It’s been over three years since Nidal Hasan shouted “Allahu akbar” and opened fire at the Fort Hood Military base in Texas. He killed 13 people (14 if you include the child one female soldier was carrying) and wounded 32 others before being taken down by former Sgt. Kimberly Munley and her partner Sgt. Mark Todd.
Munley was honored by President Obama at the State of the Union address in 2010, but now she says she feels “betrayed” by the Commander-in-Chief. In a tearful interview, she told ABD News, “Betrayed is a good word … Not to the least little bit have the victims been taken care of … in fact they’ve been neglected.”
The survivors of the Fort Hood shooting claim that have been denied the recognition and benefits awarded to those that are injured on duty -- like in a terrorist attack for example. The military has denied the victims a Purple Heart, and is classifying the event as “workplace violence” rather than “combat related” or terrorism.
Dozens of the soldiers are now filing suit against the military over the difference, claiming that they have received lower priority access to medical care and financial benefits than veterans and those with “combat related” injuries. They believe that Army Secretary John McHugh and others are avoiding acknowledging the attack as terrorism due to political correctness.
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Shawn Manning was shot six times by Hasan, and two of the bullets remain in his leg and spine. Previously deployed twice to Iraq, he had to retire because of his injuries. Of the higher ups, he says, "These guys play stupid every time they're asked a question about it, they pretend like they have no clue … It was no different than an insurgent in Iraq or Afghanistan trying to kill us.”
Another victim, Alonza Lunsfeld, was shot seven times and blinded in one eye. “It’s a slap in the face,” he says, “Not only for me but for all of the 32 that wore the uniform that day.”
Former Sgt. Munley feels doubly hurt by the neglect, as she now believes that the White House used her for political gain when they invited her to sit next to Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address in 2010. She has no problem speaking out now. “We got tired of being neglected,” she says, “So this was our last resort and I’m not ashamed of it a bit.”
The chairman of the House Homeland Security committee Rep. Michal McCaul is leading the charge to force the military and the Obama administration to give the wounded and dead the recognition and honors they deserve.
"It was clearly an act of terrorism that occurred that day, there's no question in my mind," McCaul told ABC News. "I think the victims should be treated as such."
I couldn’t agree more. These people were heroes, killed or wounded in the line of duty. Treating them as anything other than that does a disservice everyone that serves in the military.
Do you think these soldiers are being treated fairly in the aftermath of the Fort Hood attack?
Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr