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A Preliminary Commentary
by Charles Cameron
There is no place as private as the interior of a human skull: the mind remains inviolate.
Words can reveal some of what goes on inside us, actions can speak some of our intents and passions forcefully, at times explosively. And yet there is no place more secret -- and what a hint, a phrase, a gesture, a speech or an explosion cannot reveal, what even the best forensic examination can only label a probability, is the complex interweaving of thoughts half thought, doubts entertained, emotions pushing on through, and clashing, building at times to a perfect storm perhaps, with all doubts and constraints cast aside and the emotions unleashed in a blind and defining moment.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan MD MPH, a psychiatrist in the U.S. Army, has now been charged with multiple specifications of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Fort Hood, under Article 188 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Assuming that Major Hasan was in fact the shooter at Fort Hood and that, as alleged, he shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the event, the main question of fact and interpretation now would be whether Hasan was more an introvert under pressure whose "break" took the jihadist cry "Allahu Akbar" as its outlet, or a patient and long-standing lone wolf jihadist of the sort abu Musab al-Suri calls for (Jim Lacey, A Terrorist's Call to Global Jihad, p. 19), or a wannabe with failed or actual al Qaeda connections, or an al Qaeda or related "soldier" under orders.
This analysis attempts to provide some leads in that inquiry, by a careful reading of the only substantial documentation we have from Major Hasan himself, which may throw light on his trajectory.
Charles Cameron is an independent scholar and writer, and was at one time a Principal Researcher with the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. He would like to thank Stephen O'Leary, Richard Landes and David Cook for their encouragement and support over the years, the members of the NRM mailing list and particularly Jean Rosenfeld, Jayne Seminaire Docherty, Phil Arnold and John R Hall for their thoughts on this subject, David Ronfeldt, Ibn Siqilli and Leah Farrall among others for recent interactions, Mark Safranski for graciously allowing him to guest-blog on Zenpundit, and Howard Rheingold and the Brainstorms community, the folks at TMN, and Jaen Martens and Kevin Murphy for various other forms of hospitality.