Should Fort Hood Shooting Victims Receive Purple Hearts?

On November 5, 2009, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, located just outside of Killeen, Texas.  Before being wounded and captured, Hasan had killed 13 people and wounded 32 more.  He targeted only military personnel, passing by a number of civilians without shooting at them.

Due to base policy, none of the military personnel at Fort Hood are allowed to carry firearms except for military police, so those being targeted had no way of defending themselves.

Hasan is a Muslim and was found to have had communications with other Muslims that the federal government has listed as terrorists and on a watch list.  One of those was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American born member of al Qaeda who was operating in Yemen.  Several people have testified that Hasan counseled them against joining the military, telling them that Muslims should not be in the US military killing other Muslims.

Two days prior to the shooting, Hasan gave away all of his possessions to neighbors and told them that he was being deployed and had no need of them. He also handed out his business cards with copies of the Quran.  On his business card, he identified himself as Nidal Hasan, MD, MPH, SoA(SWT) Psychiatrist.  SoA is a commonly used acronym among Muslim jihadist which means Soldier of Allah.

Hasan was heard shouting “Allah Akhbar” as he was shooting military service men and women.  Yet, one investigator later said that the attack did not fit the profile of a terrorist attack but was more like the shooting that took place on the campus of Virginia Tech.  Against the wishes and demands of many who were there or who lost loved ones, the Army and Pentagon have decided that Hasan’s actions were not terroristic in nature.

Because the shooting has been deemed as an act of domestic workplace shooting, the Pentagon has just announced that none of the shooting victims will receive a Purple Heart for their injuries.  They said that awarding the Purple Heart to their victims would undermine their criminal case against Hasan, which will finally take place in a few months.

This decision and the way the military and White House have pretty much abandoned the victims of the shooting have a few people feeling betrayed and upset.  Kimberly Munley, a former police sergeant was wounded several times in her effort to shoot and wound Hasan.  She was awarded the Secretary of the Army Award for Valor, but still feels like Obama has let her and other victims down. She told Diane Sawyer from Nightline that Obama had promised that all of the victims would be well taken care of, but he has broken that promise as they have not received the kind of care and treatment they believe they are entitled to.

Since the shooting has been officially ruled a workplace shooting and not an act of terrorism, the victims feel that they have been given a lower priority in their treatment by the Army.  It also excludes them for receiving any financial care that is normally given to anyone injured in a combat related incident.  They believe that Hasan’s act was a jihadist act, which makes it an act of combat and terrorism, but the Army has turned a deaf ear to them.

Sounds just like the promises Obama made to the families of the Benghazi victims.  He promised to keep them informed and that they would be taken care of.  Once he walked away from them, the promise ended.

Rep John Carter (R-TX) happens to be the US Representative from the district that includes Fort Hood.  He introduced legislation in February to give the military and civilian victims of Fort Hood the same honor and status as those victims of 9/11.  Carter said that the Fort Hood Families Benefits Protection Act:

“would award the military and civilian casualties of the 2009 Fort Hood attack the same status that was awarded to the casualties of the Pentagon attack on Sept. 11, 2001. All of the casualties would be eligible for the Purple Heart Award or the Department of Defense civilian equivalent.”

“After additional investigation into the potential implications of pre-trial publicity, I am postponing any future publicity on these bills at this stage of Maj. Hasan’s trial. However, the victims of this tragic shooting fully qualify for compensation pay and purple heart recognition.”

“The DOD position paper is dead wrong to oppose this legislation.  These victims deserve recognition and compensation for the injuries and loss of life from a direct attack on a U.S. military installation.”

Carter told the Army that he is not trying to do anything to interfere or undermine their case against Hasan, but he will not stop pushing for the benefits and recognition of the victims until it has been given to them.

Was Hasan’s attack just another workplace shooting or was it a terrorist act carried out by a Muslim jihadist?  The Army believes workplace, many who were there say act of terrorism.  From everything I’ve read about what happened, I can’t see how the Army can say that it was not an act of terrorism.  I believe they have ignored the evidence in order to save face and not to have to pay out millions of dollars to the victims and their families.

What do you think?