Thursday, August 16, 2012

Major Nidal Hasan Conundrum

This is a conundrum to US only.
For the rest of the humanity it should not be very difficult to understand as to what went wrong.

Here is the time line of the episode we are talking about.
November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan of Fort Hood, Texas, USA killed thirteen servicemen and injured dozens in a shooting spree.
His cousin, Nadir Hasan, later on told Fox News that Major Hasan had complained of of harassment because of his "Middle Eastern ethnicity" and had tried to leave the army.
Maj Hassan, a military psychiatrist, was due to be deployed in Iraq.
Maj Hasan was paralysed from the chest down after being shot by police during the incident at Fort Hood.
He is being held at a special hospital cell about 15 miles (25km) from the base.
His trial is in progress but might be delayed because he now sports a beard and that make his identification by the witnesses difficult.
Major Hasan says that he has a premonition of death and would not like to die in a state of sin - by shaving his beard.
The problem is, for the authorities court marshaling him, is whether to shave him forcibly or not.
That is not the conundrum we are talking about.
The conundrum is why did he behave the way he did.
Some other facts that came out of the investigation are as follows. Major Hasan had given a talk in which he averred that those servicemen who want to leave the services should be allowed to do so because they do not agree with the objectives of war.
Technically he did have that choice, it was allowed by the rules but the people he consulted gave him the opposite impression.
Major Nidal Hasan, being US army psychiatrist, had the job to motivate the soldiers being deployed.
In layman's terms his job will be to motivate US soldiers to kill Iraqis - his fellow Arabs.
US expectations were and perhaps still would be that it will be alright, natural and logical for him to do the bidding. Is it really that simple? On the face of it we know Major Hasan just cracked up.
In the history of mankind there have been very rare examples where people gave preference to the call of duty and acted against their family and near and dear ones.
In India the most famous scripture, Gita, after the Vedas, is about that. It needs Krishna to motivate Arjun to go for the war against his own relatives.
In Islam it was the company of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) and his rigorous training that could prevail upon some Companions (RA) to fight against their family members.
In any society it is difficult to wage war against your family, blood relatives or your clan or race.
US expectations from Major Hasan to motivate soldiers to kill Iraqis should be looked in that perspective.
Not the perspective that the US media is clutching to - Major Nidal Malik Hasan's contact with Anwar Al-Awlaki - the only American targeted and martyred by the US in a missile attack in Yemen.

It is strange that a country that is so advance in all academic discipline should be so naive in one of them - psychology. It is not rocket science - to use a cliche.