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Steyn on America

The National Disgrace of Fort Hood

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.

from Steyn on America, April 11, 2014

 

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America's Slow Suicide

Mark tells Charles Adler why he believes America is in the midst of a slow suicide.

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Fauxcahontas and the melting pot

Have you dated a composite woman? They're America's hottest new demographic. As with all the really cool stuff, Barack Obama was doing it years before the rest of us. In "Dreams from My Father," the world's all-time most-unread bestseller, he spills the inside dope on his composite white girlfriend: "When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn't be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn't. She could only be herself, and wasn't that enough..."

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The Michael Graham Show

Mark joins Michael to discuss John O'Sullivan's upcoming appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire and more...

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Democrats should let sleeping dogs lie

A couple of days ago, Obama campaign top dog David Axelrod threw in the towel on the dog war. "I thought it was a little absurd to talk about what the President had done as a 10-year-old boy," he sniffed to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, which is as near as the suddenly sheepish attack dog will ever get to conceding that Barack Obama is the first dog-eating president in the history of the Republic...

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Buying 'Buffett Rule' makes you a fool

In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the "war on women," the Republican theocrats' confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences...

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Wait and see how flexible he'll be

As Bob Hope and Bing Crosby observed in "The Road To Bali": "He gets his shirts straight from Paris Cigarettes from the Nile He talks like a highbrow But he plays Chicago style..."

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Land of legalisms

ObamaCare is an affront to self-government: It's not just that the legislators who legislate it don't know what's in it, nor that citizens can ever hope to understand it, but that even the nation's most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension.

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Gradual insolvency about to speed up

I was in Australia earlier this month, and there, as elsewhere on my recent travels, the consensus among the politicians I met (at least in private) was that Washington lacked the will for meaningful course correction, and that, therefore, the trick was to ensure that, when the behemoth goes over the cliff, you're not dragged down with it. It is faintly surreal to be sitting in paneled offices lined by formal portraits listening to eminent persons who assume the collapse of the dominant global power is a fait accompli. "I don't feel America is quite a First World country anymore," a robustly pro-American Aussie told me, with a sigh of regret...

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America's longest war will leave no trace

Say what you like about Afghans, but they're admirably straightforward. The mobs outside the bases enflamed over the latest Western affront to their exquisitely refined cultural sensitivities couldn't put it any plainer: "Die, die, foreigners!" And foreigners do die. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Loftis, 44, and Army Maj. Robert Marchanti II, 48, lost their lives not on some mission out on the far horizon in wild tribal lands in the dead of night but in the offices of the Afghan Interior Ministry. In a "secure room" that required a numerical code to access. Gunned down by an Afghan "intelligence officer." Who then departed the scene of the crime unimpeded by any of his colleagues.

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The all-you-can-eat salad bar of rights

CNN's John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers: "Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?" To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of The Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about "the Obama administration's dictate that religious employers provide health care plans that cover contraceptives." Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen's response for the Age of Obama: "I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans."

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Sorry, Newt. Only the debt ceiling will reach the moon.

Had I been asked to deliver the State of the Union address, it would not have delayed your dinner plans: "The State of our Union is broke, heading for bankrupt, and total collapse shortly thereafter. Thank you and goodnight! You've been a terrific crowd!"

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GOP not so 'Grand'

VIDEO: The Republican primary process hasn't left Mark Steyn filled with hope for the near future. Find out why in this interview with Michael Coren on The Arena.

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Ron Paul beckons GOP to Fortress America

In the 2010 election the New Hampshire Republican Party took 298 out of 400 House seats, 19 out of 24 state Senate seats, and all five seats on the Executive Council. A little over a year later, in the state's presidential primary, the same (more or less) electorate gave over 56 percent of its votes to a couple of moneyed "moderates," one of whom served in the Obama administration and the other of whom left no trace in office other than the pilot program for Obamacare. Another 23 percent voted for Ron Paul.

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Politics trumps Left's empathy

Lest you doubt that we're headed for the most vicious election year in memory, consider the determined effort, within 10 minutes of his triumph in Iowa, to weirdify Rick Santorum

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Our Sick State

A couple of months back, I was with a friend of mine when she suddenly collapsed and I found myself having to run her to the emergency room. After a fairly harrowing 14 hours, the hospital released her, the doctor writing her a prescription for the still-very-intense pain she was in. So we stopped at her local Kinney Drugs in Vermont. Despite having been called in by the doc, the prescription wasn't ready. Come back in an hour. Heigh-ho. So we left it an hour and a half, and then, not wishing ...

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THE COCOON OF DENIAL

Ring in the same old same old

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THE GINGRICH GESTALT

Newt's world is one of more government, more bureaucracy, more dependency

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MORE MORE MORE. HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?

As the SS Spendaholic heads for the abyss, Steyn proposes a new national anthem

 

NO MAN'S LAND

Steyn on Penn State: What's illegal, what's wrong, and what's the difference.

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AUSTERITY FEVER GRIPS WASHINGTON!

...from the Superfriends' Supercommittee to the Social Security lifestyle glossy

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REVOLUTION KARAOKE

The grand convergence of the non-productive classes

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DIAPER CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN

It's Awareness-Raising Day Awareness Day!

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MOMENTARY MADNESS

The youth of "Occupy Wall Street" share the same assumptions as their parents and grandparents

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BIG SLOTH AND THE AMERICAN AUTUMN

It's American Autumn ...and you know what comes after that: America's college kids demand more government-funded lethargy

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SOFT SELL, HARD CONSEQUENCES

There was no due diligence on Obama in 2008, and the press has no plans to change that.

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IN THE DANGER ZONE

'It's the end of the world as we know it," sang the popular musical artistes R.E.M. many years ago. And it is. R.E.M. has announced that they're splitting up after almost a third of a century. But these days who isn't? The eurozone, the world's first geriatric boy band, is on the verge of busting apart. Chimerica (Prof. Niall Ferguson's amusing name for the Chinese-American economic partnership that started around the same time R.E.M. did) is going the way of Wham!, with Beijing figuring it's ...

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THE "PASS THIS BILL NOW!" BILL

The president has taken to the campaign trail to promote his American Jobs Act. That's a good name for it: an act. "Pass this bill now!" he declared 24 times at a stop in in Raleigh, North Carolina, and another 18 in Columbus, Ohio, and the act is sufficiently effective that, three years into the Vapidity of Hope, the president can still find crowds of true believers willing to chant along with him: "Pass this bill now!" Not all supporters are content merely to singalong with the ...

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THE HOLE AT THE CENTER

Guest-hosting for Rush on Friday, I mentioned that, for a writer, one of the pleasures of doing the show is that a listener's call will start your mind heading to places it might never have got to if you were just sitting in a room typing away. One example of that occurred last year when I was hosting the show during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, and my resulting riff attracted a lot of commentary. I subsequently expanded my thoughts in After America, and it seems appropriate to excerpt ...

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LIFE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT

That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the "debt ceiling" negotiations the other day: "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today." It's always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to ...

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