The outgoing House Armed Services Committee chairman on Thursday used the recent deadly attacks in Canada to condemn the Obama administration’s response to the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
“I was impressed with the Canadian government's swift condemnation of what was obviously an act of terror,” Rep. Buck McKeonHoward (Buck) Philip McKeonCivil rights activist Dolores Huerta endorses California Democratic House challenger Bottom Line Trump pick brings scrutiny to 'revolving door' between Pentagon, industry MORE (R-Calif.) said in a statement.
“I wish the Obama administration used similar language during the Ft. Hood shooting, rather than pretending that 'workplace violence' was an accurate description of a tragic terrorist attack,” he said.
The Defense Department classified the 2009 shooting in which Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people as workplace violence, rather than an act of terrorism. Hasan had been in contact with al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and victims have argued that they should be eligible for extra combat benefits.
For years, Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation that would declare the shooting took place in a combat zone and was a terrorist attack, mandating the awarding of Purple Hearts to soldiers killed or wounded.
In his statement, McKeon noted that such language appears in both the House and Senate versions of this year's defense authorization bill.
“I hope the president will follow Prime Minister Harper’s example and recognize terrorist attacks for what they are,” he said.
In an address to a national audience, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged to intensify his country's efforts against “terrorist organizations,” after a gunman on Wednesday shot and killed a soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The gunman then entered the Canadian parliament building and opened fire before being shot dead by the assembly's sergeant-at-arms.
McKeon wasn’t the only GOP lawmaker to draw a parallel between the attack and the 2009 mass shooting.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement that the Ottawa incident was “all too reminiscent of the attack on Fort Hood.”