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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Shootings at Ft. Hood Leaves Twelve Dead

Aired November 05, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Wolf. We're continuing to follow those developments Ft. Hood army base in Texas. As of right now this is what we do know. According to police, an army Major Nadal Malik Hasan went on a shooting rampage. He murdered ten of his fellow soldiers and one civilian police officer. Thirty one others were also injured in the melee (ph), two other soldiers originally suspected in the attack were taken into custody but their involvement as of right now is still undetermined.

Major Hasan was a licensed psychiatrist who has worked at Walter Reed Medical Center. More recently he was practicing at the Medical Center at Ft. Hood. The shooting began around 1:30 Central Time this afternoon. An army spokesman described the scene today.


LT. GEN. BOB CONE, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN FT. HOOD, TEXAS: At approximately 1330 hours today a shooter entered what we call the soldier readiness facility where soldier who are preparing to deploy go for last-minute medical checkups and dental treatment, et cetera. The shooter opened fire and essentially due to the quick response of the police forces was killed.

And at this time, the numbers that we're looking at are 12 dead and 31 wounded, and they're dispersed among the local hospitals here in the central Texas area. Again, the extent of injuries varies significantly, and, again, we're getting great cooperation from the central Texas medical facilities. As I said, the shooter was killed. He was a soldier.


DOBBS: Well, that was Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cone. As a matter of fact we're awaiting a live news conference that will originate from Fort Hood at any moment; we will bring that to you as soon as it begins. As of right now we're informed that Lieutenant General Robert Cone will be at that press conference to further advise us as to what has transpired and what the very latest developments are.

Ft. Hood, of course, is home to the warrior combat stress reset program as it's called. It's designed to help soldiers returning home from war. Christopher Haug is the public information officer at Ft. Hood. Chris what can you tell us about the suspect now Major Nadal Malik Hasan?

CHRISTOPHER HAUG, CHIEF OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT FORT HOOD: I do not have confirmation of that name. I don't have information on that Major. What I can tell you is that two suspects earlier that were contained have been released. There's another person of interest in custody and the initial shooter has passed away. But I don't have his name.

DOBBS: You don't have his name. That name obviously coming to us through the agency, the private -- the police department there rather than military authorities. Can you confirm for us right now the number of dead in this shooting and the number of injured right now Chris?

HAUG: It still stands at 12 dead and 31 wounded.

DOBBS: And the condition of the 31 wounded?

HAUG: Are varied in severity. At one point it was reported that two were in serious condition at the various hospitals and we are trying to get that updated information for you, but I don't have it at this point.

DOBBS: And as to the two suspects originally believed to have been talking part, they have been cleared for now?

HAUG: Yes, they have. There's another person in custody, and the initial shooter has passed away.

DOBBS: And the other person now in custody or person of interest, is that person also a soldier?

HAUG: Yes.

DOBBS: All right. What can you tell us at this point as to how much more time will be required to bring this together? Do you have an estimate, the information, and when would you say we could expect that press conference to begin?

HAUG: We are doing our best. I thought that we would be able to go at 5:30, but some newer information came in. They all went back into a meeting. So it's uncertain at this time obviously because the doors are closed and they're talking. But as soon as we can get to you -- I know at this moment Colonel Daner (ph) who is the post public affairs officer is headed for the press gate with the latest information, he's going to be talking to reporters there.

DOBBS: All right. Christopher thank you very much. Christopher Haug who's the chief of public affairs at Ft. Hood and I suspect Chris that we'll be talking to you throughout the evening. Thank you so much.

Well up to 40,000 of our troops are stationed at Ft. Hood. Our Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. Barbara, I understand that Ft. Hood has lost more soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other military facility. Is that right?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You know, Lou, they have lost so many, I think it's probably accurate by virtue of the sheer size of the contingent at Ft. Hood. About 50,000 people there, thousands, tens of thousands of troops have deployed to the war zone from the units at Ft. Hood. You find the youngest soldiers just out of high school who have just enlisted, 18, 19 years old on their first deployments coming through Ft. Hood. You find the seasoned veterans, the senior non-commissioned officers who may be on tour number three or four to the war zone.

As you mentioned, Ft. Hood, the home of the warrior reset program. That's what makes part of this so unfathomable. This is a base that has paid so much attention to the mental health of its troops. They've had issues with suicide, combat stress, and they have a number of programs there for counseling for the mental health of the troops, their families, and the people who work there. We were there just a couple of months ago. We were in this building where the soldiers come and go on deployment.

