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In a strange twist of terminology, Dalal Mughrabi is considered a terrorist, but Nidal Hasan is not. Al-Qaeda, in the person of Anwar Al-Awlaki, was willing to claim Hasan, but the Obama administration was not willing to let them have him. Not only was the Obama administration unwilling to concede that Hasan, whose business cards identified him as a “Soldier of Allah,” was a terrorist, but it was equally unwilling to concede that the soldiers he attacked deserved Purple Heart medals for being wounded in the service of their country.
Inside the massive heft of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013, buried in sections 551 and 552, was a small attempt to honor the fighting men and women of the armed forces confronting the terrorist threat of Islam, despite the unwillingness of the authorities to recognize its existence.
Section 551 modified the terms under which the Prisoner of War Medal is granted, amending the original text, which reads, “By foreign armed forces that are hostile to the United States,” to eliminate the “Hostile to the United States” part. This was not done because non-hostile armed forces are likely to take American soldiers prisoner, but because giving the medal requires overcoming the refusal of our government to concede that the people taking American soldiers prisoner are hostile.
Section 552 awarded the Purple Heart to the soldiers who had been wounded at Fort Hood and in the Muslim terrorist attack against the recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas. In recognition of the deeply perverse mindset the legislation was up against, 552 included an exception, preventing the medal from going to someone like Nidal Hasan, who perpetrated an attack.
In its long list of objections to the NDAA, the Obama Administration took special exception to the idea of giving Purple Hearts to the soldiers wounded at Fort Hood and Little Rock, describing them as “shooting incidents,” not terrorist attacks.
The initial investigation into the attacks had focused on Hasan’s mosque and his Islamic connections, but that investigation, like the one that might have prevented the attack, was quickly short-circuited. The case has been kept simple by the prosecution, but complicated by the defense, which is still digging through piles of documents, searching for a defense.
By the time the trial begins, it will have been nearly three years since the initial charges were filed against Nidal Hasan. His defenders have tried to close the hearings to the public and to delay the case as long as possible. The Obama administration has tried to hide the terrorist nature of the attacks. Like the dirt heaped on the graves of the dead, the hope is to hide away what happened until everyone forgets.
And in a cell in Texas, a soldier of Allah lies on his air mattress, waiting for rivers of honey and mountains of musk, for silver palaces and the obligatory seventy-two virgins, “dark-eyed,” “chaste as hidden pearls” with “rounded breasts.” While his victims suffer, he waits for paradise.
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