Catholic Priests of Dachau

Saturday, June 18, AD 2016


A very brave man has died:

The last surviving Catholic priest imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp has died at the age of 102, more than 70 years after surviving a Nazi death march.

 The Rev. Hermann Scheipers died on June 2 in Ochtrup, Germany, the Catholic website Aleteia said.

 He spent more than four years at Dachau after being arrested in 1940, reportedly for supporting Polish forced laborers. “Here, you are defenseless, without dignity or rights,” Scheipers recalled being told on arriving at the Nazi camp.

Go here to read the rest.


2,579 Catholic priests, seminarians and brothers were thrown by the Nazis during World War II into Dachau.  1,780 of these were from Poland.  Of these, some 868 priests perished, 300 in medical “experiments” or by torture in the showers of the camp.

The remaining priests, seminarians and brothers came from 38 nations.  Besides the Poles the largest groups were 447 German and Austrian priests, 156 French priests and 46 Belgian priests.

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6 Responses to Catholic Priests of Dachau

  • Hero’s all, these Holy souls that managed through hell lasting “five years a day.” What a description. To have so many priests and deacons suffering along with the Jews imprisoned, I can only imagine that the offerings made during those horrific years helped countless souls. Redemptive suffering. May those who benefited from their prayers and sacrifices continue the offerings.

    Today one of our deacons, Chris Jarvis, is being ordained into the priesthood.

    Please say a prayer for his vocation.

    May Blessed Karl Leisner and St. Kolbe help guide his future flock to the glory of God’s love.

  • Many years ago, Mother (RIP) gave me Bennett’s Book of Virtues. I have as a bookmark at Father Kolbe’s pages the NYT obituary for the Polish man whose life Father Maximilian Kolbe saved with his death. In a moment, I will take out the book and prayerfully read both.
    St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
    “Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever.”

  • Polish sergeant Francis Gajowniczek.

    His life was the life given him by Christ through the gift of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

    He travelled the world giving his testimony about a stranger who sacrificed himself to save his own life. By his testimony and the free gift of Kolbe, I have come to experience God’s Love and forgiveness.

    Glory to God in the highest!

  • In recent years much has been made of the death toll of Catholic priests in Dachau. It remains a fact that more priests died in the other German camps and prisons combined than in Dachau. Sometimes I wonder if the recent fixation by non-Christian historians is an attempt not to recognize the true numbers but to deflate them.

  • Sometimes I wonder if the recent fixation by non-Christian historians on Dachau…

  • I am not sure that the work of preparation for the re-establishment of the Diaconate to the Church as a distinct ministry in Dachau is known of very well. Fr Otto Pies was among the group of clerics and others which considered the question, “How will we rebuild the Church in Germany after the war?” The Diaconate was seen as a definite pathway to follow. The issue was raised with Pius xii who reportedly said that “the time was not yet right”. The work of discernment went on and the Fathers of the Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) were asked the question and responded positively. As a result the College of Bishops have over 30,000 extra pairs of hands to assist them today.

Political Correctness Made Cowards of Them All

Wednesday, August 21, AD 2013



The farce that is the courtmartial of mass killer Major Nidal Hasan  is wending on its way with the military judge restricting evidence of Hasan’s jihadi motives:

Prosecutors will not be allowed to enter evidence that Nidal Hasan intended to commit jihad in his mass murder spree at Fort Hood nearly four years ago, the judge in the court-martial ruled yesterday.  Col. Tara Osborn also struck from evidence the correspondence between Hasan and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, although she did allow prosecutors to use records of Hasan’s Internet usage and search histories at the time of the shooting.

For my sins no doubt, I have spent the last 31 years as an attorney.  I have done more than my fair share of criminal defense during that time.  I cannot express adequately just how ridiculous this ruling of the court is.  Hasan has already admitted in open court that he was the shooter and that his motivation was jihad.  I can only assume that the true motivation behind the court’s absurd ruling was the same motivation that caused the administration to classify Hasan’s multiple murders as being workplace violence.

This courtmartial circus is merely the culmination of Hasan’s entire involvement with the Army during which he may as well have been wearing a sign saying “ENEMY COMBATANT”.  His superiors knew that Hasan was at best deranged and at worst a soldier for the jihadis.  The soldiers that Hasan murdered did not die because Hasan made any attempt to conceal what he was and is, a jihadist, but because his superiors cravenly did not wish to stand up against him for fear of harming their own careers and being accused of anti-Islamic bias.

NPR of all places has an excellent report showing that before he was assigned to Fort Hood from Walter Reed, that his superiors knew that Hasan was a likely threat:



When a group of key officials gathered in the spring of 2008 for their monthly meeting in a Bethesda, Md., office, one of the leading — and most perplexing — items on their agenda was: What should we do about Hasan?

Hasan had been a trouble spot on officials’ radar since he started training at Walter Reed, six years earlier. Several officials confirm that supervisors had repeatedly given him poor evaluations and warned him that he was doing substandard work.

Both fellow students and faculty were deeply troubled by Hasan’s behavior — which they variously called disconnected, aloof, paranoid, belligerent, and schizoid. The officials say he antagonized some students and faculty by espousing what they perceived to be extremist Islamic views. His supervisors at Walter Reed had even reprimanded him for telling at least one patient that “Islam can save your soul.”

Participants in the spring meeting and in subsequent conversations about Hasan reportedly included John Bradley, chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed; Robert Ursano, chairman of the Psychiatry Department at USUHS; Charles Engel, assistant chair of the Psychiatry Department and director of Hasan’s psychiatry fellowship; Dr. David Benedek, another assistant chairman of psychiatry at USUHS; psychiatrist Carroll J. Diebold; and Scott Moran, director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed, according to colleagues and other sources who monitor the meetings.

NPR tried to contact all these officials and the public affairs officers at the institutions. They either didn’t return phone calls or said they could not comment.

But psychiatrists and officials who are familiar with the conversations, which continued into the spring of 2009, say they took a remarkable turn: Is it possible, some mused, that Hasan was mentally unstable and unfit to be an Army psychiatrist?

One official involved in the conversations had reportedly told colleagues that he worried that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide, like the Muslim U.S. Army sergeant who, in 2003, killed two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others by setting off grenades at a base in Kuwait.

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14 Responses to Political Correctness Made Cowards of Them All

  • It has taken the U.S. Army 44 months to even put this blatantly guilty man on trial. Either the procedural articles in the Code of Military Justice are nonsense or there is a crew of JAGs up and down the hierarchy who need to be flushed out of the service for efficiency’s sake. When I had to know something about this (ca. 1986), New York State Courts could process a murder case from arrest to jury verdict in a median of 13 months.

    What Glenn Reynolds said about Bradley Manning applies in this case: the scandal is that he was in the Army to begin with.

  • I do not doubt that you are correct in your assessment, Don but I think that there is a more subtle problem going on: equal employment opportunity and discrimination law have created a paralyzing environment for employers and that prevents them from taking action in a timely fashion.

    I have observed many examples of bizarre, counterproductive behavior in employees that absolutely demanded action but were dealt with with kid gloves. I observed directly, for example this incident in 2000:

    A supervisor, having repeatedly received complaints about a clerk’s dirty and smelly sweatpants, brought him into his office to again remind him about the dress code and to tell him that he would have to go home and change. The employee flipped out, knocked all of the files of of the supervisor’s desk, and stormed out. (I was standing 3 feet away because the raised voices made me consider that I may need to physically intervene.) He then stormed over to the Deputy Director’s office, shook a fist at her as she jumped out of her chair and put the rolling chair and desk between her and him, and threatened “I’m going to beat you into a bloody mess!” By that time, the supervisor, me, and two other officers had gotten between him and her and were forcing him out of the office. He then stormed out of the building.

