Three years after a man with ties to Islamic radical groups killed 12 people while screaming “Allah Akbar” over and over at Fort Hood Army base, the U.S. Department of Defense still refuses to call it an act of terrorism.
Instead, the incident is classified as “workplace violence,” despite evidence that the shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was allegedly inspired by Yemeni al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the United States’ top enemies until his death.
The victims of the shooting are not taking the classification lightly. A coalition of 160 victims and family members have created a 15 minute documentary-style video covering the events of that day and explaining why they believe the Fort Hood massacre was, in fact, terrorism.
In the video, viewers hear from Staff Sergeant Shawn Manning, who was shot six times during the attack. Manning calls it “disgraceful” that the Department of Defense will not recognize the act for what it was.
“They were fighting a domestic enemy, they were killed and wounded by a domestic enemy, somebody who was there that day to kill soldiers and prevent them from deploying,” Manning says in the video. “If that’s not an act of terrorism, I don’t know what is.”
According to Stars and Stripes, because the act is not deemed terrorism, victims don’t receive the same compensation that other wounded service members do, such as disability or eligibility for Purple Hearts or medals for valor.
For someone like Manning, this is a crushing blow. Some members of Congress have been fighting the classification since the start, but it hasn’t been enough yet.
Representative Peter King (R–NY) said, “There’s a definite threat from Islamic radicalization in various parts of our society, including within the military, and we can’t allow political correctness to keep us from exposing this threat for what it is.”
The fact is, terrorism is alive in the U.S.—and around the world—whether the Obama Administration will acknowledge it or not. The U.S. has thwarted 53 publicly known plots against our country and counting.
Why the Administration is hesitant to designate clear acts of terrorism as such is baffling. Last month, the Administration famously misled the American people about the murder of four Americans—including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens—in Libya.
As Heritage foreign policy expert James Carafano wrote earlier this month:
Clearly, acknowledging that terrorism is alive and well looks bad for the Obama Administration’s rhetoric, which has portrayed Obama as having vanquished Osama bin Laden and thus ending the “war on terrorism.”
Now that victims are speaking out, will the Administration stop playing politics with America’s national security?
Tomorrow at The Heritage Foundation Bloggers’ Briefing, we’ll hear from Daris Long, who lost his son, Army Private Andy Long, in the Ft. Hood shooting. Long will share his son’s story and why he believes the attack should be classified as terrorism. Join us on our livestream at noon ET.
Be sure to tune in here for tonight’s final presidential debate, centered on foreign policy, to see how President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney would handle these issues over the next four years.