Purple Hearts for Ft Hood victims resurfaces

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Purple Hearts for Ft Hood victims resurfaces

We’ve talked about this issue several times before, and it seems to be coming back, so at least a quick post on it is warranted.

Now, since this will end up in our American Legion Online Update today, and because folks seldom read everything I write before commenting, let’s start with things I agree with all of you on.  Major Hasan will get his just punishment from both the military, and whatever deity one believes in.  Even he doesn’t allege apparently that he wasn’t the shooter.  Further, in years past, he probably would have been shot already after a court martial.  I’m not even going to try to justify how long this trial has taken.  Remember that the Sixth Amendment gives a right to a speedy trial, but the Constitution also gives a right to a thorough defense.  Taken together this means a defendant can pretty much set the speed of the trial.

In WWII, it was more an imminent threat, and the trials went fast.  Eddie Slovik was charged with desertion on Veterans Day in 1944.  He was executed in January, only three months later.  With Hasan, the military and his defense lawyers have been fighting for eight months on whether he has to shave or not.  So believe me, I get the frustration.

Also, I believe that the soldiers at Ft Hood should get everything to which they are entitled.  We might differ on whether that is the Purple Heart, or some other disposition that allows them a higher status at the VA and such, but we all agree on that.  So no need to comment below on those issues.

The problem is this however, the DoD is fighting against the Purple Hearts not because they don’t like the troops or anything of the sort, it is strictly for legal reasons.  I get that some of the lawyers disagree with the DoD’s thinking on this, but I think it is unfair to suggest they have some other reason, absent some sort of proof.

Here is what FoxNews reported that brought this issue to the fore again:

Legislation that would award the injured from the 2009 Fort Hood shooting the Purple Heart would adversely affect the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan by labeling the attack terrorism, according to a Defense Department document obtained by Fox News…

"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."

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."

 Now, most of you will likely agree with Mr. Sher, and I don’t know that I disagree with him either.  But I don’t disagree with the DoD on this one either.

Just for a reminder of the issues involved here, recall what happened with the Haditha case, and the comments of Representative Murtha, who (absent any apparent proof or certainly any legal reasoning) claimed that:

 "There was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Now, those comments ended up playing a pretty significant part in the trial of LTC Chessani later on, as this WND article makes clear:

Courts consider unlawful command influence the “mortal enemy of military justice” because it signifies that at some point during the development or prosecution of the case, decisions were made based on a commander’s opinion or desire, rather than the facts themselves.

“Although the case is far from over, yesterday’s ruling now forces prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the facts upon which the unlawful command influence is based are untrue; (2) those facts do not constitute unlawful command influence; or (3) the unlawful command influence will not affect the proceedings,” the Law Center said.

“The taint of unlawful command influence started from the inception of the investigation, when high-ranking Pentagon officials decided to make Lt. Col. Chessani a political scapegoat to appease a liberal anti-war press and politicians,” Thompson continued.

Now, if you think Murtha’s comments were WAY out of bounds in terms of how it prejudiced the military trial, imagine how the Government would be viewed if it came out and ruled that the Ft Hood shooting was Terrorism, when they didn’t actually charge Hasan with Terrorism.

Now, the question comes up, “Well, why didn’t they charge him with Terrorism?”  And it is a very valid question.  And the answer is again legal.  If you charge someone with a host of crimes, you have to prove each element of each individual crime.  So, if you charge a guy with Murder, Rape, and possession of stolen property for an unreturned library book, then the Defendant gets to present a defense with regards to each element of each charge.  In this hypothetical, the guy could call in librarians, tax specialists etc, and argue that the book was technically his since his tax money paid for the book, and librarians to talk about how many others have overdue books etc.

With Hasan, charging him with Terrorism means that Hasan has the right to defend himself on those grounds.  Now, the 13 murder charges and various attempted murder charges will already put him in the electric chair.  But if they ALSO charged him with terrorism related charges, he would get to defend on that one.  And since he’s already proven he wants to be a martyr, the first thing he would do is put the entire War on Terrorism on trial itself.  He’d call hundreds of witnesses to say that the United States Government is actively trying to kill Muslims, that the military is trying to exterminate people etc.  It would turn into an absolute circus. If you think the case now is taking too long, just imagine a scene where he starts bring in Muslim Scholars and Gitmo detainees to talk about the War.  The military is trying to assiduously avoid that.