    The result? 2 days Admin Leave and a referral to the Employee Assistance Program – voluntary, of course.

    I’ve heard many similar anecdotes – only one as bad – in the last 20 years. The stories come from hospitals, government, non-profits, and private companies; All seem to have similar stories of management shackled by human resources rules that are far more restrictive even than the law.

    I have had every single hiring decision challenged in some way. We win all of them because I spend an immense amount of time making sure that I am getting the best possible hire and following the rules to the letter. Mind ye, it isn’t hard to get good employees in this horrible economy. I see 100+ applicants for every $45K job. Calling those who were interviewed but not selected is a real mixed bag. On the last hire – January – one non-selectee said “I know I was the best qualified candidate so why didn’t you give me the job.” Of 213 applicants, she “knows” she was the best qualified?

    We can’t call former supervisors to get the scoop on past employment and wouldn’t get anything we could use even if we could. We can’t be honest with those who ask us for an assessment either, cordoned to specific, useless information like verifying that a person did, in fact, work for us during a specific timeframe.

    All of this employment and discrimination law creates a backdrop for the kinds of incidents you describe. It makes managers fearful of doing their jobs and it puts the organization’s attorneys in the position of holding back on the reigns of justice for fear of suits. The delays can be deadly.

    What is particularly galling is that I have yet to see a legitimate EEOC, employment, or discrimination case that originated from organization action in the last 10 years. Even the biggest cases are speculative and the majority of the employee or applicant actions are resolved by organizations out of fear, not fault.

    Is it any wonder that companies prefer to do business in places without such laws? This is, to my mind, the “elephant in the room.” Business recognizes that they won’t be sued in India or China or Russia or Chile or Brazil and won’t be making employment decisions in an environment of paralyzed fear.

    So, there you have it, my rant for the day. I’m going to have my second cup of coffee now.

  • Jonathan Swift couldn’t concoct such a parody.

    I anticipate reading a MSM defense of the drone strike that liquidates Major Hasan . . .

  • With this development, as with news that Al Jazeera US has launched, tells me that Islam has conquered in the West, but not by a head-on conflict, which failed centuries ago, because of the internal rot, as outlined by David above.

    I really think we’re done for at least for the next generation or two. What comes next? Barbarians a la the downfall of Rome? It’s frightening for a family man.

    Yes, there are pockets of resistance but outposts are continually surrendered. We’ve been told that we should no longer debate the marriage issue but focus on other topics. What other topics? What’s left? I’m not an anti-clericalist (right or left-wing) but the clergy and hierarchy as a corporate body (I don’t mean individuals) lost the culture wars decades ago. They’ve lost on the “gay” issue. Before that it was contraception and divorce. Even where the rules were still on the books, the message was frequently watered down or the clergy was complicit by their silence. They are going to have to be a lot more outspoken, and clear (i.e. in plain black and white, not so many useless ambiguities) to make up for the damage.

    Only Russia’s Putin for all his vices seems to voice common sense on cultural issues. A strange irony! I say all this having keep my pessimism and paranoia at bay for years. I just can’t do it any longer. Sorry. If there’s cause for hope, let me know! I would love to be an optimist.

  • Re: Mr. Spaulding’s remarks. It is indicative of the pathology of public discussion in this country that one would be hard put to think of a public advocate for repealing employment discrimination law even though millions have been through the kabuki theatre of the contemporary job interview as conducted by enterprises concerned with compliance and even though everyone is aware that discrimination is widely practiced and permitted for applicants outside certain preference categories. I can think of three occasions in 35 years where I have read a published argument for repeal. One was by the publisher of an obscure and long defunct alternative weekly in Rochester, N.Y. – a man of libertarian sympathies (that would have been around 1990 and the man in question would now be in his late 50s and in some other line of work), one was by the political theorist Gottfried Dietze (foreign born, had tenure, now deceased), and one was by the legal scholar Richard Epstein (has tenure). Dr. Dietze told his students that his arguments (offered in his monograph America’s Political Dilemma and encompassing much more than the new civil rights legislation) were considered so outre in 1968 he could not persuade anyone to review the book. He was a personal friend of Wm. F. Buckley and the book was accessible to the general reader, but Buckley would not allocate space to a review. (Dietze was offering normative arguments. The practical problems with employment discrimination law had not hit home).

  • I feel sorry for Hasan. Wait, wait, hear me out.

    He is trying to be perfectly clear about his religious struggle.

    It will not restore the dead to life with loved ones here and now.

    But he is trying to educate Americans about the logical extremes of Islam.

    The Obama administration, the military, the media are trying to shut him up.

  • on topic,

    with the new disparate impact guidance from EEOC, and Tom Perez beginning his reign of terror at Labor,

    I expect I could start a business organizing white people with criminal backgrounds to apply for jobs so that companies can hit their quota of rejected white criminals.

  • I find it curious that I agree with Matt A’s observation about Putin.

    We will never know what Putin has done. As a regional KGB chief, covering Moscow during the Soviet Era, I think we can safely say that he has probably done much that would be classified as a crime in the US.

    And yet, his efforts to restore something akin to a conscience and general mores in Russian society are laudable. I am reminded of Augustine of Hippo’s father who, though utterly pagan, sought to instill a kind of virtue in Augustine.

    Of course, following that idea out, it was Christ that saved Augustine, not his father’s pagan virtues. Let us pray that Christ will redeem us before we experience the horror of another fall of Rome.

  • It baffles me that the powers in charge can present this charade with a straight face. It is so blatantly obvious that Hasan is a jihadi terrorist that to assert otherwise is absolutely stupefying. It violates the truth in much the same way that Nancy Pelosi says that abortion is “sacred ground” violates the truth. It does so by creating an absolute fiction to substitute for what all of one’s senses are screaming into the brain, and then believing it to be true. The only parallel I can think of is the cult of personality surrounding the Kim dynasty in North Korea. There, the truth is whatever the dictator says, and to even consider an alternative is treason worthy of death. I saw a documentary where American eye surgeons went to North Korea and operated on people who could not receive care from domestic surgeons. Then, with the surgeon who actually did the operation standing right there removing the bandages, these patients praised Kim for restoring their eyesight with a charismatic religious fervor that would put a Pentecostal to shame.

    It’s really a satanic perversion of what is holy. Christ proclaimed that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Truth and life are thus holy. In this instance, truth is defied as Christ Himself is defied. Instead, a falsehood is substituted and worshiped, created out of the imagination of the State and demanding obedience from all. And so they create a lie that doesn’t even contain a shred of the truth, demanding that we bow down before it no matter how absurd. In fact, the more absurd, the better. The further they can get from the truth, the further they can get from Christ, and so the lie they create gets even more and more absurd. May Heaven help us!

  • Addendum to my original comment: A large number of priests and bishops are good and holy men. Without them we could not get through this cultural catastrophe. We need the Church founded by Christ. I was merely voicing my extreme frustration — which I rarely do, being more like Mr. Spock in my public comments — with many of those in positions of leadership. But that’s humanity for you.

    On a separate point, I enjoyed David Spaulding’s further comments on Putin. Is a comparison with Constantine in order? The man had his character defects but he was God’s chosen instrument as the proximate material means of ending anti-Christian persecution. I’m not saying that Putin’s role here, but such could be the case with a leader in the future.

