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and “undermine the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan [the alleged Fort Hood shooter] by materially and directly compromising Major Hasan’s ability to receive a fair trial.”
On Friday, the Pentagon changed its tune. After the U.S. Senate passed the Defense Reauthorization bill in December that included a provision reclassifying the Fort Hood attack an act of domestic terrorism rather than anodyne and non-specific “workplace violence,” it freed the Pentagon’s hand to honor the attack’s wounded veterans in a way they deserve.
“The Purple Heart’s strict eligibility criteria had prevented us from awarding it to victims of the horrific attack at Fort Hood,” read a written statement released by Secretary of the Army John McHugh. “Now that Congress has changed the criteria, we believe there is sufficient reason to allow these men and women to be awarded and recognized” with either the Purple Heart or, for civilians, the Defense of Freedom medal.”
According to Fox News, however, the administration lobbied against honoring Fort Hood’s wounded veterans up until the very last minute.
Earlier this year, a lawyer for victims of the shooting and their families told Fox News that some victims are still so damaged physically and mentally they are unable to work five years after the massacre — and the benefits that come with the Purple Heart would be a lifeline.
“No one will be the same,” attorney Neal Sher told Fox News last month.
Sher told Fox News in January there was stiff resistance to the new congressional language requiring a review of Purple Heart consideration. “The administration and the Pentagon,” Sher explained, “they lobbied hard against it. But we worked very hard and we were successful in garnering bi-partisan support for this.”
According to a December public opinion poll, only 15 percent of active-duty American service members told Military Times pollsters they approved of the job the president was doing in office. Gosh, you just wonder why.
originally posted by: aboutface
Asking here as a non-American: Do all wounded war theater vets also get a purple heart? If not, can you explain the reason?
Congress expanded the eligibility criteria for the Purple Heart in December with a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015. The law states that an event should be considered an attack by a foreign terrorist organization if the perpetrator “was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack” and “the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.” Previously, the law required a finding that the perpetrator was acting at the direction of a foreign terrorist organization.
After a review of the Fort Hood case and the changes in law, the Army said the attack met those requirements. Major Hasan had communicated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric who recruited for Al Qaeda in Yemen, before the attack. Afterward, Major Hasan told military investigators that the shooting was an attempt to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan from American soldiers.
Soldiers receiving the Purple Heart qualify for combat-related compensation upon retirement and are eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
The victims have long asked the Pentagon to label the attack terrorism so they would be eligible for the Purple Hearts and added combat-related benefits. But Defense Secretaries Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel have stuck to the original assessment that the attack by Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan was an act of workplace violence.