Professional incompetence and the making of a terrorist

You have to wonder how much of Hasan's twisted perspective came from professional resentment and plain old insecurity. If so, shouldn't we hold as partly accountable those who passed him along through his psychiatric training and beyond?

If the professional criticism is warranted, this guy was already very likely doing serious damage to his patients without even leaving his office. Fortunately, he seems to have seen far fewer patients than most of his peers — only 10 percent of the norm when he worked at Walter Reed, according to sources contacted there by National Public Radio.

It's easy to imagine someone with minimal proficiency in his profession shifting blame for his incompetence to the system that employs him. And how much easier on his own psyche — and nobler-seeming, all around — to claim that his failure to garner professional approval was due to his religious beliefs.

Fill this vacuum with the approval, from some extremist quarters, that he presumably hoped to gain by the atrocities he is said to have committed, and you've got a pretty good recipe for a violent outburst.

The long and short of it is that anything that motivates a human being to do what Hasan purportedly did is going to be complicated. The vast majority of Arab-Americans and American Muslims are quick to acknowledge their gratitude to a society that, while far from perfect, has offered them an equal shot at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let's not write off the tragic case of Nidal Hasan as Y.A.M.T. (Yet Another Muslim Terrorist).