  • What were those thirteen he killed chopped liver?

    I am volunteering to be one of the shooters in Hasan’s firing squad. I’d pop him in the gut.

    I am buying a case of Stoli. Putin (in banning pro-sodomy propaganda) is more Catholic than . . .

  • Hasan insists that he is a soldier of Allah, with a mission to kill Americans in behalf of Islam. He will be found guilty, and that should reverse the “workplace violence” nonsense that unjustly denies proper recognition and benefits to the victims of his attack. Such political correctness is a total inversion of reality, typical of that which pervades our sick latter day culture.

  • I can only assume that the true motivation behind the court’s absurd ruling was the same motivation that caused the administration to classify Hasan’s multiple murders as being workplace violence.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    At the time, no Christian filmmaker was available for convenient scapegoating. Or the DOD PC-munists weren’t as cunning as their counterparts in Hillary’s State Department and hadn’t thought of that ploy.

    As for Col. Tara Osborn the courts martial judge, she herself is another argument against tolerating females in the military.

  • News form Killeen, TX: The jihadi was convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

    Sentencing Monday.

The Archbishop and the Concentration Camp

Tuesday, August 17, AD 2010

Retired Archbishop Philip. M. Hannan of New Orleans, still alive at the age of 97, discusses his service in the video above, made in 2007, with the 505th parachute infantry regiment of the 82nd Airborne in World War II.  Ordained at the North American College in Rome on December 8, 1939, he served with the 82nd Airborne as a chaplain from 1942-46, and was known as the Jumping Padre.  He was assigned to be the chaplain of the 505th Regiment with the rank of Captain shortly after the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.  He had many adventures during his time with the 505th, but perhaps the most poignant was what happened to him on May 5th, 1945, in the final days of the War in Europe.

On May 5, 1945, the 505th overran a concentration camp near Wobbelin in Germany.  Captain Hannan and his assistant James Ospital hurried to the camp to see what they could do to help.  A scene of complete horror awaited them.  Corpses were sprawled everywhere.  Dying prisoners lay in filthy bunks crudely made out of branches.  All the prisoners looked like skeletons, both the dead and the living.  The camp reeked of the smells of a charnel house and a sewer.

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10 Responses to The Archbishop and the Concentration Camp

  • Now this is a story worth posting! Thanks!

  • Stories such as these keep me returning to The American Catholic daily. Thanks so much for this many other posts!

  • Thanks for the kind remarks. The Church has a great story to tell and I like to do what I can to tell a minute portion of it.

  • Thank you for writing this tribute to Archbishop Hannan. I did not know about this WWII experience. Archbishop in Combat Boots shares a similar title with the canonizable Father Emil Kapaun’s biography: Shepherd in Combat Boots. Interesting aside: I read in Michael Davies book on Pope John’s Council that the outspoken Hannan made a statement to the press during the Council to this effect — the best thing that could happen to Vatican II is that it ends.

  • “I read in Michael Davies book on Pope John’s Council that the outspoken Hannan made a statement to the press during the Council to this effect — the best thing that could happen to Vatican II is that it ends.”

    I could imagine him saying that. The main hallmark of the Archbishop’s career has been courage and an unclerical willingess to call a spade a bloody shovel.

  • Hannan has had his memoir recently published, I think. Probably worth the read.

    The citizens of Ludwigslust were forced to dig the graves. Also per Eisenhower’s standing order, all adult citizens of Ludwigslust were required to take a tour of the concentration camp.

    An interesting punishment but I wonder if there aren’t some moral problems with “forcing” and requiring the citizens to do it. Is there anything in just war doctrine about this kind of stuff that anybody has?

  • It would be interesting if we as casual bystanders to the grave atrocity of abortion would be forced to dig graves for our dead and tour the grounds of the abortion mills

  • I wonder why Ike is not posthumously, indicted, prosecuted, convicted, disinterred and properly dishonored for his “crimes and lack of sensitivity”?

    God help us.

  • MD,
    I think you are working “Just War”, just a bit too hard. Just war is primarily about the decision enter into or to accept combat and the limitations to be placed upon the subsequent use of force. I know you want to disapprove of a US General’s handling of an issue, but the corpses posed a public health risk, and that primarily to the German populace. Having permitted, even encouraged their government to inititiate a global war on humanity, the German population had seen their dreams of world conquest come to naught, and themselves abandoned to the control of their defeated government’s conquerers. The graves needed to be dug, the martial administrators were under no obligation to provide the labor force, or to pay for it.
    Eisenhower also ordered every Allied General officer (and all senior field grades who could be spared) in Europe to visit at least one concentration or death camp.
    this was necessary to ensure that once they started coming out of the woodwork, Holocaust Deniers like Mel Gibson’s father would be immediately and universally known for the psychopathic liars they are.

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Sergeant York and Gary Cooper-Part I

Friday, June 4, AD 2010

In 1941 the film Sergeant York was released.  A biopic on the life of America’s greatest hero of WWI, it brought together two American originals:  Alvin C. York and the actor Gary Cooper.

York arrived in this world on December 3, 1887, the third of the eleven children of William and Mary York.  He was born into rural poverty.  Although both of his parents were quite hard-working, the Yorks lived in a two-room log cabin at a subsistence level.  None of the York children received more than nine-months education, as their labor was desperately needed to farm the few hard scrabble acres that the Yorks owned and to hunt for food to feed the large family.

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13 Responses to Sergeant York and Gary Cooper-Part I

  • Great story… I have always loved this guy. I aspire to his humilty..

  • What few know is that on a per-day casualty basis, World War I was America’s bloodiest war. While I’ve always found Jehovah’s Witness theology risible-to-far worse, the argument Satan was thrown down to the earth in 1914 is one of their more effective ones.

  • It didn’t help that Pershing was a mediocre field commander at best. He had his gifts as an organizer and a trainer of troops, but when it came to operational command in combat he was a poor chooser of divisional and corp commanders over-all, and often made things worse by sacking men in the midst of operations and bringing in replacement commanders who had to sink or swim and all too many sank. The Meuse-Argonne was won by the troops and not by Pershing’s lack-lustre supervision of the offensive. Pershing gave a negative example that provided useful tips on what to avoid by many of the US army commanders in World War II.

  • The thing is, I’m hard pressed to think of a single great field commander in the First World War. The stalemate-ending breakthroughs were invariably a function of exhaustion, undermanning or flat-out stupidity by the other side.

  • What a horribly bloody and stupid war that was, but a fantastic story in Sgt York. I had never seen the movie from beginning to end until about 10 years ago when the wife and I rented it. Top-land(er) and bottom-land(er) became words we used often for a year or two. We somehow managed to fit it into many conversations. 😉

  • An excellent narrative of Sgt. York’s courage, coolness under fire, and marksmanship can be read in Laurence Stallings’, The Doughboys, an all around excellent book on the US in WWI.

    Here is the MoH Citation.

    Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company G, 328th Infantry, 82d Division. Place and date: Near Chatel-Chehery, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Pall Mall, Tenn. Born: 13 December 1887, Fentress County, Tenn. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.


    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

  • Allenby and Plumer for the Brits were pretty good. Von Lettow-Vorbeck for the Germans was excellent. The Hindenburg and Ludendorf team using stosstruppen tactics came close to winning the War for Germany in 1918. Petain, of ever-lasting World War II infamy, with his concept of the elastic-defense at Verdun, probably saved France from defeat.