Now, is it right?  Is it wrong of the DoD not to charge him with that?  I don’t know.  Each person must make that decision on their own.  But I do know that the lawyers trying Hasan REALLY don’t want to blow this case.  And if “Command Influence” would give Hasan a 1 in a million chance of avoiding what will be his just desserts, they want to make sure he doesn’t get that lifeline.

Either way, The American Legion will be weighing in on this issue later, once the issue of how to properly address it has been looked at by the appropriate Commission.

Posted in the burner | 48 comments
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why try and hang him take him out right after and let the surviors form the firing squad and Then carry out firing sqad duties... And then award them the Purple Heart... Then maybe these Idiots will realize that we as a Nation mean we are not going to put up with these kind of acts.

I agree with Lawrence. It's most unfortunate but it seems workplace murderous rampages are almost a weekly occurrence in this country. Those killed at Ft. Hood were not in a declared hostile theater, they were simply at work. If they are awarded the P.H., then how about those service men and woman who are murdered by a fellow soldier, marine or sailor? Should they too not receive the award.?

Hasan should have been killed at the scene if only because this trial will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. The soldiers he killed had no defense against him. They were unarmed. To say that they only deserve a Purple Heart if they were killed during combat or during a military action is not sufficient. These soldiers were dedicating a term of their lives to the defense of this country. They were left helpless against a man who was only given his rank and authority by a cowardly, politically correct military hierarchy.

I'm stationed at MacDill AFB and riding my bike back to work from lunch. A car runs a stop sigh (on base) and hits me breaking my leg. I'm on duty, I'm on base, and I'm injured because an airman broke the law (ie. running a stop sign). Should I get a Purple Heart? It is the same scenario as the shooting; only a lot worse. Fort Hood is not a war zone and this was not a military action, it was an individuals actions. I just don't know if a major gone mad warrants Purple Hearts. I am really torn on this one.

These's G.I.'s Were Shot By The Enemy of The UNITED STATE'S!!Not A God DAM,!!CAR!!!

Are you serious? I so - your command needs to conduct a urinalysis on you ASAP!

I pray that none of the families of these victims read the garage being posted on here - for you to compare someone who is injured in an accident to being gunned down intentionally for being a soldier, in uniform, on a military installation ...

I seriously doubt you are even in the military or even old enough to vote with your comments - if so, you clearly have no respect for your fellow service members or must be jealous that you weren't given the PH when you fell down and sprained your ankle at PT.

Hey, lets give them the Distinguished Warfare Medal. It ranks higher than the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with V Device. These people were not in a combat zone where their life was in danger 24/7 for months on end. Find some way to to get the survivors expedited benefits.

Solution is simple. Just let him loose. Take him to Ft. Hood for release and let it be known nationally. My guess is the problem will take care of itself and then the medals can be presented.

Sorry these folks were crime victims, but no Purple Heart for that. Seems like common sense to me.

Why is hassan being refred to as Major? If court martial you loose all rank.
It would have been much simpler if the police were better shots

For those of you that have forgotten, New York City, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania were combat zones a decade ago. The whole Country is a combat zone. We will be until either they give up attacking us, they all die or they see the light of day and decide that we are not their enemy. I do not see of those three ideas happening, so I guess that we will be at war until they all die. The soldiers all knew that they signed that blank check. they died serving their Country in a combat zone, give them the PH.

One just cannot believe that there are that many uninformed people that believe if the accused is found guilty, the ULTIMATE punishment will be 'firing squad, 'hanging', the 'electric chair or gas chamber'. To the best of my knowledge the ULTIMATE punishment will be death by lethal injection, and the only federal facility presently authorized to perform such an execution is the Federal U.S. Penetentiary, Terre Haute, Indiana.

Hassan became an enemy combatant when he began firing upon soldiers of the U. S. Armed Forces on a military reservation. Anytime anyone injures, maims or kills any US soldier on any US reservation/installation/site, that soldier should be eligible for the Purple Heart. The wording of the Purple Heart Award can be easily changed without jeopardizing that traitor Hassan's trial. Enough already! Stop holding out on recognition for those that deserve it because of the bearded butt!

