The question, obviously, is whether it was a terrorist attack, or just a disgruntled soldier who snapped. The gunman who murdered at least eleven people has been identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist who has been working at Walter Reed and was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq.
There have been reports that two other men were taken into custody, but they now have apparently been released. It’s also being reported that a third man has been picked up for questioning. This seems odd, if Hasan was a lone gunman. If others were involved it presumably could suggest a terrorist attack. At present, though, there is no strong evidence of others’ participation.
UPDATE: It’s now being reported that Hasan, a Muslim, posted favorable comments about suicide bombers on a web site. All of this is just one step above rumor, for now, however.
FURTHER UPDATE: A Lt. General giving a press conference says that, contrary to earlier reports, Major Hasan is alive. He also confirms that three other people have been taken into custody and interviewed, but says that indications are that Hasan was a “single shooter.”
MORE: The Associated Press reports that Hasan was investigated six months ago because of internet postings that praised Islamic suicide bombers:
One of the Web postings that authorities reviewed is a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades.
“To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its (sic) more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause,” said the Internet posting. “Scholars have paralled (sic) this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers.”
Again, this information is preliminary at best, especially since there are indications that two doctors, the shooter and someone completely unrelated, share the same name. More will be known before long.
ANOTHER: The denizens of the Daily Kos weigh in from their perverse, anti-American perspective.
LAST ONE FOR TONIGHT: The Associated Press has a surprisingly balanced story on the murders, titled “Troubling protrait emerges of Army psychiatrist suspected in rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.” It includes this item:
On a form filled out by those seeking spouses through a program at the mosque, Hasan listed his birthplace as Arlington, Va., but his nationality as Palestinian, Khan said.
“I don’t know why he listed Palestinian,” Khan said, “He was not born in Palestine.”