  • Allenby (Middle East) and Lettow-Vorbeck (Africa) were on peripheral fronts, but there’s no denying their success. The latter’s is something out of an epic, I grant. Plumer recognized the idiocy of British over-planning, to his credit, and was loved by his troops. Good, but not great.

    I’ll give you the stormtrooper tactics, at least in part. But Ludendorff and Hindenburg’s plans were assisted by the fact they had an additional 50 divisions freed up from the Eastern Front.

    I tend to think of Petain as more of a McClellan figure–good at organizing and motivating, which was what the French needed after the mutiny. I tend to think that after Nivelle wrecked the French Army in early ’17, Petain had little choice but an elastic defense. But he did save France, to be sure. A pity he obliterated himself by collaboration.

  • SGT York was a great example of rural America’s greatness.

  • Sometimes I truly think that 1914 marked the end of the West. It was certainly the end of the European Age. I agree with RL that it was a completely stupid mess and I am very sorry the US got involved in it. Nonetheless, I honor the valor and bravery of Sgt. York. (And the service of my maternal grandfather, who stares solemnly at me from a old photo which hangs on the wall next to my computer. Leo is in a WWI Army uniform – he made it to France, but was not in combat – and looks dashing. He is surrounded by his sisters, who look, frankly,dowdy with their long skirts and Victorian buns. I have noticed that in old photos that the men often look more ‘modern’ than the women.)

  • In regard to WWI, I tend to agree with G.K. Chesterton that Prussian militarism needed to be stopped. Kaiser Bill, with all his hysterical outbursts, was certainly no monster like the Austrian Corporal of WWII, but living under the Prussian Eagle in occupied France and, especially, Belgium was quite bad enough.

    “After the Battle of the Marne, the Western Front rapidly became a huge system of fortified posditions and trenches streaching from Switzerland to the Channel. Although the Germans were stopped, they had overrun most of Belgium which remained in German hands for most of the War. German authorities governed with repressive measures. The Germans confiscating houses and other property for the occupying troops. German troops killed civilans who resisted. While the German actions were nothing like those pursued by the NAZIs in World War II, they were bad enough and shocking at the time. They were effectively used by British to sway public opinion in America. The Germans also used civilians for forced labor. These laborers were poorly fed. The Germans also seized food supplies with little or no concern about the impact on the civilian population. The British naval blockade in the North Sea caused shortages in the occupied areas which eventually spread to Germany itself. Belgium like Germany was not self sufficent in food production. German authorities attempted to take advantage of the Flemish-Walloon division. They supported Flemish Activists–a radical nationalist group that agreed to work with the Germans hopeing to gain independence for Flanders. The great majority of the Flemish remained loyal to King Albert and Belgium. There was little support for the German-supported Council of Flanders. Nor was the German decesion to change the University of Ghent from a French-language to a Flemish-language institution well received. (The Belgian government made the State University of Ghent partially Flemish and then in 1930 fully Flemish.)”

    A good and careful report on atrocities committed by German troops during the sacking of Louvain in Belgium in 1914:

    There was a large amount of Allied propaganda during WWI that touted fake, or exaggerated, accounts of atrocities by the Germans, which made many people initially cynical as to reports of German atrocities in the Second World War, but there is a hard core of accurate reports that life under the German army was quite bad, especially for public opinion in the much more innocent days of WWI, not yet deadened by the type of savagery to come from fascism and communism in the rest of the 20th century.

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Fort Hood Shooter: Passing the Buck

Tuesday, January 12, AD 2010

4 Responses to Fort Hood Shooter: Passing the Buck

  • “Still, Hasan’s officer evaluation reports were consistently more positive, usually describing his performance as satisfactory and at least twice as outstanding. Known as “OERs,” the reports are used to determine promotions and assignments. The Army promoted Hasan to captain in 2003 and to major in 2009.”

    In my day “satisfactory” on an OER (fitrep in those days) was the kiss of death for any career. There was grade inflation in evals and uless one got a fair number of “outstandings” one was not going to get promoted. Perhaps someone was trying to ease out Hasan in the long-haul. Of course not noticing what was going on in the here and now.

  • Yeesh. A jihadi Frank Burns.
    Just what the Army needed.

  • Brilliant cminor!

  • “They gave Hasan glowing reviews so he would be promoted, transferred and be someone else’s problem.”

    Happened all the time in the navy with women and minorities. No one would risk the label of chauvinist or racist.

Bringing New Life to an Old Monastery.

Friday, January 1, AD 2010

PHOTO: Maj. Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic chaplain, celebrating Mass at St. Elijah’s Monastery near Mosul in northern Iraq.

The United States Army hopes to restore St. Elijah’s Monastery, an ancient site of Christian worship stuck in the middle of a base in northern Iraq (New York Times December 18, 2009) | Photo Tour of St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq.

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32 Responses to Bringing New Life to an Old Monastery.

  • Pray for the persecuted Christians in Iraq.

  • Best to keep this quiet. I’m sure our president will not approve.

  • Bravo to the Army! May the monastery again become a citadel of Christianity in an Islamic land.

  • It is amazing to me how seemingly novel it is to see a warrior priest. The last episode of “V” on ABC had someone telling the Catholic priest that he has to choose whether he is going to be a solier or a priest.

    It seems to me our priests always have been soldiers.

    What a great picture!

    May God bless our priests, our soldiers and the poor persecuted Christians in all of the Muslim-occupied middle-east and Israel.

  • It’d be nice if those foolish soldiers hadn’t damaged the site with their war toys in the first place. And if they hadn’t placed their pagan insignia on the walls after doing so.

    This looks to me like a case of clean-up/damage control after a really embarrassing (but standard) act.

    [Editor’s note — blanket and unjustified speculation about the motives of the military in general edited for the sake of civility. Michael, while I’m not at all surprised that you disapprove of this action, I’d request that you maintain focus on the specifics of the story and elaborate further, if need be, on why you disapprove and condemn the restoration of a erstwhile Christian monastary as “Christo-Facism.”

    P.S. Given the increasingly polarized and problematic atmosphere that typically inhabits the comboxes, it’s my hope that you can help us carve out a space, perhaps only a small corner of space, in which our passions do not get the best of us — and in which we can truly be a “new voice” that reflects the possibility of a new Catholic blogosphere in 2010. – Christopher]

  • What a beautiful story of Hope–God bless this Chaplain and all of our military!

  • Daledog,

    Yeah, best we keep this on the down-low. Don’t want our agnostic President to get a whiff of this.


    Completely agree, let Christ reign!

  • Completely agree, let Christ reign!

    Yeah let “Christ” reign, at the hands of the U.S. military. This is precisely the definition of CHRISTO-FASCISM.

  • Michael — granted, your overall preference would be for the complete cessation of the U.S. military from Iraq and perhaps the disbanding of the U.S. armed forces altogether. We get the hint.

    That said, in the spirit of a worthy commenting policy and call for moderation and Christian charity, I’d like to pursue this further.

    Given the immediate situation, we have a Christian monastery formerly occupied by the Iraqi Republican Guard as a military base (and the cistern used for a latrine); subsequently damaged in a tank battle between U.S.-Iraqi forces, further vandalized by looters, and then re-occupied by United States troops . . . until a Roman Catholic Chaplain instigated a restoration of the establishment to its rightful purpose.

    At this point in time, would you agree with the intentions and actions of the Chaplain to restore the monastary?

    If not, why not?

