03 April 2014

Linking the Fort Hood shooting to terrorism

Al Jazeera

On April 2, US Army Specialist and Iraq war veteran Ivan Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood military base in Texas, killing four people - including himself - and injuring 16.

According to Fort Hood commander General Mark A Milley, Lopez had "behavioural and mental health issues". He was under evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The New York Times reported that, "[i]n Washington, intelligence officials said they were investigating potential terrorist connections to the shooting, but so far had no evidence to suggest any". The Washington Post concurred: "[S]enior US law enforcement officials said the incident did not appear to be linked to any foreign terrorist organisations."

The trotting out of the possibility of terrorist connivance in the incident is, of course, unsurprising. In fact, the terrorist menace has become so institutionalised in US discourse and analysis that one half-expects to open the newspaper in the morning to find reports to the effect of: "A collision on such-and-such highway killed four people last night. Terrorism did not appear to be the motive."

In this case and in other cases of intra-military violence, official reminders of the ever-present terrorist threat serve to justify the deployment of US soldiers abroad to combat said threat. But it's hardly difficult to see that "war on terror" venues like Iraq and Afghanistan can exacerbate or even trigger "behavioural and mental health issues". READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.