We have met soldiers who have gone through the combat stress program there. We've met soldiers undergoing counseling there. We've talked to mental health professionals there. This is a base that cares as the whole military does but this is a base that has paid so much attention because so many troops have gone to the war zone. We can tell you at this hour the army once again looking at the mental health needs in the wake of this trauma, of this crisis, and getting ready to send more help down to Ft. Hood in the coming hours, if it is needed -- Lou.

DOBBS: And extraordinarily, Barbara, first the shooter, now dead, mental health professional himself, major, recently working at Walter Reed, and the facility itself called the warrior combat stress reset program. Now, if it were only so easy to use the word reset. Talking about men and women who have been on three and four tours of combat, my god, that's a lot to reset, isn't it?

STARR: It sure is, Lou. I mean this is a base that has, again, seen a good deal of mental trauma. We have met young soldiers, you know, in their 20s who have been through repeated attacks in the war zone, come back, suffering from posttraumatic stress, getting counseling, trying to put their lives back together, and many of them deciding to stay in the army and make it their careers, many of them deciding they've had enough and they want to get out of this all- volunteer force, that they simply aren't able, don't want to serve anymore.

Many of them continue on. There are a number of programs. There's counseling. There's faith-based programs, there's family programs. But I think everyone will tell you that it's still yet to be absolutely proven what works and what does not in helping these soldiers. It's such an individual case, depending on their family circumstances, on their own emotional make-up. And as for the alleged shooter, I think nobody at this hour can come to any conclusion about what was in this person's mind, Lou.

DOBBS: Yes. Again, I think the only conclusion that's available to us right now is what we're asking of our brave men and women in uniform when we talk about three and four tours of duty, three to four in Iraq or Afghanistan. This country is asking a great deal and perhaps more than it should in the minds of many military experts. STARR: Oh, I mean there's so many people. This is the major subject of discussion. I will tell you one of the questions we always continue to ask is this. How many combat tours can one person take before they shouldn't do any more? Is it enough to reset, to come home for one year and be with your family? Does that work? Or is there a point at which a soldier simply should not deploy anymore? No one really has a good answer to that.

Perhaps not relating to the motive of the alleged shooter today, but relating, as you say, to the very significant price that tens of thousands of troops continue to volunteer and the price that they continue to pay -- Lou.

DOBBS: And there's also a concern that perhaps we don't have a good answer, but we certainly don't have an answer that's expedient for those who would ask our troops to serve three and four tours in Iran and Afghanistan. We've known since World War I but definitively since World War II the stress that a soldier in combat can withstand without having significant issue, mental health issues, and unfortunately like so many lessons brought to us through the history of military engagement, those lessons also being ignored in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thank you very much, Barbara. Barbara Starr will be coming back to us throughout, with her reporting from the Pentagon. Barbara, thank you so much.

President Obama calling these shootings today a horrific outburst of violence. He promised that the government would get answers to every single question. Ed Henry is at the White House right now. Ed, how did the president find out about the shootings today?

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well shortly after the tragedy started unfolding the president was informed by Press secretary Robert Gibbs who had seen the initial media reports as well as reports from the law enforcement officials and Pentagon coming into the White House. Officials started gathering in fact in the White House situation room here, a secure room where they were able to coordinate with law enforcement agencies and other federal agencies as well to get a handle on the situation.

Once they started doing that the president made some public comments but he also reached out in the oval office by phone to the commanding general at Ft. Hood, Lieutenant General Robert Cone to directly offer his condolences to the people, the families, the personnel there at Ft. Hood in Texas. The president also obviously trying to get a handle on the situation as facts as this White House could get on what is still a somewhat fluid situation as people try to figure out the details here, and as you noted the president in his public comments made clear he believes this is a horrific outburst of violence.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed, and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence. My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen. And with those who live and serve at Ft. Hood. These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis. It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil.


HENRY: Now, even as White House officials work out of "The White House Situation Room" and coordinate as I mentioned with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and others, senior officials have indicated that they've gotten no evidence so far that there was any sort of a terror plot and any thing like that, but they realize the investigation is obviously still in its early stages and as you heard the president talking about the sacrifice of men and women in uniform, let's not forget that this president is also on the verge of a monumental decision about whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. He sent over 21,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan back in March. He's now considering General Stanley McChrystal's request to send up to 40,000 more to Afghanistan. We expect a decision on that within weeks, Lou.

