I hope this will be the last post today on deaths of soldiers serving their country. It is sobering to think that while we wait for President Obama to decide the next moves in Afghanistan many of our armed forces are being killed or wounded. It is time for a decision, are we going to fight this war properly or retreat from Afghanistan.
Channel 4 reports on the killing of 12 Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas:
A US Army major who opened fire at Fort Hood base, Texas, killing 12 and wounding 31 is still alive and in custody after being shot several times, officials say.
Authorities identified the suspected gunman as psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who had treated wounded soldiers and was preparing for deployment to Iraq.
“Our investigation is ongoing but preliminary reports indicate that there was a single shooter,” Lieutenant-General Robert Cone, Fort Hood’s commanding officer, told a news conference.
“The shooter is not dead but in custody in stable condition.”
Cone said the suspect had been shot multiple times. He had previously said the suspect was killed by police officers during the attack at the biggest military facility in the world which holds 50,000 troops.
“He’s not currently speaking to investigators,” Cone said of Hasan. Pressed on the suspect’s condition, he said, “I would say his death is not imminent.”
Asked if the shootings were a terrorist act, Cone said, “I couldn’t rule that out but…the evidence does not suggest that.”
The army said the gunman opened fire at a building where soldiers were receiving medical check-ups before leaving for overseas deployments.
Cone said the gunman had two weapons, one of them a semi-automatic. “There is no indication that they were military weapons,” he said.
“As horrible as this was, I think it could have been much worse,” Cone said.
US President Barack Obama called the event a “horrific outburst of violence” and promised “answers to every single question about this horrible incident.”
Suspect resisted deployment
A cousin of the suspected shooter, Nader Hasan, told Fox News that he had been ordered to serve a term in Iraq and had been resisting such a deployment.
Hasan said his cousin was a U.S.-born Muslim who had joined the military from high school. He had served as a psychiatrist at an army medical centre in Washington which treats many badly wounded troops.
He said his cousin had been transferred to Fort Hood in April months ago and was very reluctant to be deployed to Iraq. “We’ve known over the last five years that was probably his worst nightmare,” he said.
Fort Hood is home to about 50,000 troops, although Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said only about 35,000 were on base at the time. The fort, established in 1942, stretches across 339 square miles (878 square km) in central Texas and is the state’s largest single employer.