Medicalizing Mass Murder

[Washington Post] Charles Krauthammer - What a surprise - that someone who shouts "Allahu Akbar" (the "God is great" jihadist battle cry) as he is shooting up a room of American soldiers might have Islamist motives. The popular story line was of secondary post-traumatic stress disorder: an Army psychiatrist driven over the edge by terrible stories he had heard from soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. But how many doctors who every day hear and live with the pain and suffering of returning soldiers then picked up a gun and shot 51 innocents? Secondary PTSD, for those who believe in it (you won't find it in psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is known as "compassion fatigue." The poor man - pushed over the edge by an excess of sensitivity. Have we totally lost our moral bearings? Nidal Hasan (allegedly) cold-bloodedly killed 13 innocent people. His business card had his name, his profession, his medical degrees and his occupational identity: "SoA" - Soldier of Allah. NPR's Daniel Zwerdling interviewed a Hasan colleague at Walter Reed Hospital about a hair-raising grand rounds that Hasan had apparently given. His hour-long disquisition on what he called the Koranic view of military service, jihad and war included an elaboration of the punishments visited upon nonbelievers - consignment to hell, decapitation, having hot oil poured down your throat. "The psychiatrist," reported Zwerdling, "said that he was the kind of guy who the staff actually stood around in the hallway saying: Do you think he's a terrorist, or is he just weird?" Was anything done about this potential danger? Of course not. Who wants to be accused of Islamophobia?

2009-11-13 06:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive