Five years later, Fort Hood victims to be eligible for Purple Heart

There has been no more shameful decision by the Obama administration than to deny the victims of Army Major Nidal Hasan's shooting spree at Fort Hood the Purple Heart decoration.  When the administration changed the designation of the domestic terrorist attack to the lunatic notion of "workplace violence," Obama gut-punched the victims and their families, minimizing their sacrifice.

It's going to take an act of Congress, but now it appears that a tremendous wrong is about to be righted.

Washington Times:

Victims of the Fort Hood shooting will soon be eligible to receive the Purple Heart, with Congress pushing ahead with a policy change that would officially recognize domestic terrorism as an issue, rather than the “workplace violence” designation the Obama administration had used.

The issue has been contentious since the 2009 attack, with victims and their family members saying Army Maj. Nidal Hasan’s shooting spree was clearly linked to the broader war on terror that the U.S. is fighting overseas.

For years, the families’ congressional allies had butted heads with the Obama administration, which balked at designating part of the U.S. the equivalent of a battlefield.

But the backers finally prevailed, writing the new terrorism designation into the annual defense policy bill that is speeding its way through Congress this month.

“It’s been a long fight, and we’ve always had some stumbling blocks, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and will be very happy when this thing is signed by the president so we can go back to those people who have been waiting for some acknowledgment of their injuries,” Rep. John R. Carter, Texas Republican, told The Washington Times.

The White House did not have an immediate comment on the change Wednesday.

Hasan shouted “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” while going on his shooting spree that left 13 dead and more than 30 injured. In testimony, the American-born Muslim said he was receiving assistance from foreign terrorist sources, and an FBI investigation found he had been emailing with Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

Hasan was sentenced to the death penalty in 2013, but the appeals process is expected to last for years if not decades.

The new medal criteria will apply to all military members injured or killed at Fort Hood as well as to two soldiers attacked in a 2009 shooting outside an Arkansas recruiting office, Mr. Carter said.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, called the change “long overdue.” An aide said Mr. Cornyn will push the Pentagon to award the Purple Hearts as soon as possible after the defense bill is signed into law.

It wasn't just the Obama administration that opposed the awarding of Purple Hearts to the Fort Hood victims.  Resistance also came from the Pentagon, with some senior officers believing that simply being a victim of an attack cheapened the criteria for receiving the Purple Heart.  But in an asymetrical war, certain allowances must be made to recognize those who are part of the struggle.  The soldiers killed and wounded at Fort Hood are not at all different from a soldier being killed or injured in an IED attack while riding in a vehicle.  The whole world is now seen as a combat zone, whether you're in Texas or Timbuktu.

The defense bill is expected to pass before the end of the lame duck session.

There has been no more shameful decision by the Obama administration than to deny the victims of Army Major Nidal Hasan's shooting spree at Fort Hood the Purple Heart decoration.  When the administration changed the designation of the domestic terrorist attack to the lunatic notion of "workplace violence," Obama gut-punched the victims and their families, minimizing their sacrifice.

It's going to take an act of Congress, but now it appears that a tremendous wrong is about to be righted.

Washington Times:

Victims of the Fort Hood shooting will soon be eligible to receive the Purple Heart, with Congress pushing ahead with a policy change that would officially recognize domestic terrorism as an issue, rather than the “workplace violence” designation the Obama administration had used.

The issue has been contentious since the 2009 attack, with victims and their family members saying Army Maj. Nidal Hasan’s shooting spree was clearly linked to the broader war on terror that the U.S. is fighting overseas.

For years, the families’ congressional allies had butted heads with the Obama administration, which balked at designating part of the U.S. the equivalent of a battlefield.

But the backers finally prevailed, writing the new terrorism designation into the annual defense policy bill that is speeding its way through Congress this month.

“It’s been a long fight, and we’ve always had some stumbling blocks, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and will be very happy when this thing is signed by the president so we can go back to those people who have been waiting for some acknowledgment of their injuries,” Rep. John R. Carter, Texas Republican, told The Washington Times.

The White House did not have an immediate comment on the change Wednesday.

Hasan shouted “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” while going on his shooting spree that left 13 dead and more than 30 injured. In testimony, the American-born Muslim said he was receiving assistance from foreign terrorist sources, and an FBI investigation found he had been emailing with Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

Hasan was sentenced to the death penalty in 2013, but the appeals process is expected to last for years if not decades.

The new medal criteria will apply to all military members injured or killed at Fort Hood as well as to two soldiers attacked in a 2009 shooting outside an Arkansas recruiting office, Mr. Carter said.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, called the change “long overdue.” An aide said Mr. Cornyn will push the Pentagon to award the Purple Hearts as soon as possible after the defense bill is signed into law.

It wasn't just the Obama administration that opposed the awarding of Purple Hearts to the Fort Hood victims.  Resistance also came from the Pentagon, with some senior officers believing that simply being a victim of an attack cheapened the criteria for receiving the Purple Heart.  But in an asymetrical war, certain allowances must be made to recognize those who are part of the struggle.  The soldiers killed and wounded at Fort Hood are not at all different from a soldier being killed or injured in an IED attack while riding in a vehicle.  The whole world is now seen as a combat zone, whether you're in Texas or Timbuktu.

The defense bill is expected to pass before the end of the lame duck session.