  • At this point in time, would you agree with the intentions and actions of the Chaplain to restore the monastary?

    If not, why not?

    The monastery should be restored. But the u.s. Army should have nothing to do with it. Referring to it as a potential “citadel” — as Donald has done — is positively disgusting.

  • I will pray for the endurance of the monastery and the conversion of those who would probably like to see it razed the ground.

  • This is a fascinating a human story, which is probably why it draws ire from someone who sees the world with all the subtlety and humanity of an (anarchist) comic book. A couple more complete articles are:

    Some of the interesting points:

    – Dair Mar Elia was occupied as a monastery for nearly 1200 years before all 150 monks living there at the time were massacred by a Persian leader in 1743 for refusing to convert to Islam. The monastery has been a ruin ever since.

    – The local Christian population used to visit yearly on the feast of St. Elia, but this practice has mostly been abandoned since the 70s, when the Republican Guard built a major tank base around the monastery.

    – During their 30 year occupation of the site, the Republican Guard used the monastery’s sistern as a latrine and Iraqi soldiers carved graphiti on the walls through the standing buildings.

    – The area was the site of a major tank battle in 2003, and the eastern wall of the chapel was damaged at that time by a turret blown off an Iraqi tank (which was positioned right next to the chapel).

    – Coalition troops at first had no idea what the buildings were, and so painted over several areas of the monastery with white gloss paint, painted the 101st Airborne crest over the doorway, and most unfortunately, set the latrine waste in the cistern on fire. (Just for a good time? To get rid of the smell? Who knows…)

    – Since army chaplains and the army core of engineers have set about restoring the monastery and trying to get it on the Ministry of Archeology and Culture’s list of historic sites, they’ve discovered additional graphiti carved in the monastery walls by crusaders in the 13th century, and also the tombs of the monks, which local Christians had believed to be lost or destroyed.

    Whatever one thinks about the US’s mission in Iraq, it’s good to hear about this ancient monastery (long abused and unknown) is receiving some long needed restoration, and may in fact receive it long term through the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. And the Eucharist is once again being celebrated in a chapel which, for many centuries, was left empty, and in recent decades was actively mistreated. The stones once again witness the sacrements for which they were put in place. Those who put those stones in place could little imagine what would follow in the centuries to come. And yet, through it all, the sacramental life of the Church returns, Christ is present on the altar once more.

    How a Catholic can find that romance of the centuries and unexpected (and unintended) consequences uninteresting I do not know.

  • The notion that God can bring good things even out of what seem to be evil situations ought to be familiar to even the most poorly formed and ill-educated Christians.

  • I’m flabbergasted that a “self-identified” Catholic such as the Anarchist would find it disgusting to celebrate the sacraments in an ancient monastery is beyond me.

  • Referring to it as a potential “citadel” — as Donald has done — is positively disgusting.

    A citadel is the walled, central part of a city in which people take refuge in time of attack. Rather than being strictly military structures, citadels were often home to the most important areas of the city, and thus were in a literal sense the heart of the city. (The acropolis in ancient athens, for example.)

    Given that Iraq is a country in which Christians are struggling, to say the least, with much of the local population being sympathetic to the idea of burning churches and driving Christians out of the country, how exactly would a renovated monastery which once again became a center of pilgrimage and sacramental life not be a metaphorical citadel?

    What metaphor would be more appropriate to delicate, pacifist ears?

  • What metaphor would be more appropriate to delicate, pacifist ears?

    Just call it a monastery. Donald no doubt was intentional in his use of that word, what with its military connotations.

  • “May the monastery become a monastery of Christianity in an Islamic land.”

    Wow, that’s… Um… Inspiring. I don’t know why it is that pacifist anarchist prose doesn’t get more circulation with wordsmithing ideas like that.

    Or maybe, Michael, if the saints and apostles and even Christ can use military terminology in order to make metaphorical points, we can too. There’s a thought.

  • The citadel of Jerusalem is more commonly called the Tower of David. Presumably, Christ when mourned the destruction of Jerusalem He mourned the loss of the citadel as well. It’s really hard to believe that God considers citadels offensive or sinful, let alone using the term metaphorically. Aside from things like Communion with God and saints, the Sacraments, and plain old Truth, it’s good to be Catholic just for the reason and moderation.

  • I guess we need to stop using the term the Church Militant as well.

  • Darwin,

    When there is no other way to eliminate waste from a latrine, it can be burnt. Maybe they felt is was the best way to get rid of the waste.

    For more on the wonders of field waste:

  • Phillip,

    I’m surprised the anarchist didn’t catch that.

  • Wow, that’s… Um… Inspiring.

    I’m sorry you find Christianity itself to be uninspiring, and that you need to drop in militarism in order to make it exciting. What gets you off is no concern of mine though.

    Or maybe, Michael, if the saints and apostles and even Christ can use military terminology in order to make metaphorical points, we can too. There’s a thought.

    The difference between THEM and THIS BLOG is that the former did not have fascist politics and did not idolize the military. They used such metaphors precisely to SUBVERT military violence, unlike Donald, et al. You get the saints DEAD WRONG.

    I guess we need to stop using the term the Church Militant as well.

    If by “we” you mean most of the people who write for this blog, then yes, I suggest you stop using it because you are promoting neo-Constantinian Christo-fascism.

    Christians who take peace seriously will continue to use such metaphors in the way that they were intended.

  • Just when I thought TAC didn’t have enough meaningless, pointless, fruitless, waste-of-time, self-righteous, self-discrediting, morally stupid arguments to make and points to debate, MI comes along to save the day.

    Do you guys ever get the sense that MI should have his own theme music?

    “Quick! Someone used a vaguely-sounding military word to describe a monastery! Who will save us!? To whom shall we turn!?”



  • “Who will save us? To whom shall we turn?”

    Marx? 😉

  • The children! Won’t somebody think of the CHILDREN!!!

  • What about the steeenkeeng badgers?

  • Michael,

    So basically: You don’t think there’s actually anything wrong with the metaphor, you just like to harass people whom you consider to be bad people. If you didn’t consider us to be bad people, there would be nothing wrong with us using the metaphor.

    Got it.

  • It’s a sad spectacle for someone’s mind to be so bent by ideology that he can’t admit that his hated enemies ever do even one thing right, not even restoring a defiled monastery.

  • Someone please tell me why after Mass we pray, “St. Michael the Archangel defend us in BATTLE . . .

  • Carping over “citadel”?

    Some folks just have a craving to feel offended, I guess.

Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

On this Thanksgiving I’d like to convey my heartfelt thanks to my brother Nathan (currently overseas – prayers requested) and all those in service. I am forever conscious of the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, including much time spent away from their loved ones.

God bless, God speed — and may you all enjoy such a welcome home.

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Great Jesuits 3: Dynamo From Ireland

Monday, November 9, AD 2009

Father John McElroy, S. J.

Number 3 of my series on great Jesuits of American history.

A year before the colonies won their fight for independence, John McElroy first saw the light of day in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Ireland on May 11,1782.  At this time English imposed penal laws meant that Irish Catholics were treated like helots in their own land.  The great Edmund Burke described the penal laws well:

“For I must do it justice;  it was a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts.   It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

As a result of these laws McElroy could receive little education in Ireland.  Ambition and a thirst for knowledge caused him, like many Irish Catholics before and since, to emigrate to the US, landing on our shores in 1803.  He became a bookkeeper at Georgetown College, studying Latin in his off hours.  In 1806 he joined the Jesuits as a lay brother, but his intelligence and his industry quickly marked him down to his Jesuit superiors as a candidate for the priesthood.  Ordained in 1817 , for several years he served at Trinity Church in Georgetown, until being transferred to Frederick, Maryland, where, during the next twenty-three years, with the boundless energy which was his hallmark,  he built Saint John’s Church, a college, an orphan’s asylum, and the first free schools in Frederick.  He was then transferred back to Trinity in Georgetown where he remained for a year until the Mexican War began.

