By Eric Zimmermann - 11/08/09 04:44 PM EST
Premature speculation about the causes of the Fort Hood shooting could
cause a backlash against Muslim soldiers, the top-ranking official in
the Army said Sunday.
Appearing on a handful of Sunday morning shows, Gen. George Casey said no one should rush to draw judgments about the shooter's reported anti-American views.
As horrific as the shooting was, "it would be an every greater tragedy if our diversity became a casualty here," he warned.
Casey said investigators believe Major Nidal Malik Hasan was the only shooter involved, despite early reports that there may have been two or three. Casey said those reports mistook soldiers fleeing the scene as suspects.
And while Casey would not rule out terrorism as a motive, he cautioned that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions.
"That's anecdotal evidence," he told "Meet the Press," referring to Hasan's alleged radical views. "I think those things will be confirmed or denied over the course of the investigation."
Casey said the Army will continue to do everything it can do address the mental health problems that arise in soldiers.
"We will take a hard look at ourselves as an army, because we want to make sure nothing like this happens again," he said.
He emphasized the Army's campaign to reduce the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, which he said had led to a 40 percent increase in soldiers stepping forward to get help.
He also pointed to extended tours of duty that have stretched the armed forces beyond their capacity.
"You've heard me talking about the Army being out of balance for two years," he told "Meet the Press."