DOBBS: All right. Ed Henry from the White House. Thank you, Ed.

Well, more than 30,000 people called the Ft. Hood base in Texas home. It is the single largest U.S. military facility the in the United States. Texas Governor Rick Perry ordered all flags in Texas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the victims. Let's go now to Ed Lavandera in Ft. Hood, Texas. Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, we just arrived here just on the out skirts of Ft. Hood the military post here that's been essentially locked down. As we arrived we drove past several exits here along the side and there are law enforcement agencies from around the region who have come here to help out in the situation. They've locked down essentially every gate. There's no way in, no way out. Authorities have said that about an hour or so ago that they had done that to make sure they have complete control of this situation. They said a little over an hour ago that they believed that was coming to an end. So we anticipate perhaps the closure of this army post might come to an end here shortly.

We're also awaiting officials here at Ft. Hood to offer another briefing, so that could begin here at any moment to give us an update on what the situation is in terms of the wounded and what those conditions are and also the events that transpired here today, any more details that might provide any kind of clues as to why this happened today, you know. And it might sound cliche but this is a community just outside of Ft. Hood, the town of Killeen, Texas where so many soldiers and families of these soldiers that are based here in Ft. Hood or live. This is a community that's reeling, trying to figure out why this has happened here this evening.

Lou, I'm struck. It was eight years ago, just a couple months after 9/11, that I remember standing here in this very location talking to soldiers that were being deployed for the first time in the war on terror and now here eight years later to stand here in this very same location and watching these officials from Ft. Hood talking about what has happened here today is really kind of an eerie feeling and Barbara Starr mentioned this. This is a community that has gone through an intense amount of period here over the last several years as they've dealt with the tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq as well. So it is rather eerie here to be here this evening and watch the Ft. Hood community have to deal with this here tonight. Lou.

DOBBS: A sad, sad evening for everyone at Ft. Hood. For all of us in this nation who care so much about these young soldiers. Ed Lavandera will be with us throughout this broadcast. We'll be coming back to Ed. As Ed mentioned, a press conference, we're awaiting that at Ft. Hood which will be at that very gate.

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman will be joining me, one of the leading experts on posttraumatic stress syndrome. We're going to be talking with him. Lieutenant General Robert Cone is expected to lead that press conference for the army at Ft. Hood. We'll be joined by Lieutenant General Russell Honore as well who formerly served at Ft. Hood and is a CNN military strategist.

Stay with us. We're coming right back with all of the coverage from Ft. Hood and around the nation.


DOBBS: Updating you now on the very latest of this tragedy out of Ft. Hood, Texas. A gunman opened fire this afternoon at Ft. Hood soldier readiness center. For our troops prepare to deploy to Iraq. Ten soldiers and a civilian police officer were killed, 31 people were wounded. The suspected gunman has been identified as Major Nadal Malik Hasan. He was shot dead at the scene by police, two other suspects, also soldiers, were taken into custody but then cleared and released. Another suspect, however, remains in custody tonight.

President Obama called these shootings a horrific outbreak of violence and news of the shooting spread quickly to our troops on bases all around the world. Many of those troops deployed from Ft. Hood. There are at least a thousand soldiers from Ft. Hood now in Afghanistan. We go now to Kabul, and Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence. Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: We've been e-mailing several units in which I believe Ft. Hood soldiers may be attached to. So far just haven't heard back. The problem is all of this has been unfolding late afternoon, early evening there in the United States. It's the middle of the night here, 2:00, 3:00, and now 4:30 in the morning. So calling and trying to get in contact with some of these units can be somewhat difficult.

We do know -- I do know there is a military police detachment here in Afghanistan. We're trying to figure out exactly where they may be stationed or if they're all in a group or if they have been sent out to assist with individual units. You mentioned that there is about a thousand soldiers from Ft. Hood here in Afghanistan right now. That number is not that big when you consider the sheer size, the tens of thousands of troops that are on Ft. Hood. Part of the reason for that is that last year, 2008, virtually all the combat units in Ft. Hood saw action in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of them are now stateside waiting for redeployment possibly next year -- Lou.

DOBBS: Chris thanks so much. And I know you're continuing try to get a hold of our troops there serving from Ft. Hood. Get some rest. Thank as lot. Chris Lawrence.

Joining me now, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, he's the chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Lieberman has consulted for the Defense Department on psychiatric issues within the military. Doctor thanks for being with us. Dr. Lieberman is going to be with me throughout this hour. First, this man, Malik Nadal Hasan, a major, mental health professional, himself a psychiatrist, and it is just extraordinary to see him at the center of this horrific violence.

DR. JEFFREY LIEBERMAN, PSYCHIATRY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: It's an absolute tragedy. It's shocking. It's ironic. And it's surprising. Because when you first hear about wanton killing being down like this, the first thought you have on military base is combat with the soldiers is that this is somebody who suffers from stress-induced behavioral disorder, who has really gone off and committed these acts of violence. Then you hear these stories that this is somebody who hadn't been deployed yet, he may have been acting with other people and that he's a medical doctor and a psychiatrist, so how do you figure? Its information still coming out and we have to sort of speculate as to what the motivation may be.

DOBBS: I think we have to say, if I may underline, speculate at this point. So little is known about his specific history. The United States military is not even confirming his identification, even though we do have it confirmed from law enforcement sources. But the relationship to the people that he assaulted and murdered allegedly, we'll have to say at this point, we are dealing at Ft. Hood with one of the primary staging bases for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. We know that many of those troops are serving through and four terms.

Tours in combat in some of the most difficult stressful environments you could imagine. Short of just constant artillery baraouge. What is the impact on those soldiers and are we, what should we be expecting of these men, mostly men and women who are serving so ably in Afghanistan and Iraq?

LIEBERMAN: Well, these people are exposed to one of the most intense forms of stress. Historically, we know that stress induces behavior disturbance and mental disorders, and military combat is one of the most intense forms of stress. Historically we have seen that in all wars. We have seen battle fatigue, shell shock. So this is no different in that respect. But there's something about the wars that have been waged lately beginning with Vietnam and on through Afghanistan and Iraq which are different because the rate of mental disturbance are higher.

We've seen it in the rates of suicide, we see it in rates of mental disability, we've seen it in rates of families when soldiers return, and having disruptions and divorces, and now we're seeing it in these acts of violence against each other. This is not friendly fire; this is some kind of motivational killing either because of mental disturbance or some ideological factor.

DOBBS: Significant. Significant psychiatric studies were undertaken as early as 1942, 1943 in World War II. One such study in Northern Africa determined that 30 days of sustained combat was too much for any soldier serving in the U.S. military. They, of course, served far longer than that. Many of them served far longer than that under sustained combat and paid a very heavy price for it.

But we know that and yet we're continuing to subject our troops in this volunteer army that has been described variously by military experts as broken, including the military, the general staff itself. How can we continue to do this, and how effective can all of the mental health treatment, all of the most caring, concerned care in the world deal with the level of stress that these men and women are under?

LIEBERMAN: Well, World War II in North Africa was a conventional war with defined theaters of war. What we're dealing with now in Iraq and in Afghanistan are what are called asymmetric combat warfare where there's not defined theaters and the enemy isn't clearly identifiable. What this seems to have done is really elevate the level of stress that people are exposed to, and this is a new thing that psychiatric medicine, that military mental health care is dealing with, and they're trying to sort of understand the nature of this stress, the impact it has on people, how much people can take, and what they can do to try to mitigate it.

DOBBS: We're going to -- Dr. Lieberman, thank you. We're going to turn to my colleague Tom Foreman for just a moment with more information about the readiness center, the Ft. Hood complex. Here now is Tom Foreman. Tom, what have you got for us?

FOREMAN: You know, Lou, you and Dr. Lieberman hit the nail on the head here. You look at Ft. Hood it is about an hour north of Austin, the center of Texas basically. Really what you can also say about Ft. Hood when you move in is there's probably no other place in this country on a mile-for-mile basis that has more people in it right now who have seen intense combat and have lived with combat for a longer period of time. The readiness center that we're talking about here is one of those portals through which people come and go from combat in this country. This is it right over in this area, this building over here.

We believe there are two new buildings here. One of our producers was there not terribly long ago. He thought it was these two buildings. We don't have the exact location of the shooting. What we do know is that thousands and thousands of troops have come in and out of here. It is a very big base, as you mentioned there are about 40,000 troops in the base, there about 17,000 family members also in this area. We have a tremendous number of people gathered here and those are the family members who live on post. Not counting the people living off post that would be concerned about everything that happened here and we know that the hospital where some of the victims of this were taken and as well where the doctor was based is only about a mile away. It's right over here.