Take Him Home Where He Belong's,,Give Him A Ried In A New C-130,,The Best We Have,!!OPEN The Door And Let Go At About Angels 10,ooo.oo,,Wright Over His New Home!!He Survives?Good Fore Us Good Fore Him!! They Won't Print This But,!!But Who Know's He Mite Land In A Snow Bank That Day!!

About the New Army, let me see if I have this right-
Gays in the army
Women in combat
Pregnant women in the army
A clown suit Class A uniform
Can't prosecut a terrorist, how meny years has it been?
Can't even say the word terrorist
Can't give Heros medals
Political correctness before HONOR
Are we sure we are talking about the U.S. Army? IT SURE IS NOT THE ARMY I SERVED IN!

You got that right George. My question: Why is he still alive? In my and your day he'ld be dead.

I'm sorry but I disagree whith giving these brave soldiers PH's they were not in a combat zone nor were they in a fire fight. If we give them PH'S then all soldiers injured during training or any other activity will say they warrant them also. I was in Iraq from 06-07 and soldiers there that got wounded from Mortor attacks didn't get the PH'S because the guideline is very pacific about under what conditions the PH is awarded. This would be a blow too those who have been injured in a combat zone that couldn't receive the PH. yes I believe these soldiers deserv something but then yet. So do all soldiers who serve. So lets be realalistic and move on. We all joined the ARMED FORCES knowing that something can and could happen too us.

Purple Hearts are for wounds received while engaging an enemy, not for random shooting victims... otherwise a bunch of high school kids and church goers and other victims of random shootings would qualify...

The last I checked - the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces has no reason or authority to ever issue or award "a bunch of high school kids and church goers and other victims of random shootings would qualify"

... they MUST be in the military to be eligible for a medal ...HELLO? Anything going on upstairs?

... was the Airman on the bike an agent of a foreign government/cause? Isn't this whole CF over the fact that the POTUS promised them a PH? He's the CinC. He's already assumed dictatorial powers in almost every other aspect of our nation, why is this a problem? Besides, with the plethora of ribbons and medals being given out daily to anyone who simply shows up for work and does their job, however mundane, what's the value in a medal? The system has lost most of it's value at this point anyway. That being said, to anyone who was awarded (not "won" like is so often said, it's not a contest) a Purple Heart in combat, anywhere, anytime, God Bless You!

I received my Purple Heart in Vietnam. Fort Hood is in the US. Other benefits for family is fine, but not the Purple Heart.

I am a retired Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam era. During my career I have seen the awards system so bastardized that it is meaningless. I served as a Marine Corps Representative at a Army base in the '70's. During that time I learned that U.S.Army Captains serving a successful 3-6 months as an infantry Company Commander earned what was called the 'commander's package' consisting of at minimum a silver star, a bronze star, an Army commendation medal and other lessor medals. I was abit vocal about this subject and upon receiving orders to another assignment, I became the first officer, particularly of another service, not to receive an 'end of tour award/medal'. This brings me into full agreement with "Doc O" - you don't deserve a medal for doing your job! The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to individuals receiving wounds as a result of combat action. Being a victim of criminal activity is not combat action. There are a lot of fine individuals in the US Army and most deserve whatever medals they have been awarded. The brass has just got to quit deluting the purpose of the awards by using them to give out 'atta-boys'!

I entirely concur. I was in Vietnam and saw medals handed out for Bravo Sierra. Those who deserved didn't get, and those who deserved nothing did get. As for Nidal, he should be given what he wants--martyrdom--as fast as possible. As for those killed and wounded, certainly they deserve benefits. But a ribbon so cheapened by a government of buffoons and criminals, completely unworthy of those who serve it with their blood--why are we even talking about it?

This is still happening. You hit it out of the park with this comment. bronze stars are a dime a dozen and have lost my respect without the v device. Some people never got credit for being in combat because of the way their command operated. Glad to be out.

Personally, I feel that the U.S. Army is draging this out to long. The SON OF A BITCH should have
been HUNG or put before a FIRING SQUAD with the DECEASED Family members given the fire
POWER to make up a FIRING SQUAD and BLOWED THE SON OF A BITCH to HELL. End of trial for
Family, JUSTICE for FAMILY and then the U.S. ARMY could pay all the money save from the trial
to the DECEASED Service Members Familys. All over except for these self rightous Bastards who
think he deserved a trial. Hassan does not deserve a chance, he did not give these men a chance.