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Massacre at Fort Hood

Thursday, November 5, AD 2009


13 have been killed and 38 wounded at the Fort Hood army post in Texas.  The alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is dead, and two alleged suspects have been taken into custody.  This is a major story and details are sparse.  May the souls of the dead victims rest in peace.  More details as they become available.

Update 1: Dead gunman thought to have been a mental health professional,  a psychiatrist. I have heard on Fox that he was assigned in the past to Walter Reed.

Update 2: Gunman was thought to have been a drug and rehab specialist who obtained his license to practice psychiatry in 2005.  According to the Army Times he was promoted to Major on April 22, 2009.

Update 3: More details here about the gunman.

Update 4: Gunman worked at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.

Update 5: Gunman had received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed.  He was upset about a forthcoming deployment to Iraq.

Update 6: Colonel Terry Lee who had worked in the past with Hasan says that the gunman had made statements that Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor.  He is being interviewed on Fox.  The Colonel also said that Hasan thought that after Obama was elected the war in Iraq would come to a swift end and he became frustrated that this did not occur.

Update 7: The two suspects taken into custody have been released.  I am hearing that they may have been attempting to subdue the gunman and were taken in for questioning about the incident.  Good!  That makes it much more likely that this is the work of just one deranged individual rather than a conspiracy.

Update 8: Now the local Congressman in whose district Fort Hood is located is stating that he has heard that another suspect has been brought in for questioning.

Update 9: The gunman’s name according to some reports is Nidal Malik Hasan and not Malik Nadal Hasan as initially reported.

Update 10: Here is info on the gunman on the Virginia Board of Medicine Practitioner Information page.

Update 11: According to a cousin of the gunman interviewed on Fox, Hasan was born and reared in this country.  He has always been a Muslim and is not a recent convert as was initially reported.  He joined the military against the wishes of his parents.  He complained about harassment to relatives that he alleged that he received from fellow soldiers in the Army because of his pro-Muslim views.

Update 12: Lieutenant General Bob Cone, the commanding general in charge of Fort Hood, at a press conference announces that Nidal Malik Hasan was wounded and is in custody, and was not killed as was initially reported.  He is also stating that Hasan was the sole shooter, and that no one else appears to have been involved.  He says that the slain and wounded soldiers were in an enclosed area awaiting medical and dental treatment.  A female civilian police officer shot and wounded Hasan.  She was wounded by Hasan and is in stable condition.  (Soon to be celebrated by the nation as a heroine I think.)

Update 13:  NPR has this report:  

A source tells NPR’s Joseph Shapiro that Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues, according to the source, who worked with him at the time.

Update 14:  Hasan is the son of Palestinian immigrants, both deceased. 

Update 15:  Reports that Hasan had come to the attention of federal law enforcement authorities six months ago because of internet postings advocating suicide bombings.  This seems to be the post in question:

“There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.”

Take this report with a boulder of salt until it is better confirmed.  However, if the authorities did believe that Hasan was posting on internet sites advocating suicide bombings six months ago, why didn’t the Army take steps to keep him away from troops, especially troops heading for Iraq or Afghanistan?

Update 16:  The brave female police officer who took Hasan down is Police Sergeant Kimberly Munley.  She pumped four bullets into the gunman in spite of being shot by him. 

Update 17:  Hasan shouted Allahu Akbar ( God is Great) before beginning his rampage.

Update 18:  Information about some of the victims here.  May they now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.

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45 Responses to Massacre at Fort Hood

  • I am sure Major Hassan being a psychiatrist would have known how to scam the security clearance evaluation. There is no known cure for what the Robert and Hugh at Jihad Watch calls the Sudden Jihad Syndrome. It follows that the rational course is to keep Muslims out.

  • Jesus, have mercy on the Major, his accompliances, and his victims.

  • Naturally, America and Christianity will be blamed, rather than Islamic theology and history. Bottom line, all Muslims are either openly violent or quietly wating for a reason to kill. Get them all out of our country. There is no ‘moderate’ Islam. Get them out.

  • Our son is stationed at Ft. Hood. Thank God that he is okay.

  • I disagree Mr. Toler. There are good and bad men and women among Muslims as there are good and bad men and women among Catholics. This incident seems to involve only one individual and it is unjust to condemn all Muslims in this nation as a result of it.

  • I can only imagine your relief Karen. My brother was stationed at Fort Hood while he was in the Army and I would have been out of my mind with concern today if he was still there.

  • I agree there Don. To expel or ban people from this country purely on the basis of their religion or personal beliefs, and NOT on the basis of actual terrorist actions or affiliations, would set an enormously dangerous precedent.

    Next thing you know, liberal Democrats would decide that all pro-lifers or all Catholics should be expelled from the country on the grounds that they are all “openly violent or quietly waiting for a reason to kill” abortion providers!

    It seems to me that this kind of violence usually comes from nowhere and there is no foolproof or infallible way to prevent it. The “warning signs” are almost always visible only in hindsight. Perhaps this man was mentally ill?

    God bless and protect our brave men and women in uniform wherever they may be 🙂

  • HA!

    A WOMAN took down the Muslim gunman!

    That’ll certainly tick off Muslims the world over.

    Prayers on the way.

  • This is a tragic and unconcsionable occurance.
    My heart and prayers go out to those killed, those wounded and those whose lives will never be the same because of this senseless and traitorous attack.

    May God have mercy on the dead, and grant His grace to the others affected.
    And my prayers for the perpetrator’s change of heart.

  • Based only upon that excerpt, I would find it difficult for anyone to have anticipated something like this. As a psychiatrist, it could have been taken as simply his analysis as to how suicide bombers see themselves, and frankly, the analysis he expresses is probably quite accurate. It could be taken as support/encouragement of suicide bombings, but it could also be taken as someone trying to explain the mindset of the other side (like investigators trying to get “into the mind” of a perpetrator) and making a theological point.

    I wonder how many of our debates on various theological issues would sound to outsiders.

  • It’s amazing that President Obama is telling everyone “not to jump to conclusions”, yet he calls out the National Guard when George Tiller the Killer was shot inside his church.


    Seems like the “main”stream media is coalescing around the fact that he had mental disorders as to the cause of the shooting. Absolutely nothing to the plain fact that he carried Muslim sympathies and is a practicing Muslim.

    Now all we need to do is ignore all the jihadist postings that Nidal did on the extremist Muslim websites.

  • A slight disagreement with Elaine: no one has a right to come to this country. Nor, indeed, to go to any country in the world. Moreover, there is a recent history of immigration policy banning people on the basis of beliefs held–e.g., communist and fascist belief were (are?) grounds to deny entry into America.

    I am *not* saying we should deny Muslims entry because they are Muslims. Indeed, there are many forms of the religion which are admirable, and likewise their adherents.

    But we can certainly can–and should–deny entry for those Muslims who insist on forms of sharia which threaten the constitutional order. We did no less for would-be communist subversives.

