Some disturbing news came out of Washington, D.C., this week concerning President Barack Obama that coincided with his annual State of the Union address. It was three years ago that Obama gave what some would call a hero’s welcome for a police sergeant and her partner who helped stop a deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas.
Sgt. Kimberly Munley sat with first lady Michelle Obama during that 2010 State of the Union address while the president promised Munley that she and other victims of the Fort Hood slaughter would be given the care they deserved.
To refresh memories, an accused shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, still awaits a military trial, suspected of killing 13 people and injuring another 32 at the military base in November 2009. The disturbing news is that Munley and others are now suing the military because it refuses to call what happened three years ago an act of terrorism and, instead, call it “workplace violence.”
The lawsuit stems from what Munley and others claim has been a failure on the part of the government to take proper care of the victims, something our president “promised” as part of a political opportunity three years ago.
All of this came to light during an exclusive ABC broadcast on its nightly news with Diane Sawyer and its later “Nightline” show a few evenings ago.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems to employ politics over policy far too often. The fact that the victims of the Fort Hood shootings are somehow forgotten today after they played an important political role during Obama’s State of the Union address three years ago shouldn’t come as a surprise.
What is shameful is that these dedicated soldiers are being denied what should be justified, but certain military leaders are balking because of what many are calling “political correctness” in handling the Hasan trial.
Unless Maj. Hasan is found guilty of terrorist activity – and there is plenty of evidence to support that claim – victims may never receive benefits accorded military personnel in combat situations, including awarding of purple hearts. Their benefits have fallen far short of what they would have received if injured in combat.
It’s hard to fathom that it has taken more than three years for Maj. Hasan to face trial. Until that happens, Munley and others will undoubtedly continue to suffer.
Fast forward to Sept. 11, 2012, and the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. There is no question in my mind that the Obama administration whitewashed the entire incident because of the proximity of the November 2012 presidential election. Again, it was politics over policy.
Evidence continues to mount that the attack, which resulted in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others, was a planned event and that Washington knew well of the escalating dangers at the consulate prior to the incident.
Enough of a smokescreen was established, claiming the attack was a spontaneous result of a protest of the video, “Innocence of Muslims.” No question the confusion that ensued got the current administration through the November elections without too much collateral damage.
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice could not have been too happy with the outcome since it probably cost her an opportunity to become secretary of state in Obama’s cabinet. Her explanations of the attack, which were later discounted, became the beginning of the end of those political aspirations. Someone had to take the fall, I suppose.
A bit closer to home and certainly not as graphic as Fort Hood or Benghazi was an incident last year involving the president during a campaign swing in Seattle.
Our son, Kevin, who commanded a Blackhawk wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in nearby Tacoma, was part of an escort for President Obama during a campaign visit. Kevin ferried members of the White House press corps during the brief hops around the Emerald City.
Weather conditions for that day in Seattle were atrocious, but the campaign activities moved forward. Kevin has flown in some pretty harsh environments, including missions in Afghanistan where wind, dust and snow hampered flight operations.
As soon as the presidential orders were followed, all of the helicopters were grounded in Seattle and pilots and crews were returned to the base via ground transportation. All agreed that the conditions were far too dangerous for flight. Missions in hostile territory would have been scuttled in similar weather. The choppers were recovered and flown back to Lewis-McChord a few days later – when conditions improved.
Again, the administration chose politics and fundraising over the safety of our military. If this was a trip of national concern, I could understand the importance of the mission. But, this was nothing more than a Democratic fundraiser.
Fortunately, there were no incidents and all the pilots and their crews completed their duties unscathed.
Just once I would like to see the president choose policy over politics.
Bill James is a former editor and publisher of the Daily Republic, now living in Meridian, Idaho, a suburb of Boise.