The military victims of the jihad attack at Fort Hood will finally receive their Purple Heart medals, as a result of
[a] decision by Army Secretary John McHugh [which] follows a change in the medals’ eligibility criteria mandated by Congress, according to the Army announcement. It also comes after a years-long battle by the victims and their families in the aftermath of what was the worst shooting rampage on a U.S. military installation.
Thirteen people [sic; one of the soldiers was pregnant] were killed and more than 30 wounded in the November 2009 attack by former Maj. Nidal Hasan.
Hasan was convicted in August 2013 of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.
Civilian victims are now eligible for the PHM counterpart, the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, an award forged by Donald Rumsfeld in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This is, of course, good news. However this decision bids a few question. Before I ask those questions, let’s remember the original purpose of the Purple Heart medal: to recognize the physical sacrifice(s) of those who engage/are attacked by the enemy.
Excerpts from Wikipedia:
- Dated February 23, 1984, Executive Order 12464, 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.
- Public Law 99-145 authorized the award for wounds received as a result offriendly fire.
- The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed. Specific examples of services which warrant the Purple Heart include any action against an enemy of the United States; 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 a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces; or as the result of an act of any hostile foreign force.
- After 28 March 1973, as a 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 the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack.
- The Purple Heart is not awarded for non-combat injuries.
The changed eligibility criteria in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act is described as follows.
Congress redefined what should be considered an attack by a “foreign terrorist organization,” according to the Army. The legislation states that an event should now be considered an attack by such an 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.”
It isn’t surprising, however, that the lawyers who represent most of the families of the victims have harsh words for the bureaucracy which kept the medal criteria from being changed for so long. Remember the phrase “workplace violence?”
Now here are my questions.
- Does the president have to sign this change?
- If so, has he?
- If he hasn’t, do you think he will find a way to get out of it?
- If he already has, what will it mean toward his policy toward “radical” Islam?
- Will he get back up on his high horse about
terrorist attacks workplace violenceterrorist attacks in the name of religion?
I’ll wager that the answer to number five is ‘yes.’
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.
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