Speaking Point: As a psychiatrist and expert in PTSD - with a Masters in Public Health - just like Major Hasan... it is especially painful to see what he was capable of doing. As the author of Coping with Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted, I have insight into his psyche.
Major Nidal Hasan sold his soul to the devil years ago, when he agreed to take money for subsidized medical and psychiatric training, despite knowing he would have to pay it back by serving in the Armed Forces. After 9/11, and the Iraq War, his Muslim roots caused a conflict in his loyalty. How could he be loyal to the U.S. Army when they were fighting 'his' people? When it came time for him to be deployed in Irag, the idea of fighting against his own people became too overwhelming and he snapped.
Speaking Point: As a psychiatrist myself, it is especially painful to see such slaughter carried on by someone in this helping profession. Clearly, Nidal Hasan had underlying psychological problems. He wasn't married and had few friends at age 39. His parents died approximately a decade ago. His brothers lived far from him. He was known to be a loner and had problems in his training programs.
Speaking Point: On a superficial level, one could say that it was the years of dealing with veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that caused burnout in him and resulted in this rampage. But on a deeper level, it was the conflict between his devotion to Islam and the imminent assignment to a place where he'd be expected to kill fellow believers.
Speaking Point: This incident will totally demoralize and create more anxiety in the troops because not only do they have to be wary of enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, now they have to be wary of enemies at home. And the fact that it was a psychiatrist who was supposed to be helping them, will cause further distrust and a sense of having nowhere to turn.
Speaking Point: Needless to say, Nidal Hasan should never have been accepted into a psychiatry program to begin with because he was not stable enough. Years ago, psychiatry residency programs required, or at least strongly encouraged, residents to undergo their own psychoanalysis or psychotherapy. This was to help them understand their own conflicts, so that they would not misinterpret patients' problems by seeming them through their own distorted lens of problems. Nowadays, unfortunately, this is not usually a requirement, and is not as frequently encouraged. Hopefully, this incident will remind residency directors of the importance of screening and providing access to therapy for all psych residents.
Speaking Point: To watch Major Nidal Hasan in traditional Muslim garb, casually selecting his breakfast at a convenience store only hours before his homicidal rampage, is chilling. It is interesting to note that the troops he chose to kill were those who were about to be deployed to kill Muslims. Consciously or unconsciously, he expected to be killed himself, just like his brethren suicide bombers....