  • Why the emphasis upon his being a Mohamedian when his main source of distress seems to be the fact that he was to be deployed to Afghanistan or the Middle East. Army suicides have increased dramatically as a result of the unending and unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This man in his attempt at suicide just happened to take others with him.

    Why did the Army keep and promote this man despite his instability and let him treat soldiers with mental disorders? As sick as it sounds this reminds me of Arlo Guthrie’s medical/psychological exam for the draft during the Viet Nam War as relayed in his classic “Alice’s Restaurant”:

    “They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
    and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, ‘Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.’

    And I went up there, I said, ‘Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.’; And I started jumpin up and down yelling, ‘KILL, KILL,’; and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, ‘KILL, KILL.’; And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, ‘You’re our boy.’”

  • Awakaman,

    I had to Google Arlo Guthrie.

    I wouldn’t take any “philosophical” rants from him seriously.

    I don’t know who he is, but if you would have sourced the Holy Bible, a prominent theologian, Vatican documents, etc, I would take your posting more seriously.

  • Arlo is a Republican now Awakaman. (Yeah, I know, I couldn’t believe it when I heard it either!)

    His religion was clearly this guy’s motivating factor in regard to his view of being deployed to the Middle East. We are at war, and he supports the other side due to his religion.

    In regard to the Army, the Army paid for his education and he signed up of his own free will. He could have attempted to resign his commission and pay back the cost of his education.

    Of course all this is beside the point. I suspect the true trigger was that Major Hasan is also Major Wackdoodle, and he wouldn’t be the first shrink who is crazier than any of his patients. I am sure his counsel will attempt to use the insanity defense in his case and the facts will determine if they succeed.

  • “This man in his attempt at suicide just happened to take others with him.” Huh? Sure, just a coincidence or something.

  • Breaking News at noon CST:

    8 shot, 2 dead (early reporting) at an office building in Orlando, FL.

    Shooter is Jason Rodriguez and is still at large.

    Reports are sketchy so the numbers of who is shot and dead could go up or down once the hysteria settles.

    No motive yet.

    Office building is still in the process of being shut down.

    Office building is off of I-4, that’s all I hear and know.

    My personal assessment it could be work related.

    Straight from Orlando Fire & Police Dept.’s: So far confirmed no deaths, 6 shot.

  • Mike,

    The mainstream media is already trying to spin this away from a “jihad” type of act.

  • I’m curious about the shooter’s reason for joining the Army in the first place. What were his motivations, and what did he hope to accomplish in the Army?

  • Nautica,

    Not sure.

    Getting a fine education in medicine may have played a role in it.

    If I were wiser in my younger years, I would have have joined the Officer Candidate Program or even as a recruit after high school to take advantage of free education and training.

  • Ah, yes, I forgot about that.

  • A person who jumps off a building to commit suicide and lands on passersby below, just happens to take them with him; a guy who commits suicide by driving into a wall and hits people behind it, just happens to take them with him.

    A guy who opens fire on others and dies when he gets taken down by someone else (never turning the gun on himself) – he is not committing suicide and just happening to take a few with him – he intends to murder.

  • Tito:

    I guess I’m just showing my age and you yours in that you don’t know who Arlo Guthrie is. He had a daddy who’s name was Woody (google him). Arlo was a headliner at Woodstock (the first one in ’69)abd had many great classics in the 60’s and 70’s including “City of New Orleans” and “Coming into Los Angeles”, but his most famous song was his 20 minute long humourous anti-war song “Alice’s Restaurant”.


    1) So Arlo’s a Republican. . . like party labels mean a whole hell of a lot any more when the Republican party can encompass Anarcho-libertarians such as Ron Paul, quasi-Democrats such as Scozzafava, and Trotskyite neocons, such as Kristol and Podhoretz.

    2) Don, the NYT reports that the Major has been fighting deployment and trying to get out of his military committment for the past 2 years.
    Given the draconian military retention policies currently in effect do you seriously believe he would have any success – especially a doctor. When I was an Army JAG 20 years ago (at a time of relative peace) persons in the medical MOS’s had absolutely no chance of getting out short of fragging their commander. Today they have ablutely no chance no matter how psychologically sick they are.

    Fianlly, Tito, I see no one else on this thread citing the great philosophers, papal encylicals or biblical quotes. All I see are people venting their anger and fear regarding Mohammedan boogie men. Let’s kill them all and let God sort them out and let’s hand Lord Bush Obama all of our liberties and freedoms to fight the terrorist who hate us due to our freedom I guess I’m held to a higher standard.

    I think Mr. Guthrie’s view of the military in relationship to mental instability is similar to that presented by Joseph Heller in Catch 22- the mentally unstable who unbothered by or attracted to the horror and destruction of war are allowed to serve in the military undisturbed and these want to avoid them can not get out of the military because their aversion to such horror and destruction show them to be sane. I think that this view of the destructive nature of a warrior’s life to one’s soul is much more in alignment with Catholic teachings then alot of other pro-war on “terror” rants that I read on this blog and others.

  • “I had to Google Arlo Guthrie.”
    Tito, Tito…you’re making me feel like a fossil.
    Interesting to hear Arlo’s come around though. I wonder when that liberal got mugged?

    I live in a military town, and I’m pretty sure this behavior isn’t typical of your average Muslim soldier. FWIW I’m also dubious of the allegations going around that religious harassment caused him to snap.

  • The mainstream media is going to stick to that angle to make “islamophobia” the real issue and not the deaths.

  • “All I see are people venting their anger and fear regarding Mohammedan boogie men. Let’s kill them all and let God sort them out and let’s hand Lord Bush Obama all of our liberties and freedoms to fight the terrorist who hate us due to our freedom.”

    No one here said like this, but hey–strawmen are fine fencing partners. In addition to being a hellish thing to say, a “kill ’em” mindset is as mindless as the “Islam has nothing to do with terrorism” mantra that gets trotted out whenever a self-identified Muslim commits an act like this.

    I’m sure there’s someplace in between the reflexive knee-jerking that might shed light. How about you?

  • “All I see are people venting their anger and fear regarding Mohammedan boogie men.”

    Was this murderer such a boogie man?

    How about those who were responsible for 9/11?

    The only “boogie men” I see here are those miraculously manifested by the ‘PC’ types who would dare manufacture such a bleached fiction that there is no such Mohammedan.

  • “Mike,

    The mainstream media is already trying to spin this away from a “jihad” type of act.”

    Of course, Tito, very predictable; but in all fairness it could be true. I’m a moderate. I say, it is even sillier to rule out jihad as it is to assume it. One thing for sure though — the idea that this was just a garden variety suicide that just happened to take a whole bunch of others with him is nuts. That *might* explain crashing an airplane or even a car, but shooting people? Give me a break, awakaman.

  • “Given the draconian military retention policies currently in effect do you seriously believe he would have any success – especially a doctor.”

    Yeah, I do and doctors getting out of the obligation is not that unusual:

    If Doctor Fruitcake had sought my services, here is how I would have handled his case:

    1. He becomes a born again conscientious objector. He applies for the status and we have him give interviews telling how the wars in the Middle East and what returning troops have told him has caused him to say No to war.

    2. I have his relatives and friends besiege his CongressCritter.

    3. I go through his record with a fine toothcomb and find examples of how he has been treated unfairly by the Army. I am a proud Army veteran and trust me, as I think all Army vets could attest, the Green Machine treats everyone unfairly at one time or another.

