There may be another reason why the Administration sees the Fort Hood Massacre as simply a bad case or “workplace violence.” From Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards), 11 December 2006: Purple Heart¹:
Paragraph 2-8 (b) The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded-
- In any action against an enemy of the United States.
- In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States
are or have been engaged.
- While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in
which the United States is not a belligerent party.
- As the result of an act of any such enemy of opposing Armed Forces.
- As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force
- After 28 March 1973, as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign
nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of Army, or jointly by the
Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack.
- After 28 March 1973, as the result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States
as part of a peacekeeping force.
In addition, Paragraphs 2-8 (k)(3) and (4) state:
- (3) Each approved award of the Purple Heart must exhibit all of the following factors: wound, injury or death must
have been the result of enemy or hostile act; international terrorist attack; or friendly fire (as defined in paragraph b(8)
above) the wound or injury must have required treatment by medical officials; and the records of medical treatment
must have been made a matter of official Army records.
(4) Recommendations for award of the Purple Heart based on alleged international terrorist attacks must be
accompanied by a written evaluation from the MACOM security and intelligence staff officer indicating that international
terrorist activity was involved. Should any enclosures be classified the prescribed security measures will be
followed. This requirement is in addition to the other eligibility criteria. HQ, USAHRC (AHRC–PDO–PA) will
confirm the international terrorist report with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G–2 (ODCS, G-2) prior to
forwarding the Purple Heart recommendations to the Secretary of the Army for final decision.
In simpler language, the Secretary of the Army has the authority, upon written evaluation, to determine that the attack at Fort Hood meets the criteria for an “international terrorist attack.” He has not yet done so.
The victims of the Fort Hood massacre are not eligible for the Purple Heart, because the attack is not considered to have been made by the enemy, or an “international terrorist attack.” The Department of Defense seemingly does not want to consider Major Nidal Malik Hasan as acting as part of the enemy, because that might bring all Muslim soldiers under suspicion of being considered the enemy.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has introduced S. 316, the Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act, a companion bill to H.R. 625, introduced by Rep John R Carter (R-TX 31), “To ensure that the victims and victims’ families of the November 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas, receive the same treatment, benefits, and honors as those Americans who have been killed or wounded in a combat zone overseas and their families.”
The bill notes that, “In the wake of the brutal September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the Federal Government set a historical precedent when it awarded the victims of those attacks who were members of the Armed Forces with the Purple Heart medal and the victims of those attacks who were civilian employees of the Department of Defense with the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.” But, thus far, the Department of Defense has not classified the Fort Hood massacre as enemy action which would qualify the dead and wounded for the Purple Heart. (maybe they’re still trying to figure out if Major Hasan, who was wounded by security personnel, is eligible.)
Both the Senate and House bills were referred to the Armed Services Committees, where they have languished since last February.
Your editor would not have thought that such action would be controversial in the least. The bills are short and uncomplicated, and can be read, in their entireties, in just a couple of minutes. This should be a voice vote bill, but neither the Republican-controlled House nor the Democrat-controlled Senate has taken any action to report the bills out of committee. Is it simple laziness holding it up, or are there some other considerations?
¹ – Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards), 11 December 2006: Purple Heart (Note: .pdf file), pp. 19-21.
Cross-posted on Truth Before Dishonor.