Purple Heart for Soldier Killed in Arkansas?
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) has joined lawmakers from Texas and Arkansas who have been lobbying to have victims of the Fort Hood and Arkansas recruiting center attacks awarded Purple Hearts.
At a hearing Wednesday, Lieberman said he will try to insert an amendment in the annual defense authorization bill (currently in conference committee) to award a posthumous Purple Heart to Army recruiter Pvt. William Long, who was killed in a brazen 2009 shooting by a radical Islamic adherent.
The Purple Heart is awarded for wounds due to combat. In order to award the medal, the US government would have to recognize the attack in Arkansas by Abdulhakim Muhammad — now serving a life sentence for the attack — as an act of combat by the enemy. The same justification might ultimately be used for every other attack by terrorists inside the borders of the United States, including the attack at Fort Hood (“allegedly”) by US Army Maj Nidal Malik Hasan.
Interestingly, that would also open up such attacks to charges of treason under Article 3 of the US Constitution, since in declaring the attackers enemy combatants, they would be “levying war” against the United States.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort… – Article III, Section 3, US Constitution
The Congress isn’t calling for the honors for political reasons:
Lawmakers at Wednesday’s hearing heard testimony from Daris Long, the father of the soldier killed in Arkansas. He said his family felt disrespected and disheartened by the military decision not to fully honor their son’s death with the Purple Heart.
Military officials said they sympathized with Long’s family, but the law as written prohibits awarding medal in this case.
Senator Lieberman recently said “violent Islamist extremism” was responsible for the only deaths by terrorism in the US since September 11th — all of which were members of the US military (one was retired, serving as a civilian).