Why No Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Survivors?
The Pentagon believes that awarding Purple Heart citations to the survivors of the Fort Hood massacre will "undermine the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan by materially and directly compromising Major Hasan’s ability to receive a fair trial." Since the military has designated Major Hasan's terrorist attack as "workplace violence," overturning that notion "would fundamentally compromise the fairness and due process of the pending trial.”
The explanation came in a document being circulated at the Pentagon that is in response to a bill being offered in Congress that would grant survivors of the attack Purple Hearts.
The document comes following calls from survivors and their families for the military honor, because they say Fort Hood was turned into a battlefield when Hasan opened fire during the November 2009 attack. Fox News is told that the DOD “position paper” is being circulated specifically in response to the proposed legislation.
The document reads in part:
"Passage of this legislation could directly and indirectly influence potential court-martial panel members, witnesses, or the chain of command, all of whom exercise a critical role under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Defense counsel will argue that Major Hasan cannot receive a fair trial because a branch of government has indirectly declared that Major Hasan is a terrorist -- that he is criminally culpable."
A source with knowledge of the position paper told Fox News that DOD is putting on a full-court press by sending senior officials, including generals, to meet with lawmakers in an effort to block support.
But Neal Sher, counsel for the Fort Hood families involved in a federal lawsuit against the department, told Fox News that the document -- an "official Army response" to the request for Purple Heart status -- is "an utter outrage" and that it was not surprising given it comes from the same department which labeled the attack "workplace violence."
"This is a cynical travesty. What the government has done by making this statement is guarantee that anything done to help the victims will effectively prevent or impair Hasan's prosecution. There was no reason for the government to put this kind of a statement in writing, even if it were true (which it is not)," Sher said via email.
Why is the Pentagon so resistant to acknowledging the sacrifice of Fort Hood survivors? Because if they did, they would have to admit that Hasan carried out a terrorist attack, as surely as if he had strapped explosives to his body and blown himself up. But we can't have that because some people might get the idea that Muslims who scream "Allahu Akbar" before opening fire on unarmed soldiers really don't like us very much. And that might lead to a backlash against all Muslims. It's the same politically correct nonsense that allowed Major Hasan to stay in the army despite the knowledge of his superiors that he was falling under the spell of extremists.
The attack at Fort Hood turned that hall into a battlefield. Those wounded on that battlefield deserve all the honors due to someone who has sacrificed in the service of his country. Congress should push ahead with legislation to recognize those who survived the attack -- and castigate the military for the cynicism.