The general impression in the mainstream press is that the Ft. Hood Shooter attacked military personnel who he assumed were on their way to -- or returning from -- fighting in the Middle East. This week a little known (by the public) reference concerning three of the fatal victims came to my attention while reading of a book on a humanitarian aspect of the Middle East conflict.
In 2010, Dr. (and retired U.S. Army Col.) Sharon Richie-Melvan and Dr. Diane Vines have published a detailed account of military nurses in the Middle East called Angel Walk: Nusrses at War in Iraq & Afghanistan. The book's dedication is to three senior Army Nurse Corps officers (Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, Capt. Russell Seager and Capt. John Gaffaney) who were three of thirteen people killed at Ft. Hood on November 5, 2009, the day of Maj. Hasan's arrest.
Now Maj. Hasan was working as a psychiatrist at Ft. Hood and probably knew a number of Medical Corps people, including senior nursing officers, on sight. That and a further question for prosecutors is whether the three nursing officers murdered that day were wearing their uniforms with medical insignias clearly showing that they were non-combatants. I'm not holding my breath waiting for Reuters or the New York Times to ask these questions.
Angel Walk, as well as a number of other sources, clearly mention cases of U.S. military hospitals in the Middle East having a policy of caring for local injured Muslims, often saving these local people's lives. Of course, senior nursing officials would be the most knowledgeable on how to start treating those shot that day at Ft. Hood as well. One wonders if these facts, probably also known to Maj. Hasan, played any part in his decision to decide who could be defined as "Enemies" of Islam to be targeted -- literally -- that day. The facts surrounding Hasan's familiarity with these three nursing officers may -- or may not -- be revealed at his court martial. This is much more significant than the concern of whether the Army should allow Hasan to wear a beard at his trial, a trial, a trial that is long overdue to proceed.
Did Maj. Hasan shoot people known to him as lifesavers and non-combatants? There may be a Pulitzer Prize for someone who can unearth answers to this. Or the "prize" of endless scorn from Atty. Gen. Holder and the New York Times.