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Shooting Suspect Was ‘Mortified’ About Deployment to War.


Nidal Malik Hasan-2

WASHINGTON — Born and reared in Virginia, the son of immigrant parents from a small Palestinian town near Jerusalem, he joined the Army right out of high school, against his parents’ wishes. The Army, in turn, put him through college and then medical school, where he trained to be a psychiatrist.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan expressed deep concerns about being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Having counseled scores of returning soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. “He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy,” Mr. Hasan said. “He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there.”

The former imam at a Silver Spring, Md., mosque where Major Hasan worshiped for about 10 years described him as proud of his work in the Army and “very serious about his religion.” The former imam, Faizul Khan, said that Major Hasan had wanted to marry an equally religious woman but that his efforts to find one had failed.

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Fort Hood leads Army posts in number of suicides since Iraq invasion.


Fort Hood, the Texas military base that was the scene of a mass shooting Thursday, has been hard hit by the growing strain on the Army from multiple combat deployments — with its personnel suffering the highest number of suicides among Army installations since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to official data.

After many years of lengthy war zone rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army personnel are experiencing record rates of suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health problems, as well as worsening alcohol and drug abuse.

This year, 117 active-duty Army soldiers were reported to have committed suicide, with 81 of those cases confirmed — up from 103 suicides during the same period last year. Ten suicides have been reported at Fort Hood this year; more than 75 of its personnel have committed suicide since 2003. Fort Hood’s high number of suicides is also linked to the fact that it is the Army’s largest base, with more than 53,000 soldiers.

An estimated 30 percent of those returning from combat suffer mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Such problems grow worse with repeated deployments and the constant exposure to danger and the sights, smells and emotions of seeing others killed or wounded, according to Army mental health surveys.

Violent outbursts such as shootings by soldiers at Army bases have occurred in recent years, including at Fort Hood, where several killings were reported over the past two years.

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