And this is where he was apparently based as we talk about all these deployments coming in and out. So, again, Lou, when you're talking about just plain real estate in this country, there's almost no real estate stateside where you would have more people per square mile at any hour of the day who have been involved in the wars that the this country has been involved in for the past eight years now than you would right here in the area we're talking about. Now whether or not that actually played a role in this, Lou, I guess we're going to find out and that will be as the investigation goes on.

DOBBS: And as we continue to explore what is happening. Tom, thank you very much. Tom Foreman standing by to help us understand what happened at Ft. Hood today. We'll be back with Dr. Lieberman. Also helping us understand what some of the stresses that these men and women endure and the way in which our health -- our mental health professionals in the United States military are trying to provide comfort and understanding and care for them.

We're also awaiting a news conference at Ft. Hood. Lieutenant General Robert Cone will be stepping before those microphones within the half hour. We've been told that for the past half hour. To bring us the very latest and to tell us what they now know at Ft. Hood and what has been a day of enormous tragedy and enormous suffering and confusion.

We'll be right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Joining me now to help us all understand and come to terms with today's deadly shooting at Fort Hood is CNN contributor and Retired Lieutenant General, Russel Honore. General Honore knows Fort Hood well. He served as deputy commander for his cavalry for two years at that base.

General, it's good to have you with us on this horrible occasion. Give us, if you will, a sense of what's happening at that base for the personnel there who are struggling, much of which apparently remains in lockdown right now. And still with so many open questions as our troops and the civilian employees on that base are trying to understand what has happened.

LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you've seen them going through a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy on one of our military isolations with public announcements on a big PA sets, if you can imagine, blaring out, stay indoors, seek cover, turn your air conditioning and your heating off.

This is having a tremendous impact and stress on the soldiers that are there, those getting readied to deploy, those who have returned, and their families. So my heart goes out to those troops and their families and to those who have lost their lives today. Because on Fort Hood right now is a very tense situation until the law enforcement personnel can sound a "safe and all clear." And one of the things they're trying to do, Lou, is get accountability of everybody, which means they need to optimize the phone systems. So what we've encouraged people to do is go to Red Cross, safe and well, and stay off the phones and communicate with your loved ones that way.

DOBBS: And, communicate I believe you've been saying by text to keep down the demand on voice -- on the cell phone towers.

HONORE: Yes, sir.

DOBBS: Dr. Lieberman, what are we doing here when we have something called the warrior combat stress reset program? I have to tell you, I mean my reaction to that is -- and I'd like to hear your opinion, General on this, both of you, as a professional warrior and a man who helps warriors deal with their trade. The word "reset," when you're talking about the human mind and this bundle of emotions as a human being, that sounds awfully programatic and not, very frankly, human.

LIEBERMAN: I think this incident, tragic is laden with irony because at Fort Hood, the largest military base in the country. Where there's specifically been located a center to deal with the menta health needs in terms of stress amelioration for this incident. And not just to occur to somebody who maybe receiving services, but occur from one of the caregivers who's supposed to be treating such individuals, it's just really -- it's almost like it's scripted to be some type of irony.

I think the problem that we're facing in this military situation is very large, and it's also new. And a lot is being done, but it's not being enough, and it's not being effective and I think people are seeking what are the best strategies. The military recently entered into a program with the NIH to study the problem intensively with the idea of identifying what are the causal factors that are leading to these elevated rates, which are occurring in military theaters, not just combat but bases.

DOBBS: When you say rates, are you talking about rates of suicide, rates of posttraumatic stress syndrome?

LIEBERMAN: The rates that are occurring are the manifestations of mental disability that are occurring in the form of stress, of stress-induced PTST, suicide, mental illnesses like depression, and also domestic violence and disturbances that occur when veterans return home. These are all part and parcel, and also these are often complicated by substance abuse. These are all part and parcel of the same phenomenon of a stress-induced destruction in mental function and behavioral disturbance.

DOBBS: General Honore, we are obviously speculating here about the context and the events that have transpired, but as a professional warrior, your reaction to Dr. Lieberman's thoughts.