This is one self righteous BASTARD who thinks the accused deserves a trial as guaranteed by the (UCMJ) Uniform Code of Military Justice/Constitution.

You that don't think Ft. Hood wasn't a war zone the day of the shooting are just being arrogant. Shame on you! These are follow American Warriors. Those wounded and killed were attacked by a terrorist in a US Army Uniform. It wasn't friendly fire is was an act of war. This coward needs to be treated like the terrorist he is.

I can't believe he is still receiving a pay-check.

Stop 'dinking 'round' and get on with it! This guy committed murder, with several counts. It doesn't matter if you call it terrorism or not! It's still murder, and there are provisions in the UCMJ that provide for actions for the General Courts Martial convening authority and the ensuing penalty that can be imposed!! 'Get on with it'!!!

Maybe we could give them the "Special Warfare Medal". According to the idiots that created it, it is better than a PH.

I lead a platoon during an operation in Laos during the time frame 11/25-29/70. During that operation my Sergeants received a DSC, 3 Silver Stars and 4 Purple Hearts. I received nothing because I didn't believe the PH I could have received was warranted because while wounded and requiring stiches, the wound didn't happen while ACTUALLY engaged with the enemy at the time of the injury although having now read the regulation, I find that it should have been awarded. The PH is not authorized by law for those soldiers at FT Hood!

I don't think they deserve the PH. If so there would be thousands of others that should get it as well. Did all the folks killed in training accidents get one? No they didn't did they?

I read all the various comments, and I am wondering how our nation cannot be considered as being in a "combat area", as that is exactly what we are being told almost daily by the actions of the DHS and the TSA. So which is it, we are or we are not? If we are not, then we do not need the DHS and TSA and their high handed methods they are imposing on us all. If we are, as they try to allege each and everyday, then give the victims killed, and those who survived, the Purple Heart if they were military personnel. The REAL issue here, is that the VA is falling down on its mission to take care of ALL veterans in a TIMELY manner. Perhaps we should be focused on that issue, and the PH issue will take care of itself over time.

Perhaps the most horrific analysis and total injustice I have ever seen the USG provide to its military! WTF, B.O.? WTF, DoD? The entire chain of command should have the balls to at least submit their resignations for this gross act of cowardice; however, I firmly believe senior leadership is preparing for political days ahead as they are seemingly without exception able to forget about the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines they are suppose to be LEADING. When no one resigned following the HASAN ACT OF DOMESTIC TERROR having been guilty of gross neglect as it pertained to supervising a suspected terrorist, I know no one will do so today. You all are considered friggin' cowards by me tonight! You guys and girls are really stinkin' it up BIGTIME!

Hasan should be treated as an enemy combatant and quickly executed by a firing squad. As a Purple Heart recipient in Vietnam, I have no problem with these people receiving the Purple Heart; especially the deceased and their families. These men were not "hurt on active duty", they were shot by the enemy. The trouble: the military is following orders from the White House and want to be "sensitive" to the islamic community . The military needs to take a good hard look at itself. Under orders, they have allowed our military to be infilltrated by the very people they are fighting. General Washington would be crying at this bs.

I will go along with the "no Purple Hearts" for the victims, for the time being. However, if after the trial and the verdict is rendered, they will not change the ruling and award Purple Hearts, I for one, will do every and anything in my power, to protest vigorously, that decision. I will start by never, repeat never, vote for an incumbent again!!

I seriously cannot believe some of the comments coming from fellow veterans. We are dealing with an enemy that does not belong to any nation state and has openly declared war on the US. The battlefield is everywhere not just in the Middle East. The soldiers were killed and wounded by an enemy who infiltrated our ranks. Hasan was in contact with an al Qaeda leader - al Alwalki - who the US gov't deemed so dangerous that they killed him in a drone strike, and his 16 yr old son. You cannot tell me that Hasan was not a terrorist but agree with the al Alwaki killing. Bottom line is Hasan was in contact with al Qaeda and committed the attack in the name of al Qaeda. Does not matter where the attack occurred or whether those involved were in a combat situation or lining up to get shots prior to deployment. Those disagreeing should be ashamed.

