When in doubt, cite the need for more government funding of health care. You won't find an argument on MSNBC.
Among the guests offering their perspectives about the Fort Hood massacre on Rachel Maddow's show last night was Salon.com national correspondent Mark Benjamin, who tried to downplay growing evidence that suspected assailant Nidal Malik Hasan was motivated by a jihadist's hatred of America --
BENJAMIN: There are people that believe that this is a person that was suffering some sort of secondary post-traumatic stress from treating soldiers and there are people that believe he was somehow influenced by Muslim extremism. I think it could be a combination of both. I certainly have met mental health care providers in the military who after sitting all day long and listening to some really disturbing tales, you know, when they're treating these soldiers coming back from Iraq, and in combination with the fact that they're overwhelmed, overworked, don't have the resources to do their jobs, become extremely stressed and frazzled. And there's no reason to not think that this could, this could ultimately lead to that kind of a conclusion.
How could Benjamin know only hours after the massacre whether Hasan did not have "the resources" for his job as an Army psychiatrist? If Benjamin was in possession of such specifics, he wasn't sharing them with Maddow's audience.
More along the same lines after Maddow spoke of the high rate of suicide in the military ("even outpacing the civilian rate," she pointed out, as if that's surprising) --
BENJAMIN: The other thing that's interesting is that there's this discussion about whether there's some ideological component and, you know, motivation to this person. You know, I'm not sure that's necessarily separate from the kind of treatment this person was doing. I mean, in other words, if you sit, I have literally interviewed hundreds of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and in private moments, when they tell you some of the things they were forced to do, and I'm not talking about, you know, intentional My Lai stuff, but, you know, things that happened in the vagaries of war, really, really, awful, awful things, it can affect you, it can turn people against the war, it can make you really think about that stuff. It's extremely difficult to think about, you know, to work on that all day long, imagine this doctor, who, that was his job.
By Benjamin's logic, he is also at risk of going berserk from the stress of interviewing "literally" hundreds of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and hearing of the horrors they experienced.
By the same logic, every blood-splattered doctor and nurse toiling in emergency rooms is one bad day from a rampage, along with every cop, every police reporter, every victim's advocate in court -- the entire country after 9/11, for that matter.
The difference here, as Mark Steyn pointed out today while filling in for Rush Limbaugh, is the apparent absence of trauma when it comes to Hasan, who was reportedly upset over his pending deployment to Iraq but had yet to serve there or in Afghanistan. Perhaps Hasan suffered from a new malady, Steyn suggested --"pre-post traumatic stress disorder."
Based on Benjamin's observations, I can see coming to a different conclusion about the wars we're fighting and the overarching conflict against radical Islam. If I am working as an Army psychiatrist, my patients might, for example, include soldiers who saw Afghan girls scarred from acid thrown in their faces as they walked to school. Who picked up the limbs after the mentally enfeebled were coerced into suicide bombings. Who returned fire at insurgents using children as human shields.
I might well conclude that as a soldier and single man of 39, as with Hasan, the only place for me is where I can serve to destroy the evil behind such malignancy.