http://www.steynonline.com/6257/the-national-disgrace-of-fort-hoodThe National Disgrace of Fort Hood
by Mark Steyn
Steyn on America
April 11, 2014
In After America (available here, he pleads, and the profits of which go to support my free-speech pushback against Michael E Mann), I write inter alia about Fort Hood, and in particular the disgraceful statement by General Casey, and the Pentagon's absurd decision to classify what happened as "workplace violence":
In the days after the slaughter, the news coverage read like a satirical novel that the author's not quite deft enough to pull off, with bizarre new Catch-22s multiplying like the windmills of your mind: If you muse openly on pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, then the Pentagon will put that down as mere confirmation of your long-established "research interests". If you're psychotic, the Army will make you a psychiatrist for fear of provoking you. If you gun down a bunch of people, within an hour the FBI will state clearly that we can all relax, there's no terrorism angle, because, in a micro-regulated credential-obsessed society, it doesn't count unless you're found to be carrying Permit #57982BQ3a from the relevant State Board of Jihadist Licensing.
And "Allahu akbar?" That's Arabic for "Nothing to see here".
Pace General Casey, what happened was not a "tragedy" but a national scandal.
Anwar al-Awlaki and his comrades have bet that such a society is too sick to survive. Watch the nothing-to-see-here media driveling on about "combat stress" and the Pentagon diversicrats issuing memos on "workplace violence" like gibbering lunatics in a padded cell, and then think whether you'd really want to take that bet. The craven submission to political correctness, the willingness to leave your marbles with the Diversity Café hat-check girl, the wish for a quiet life leads to death, and not that quietly. When the chief of staff of the United States Army has got the disease, you're in big (and probably terminal) trouble. And when the guy's on the table firing wildly and screaming "Allahu akbar!", the PC kindergarten teachers won't be there for you.
That's true not just during the attack but for the ensuing half-decade: General Casey and the other "parade generals" (in that useful British phrase) and the vast swollen Pentagon bureaucracy have not been there for them. Mariah Blake has a piece in Mother Jones, of all places, that lays out in painstaking detail how, for Major Hasan's victims, the United States Government has spent the last four-and-a-half years adding insult to the injuries he inflicted.
Full disclosure: If Ms Blake's name rings a bell with readers, she's the lady who interviewed me for the Mother Jones story about Mann vs Steyn. I wasn't too thrilled with the way that turned out, if only because it made me sound a bit of a loon. But, on reflection, I am a bit of a loon, so maybe Ms Blake just zeroed in on the salient feature. Be that as it may, her Fort Hood piece is unsparing in its bleak portrait of what happens after the President, the cabinet secretaries and the other bigshots have departed the memorial service and you've outlived your usefulness as photo-op prop. Take Army reservist Keara Bono-Torkelson, who was shot in the back by Hasan:
She recalls the nurse at the Army hospital where she was rushed for treatment patting her on the head and telling her she was fine. Only weeks later, when she visited her family doctor in Missouri, did she discover that she also had a bullet lodged in her head.
With her injuries, Torkelson—who suffers from back spasms, PTSD, and crippling headaches—found it difficult to do her job. Rather than send her to a special unit for wounded soldiers, as it usually does with reservists wounded in combat, the Army pulled her off active duty and sent her home. She says her paycheck subsequently shrank from $1,400 a month to roughly $200 and she lost her military health insurance, leaving her no access to medical care.
So who did provide her with "access to medical care"? Ross Perot:
The billionaire Texas businessman and former presidential contender paid for Torkelson to go to the Mayo Clinic, where doctors quickly pinpointed the source of her headaches: Besides the slug that had been removed from her scalp, she had multiple bullet fragments in her skull—something her military doctors could have detected with a simple x-ray.
If only they'd bothered. I was in a car accident a few months back - nothing too serious, I thought. But the doctor was concerned enough to make me have a CT scan. Yet, if you're shot in the head by a terrorist at a military base, an x-ray is too much trouble: Take four Aspirin and call me in a year.
Staff Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford took seven bullets, one in the head:
Several months after the incident, Lunsford tried to check into an Army PTSD clinic near El Paso. But he says he was turned away on the grounds that he wasn't injured in combat. Eventually, Lunsford, who served in the Army for 22 years, managed to get into a Navy clinic in San Diego. The Army was supposed to pick up the tab. But instead, he says, it deducted most of the expenses from his paycheck.
