Pentagon Denies Fort Hood Shooting Victims Purple Hearts
by John Rossomando • Apr 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Congressional efforts to secure Purple Hearts for Fort Hood shooting victims have met with failure. Pentagon officials sent a position paper to congressional staffers Friday detailing the military's opposition.
Thirteen people were killed and 32 others were wounded in the 2009 massacre at the Army post. The attack has not been labeled a terrorist act despite evidence that the alleged shooter, Nidal Hasan, communicated with an American-born al-Qaida cleric and was motivated by Hasan's belief that America was at war with Islam.
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, whose district includes Fort Hood, introduced legislation in February that would award combat status to military and civilian victims. That came after an ABC News investigation featured several victims who said they had been neglected by the system.
Sgt. Kimberly Munley told ABC that her gunshot wound should be considered no different than getting shot in combat by an insurgent in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Pentagon disagrees, saying that issuing a Purple Heart to victims could "irrevocably alter the fundamental character of this time-honored decoration" and "undermine the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan by materially and directly compromising Major Hasan's ability to receive a fair trial."
Hasan's trial is set to begin on May 29. The Pentagon has refused to classify his rampage as terrorism and classified it as "workplace violence" instead.
Carter is backing down for now, saying he may renew the push after Hasan's trial.
"The DOD position paper is dead wrong to oppose this legislation," Carter told ABC News. "These victims deserve recognition and compensation for the injuries and loss of life from a direct attack on a U.S. military installation."
The Pentagon paper isn't sitting well with victims, many of whom have filed a lawsuit against the Army for classifying the shooting as "workplace violence" and for putting their care at a lower priority than those who have suffered injuries sustained in combat overseas.
"It's a slap in the face. Given everything that has occurred over the last three and a half years, this is incomprehensible, and in many respects, not worth of the Army. It's regrettable and tremendously wrongheaded," victim attorney Reed Rubenstein told ABC News.
Reader comments on this item
workplace violence, sure it is
May 18, 2013 15:15
this is workplace violence, but the army is still doing Level 1 Antiterrorism training stating that the hood shooting is an attack.
its very simple THE PENTAGON SHOULD FOLLOW STANDING ORDERS
Submitted by Scott, Apr 3, 2013 03:21
Executive Order 12464, dated February 23, 1984, authorized award of the Purple Heart as a result of terrorist attacks or while serving as part of a peacekeeping force subsequent to March 28, 1973. (overseas)
Public Law 99-145 authorized the award for wounds received as a result of friendly fire. (in battle)
Individuals injured as a result of their own negligence, such as by driving or walking through an unauthorized area known to have been mined or placed off limits or searching for or picking up unexploded munitions as war souvenirs, will not be awarded the Purple Heart as they clearly were not injured as a result of enemy action, but rather by their own negligence.
This was not negligence, I would argue it was friendly fire as per Public Law 99-145 in battle against american soldiers, primarily because...
Nidal Hasan motivated by terror rhetoric set out to kill americans in a pervieved state of war with islam...for me I think its a No Brainer really. The medal and related military compensation and treatment cover for injuries should be covered.
For me the ideology of the offender does it..he shot people because in his mind he was at war, its not that he just had a bad day or had a psychotic break or the voices in his head told him to do it or the dog told him....whatever...
Hasan with clear intent was motivated through a perception of war with islam killed american soldiers
come on PENTAGON stand up for what is right !
Purple Heart recipients
Submitted by Andrea, Apr 2, 2013 17:45
First of all, there were dozens of witnesses, so what exactly will the defense use to excuse this traitor? As far as a fair trial is concerned, they would have to try this guy on the moon to get an impartial jury.
Secondly, since the assault took place on a U.S. base, by a member of the military, to members of the military, how can it be anything besides a terrorist act? The government is clearly giving this terrorist more respect than our own troops. This is a national disgrace.