women who can think and feel are asked to commit atrocities and risk not only their lives, but their chances of ever again finding peace within themselves.

The casualties of war are far greater than the statistics would lead us to believe. Surely, in 2009, it is time to acknowledge that we must find a more civilized way to deal with our disputes; one that does not involve killing one another. Until we do, our society will forever be plagued by the anguish that is the inevitable result of sending our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters and our fathers and mothers into the killing fields.

This nation is mourning the loss of the 13 individuals who did not survive the massacre, and the despair and distress of those who did survive, but whose lives will never be the same. These men and women were taken from people who loved them, and they had lives ahead of them that will never be lived. This country owes something to these people – not a debt of gratitude; not awe nor respect nor wonder at their courage that led them to make ‘the ultimate sacrifice’. No, this country owes those men and women the profoundest of apologies.

Above all, we owe to every person, who has ever died in any war, the willingness to finally be honest about this madness, and to acknowledge once and for all what it really is – the horrific remnants of a primitive time when we did not have the same understanding of right and wrong; when we did not know that violence and killing are immoral and unethical no matter what the reason.

War has no place in a civilized society. The time will come when we will look back on this practice as being nothing short of barbaric. We will look back on this time filled with shame for the things we used to do to one another and the things we asked one another to do, all in the name of Freedom, in the name of Democracy, in the name of Peace, and in the name of God.

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91 comments

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1:04AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Sure, war can most certainly be justified. Unfortunately, it's now mostly about other things, like $ & ruthless control. When rich men can turn a profit off of lost lives, we have a problem.

And yes Barbara- America SHOULD reel in troops from a few places. Leave it to a country that can't govern itself to want to control the rest of the world!

Sandra- I agree. But I also believe that in some of these cases there were others helping the muslims- in other words, co-conspirators. I'm sure it'd be scary to find out whom. In the end, I think there are many shades of grey & that we got fed information that is often not complete or even correct in the least. But yes, there are wars that are most certainly justified. Lest we'd still be under English rule. Of course, then the colonists turned around & wiped out the original American inhabitants, but....

9:18AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Sure we could bring home all of our troops from the two war fronts we're engaged in, but then what would happen to all of the innocent people who don't want to be ruled by religious fanatics...War is presently necessary, and it will be as long as there are those who want to dominate other people against their will. What would we be now if America would've refused to fight in WWII? War is evil and probably the most hideous thing that human beings can do to each other, but in our world it's woefully necessary. Peace will only come when the world comes to an end, or the Prince of Peace returns.

5:28AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

War is the greatest mistake !

Alex,
Military Computer Financing

1:04PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

Yes, we should bring our soldiers home, no more war until we are attacked viciously. America should stay out of other countries all together. Then, instead of hating America, they can go back to hating each other. Krauthammer writes with facts. This care2 writer writes with emotional and subjective tones. Why hasn't her president brought the soldiers home?
Where is this writer's objective morality come from? Where is her suggestion to end war? She beats on the same old drum, damning the USA while she freely lives here to say what she freely pleases. At the very least she could vote for a president that will bring the soldiers home---and campaign for a much better man or woman, one who tells the truth about his/her origins of morality and keeps campaign promises. I am beyond patience with these writers only complaining about problems, and not offering solutions.

7:11AM PST on Jan 11, 2010

Barbara - "With all respect to those who believe in a peaceful world, the harsh reality is there is no such. The best that can be hoped for is that those of different religions can somehow learn to tolerate the rights of others and yet stay within the confines of their own 'back yards.'

Please tell that to Bush, Cheney and now Obama. America needs to stay in the confines of its own back yard and tolerate the rights of all who are different to them. STOP WAGING WARS ON COUNTRIES WHO DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM. America must learn to AGREE TO DISAGREE then maybe we wil have sum peace in the world.

7:06AM PST on Jan 11, 2010

Jae M -"What is "Justified?" We are fighting a war and all sides are killing each other. I use to think that fighting the war was "us" the Americans fighting the enemies, but now I feel we too are the enemies. Innocent people are getting killed, man, woman and child. When does this stop? Who is this god that they claim this war is what he wants. Who is this god, that says we should be killed, who are these people that are so fanatical about their religion and beliefs that this is their duty to kill? God is known by many names, but he is not evil, this is NOT what he wants. He created all of us in his image. And look at what we are doing. We are destroying ourselves, and our world, that God gave us. This is his gift to us, and this is how we repay him? I just don't get it. SO Sad, so very sad."

Jae I couldnt have said it better.

9:23AM PST on Dec 3, 2009

"War is never justified!!!!!!!!!!" So just what is your proposal to end attacks on Americans and others by Islamic radicals? Start treating them nicely & expect them to have a complete change of mind and not shoot, blow up, behead, etc. others in this world who refuse to convert to their view of Islam? They are an intolerant lot. Remember this said by them? "We love death more than you love life!"

To blame the US as being at fault for their behavior ("The chickens have come home to roost" philosophy) is lunacy. I'll never argue that you don't care about the murdered & injured at Ft. Hood and the numerous other murders that have happened at radical Muslims hands, but please put the blame where it deserves to be put. On them, not us. Your sympathies are misplaced. Save it for the victims of these terrorists, not for Hasan and his ilk. They kill other Muslims, too. According to the Koran, they go to hell for that. They prefer to follow the destructive portions of the Koran and conveniently ignore the passages about kindness to others especially 'brothers of the book'

"As Einstein is quoted as saying:
'It is madness to think that one can solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.' " That's true and we do not think like Islamic terrorists and do not solve our problems with them by butchering them like lambs to a slaughter. There is no equivalency.

10:10PM PST on Nov 25, 2009

Thank you, Elisabeth :-)

3:12PM PST on Nov 22, 2009

I am amazed at your article. Thank you very much. War is never justified!!!!!!!!!!

3:09PM PST on Nov 22, 2009

I am amazed at your article. Thank you very much. War is never justified!!!!!!!!!!

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