Journal: Cognitive Dissonance, Military Suicides, and an Alternative Interpretation of the Fort Hood Deaths

Ethics
Robert Steele
Robert Steele

For over many years now Phi Beta Iota has been emphasizing both the inappropriate secrecy and obscurity contrived for our dead and wounded, and the almost total black-out on both amputees (many of them multiple amputees) and suicides.

We now know that Gulf I brought back over 250,000 disabled veterans, and that the toxic brew of depleted uranium that we brought to the battlefield, combined with the bio-chemical brew already in Iraq (Dick Cheney kept the receipts), and such prosaic incidentals as aspertain turning into formaldahide when soft drinks are stored in desert heat, are all partly to blame.  What we did not focus on in Gulf I was the mental anguish, in part because Gulf I was a “good war,” a multinational endeavor blessed by the United Nations, and generally seen as justified by the invasion of Kuwait.

Gulf II is another matter entirely.  We now know that CIA called it ocrrectly, based on both the defecting son-in-law of Saddaam Hussein and the 20+ line-crosses that Charlie Allen sent in, and that George Tenet prostituted his office–as Colin Powell prostituted his, both allowing Dick Cheney to get away with over 20 impeachable offenses in relation to foreign policy, and 935 documented lies related to the elective invasion and occupation of Iraq, an invasion made all the worse by the triumverate of Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz (go light), Cheney (fire Garner for wanting to get us out in 90 days) and Bremer (well-intentioned idiocy in disarming the military and police).

Gulf II has NOT been a “good war,” comparatively speaking, and the combination of go-along generals with hop-along politicians has put most military professionals into an unheard of three and four tours of generally severe combat to which they have responded heroically.  Gulf II has also seen new hights in the mistreatment of wounded veterans and the concealment of casualties.  Little things like “you don’t count as dead on the battlefield if you touch the medevac helicopter with a breath left in you;” and concealing what we now estimate are close to 75,000 amputations associated with Gulf II, and finally–the suicides.  Below are a couple of headlines pointing out that suicides now outnumber combat deaths, and that is a heart-rending statement of fact and a bitter condemnation of the harm done to our brave troops by their own pupported leaders.

More Veterans Die from Suicide than Combat – Veterans Day Truth

The Real Red Flag Raised By Fort Hood

Military Suicides On The Rise After Eight Years Of War

Now for an alternative interpretation of the Foot Hood deaths, one that may anger the narrow-minded, but a diversity view that must, in our view, be considered: Major Nidal Malik Hasan, in our view, after several years of suggesting that Muslims were too conflicted to be armed and then sent to fight other Muslims, may–we speculate–have finally decided to commit suicide, but to do so in a manner consistent with his beliefs and in hopes of making a major statement by bringing the war home.  This can be compared in some ways to the attacks on the CIA employees by a lone gunman stepping out of a van on 123–something that in restrospect should have been a much more appreciated early warning of the asymmetric war and the domestic threat to come.  Was that murder, as Americans are so quick to conclude, or was that a legitimate retaliation against the CIA for its long practice of sponsoring drug wars, protecting criminals, and embracing dictators all too willing to do rendition and torture without due process or good reason?

THE TRUTH AT ANY COST.  Until the fullest possible diversity of views can be appreciated, until all variations of the truth can be placed on the table so as to arrive at what Bruce Berkowitz has called the “best truth” achievable under the circumstances, we cannot condemn Major Hasan for murder.  Indeed, another US veteran was just acquitted of murder on the basis of–for the first time–post-combat stress disorder.

Whether murder or not, America lost well-intentioned citizens at Fort Hood.  The simple-minded will treat t his as an aberration, as a terrorist act, as murder writ large, and so it is–for the simple-minded.  Those who actually wish to think seriously about America’s place in the world; about the complete failure of the U.S. Government to be responsible with respect to means, ways, and ends; and about the complete mockery of democracy that lies with our two-party tyranny and the axis of evil between Goldman Sacks in New York City and Goldman Sachs “owning” the U.S. Treasury; such individuals must give credence to the possibility that in his effort to kill and be killed, Major Hasan was acting in faith, and as a witness to a larger evil that he could no longer be a part of.

Many of the books reviewed here and at Amazon bear on this, but below are a handful that are particularly relevent to an appraisal of the less obvious meaning of the deaths at Fort Hood.

The Collapse of Complex Societies

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier

The True Cost of Conflict/Seven Recent Wars and Their Effects on Society

The Fifty Year Wound: The True Price of America’s Cold War Victory

Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, Peace, and American Power

Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism

Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class — And What We Can Do About It

The Working Poor: Invisible in America

Devil’s Game–How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project)

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia

Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II-Updated Through 2003

Unintended Consequences: The United States at War

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Hardcover)

Rage of the Random Actor

Harvest Of Rage: Why Oklahoma City Is Only The Beginning

Kids Who Kill–Confronting Our Culture of Violence

Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (American Empire Project) (Hardcover)

Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (Hardcover)

Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025

Wars of Blood and Faith–The Conflicts That Will Shape the 21st Century

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror

The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead

Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century

END NOTE: We are at the end of mass evil, in the sense that Collective Intelligence is emergent, and Howard Zinn has it right: We the People are a power government cannot suppress.  There are signs everywhere of a convergence of public movements toward ecological, financial, and moral sanity, and we earnestly believe that with the end of the American Empire comes an end to Voltaire’s Bastards, the Manufacture of Evil, and Weapons of Mass Deception.  As the protagonist says in The Postman, “Stuff’s getting better.”  We grieve for those who died at Fort Hood, and for Major Hasan’s loss of the will to live and loss of confidence in his own service and his own government.  There is a reason he snapped.  It is a reason shared by others who committed solitary suicide; by “terrorists” who are in fact “freedom fighters” in their own mind; and by billions in poverty who ask, as Don Quixote asks, not why they are dying as they are, but why they ever lived at all.  It is time for all of us to have the courage of our convictions, to demand accountability and transparency, and to consciously evolve away from the era of scarcity and secrecy, and toward the era of infinite wealth and “open everything.”