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Politicizing the Tragedy at Fort Hood

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: Nov 10, 2009

The tragedy at Fort Hood has overwhelmed the nation with sadness. The unexpected attack on soldiers by one of their own has shocked us all. It is hard enough to accept the loss of American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan but for more to be taken in an incident like the one last week is almost unfathomable.

A profile has gradually emerged of the alleged assailant, Army Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim psychiatrist who apparently suffered a profound crisis that led him to commit this massacre. The nature of this crime warrants an in-depth investigation. It also calls for caution to avoid jumping to hasty interpretations.

As such, we are surprised that Senator Joseph Lieberman, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the massacre could have been a terrorist attack and that he would begin a Senate investigation aimed at uncovering Hasan's motives. We believe the lawmakers statement is irresponsible and injects dangerous politicalization into what today is a human tragedy. One cannot help but wonder why, for the senator, an individuals psychological crisis leading to a mass murdersomething not alien to our society would take on elements of terrorism if the perpetrator is Muslim.

Many versions are circulating about Hasans deep personal conflicts, from his religious beliefs to the mental stress of attending to wounded survivors of war to allegations that he was harassed by his fellow soldiers for being a Muslim. All of this and more must be investigated and clarified by the authorities before Congress gets involved in a hunt for terrorists.

There is no doubt that terrorism is a real threat and we must not let our guard down. We must be vigilant, but this should not lead to alarmism or paranoia.

We live in a diverse society and the Armed Forces reflect this tapestry of colors, religions, and origins. Here, patriotism has no single creed, and prematurely judging Hasans motives is unfair to Muslim-American soldiers who risk their lives alongside Christians, Jews, and others.

We share the pain of this moment and our condolences go to the families of the victims. This is a tragedy that should not be made worse by premature and irresponsable speculations.

Related Articles:

Ft. Hood Killings Are an Act of an Individual, Not an Entire Community

Arab American Media Fear Worsening Public Opinion After Ft. Hood

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