The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket got a few minutes with Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina after Monday’s debate. She asked him about the growing controversy over the government’s designating the 2009 Ft. Hood, Texas massacre an incident of “workplace violence.” The killer, Maj Nidal Hassan, is a Muslim and had been in contact with terrorist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki prior to the attack, and reportedly shouted “Allahu ackbar!” as he gunned down American soldiers and civilians on the massive military base, which has seen its units rotate in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade plus. President Obama eventually ordered Awlaki’s killing by drone, so surely the president is aware of the connection between Awlaki and Hassan.
The “workplace violence” designation robs the surviving victims of health benefits and military commendations, which they would be entitled to if the government designated the massacre what the facts plainly say it is — a terrorist attack. The victims are lobbying the government to change the designation. Hassan is presently about to stand trial, but he has delayed proceedings by refusing to shave his beard, which he claims he has grown in accordance with Islamic law. A military judge recently ordered that Hassan could be forcibly shaved in order to get him back into compliance with military regulations. Both the victims and Hassan’s intransigence have been in the news quite a bit lately.
As you’ll see in Picket’s video, Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina claims to be entirely unaware of the issue.
Kind of strange, isn’t it? How could Jim Messina not be aware of the Ft. Hood controversies? His job is to be aware of issues that can become pitfalls or opportunities for his candidate. The Ft. Hood designation presents both: By designating it “workplace violence” it builds the case that the Obama government’s tendency is to downplay terrorist attacks. But if the president weighed in to change it, he could help the victims and create some positive headlines for himself.
Changing the designation would also have another consequence, though. Ft. Hood would become a successful Islamic terrorist attack on US soil, and following that, the 2009 shooting of a military recruiter in Little Rock, Arkansas would probably have to be reclassified as a terrorist attack as well. The Obama campaign, which Messina manages, has run on a theme that President Obama has made Americans safer from Islamic terrorism. These two successful terrorist attacks provide evidence to argue otherwise.