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by
Bridget Johnson

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May 7, 2013 - 11:35 am

A Democrat has added his name to the list of lawmakers frustrated with the Pentagon’s insistence on calling the Fort Hood shooting “workplace violence.”

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) joined with Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a longtime critic of the administration’s treating of Fort Hood, in slamming the “political sensitivities” that have kept the attack from being recognized as an act of terror. Wolf and Fattah serve together as chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), also a member of the Appropriations Committee, is the third congressman on the letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday.

“We write today on behalf of the 14 murdered, the 32 wounded by gunfire and the many other soldiers, civilians and family members injured in the November 5, 2009, Fort Hood terror attack,” the trio said in the letter.

“The Department of Defense and the Army have designated the attack by Major Nidal Hasan as ‘workplace violence.’ This designation has since resulted in an embarrassing lack of care and treatment by our military for the victims and their families. We understand this decision was not made under your leadership. Therefore, we ask that you swiftly reclassify the victims’ deaths and injuries as ‘combat-related’ so that they and their families may qualify for the full scope of benefits provided to service members and DoD civilian employees who are killed or injured in combat, and to ensure that they are treated with appropriate decency and respect from this point forward,” it continues.

Victims, the members said, have “revealed claims of mistreatment by the Army” in meeting with the lawmakers, including “repeated denials and delays of medical treatment for individuals with physical injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury; denials of retirement benefits; and overall negligence and disregard.”

“When members of our military and DoD civilians are brutally attacked – whether at home or abroad, by a ‘lone wolf’ or by a ‘card-carrying member’ of a designated terrorist organization – it is our responsibility to provide adequate oversight over DoD and the Army’s policies and decisions, both before and after such an attack,” Rooney, Fattah and Wolf wrote.

“The Army’s preferential treatment of Major Hasan – notwithstanding his open extremism and support for religious violence – and the FBI’s refusal to interview Hasan or notify his superiors of his multiple communications with the notorious terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, apparently because of political sensitivities in the Washington Field Office, led to the Fort Hood attack. Frankly, we are deeply concerned that the same considerations of ‘political correctness’ that caused the horrible toll of deaths and injuries at Fort Hood have also informed the Army’s decision to deem his attack an act of ‘workplace violence.’”

The two Republicans and Democrat called the “workplace violence” classification “an irresponsible, indefensible breach of our nation’s sacred pledge to our service members.”

That designation not only makes the victims ineligible for Purple Hearts but puts a host of healthcare and counseling services out of the reach of victims and family members.

“At this stage, designating the victims’ deaths and injuries as ‘combat-related’ is a necessary and appropriate first step of good faith by your Department. Such a designation would be tangible evidence that our government keeps its promises, albeit years after the fact. Furthermore, a ‘combat-related’ designation is a necessary condition for the heroes of that day, and their families who survive them, to finally begin the process of healing,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Therefore, we respectfully request that you reclassify the terrorist attack at Fort Hood as ‘combat-related’ in support of the victims, survivors and their families who have to suffer the effects of this horrifying incident every day. The current ‘workplace violence’ designation is a distortion of the truth that discredits our military, and it should be overturned immediately.”

If you want to tweet thanks to Fattah for standing up for Fort Hood victims, he’s @chakafattah.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
That is good background, and the point is taken. Nevertheless some people are capable of learning and I plan to acknowledge those who take steps in the right direction.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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Major Hassan was a enemy soldier in hiding and was acting as a 'Spy within our forces'. He should be charged and tried in a Military Court and when found guilty be marched out and executed by firing squad.
Work Place Violence, only the Obama Administration could dream up this Cr#P.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was NOT an act of terrorism. The traitor to his country did NOT attack noncombatants. It was an act of treason and an act of Jihad, but not all acts of violent Jihad constitute terrorism. Some are just ordinary warfare. The Fort Hood killer engaged in warfare against his own country.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
BS
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Major Hasan's act, schooled and inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki among others into killing 13 and wounding 30 at Ft. Hood in 2009, certainly qualifies as a terrorist act.

Despite this administration, for purposes of optics & preferred personal philosophy, striving to its utmost to avoid calling it what it was.

The UN has been working up its definition of terrorism for over 10 years and still that disparate group of self-serving bureaucrats hasn't been able to agree on one.

When American soldiers are booby-trapped and slaughtered in Afghanistan by Taliban combatants, these are terrorist acts.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are two angles to doing the right thing for the victims of Hassan's attack.

(1) It was not workplace violence, it was a planned ambush of unarmed U.S. soldiers for religious/political [Islamist] reasons. That is the simple truth, the kind of truth the Demunists fear the most.
(2) It should be noted that the Dem in this case seems to be mostly concerned with the distribution of government benefits. That's what the Dems are most interested in, so it is no shock to see this Dem interested.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm glad some democrats are joining in the "slamming".

But the outrage over Ft. Hood, from letting the idiot of known Islamist sympathies stay in the army and even get in a position to do the horrendous deed to the stupid word inventions like "workplace violence" and everything in between should have had every single member of the federal government screaming from the rafters from the get-go.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
A soldier's workplace is the field of battle; how does "workplace violence" not qualify as "combat"?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think it was General Casey wh made a point of admiring "diversity" when he gave a speech at the memorial service for those killed or injured. It was disgusting. Americans have done fine accepting and absorbing various nationalities for many years. Some of the immigrants were the most patriotic Americans I've known.....none of us needed constant reminders that some were a little different. I personally, would like to witness a good old fashioned court martial of that general, complete with ripping off his buttons and medals.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I've been waiting for Benghazi to be re-labeled an incident of work place violence committed by those indigenous contract security people on the American dole--sort of like the Afghan green on blue violence. Apparently American forts and consulates are now multicultural hostile working environments. The forts are weapons free zones and the consulates are not guarded by marines. It's not your fathers army or foreign service anymore when soldiers and diplomats can be raped and killed on the job by the same sex getting the same pay check.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Political Correctness is one of the most insidious maladies that a man can be afflicted with.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a big "get" considering he probably didnt enter the world named Chaka Fattah.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe the reason for the classification of work place violence is to deny the benefits afforded by combat casualties.

As in all the government, follow the money.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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