HONORE: I think his prognosis is probably spot on. You know, we've got a volunteer army that's been at war continuously now for nearly eight years, and many of these soldiers have deployed multiple times. And over time the army has recognized that there are mental associations of people under stress that need help.

All the indicators he mentioned, alcohol abuse, and family and suicide issues have been up in the army, and the army has done everything one might say they can to try to catch up. Because over time it's the indicators of suicide and other events that statistics have been just off the chart compared to any other time in the history of our army. So, we're plowing new ground. We, no way all the time I was in the army until a year ago had foreseen that this volunteer army would be asked to fight so -- two wars simultaneously with back- to-back deployments maybe a year at home and going back.

The army is trying to break that where they will get two years at home before they go back to combat, but over time this is going to have an impact on these young soldiers who have fought gallantly for their nation. But that continuous deployment is having an impact on the force of the greatest army we ever had in the history of our country.

LIEBERMAN: May I make a comment?

DOBBS: Sure.

LIEBERMAN: I think what we're looking at and we've seen this increase and evolve in recent months is the development of what could be called a mental health emergency within the military. When we have certain situations, whether it's an epidemic, an outbreak of some kind of infectious disease or when we have an increase in something like cardiovascular disease, there are intensive efforts to try to address this. We had a war on cancer. What we're seeing concentrated particularly, even though mental illness is prevalant in society as a whole, but concentrated in increased rates in this period of time in the military is something that really requires an intensive effort, an all-out effort to try to address.

DOBBS: We're going to be back with Dr. Lieberman, General Honore, and we're also be joined by Robert Bayer, former CIA operative. We are still awaiting that press conference from Fort Hood, Texas. Lieutenant General, Robert Cone will be leading that conference when it does begun. We'll be right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Updating you now on the tragic events at Fort Hood today. A gunman opened fire this afternoon at Fort Hood soldier readiness center. 10 of our soldiers and a civilian police officer were killed, 31 people were wounded. The suspected gunman has been identified as Major Malik Nadal Hasan. He was shot dead by police on the scene. There have been a number of assaults on military personnel on facilities here at home and overseas over the past few years, some of them carried out by other US forces. Lisa Sylvester has more now. Lisa --

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, yes. It's really sad to say but this is not the first time that we've heard of something like this. Take a look at this. We have some amateur video. That's what you're seeing right now. It's from October 1995. A sergeant hid outside a stadium at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He waited until the stadium is completely full, 13,000 soldiers and then Sergeant William Kreutzer began firing at troops with a semiautomatic weapon. He killed one person and wounded 18 others. Eventually accepted a plea bargain and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Now, another incident. To take you back to 2003, March, this was just as the war in Iraq was beginning, a soldier, Hasan Afar attacked members of his own unit. Some of you might have remembered this. He tossed grenades into tents that were used to house commanding officers in Kuwait. Two of those officers were killed, 14 other soldiers were injured.

Another incident, May, 2007, this one more recent. A group of men accused of plotting an attack on Fort Dix in New Jersey, four of them are currently serving life sentences although they still maintain they are innocent. And then earlier this year two soldiers were shot outside a military recruiting center in Arkansas. One of them died. And around the same time there was another sad story this past May, there was US soldier in Iraq who killed five of his fellow soldiers at a Camp Liberty Clinic that treats service members for more related stress. Lou --

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you. That's a horrible litany and review of tragic, tragic deaths and does not include the number of suicides that have also taken place. Fort Hood dealing with what is literally an epidemic of suicides through this period as well. I want to -- we're going to be bringing in some other experts to give us even greater context of this story.

But this just in now. A federal official now says today's shooting suspect, Hasan is a US citizen of Jordanian descent. The official cannot say at this point whether he was born in the United States or was born else where, but this federal official says he is an American citizen again according to our sources.

Joining me now for more on this story, Robert Bayer. He is a former CIA operative and author of the book "The Devil We Know." Good to have you with us, Robert. Let me ask you. The information that we've just received, as soon as everyone hears the Islamic name, the speculation begins to grow. This we've heard from the largest Islamic organization advocacy or organization care in the country. This just creates incredible complexity and unfair speculation, I'm sure, simultaneously, does it not?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Absolutely, I'm on a Pentagon chat room if you want to call it. Right now, there's messages going back and forth, say do not jump to the conclusion this had anything to do with Islam or our participation in two wars against Muslim countries or in Muslim countries. But, people will jump to that conclusion and you can be sure that the FBI and the CIA today will be looking for connections overseas even though there's no evidence of it so far.

