A positive development in the quest for recognition that Hasan's jihad on Ft. Hood was an act of war: US Rep. John Carter, the Republican who represents the Texas district that includes Ft. Hood, is introducing a bill to grant combatant status to those killed and wounded by Hasan ("allegedly") on Nov. 5.
Pvt. William Long, killed by an avowed jihadist outside a Little Rock Army-Navy recruiting station, and Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, wounded, deserve to be on that list as well.
But Carter's bill is the correct first step. Whether the bill passes in a Democrat-controlled Congress is the question. And whether it is debated fully to take in a free-speaking discussion of jihad, Islamic ideology and, Exhibit A, Hasan's Islamically correct slide show, is the question, too.
From today's Austin American-Statesman:
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, will introduce a bill today that would grant combatant status for victims of the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood.
"The attack on Fort Hood was a planned terrorist attack, the same as the attacks against our forces overseas," Carter said in a news release Monday. "Our wounded and the families of those who lost their lives should receive the same treatment, recognition and benefits as if the attack occurred on a U.S. military installation in Iraq or Afghanistan."
Carter's district includes Fort Hood.
If granted this distinction, victims' families would be eligible for greater compensation. The families of soldiers killed in the shooting would receive the maximum life insurance benefit, and permanently disabled victims would receive more disability payments. Currently, families of the soldiers killed are to receive a $100,000 tax-free death gratuity, according to an Army spokesman at Fort Hood.
In addition, military victims would be eligible for the Purple Heart under the bill, and civilians injured or killed could receive its civilian equivalent, the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, which was established by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2001 to honor the victims of the attacks on the Pentagon. The medal is usually given to Department of Defense employees, but the secretary of defense has the authority to bestow it upon any civilian killed or injured defending the country.
Carter spokesman John Stone said the congressman hopes the measure passes quickly.
"We anticipate this will be a noncontroversial bill, and we may be able to convince the committee chairmen to expedite the process," Stone said.
Non-controversial? I hope he's right.