It would be friendly fire until he made the decision to be a traitor. That along puts it in the theater of war.

Because of all this legal rights bullshit and the ACLU waiting to jump in, along with all these righteous no death penalty, God loves everyone spriritualist, I would agree he be tried for murder, found guilty, and face the firing squad. I woul also offer surriving military to be part of the firing squad (make sure no one has blanks so they can all know they helped take him out) [If I was a participant I would try to form and allegiance that no one take any head shots and each pick a part of his anatomy, I would want him to have at least 5 minutes to feel the pain and think about it]. After this peice of shit stops breathing the same air as us, then pass legistlation or whatever legal hoop we need to jump through to declare he was a terrorist, and award all those who were killed or injured a Purple Heart.

Terrorist choose the site of combat, so ANYWHERE becomes the combat zone regardless of what our government declares. Remarkable that our legal system has rendered us so powerless that this individual (and legal team) can hold this case hostage for so long. Quite simply disgusting. Expedite this case now and bring what peace we can to the survivors and families of the deceased.

The oath I took when I joined the US military had me quote, "all enemies foreign and domestic" so where this occurred on foreign soil or domestic soil and whether he was a foreign or domestic should not matter! The only question should be was he an enemy or simply insane?!

The Purple Heart is presented to service personnel who have been wounded by "instrumentality of war". If the long and short of Hasan's court martial determines that he was acting as an enemy combatant at Ft. Hood, the Purple Heart would be appropriate.

How do they reconcile that Staff Sgt. Christopher Braman was awarded the Purple Heart for his actions at the Pentagon on 9.11 with not giving these soldiers the same honor? It seems hypocritical to me. The fact that recognizing the sacrifice of these soldiers would make their legal case more difficult is irrelevant. As someone has pointed out, in the war on terror it is the terrorist who often chooses the battlefield. The fact that these soldiers were not deployed in a combat theatre when they were attacked is therefore also irrelevant. Duty and honor are two things we rightfully expect and demand from our troops, they have an equal right to expect the same from their country. The government needs to do the honorable thing rather than choose the easy way out.

All of old timers have a mind set that the Purple Heart can only be awarded for wounds received during combat. Was Pearl Harbor deserving of the Purple Heart? It was and they were awarded. It was on a much more massive scale than the Ft Hood shooting but it actually is the same. An enemy or our country attacked one of our military bases, not on the same scale as Pearl Harbor and by in individual instead of a country. But the concept is the same. Certainly it was not the fault of the troops wounded and killed that they were attacked by a traitor and enemy of our country. Initially I said that the Purple Heart should not be awarded, but the more I think about this and the fact it WAS an attack on one of our military bases by an enemy then I believe they should be awarded the Purple Heart! And yes I am a Viet-Nam Vet myself and my father was awarded 2 Purple Hearts for his wounds in WWI! Semper Fi DB Wright

Still this Major is in the military, Let's get him shaved then hang him, or bury him up to his neck then stone him or off with his head...... nuff said now lets get on with the trail and put this to rest.. we are watching............,,,,,,,,,

To give you an idea of where I come from you should know I'm a combat wounded Vietnam Vet, I'm 100% disabled & a Purple Heart receipient.
Here's a direct quote from our Army officials in an article published in March 2011 by the NPR.
"To receive the Purple Heart, the Army's current regulations require that a soldier be injured by enemy action and receive documented treatment from a medical officer. "
Therefore, the Major can't be labeled an enemy so the victims can't be awarded PH's. They don't deserve it, they didn't put themselves in conflict with an enemy. They didn't volunteer to give their lives for their country. I DID!!!
If PH's are awarded to these victims I will lose any respect I still have for my country. It would be an abomination & insult to every vet who earned a PH.

The NPR source is wrong about criteria for the Purple Heart. From the actual criteria:

(6) 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.

If the Purple Heart should only be awarded to those injured or killed in a delared war zone, then none should have been awarded to vets wounded and killed in Korean. It was never declared a war. It was simply a conflict. Those wounded and killed in Ft Hood should be awarded the Purple Heart, because they were wounded or killed while performing there duty by one who has been found to be an enemy of the U.S..

If we award these are we going to award Purple Hearts to veterans of VietNam who are ill and/or dying?

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.