    4. I have him live out his Islamic faith, talking about Mohammed while he is with patients and at medical meetings.

    5. I take out my violin and play up to the press the prejudice angle. According to Colonel Terry Lee Dr. Fruitcake was called harsh names by his fellow officers when he expressed his beliefs and the press would eat up the meme of neanderthal Army officers oppressing this poor peaceful Muslim psychiatrist.

    6. I give hints to the Army that Dr. Fruitcake is under a lot of stress and who knows what might happen unless we can get him out of the Army.

    7. I enlist the usual list of Useful Idiots of peace groups, radical groups, church groups, etc., to rally to the cause of this Doctor who has seen the light and who will not fight in Pharoah’s Army any longer.

    By the time I was done I think I could have gotten Doctor Fruitcake a good conduct discharge and maybe even forgiveness of his debt. As they say, this isn’t rocket science and I think any competent litigator could do the same.

    Of course Dr. Fruitcase wasn’t interested in getting out of the Army. In his twisted mind he was interested in screaming Allahu Abkar and murdering men and women who wore the same uniform he disgraced.

  • “5. I take out my violin and play up to the press the prejudice angle.”

    Wouldn’t it be far more effective to just have a string quartet nearby playing Barber’s Requiem?

  • “We certainly can–and should–deny entry for those Muslims who insist on forms of sharia which threaten the constitutional order. We did no less for would-be communist subversives.”

    I have no problem with that. In a case like that, you’re talking about someone who demonstrates unwillingness to accept our system of law, or is affilated with a group whose professed aims are subversive or illegal. That’s not the same as assuming that all Muslims by definition are potential terrorists.

  • “By the time I was done I think I could have gotten Doctor Fruitcake a good conduct discharge and maybe even forgiveness of his debt. As they say, this isn’t rocket science and I think any competent litigator could do the same.”

    Maybe he should have tried dressing as a woman… oh wait, that didn’t even work for Corporal Klinger back in the (fictional) Korean War and it would probably be even less likely to work today.

  • I had to google “Corporal Klinger”…

    …just kidding.

  • Section eights, mentally unfit, were much harder to come by Elaine back in the days when Uncle Sam needed every male who could pull a trigger and before society became consistantly stuck on stupid.

  • You make me feel very old sometimes Tito!

  • Maybe its just because he’s not married yet 🙂

  • Don:

    I knew Army doctors who tried every trick in the book to get out of their committment including being 150lbs over weight standards and being totally incabable of meeting any of the PT standards. The Army just got them special order uniforms.

    The fact that this Army “psychiatrist” was acting like a fruitcake for the past year and this did not lead anyone in the Army to seek his discharge should tell you something.

    Why can’t you and other folks just accept the simple fact that these silly neverending wars are having a disasterous effect upon US soldiers and their mental well being – no matter what their religion.

  • Well awakaman I cited you an actual recent case showing you how it was done by a doctor who became a CO when his precious skin was going to be shipped off to Iraq. There are a lot of ways for people to get around living up to the oaths they swore when they voluntarily joined the military.

    No one sought his discharge from the Army because Dr Fruitcake never sought it. Of course the Army should have had him under constant surveillance after his internet postings surfaced six months ago. I am sure that the inevitable investigation will reveal that the usual culprit, bureaucratic inertia, led to no action being taken.

    The wars we are fighting in the Middle East are neither silly nor never-ending, but necessary and winnable as Iraq demonstrates. Your attempt to make an anti-war argument out of the murderous rampage of Dr. Fruitcake is mistaken. His motivation was Islamic fervor as his cry before the slaughter commenced indicates, and probably paranoia which of course a paranoid psychiatrist would be unable to self-diagnose.

  • Don:

    1) Sorry I am not swayed by the anecdotal evidence you provided of one single doctor who it appeared had been fighting before army boards and in the federal courts for CO status for EIGHT (8) years before he received it. Rather, the military’s severe “stop-loss” policy is still in effect and will only be phased out gradually during the next 2 years.
    How, much do want to bet that 2 years from now there will be even more soldiers being held against their wishes under this program?

    2) Reports state that he did take actions to obtain a discharge and to prevent his deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Perhaps he did not take the well reasoned path you suggested Don but we are talking about a man going down the path of madness.

    3) Don, the fact is that suicides among military personnel and veterans are at alarming levels, yet the Department of Defense does more to hide these facts than it does to deal with them.

    Here we have a person who’s job it was to make our troops feel good about invading other people’s countries and killing strangers, and we’re surprised that he was capable of such an act.

    When my wife’s nephew was on his first tour in Afghanistan, he was the machine gunner on back of a Hum-v. The first couple of days they had him shoot every dog they saw so he would become numb to killing. No matter how noble the cause the chief purpose of our military is to train killers. . . and then we are surprised when they kill.

    4) Yes, Don, “silly and unending”. This case just goes further to show how our interventionist foreign policy is creating anti-Americanism both at home and abroad. Little third world stone-age warrior Afghanistan has been the death knell of many empires. . . my guess it will be where one more dies during that empire’s quest to prop up a corrupt government that allows big US oil to run an oil pipe line accross that nation.

    I also note that the big news in the paper and on the radio this morning was that the Major once said he was “a moslem first and an American second.” Horror of horrors.

  • Actually awakman evidence is also surfacing that Hasan attempted to contact al-Qaeda and the FBI knew about this prior to the shootings.

    This is shaping up into a major story about whether this massacre was an act of Jihad, and, more importantly, why the Feds didn’t act against the fellow prior to him going Jihadal at Fort Hood. There is more here now I think than just a simple nut case and I will be posting more about it tomorrow.

  • Clearly a case of shell-shock by proxy.

    Unitarians do the same thing.

    Big Oil.

    The Crusades.

    Nothing to see here–move along.

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  • Awakaman:

    If the war in Afghanistan is “silly,” I would like to know what your policy response would be to an act of state-supported terrorism such as 9/11? Should we have had the FBI politely knock on the door of every hut in Helmand, serving search warrants to the suspected criminals?

  • J. Christian:

    We bombed the Taliban leadership and permitted opposing warlords to overthrow them. But. . . no. . . we have to go in and impose a modern western democratic state so everyone can have their Coke, Pepsi, Playboy Magazines and so their women can wear mini-skirts, vote and get abortions.

    Well now all we have done is increase the number of Taliban followers and turn previously friendly warlords against us. Our support of the Russian oppostion during the wonderful reign of Ronald the Great lead to the rise of the Taliban and our continued interference in this area of the world will only lead to their greater growth and prestige in the area.

  • we have to go in and impose a modern western democratic state so everyone can have their Coke, Pepsi, Playboy Magazines and so their women can wear mini-skirts, vote and get abortions.

    Oh, sure. That’s why Afghanistan’s shiny new constitution–with our full throated approval–enshrines Sharia as the supreme law of the land. Under Article 3 of that document, “No law shall be contrary to the beliefs and practices of Islam.”

    Which was why Abdul Rahman was in real danger of execution for apostasy from Islam, editors have been given hard labor for publishing articles criticizing stoning, translators of the Koran have been imprisoned for blasphemy, Shiite Afghan men can starve their wives if they don’t put out, and married women can’t attend school for fear of polluting unmarried girls with their sexuality.,2933,394522,00.html

    Yeah, that’s democracy whiskey sexy in action, all right.

    Look, the idea of trying to impose Western style democracy was stillborn from the start.

    But let’s not entertain any delusional fantasies that that’s what we’ve tried to do in Afghanistan. Because it’s not. In fact, it’s just the opposite–we’ve given the country over to a reduced-calorie version of the Taliban.