Those strictly enforced PTSD rules are fascinating, if only because, when Major Hasan opened fire, much of the media was eager to put it down to "stress". From After America again:
Newsweek called the mass murder "A Symptom Of A Military On The Brink":
"A psychiatrist who was set to deploy to Iraq at the end of the month, Hasan reportedly opened fire around the Fort Hood Readiness Center," wrote Andrew Bast. "It comes at a time when the stress of combat has affected so many soldiers individually that it makes it increasingly difficult for the military as a whole to deploy for wars abroad."
No mention of the words "Islam" or "Muslim," but Mr Bast was concerned to "get at the root causes of soldier stresses". As in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Operative word "post": you get it after you've been in combat. Major Hasan had never been in combat.
But, just as they effortlessly extended the subprime mortgage crisis to explain the Times Square bomber, the same conformicrat "experts" redefined "post-traumatic stress disorder" to apply to a psychiatrist who'd never been anywhere near a war zone. Until November 5th 2009, PTSD was something you got when you returned from battle overseas and manifested itself in sleeplessness, nightmares, or, in extreme circumstances, suicide. After November 5th, PTSD was apparently spread by shaking hands and manifested itself in gunning down large numbers of people while yelling "Allahu akbar!"
The Government of the United States eventually decided, with a straight face, that the mound of corpses at Fort Hood was the result of an outbreak of "workplace violence":
Nine months after Major Hasan's killing spree, the Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered "a series of procedural and policy changes that focus on identifying, responding to and preventing potential workplace violence".
Last week we learned how well that worked out for Fort Hood. But for the victims of the first attack the designation of "workplace violence" was to have profound consequences. From Mariah Blake's report:
Since the attack, Lunsford, who also received help from Perot, has retired because of his injuries—he's missing half his intestines, is blind in one eye, and has trouble walking (a side effect of the bullet lodged in his thigh). He also suffers from bouts of debilitating pain. "Sometimes, I'm immobile in bed for a month," he says. "I can't even go to the bathroom by myself. My wife literally has to wipe me."
If his wounds were classified as combat or terrorism related, he would get three quarters of his active-duty pay, on top of his modest VA disability payments, for the rest of his life. But as it stands, he isn't eligible.
Why not? Fort Hood is no different from Pearl Harbor: That's to say, in both cases domestic military bases were attacked by agents of avowed enemies of the United States. Why should a soldier have to scrape by on 200 bucks a month because euphemizing a jihadist attack as "workplace violence" is more politically convenient for the government?
In her story on the Mann vs Steyn litigation, Ms Blake and Mann's counsel commented on my own public statements about the case. So I note mordantly one detail from her Fort Hood piece - that Army lawyers leaned on the victims not to go public with their dissatisfactions on the grounds supposedly that it would "prejudice" the case against Major Hasan. This is beyond pathetic. Hasan's first words at the eventual trial were: "The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter."
A couple of paragraphs back, I compared Fort Hood and Pearl Harbor as enemy attacks on US military bases. They're different in one key respect, of course: These days a sclerotic republic can't even convict a confessed killer in less time than it took to win the Second World War. Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender: three years, eight months, eight days. Fort Hood to the opening of Hasan's trial: three years, nine months, one day.
Do read Mariah Blake's story in full. These people are invisible because they're inconvenient to the official lies agreed by the government, advanced by the media, and acquiesced in by too many of these soldiers' fellow Americans:
Private First Class Amber Gadlin, who was 19 at the time, braved gunfire to drag other soldiers to safety, even after being shot in the back. During the 2009 Fort Hood memorial, the president praised her for her valor.
That and $4.95 will get you a decaf latte:
Gadlin, who says she can only sit for a half hour at a stretch because of severe back pain, scrapes by on her $1,400 a month disability payment from the Department of Veterans Affairs and has struggled to get treatment for her depression and PTSD. "Having to fight for benefits on top of the injuries and the money worries has made things far worse," says her mother, Lisa Bahr Pfund. "There have been plenty of times I've been expecting a phone call saying she's gone. Meaning, you know, she's taken care of her problems permanently."
It is striking to me that a country responsible for over 40 per cent of the planet's military spending apparently has no money to treat its returning warriors with a modicum of dignity. That it should do the same to men and women gunned down by a traitor who set off every alarm bell and was still allowed to proceed to that table at Fort Hood is an absolute disgrace.