DOBBS: Now, as far as -- from the CIA perspective and from your own experiencial perspective, we're dealing, as Dr. Lieberman said, a very different kind of war, an asymmetric war indeed as the doctor suggested. But, proportion to asymmetrical war, it's also a war fraught with great uncertainty. A constant danger whether it's IEDs or whatever the source of the attack maybe over a sustained periods of time unlike, I think it's safe to say, very few other wars say for parts of the Vietnam war.

BAER: Yes, but, Lou, the point is when people are in this situation, they've been deployed three or four times, it's not only the stress. You have families falling apart all across the US forces. You also have people turning to religion and in some cases fundamentalism just to hold themselves together, which is another thing people have to worry about.

DOBBS: And General Honore, your thoughts here?

HONORE: Well, I don't disagree with anything he said. As a matter of fact, I agree whole-heartedly that the force is under a lot of stress. We're plowing some new ground here, Lou, and the American people need to understand that, that they've got a great army supported by a great army of families that their multiple deployments is having an impact on these soldiers.

We -- as a result of that, we have up to 100,000 National Guard reserves that are mobilized now to help the active duty formations out. We're under a lot of stress trying to support two wars with the size of the army we have and the size of the army is an issue because when we take on two wars simultaneously, trying to fight them the way we are fighting them with multiple deployments, it has a stress on the family.

It has stress on the community, and the extended family of these soldiers. That's why we're seeing these domestic and suicide issues manifesting themselves in the greatest army in the history of our country.

DOBBS: And as you say, General, the reserves, the National Guard, are called upon to help -- to help sustain and support a military effort along with the regular army. Those folks, one could say, are dealing with also the additional burden that they had initially at least no expectation that they would be asked to go into three or four tours, the stress it's put, as you say, on their families, on their communities, their businesses.

I mean this is a very difficult problem that for the most part is being ignored, unfortunately, by most of the country. Do you not agree?

HONORE: Well, one of the issues these soldiers come back, the rest of America is all playing football, talking about where they're going on vacation. You can't tell that America is at war when you leave Fort Hood and you go into the towns and cities in Dallas and Austin.

The rest of the country -- the only people that know there's a war going on is family member whose got -- who have skin in the game. There's no shared sacrifice in this nation for these two wars we are fighting.

DOBBS: One of -- General David Grange once used the expression and I happen to agree with it, General, a man I respect very much, both of you I respect. He said that, you know, we have a military that's at war but a nation that's not. And that is one of the elements that we're going to have to really -- I think we need to soul search as deeply as we can as a nation.

General Honore, I know you've got to leave. I want to say thank you for your participation for being with us here tonight.

General Honore is going to take off here. The general -- you know, the general is saying it very passionately. He's a man who cares about his troops. He commanded for so many years in the army. We all care about this military. Yet our leaders, our civilian leaders, and I'm not talking about the administration or partisan politics here, but I am talking about from 2001 to 2009, our civilian leadership and frankly most of the general staff -- at least as they can be perceived from the outside, that general staff is asking an awful lot of very few people in combat.

LIEBERMAN: And I say -- think in the comments of General Honore and Robert Baer, we're seeing the complexity of the problems. It begins with combat troops being put in these new more stressful theaters of war, exposed to this on a sustained basis or repeatedly.

And then coming home to a nation that isn't as engaged in the -- in the process that they've been immersed in and has been -- taking a terrible toll. And when they return -- we saw this with Vietnam. Part of the dangers that our soldiers faced was in Vietnam with the enemy, but another part of it was coming home and not being able to reintegrate into society and in some ways being shunned or criticized by people who didn't agree with the war.

DOBBS: Yes. And while that is not occurring now, I think it's safe to say also so many of our soldiers are now being embraced upon their return. We have 30 million people in this country unemployed. So many of our returning forces who are leaving the military can't find work.

Robert Baer, give us your thoughts about what we are facing here and what we need to understand and what we need to do to deal with, first, is there sufficient strength of leadership either military, civilian in this country to say we cannot do this to the men and women who will sacrifice so much in uniform without, as General Honore suggested, making that a sacrifice that's accepted across broadly society.

BAER: Well, my point of view, these decisions being made are political. They're not being made for the military to help the military or so sustain our military. We are in those wars much too long. They are going to come back and affect us inside this country within the U.S. borders. We've just been there too long, and it's going to happen, you know -- anywhere. It could have happened in terrorism, it could happen, mental breakdown. Like in this case, this problem or case. It could go anywhere. DOBBS: Well, we're going to find out where it could go as we continue here. Stay with us. We're still awaiting that press conference from Fort Hood, Texas. We'll be bringing that to you just as soon as it does begin. We're coming right back with Robert Baer and Dr. Lieberman. Stay with us.


DOBBS: We continue our coverage of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas. Here is what we know as of this hour.

Police say Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 10 of his fellow soldiers and one civilian police officer. Thirty one others were wounded. The suspected gunman was shot dead by police. Two other soldiers suspected in those attacks originally have been released and cleared. A third remains in custody tonight.

Senate Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas says Major Hasan was about to be deployed overseas. Officials also say he is an American citizen of Jordanian descent. Up to 40,000 of our troops are stationed at Fort Hood. A major transition point for soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and returning home from war.

Back now with Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Lieberman has consulted for the Defense Department on psychiatric issues. And Robert Baer, former CIA operative and author of the book, "The Devil We Know."

Well, you were suggesting, Doctor, that this is a devil we're just beginning to understand, to know, and that is the stress that we are putting on our soldiers through this combat.

My question to both of you, and we have had our military, Robert Baer, say very clearly that the army is broken or nearly broken over the course of eight years of combat. Is there a civilian leader, is there a military leader, someone in the general staff, who could appropriately -- might appropriately, say, right now look, this is the wrong approach, we're taking too high a price and the destruction of lives, amongst those who serve us best, that is our brave troops?

And we need to rethink how we are fighting, what we are asking of so few, and how we can better share the sacrifice and if you will embrace across our society the burden. Robert, your thoughts?

BAER: Well, I mean, here's what I'm looking as Afghanistan. We're talking about adding 40,000 troops into a combat situation which we cannot define for our soldiers what victory would look like, what they have to do. They are getting hit every day by car bombs, IEDs, roads blowing up and the rest of it. And that is -- it's just even worse than Iraq there in what's going to happen to the army a year of this. And I think we can only expect it to get worse. There's just no doubt in my mind Afghanistan is a morass that is going to really -- if the army is close to being broken, this will break it.

DOBBS: Doctor, do you agree? LIEBERMAN: Well, yes, I think I can't comment on the military, the political strategic issues, you know, how long we should be in these wars, how many troops we should commit, or what the military strategy should be. But I do know that the signal we're getting in terms of rates of mental disability are greater than in any other war that we've fought, so something needs to be done.

And there's three possible things that I think could be considered. One is that troops, when they're in combat, need to be supported in a way that is more intensive and more effective than has been the case up until now.

Second is that when troops do return, whether it's returning for, you know, periods of leave, prior to being re-deployed or when they're finished with the tour of duty, there needs to be a more systematic and widespread method of reengagement in society and support.

And then the third is we may need to look at the evaluation, the process that is done in terms of how individuals are selected and inducted into the military so that we are making sure people who have identifiable vulnerabilities to stress induced mental disorders may have to look -- get special scrutiny.

DOBBS: We do know this from a study this week from the U.S. military. Seventy-five percent of American youth are deemed unfit for military service. Seventy-five percent. I mean, that's extraordinary because they're either obese, they're not fit. They have dropped out of high school or they've gotten into trouble with the law.

Then that leaves those great young people who are fit for military service and, my god, our leadership, both civilian and military, is by definition, from the very expression, from Robert Baer, and from you, Dr. Lieberman. What in the world -- have we not learned in eight years of combat in the 21st century what we can ask of our troops, what in hell will it take?

LIEBERMAN: Well, we're asking people to sacrifice in terms of facing an enemy, in this case, you know, a different enemy the usual, but also to face a whole series of internal psychological challenge that is weren't the case previously.

DOBBS: Robert Baer, you get the final word.

BAER: Lou, I spent 21 years in the CIA. And I never was under the pressure our military was under. The Middle East. But I came back, and I resented American society for not paying attention to these wars, so I can just imagine what our military feels. We're in a very, very tough situation.

DOBBS: And it's a tough situation that we should all be sharing. And for those 12 people who died at Fort Hood today, the 31 injured, we all pray for them.

Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you for being with us. We continue with our coverage here on CNN with this breaking news story. We go now to Campbell Brown.