Monday, November 9, 2009

Belief Trumps Facts

Andrew Sullivan has a link to the transcript of an NPR (radio) program the day Major Hasan murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood. There are two radio types who's job is to talk all the time, and they've just brought a colleague online, one Daniel Zwerdling, who's got some background information about the murderer:

... But second of all - and this is, perhaps, you know, more relevant. The psychiatrist says that he was very proud and upfront about being Muslim. And psychiatrist hastened to say, and nobody minded that. But he seemed almost belligerent about being Muslim, and he gave a lecture one day that really freaked a lot of doctors out.

They have grand rounds, right? They, you know, dozens of medical staff come into an auditorium, and somebody stands at the podium at the front and gives a lecture about some academic issue, you know, what drugs to prescribe for what condition. But instead of that, he - Hasan apparently gave a long lecture on the Koran and talked about how if you don't believe, you are condemned to hell. Your head is cut off. You're set on fire. Burning oil is burned down your throat.

And I said to the psychiatrist, but this cold be a very interesting informational session, right? Where he's educating everybody about the Koran. He said but what disturbed everybody was that Hasan seemed to believe these things. And actually, a Muslim in the audience, a psychiatrist, raised his hand and said, excuse me. But I'm a Muslim and I do not believe these things in the Koran, and then I don't believe what you say the Koran says. And then Hasan didn't say, well, I'm just giving you one point of view. He basically just stared the guy down.

Sound's rather straightforward to me. The man has just murdered 13 American troops, and here's evidence he's strongly influenced by the ideology that's at war with America (and the rest of the free world), and perhaps this connection might be worthy of our attention.

Nope. Here's how the two hosts of the program relate to this information:

INSKEEP: So we have a picture of a man, then, who, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was disliked by his colleagues. Or maybe disliked is not the word. Disturbed some of his colleagues is perhaps a better way to put it.

ZWERDLING: No, and disliked is also a relevant word.

INSKEEP: OK. And thenĂ¯¿½

ZWERDLING: Then he - the psychiatrist this morning said people generally considered him a blank bag. You, you know, can guess what they say.

INSKEEP: And then he is sent to Fort Hood, Texas, and he knows at the point that this shooting allegedly begins, that the shooting begins of which he is accused, that he's about to be deployed by Afghanistan. Now, Tom, you've been looking into some of the stresses of military personnel of being sent overseas.

GJELTEN: That's right, Steve. You know, you referred to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There's - almost seems to be a phenomenon that you could maybe call a pre-traumatic stress disorder. There have been a lot suicides in the Army, many more as a result of these wars than in previous years. Interestingly enough, as many soldiers have killed themselves before they were due to be deployed as after. Thirty-five percent of the suicides are pre-deployment, 35 percent are post-deployment. So there seems to be an issue here of expectation of what you are getting into. And the fact that Major Hasan would've known better than others, even, about how traumatic combat experience would be, you know, raises the question of, you know, was he an example of these soldiers who are literally freaked out by what they are likely to face when they are deployed?

INSKEEP: And it's hard to miss the location of this shooting: a processing center for people being sent overseas.

To his credit, Zwerdling does then make an effort to bring the attention back to where it should be, but he's talking to the wall. The conditioning of the other two fellows simply doesn't let them hear him. He's not saying what he's saying.



Anonymous said...

Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I thought Jerry Pournelle made that up.

I thought he was kidding.


Empress Trudy said...

Blogger Glenn Greenwald posted a long rambling column today that attacks on uniformed personnel, any attacks, are by definition NOT terrorism. By implication this would have to include the 911 plane that flew into the Pentagon although Greenwald does not state that. I think the left leaning meaning has gone completely off the reservation into a land of make believe violence, anarchism and insanity. The problem is that it's becoming the mainstream.

AKUS said...

This article reinforces my decision to stop contributing to NPR and its Washington outlet, WAMU. I know many Jews who have made the same decision.

Although there are often good articles/news analyses from NPR, when it comes to Israel, Judaism, and Islam the thumb on the scale is all to evident, and the incessant attempts to show that Moslems are just regular people like the rest of us leads to the ridiculous type of broadcast you have just highlighted.

Anonymous said...

What struck me is Yaacov using an absolutely Hebrew euphamism translated into English. "talking to a wall" = "hu medaber el hakir"

It loses a little in translation, but the point is clear: "ein im mi ledaber" - there is no one to speak to.

Not only does Yaacov have one of my favorite blogs/discussion sites on the net, he should know that he added a great laugh to my coffee today!


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