Despite belated Purple Hearts, Ft. Hood victims still don’t have associated benefits

After years of lobbying, applying external pressure, filing legal challenges, and shaming those who denied recognition and benefits as a result of a political commitment to the claim the Fort Hood attack was not terrorism but an episode of “workplace violence,” the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate passed a resolution in December acknowledging that this 2009 shooting was a terrorist attack and its survivors were combat veterans.

Following the passage of this resolution, the Pentagon acquiesced and finally handed out Purple Heart medals to those who sustained injuries in the line of duty. “The Purple Heart’s strict eligibility criteria had prevented us from awarding it to victims of the horrific attack at Fort Hood,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh wrote following the recognition of the heroism of those wounded in this attack. “Now that Congress has changed the criteria, we believe there is sufficient reason to allow these men and women to be awarded and recognized” with either the Purple Heart or, for civilians, the Defense of Freedom medal.”

The White House, which refused to meet with the victims of this attack as recently as one year ago, urged Congress against designating these soldiers victims of an attack right up until he very last minute.

[The victims’ attorney Neal] Sher told Fox News in January there was stiff resistance to the new congressional language requiring a review of Purple Heart consideration. “The administration and the Pentagon,” Sher explained, “they lobbied hard against it. But we worked very hard and we were successful in garnering bi-partisan support for this.”

Presumably, the White House objected to being contradicted by Congress about the nature of the militant Islamic ideology that motivated Maj. Nidal Hasan to kill 13 and wound 32 of his fellow soldiers. But the Pentagon is also apparently balking at its responsibility to treat these soldiers as they would any other veteran wounded in combat.

“The Obama administration has finally acknowledged that those hurt and killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings were victims of terrorism,” Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge reported on Friday. “But while formal recognition of that is set for Friday, when victims will receive the Purple Heart, it may only be symbolic.”

“Fox News has learned as part of its ongoing investigation of the 2009 terrorist attack that the military, at least in one case, is still denying benefits for injuries sustained in the attack,” her report continued.

Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning was shot six times by Hasan in 2009. He still carries two of those bullets in his body. He suffers from irreversible physical damage and post-traumatic stress. After a new Defense Authorization Act was passed last year classifying the Ft. Hood attack as a terrorist act, “Manning submitted new paperwork so the Army would recognize his injuries were sustained in the line of duty,” Fox reported. “But his appeal was rejected by a physical evaluation board, apparently based on a narrow interpretation of the law.”

For some who sustained injuries in that attack in 2009, it looks like they won’t receive justice until the president is finally out of office in 2017.