James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Kill ’em now or kill ’em later: Fort Hood’s more than 500 dead–and counting

Posted by James McPherson on November 6, 2009

Obviously yesterday’s killings at Fort Hood were a tragedy, with at least 13 people dead, so far. Still, I can’t help but think about the fact that if the dozen soldiers killed (one victim was a civilian) had died a couple of weeks from now–after they were in Iraq–the deaths would barely be a blip on the media screen.

One thing they have in common with their fallen comrades abroad is that they’ll now pass through Dover Air Force Base. I wonder if President Barack Obama will show up to “honor” their deaths.

Keep in mind that Fort Hood has lost more than 500–again, that’s more than five hundred–of its soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, with some about to be deployed for the fourth time. That’s in addition at least a dozen “suspicious deaths” at the base in recent months.

So yes, the latest deaths are tragic–but just a small part of an ongoing larger tragedy that will continue to play out for years to come.

Same-day follow-up: A student reminded me this morning (thanks, John) that as Rolling Stone reports, Fort Hood isn’t the only American military base with similar problems.

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8 Responses to “Kill ’em now or kill ’em later: Fort Hood’s more than 500 dead–and counting”

  1. The deaths in Iraq were nonsensical. We should never have invaded in the first place. It makes you wonder why Bush has never been charged with treason for lying us into the war, but Obama “doesn’t want to look backwards.” Sometimes you can’t move forwards without looking backwards first.

  2. Good news or bad news? We’re rapidly running out of people to send “over there.”

    Ben, Obama’s a neo-con in Democrat clothing. He’s ramping up the war effort, not toning it down. So he has no interest in bringing Dubya to justice.

  3. You’re right, but it could be that he’s trying to appease the right to get health care passed. If he cut’s our military force, right-wingers will be all over him. Hopefully, he’s just giving the appearance of escalating the war and targeted hits will be the real strategy.

  4. James McPherson said

    I hope you’re right, Ben. I fear that the Fort Hood incident will simply give Obama cover for escalation–especially if we start seeing more attention paid to the idea that Hasan was a radical Muslim. And I agree that the closest Dubya will ever come to justice is if he agrees to go bird hunting with Cheney. Thanks, both of you, for the comments.

  5. zelda said

    You don’t think Hasan was radical ?\
    He is just misunderstood………….?
    Because he is Muslim is just coincidental?
    He just acted alone and so there is no need to weave this into some”enemy” aggression
    eh???
    I don’t think Obama is putting anymore spin on it than you are.

  6. James McPherson said

    I didn’t say Hasan isn’t a radical Muslim (though he also seems to be somewhat disconnected from any previous activity suggesting that he’s some sort of al-Qaeda agent). My point is that Hasan and Afghanistan are unrelated (just as Iraq and 9/11 were), unless the pro-war folks manage to conflate them.

    In fact, if the Fort Hood killings lead to deeper U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Hasan will have done wonders for radical Islam–regardless of whether that was his original intent–killing far more Americans and producing more al Qaeda and Taliban recruits than he likely could have dreamed possible. Thanks for the comment.

  7. [In fact, if the Fort Hood killings lead to deeper U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Hasan will have done wonders for radical Islam–regardless of whether that was his original intent–killing far more Americans and producing more al Qaeda and Taliban recruits than he likely could have dreamed possible.]

    Well said. Needless to say, he made our national security appear inept, since there were plenty of warnings. Obama needs to take that as a wake-up call and do something about the communication inadequacies between agencies.

  8. zelda said

    I agree. Well said and an extremely important view.

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