The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


National Security

Obama mourns the shootings at Fort Hood

By Anne E Kornblut
President Obama extended his condolences to families of the Fort Hood victims in his weekly address Saturday -- deploring, on a third day of grieving, that a tragedy of that kind occurred in a place "where our soldiers ought to feel most safe."

"It is an act of violence that would have been heartbreaking had it occurred anyplace in America. It is a crime that would have horrified us had its victims been Americans of any background. But it's all the more heartbreaking and all the more despicable because of the place where it occurred and the patriots who were its victims," Obama said.

He intends to attend a memorial service when it is scheduled, the White House said. Obama has ordered the flags over federal buildings flown at half-mast until Veterans Day on Wednesday.

The full transcript of Obama's speech is after the jump:

I'd like to speak with you for a few minutes today about the tragedy that took place at Fort Hood. This past Thursday, on a clear Texas afternoon, an Army psychiatrist walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, and began shooting his fellow soldiers.

It is an act of violence that would have been heartbreaking had it occurred anyplace in America. It is a crime that would have horrified us had its victims been Americans of any background. But it's all the more heartbreaking and all the more despicable because of the place where it occurred and the patriots who were its victims.

The SRP is where our men and women in uniform go before getting deployed. It's where they get their teeth checked and their medical records updated and make sure everything is in order before getting shipped out. It was in this place, on a base where our soldiers ought to feel most safe, where those brave Americans who are preparing to risk their lives in defense of our nation, lost their lives in a crime against our nation.

Soldiers stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world called and e-mailed loved ones at Fort Hood, all expressing the same stunned reaction: I'm supposed to be the one in harm's way, not you.

Thursday's shooting was one of the most devastating ever committed on an American military base. And yet, even as we saw the worst of human nature on full display, we also saw the best of America. We saw soldiers and civilians alike rushing to aid fallen comrades; tearing off bullet-riddled clothes to treat the injured; using blouses as tourniquets; taking down the shooter even as they bore wounds themselves.

We saw soldiers bringing to bear on our own soil the skills they had been trained to use abroad; skills that been honed through years of determined effort for one purpose and one purpose only: to protect and defend the United States of America.

We saw the valor, selflessness and unity of purpose that make our servicemen and -women the finest fighting force on Earth; that make the United States military the best the world has ever known; and that make all of us proud to be Americans.

On Friday, I met with FBI Director Mueller, Defense Secretary Gates, and representatives of the relevant agencies to discuss their ongoing investigation into what led to this terrible crime. And I'll continue to be in close contact with them as new information comes in.

We cannot fully know what leads a man to do such a thing. But what we do know is that our thoughts are with every single one of the men and women who were injured at Fort Hood. Our thoughts are with all the families who've lost a loved one in this national tragedy. And our thoughts are with all the Americans who wear - or who've worn - the proud uniform of the United States of America; our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen, and the military families who love and support them.

In tribute to those who fell at Fort Hood, I've ordered flags flying over the White House, and other federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff from now until Veterans Day next Wednesday. Veterans Day is our chance to honor those Americans who've served on battlefields from Lexington to Antietam, Normandy to Manila, Inchon to Khe Sanh, Ramadi to Kandahar.

They are Americans of every race, faith, and station. They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers. They are descendants of immigrants and immigrants themselves. They reflect the diversity that makes this America. But what they share is a patriotism like no other. What they share is a commitment to country that has been tested and proved worthy. What they share is the same unflinching courage, unblinking compassion, and uncommon camaraderie that the soldiers and civilians of Fort Hood showed America and showed the world.

These are the men and women we honor today. These are the men and women we'll honor on Veterans Day. And these are the men and women we shall honor every day, in times of war and times of peace, so long as our nation endures.

Posted at 6:00 AM ET on Nov 7, 2009  | Category:  National Security
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Posted by: otisplumber | November 9, 2009 11:40 AM

President Obama should realize that he leads the assembly of democratic institutions the world over, not that of US alone. His repeated rhetoric of protecting American interests betrays his responsibility as a world leader. Reading his speech on Fort Hood one gets a feeling that he would not feel hurt if this had to happen in an Army base in Europe or any other country/ally of the US. He calls American soldiers the best in the world because they tore their fatigues to make tourniquets, etc. He needs to know that any professional soldier, even in a place like Fiji or Chad, would do the same. Trying to immobilize an enemy even when you are grieviously hurt is part of fundamental military/police training, there is no need to tell the world that American service personnel are not Yellows. By his stupid logic, the murderous Pakistani terrosits of Mumbai massacre last November are heroes because they kept on shooting at us commandos though they were grieviously hurt.

Posted by: asitindia | November 9, 2009 10:59 AM

When anyone dies, particularly in a tragic situation it is always difficult to find the right words so say to a grieving family. The burden on the President is no less-- he has to comfort a whole nation.

There is no one who truly loves this country who would not understand how the president feels. We are all in this together. Yes, we also have our personal opinions... but that's what they are --personal opinions.

Leadership is about not making rash statements before all the facts are in.
I can't see where the President has been insensitive to anyone; as he said and rightly so.. such a massacre should not have occured at a place where our soldiers should have been safe. Now that the accused is likely to survive-- lets move aggresively to get answers.

Posted by: Victoria5 | November 9, 2009 10:40 AM

Sorry Mr. President, but you're wrong! This guy is a Muslim who belongs to and participated in Muslim teachings and associated with Muslims who preach traitorous actions against this country and its military. Political Correctness in the military is pure B.S. and should be eliminated! To tell soldiers under your command that all is well and diversity is good when there are some in your midst who will shoot you in the back is criminal on your part! I notice that not once in your carefully constructed blather did you mention that the shooter was a Muslim who has attended a Mosque in Falls Church, Va. run by a militant who supports Hamas!

Posted by: TexRancher | November 8, 2009 7:44 PM

Obama and Anne Hutchison this is for you ----Clearly, Hasan is nothing but a Islamiofascist looser who road the American military system. Doctor? He stands for everything a doctor is not. A total disgrace to the profession and as a fellow human being. Just tell the honest to god truth for once in your careers. Hey, if Hasan were a jew or christian, you dishonest politicians would be big time verbally outraged. ACLU would be chumping at the bits.

Posted by: annlawler26 | November 8, 2009 2:04 AM

Obama should stay away and let the 2 Bush Presidents and Gov. Perry handle the goings on at Ft. Hood, TX.

Posted by: annlawler26 | November 8, 2009 1:47 AM

RE: "bernie_attorney" at 8:26 p.m.

Bernie sez:

"Enjoy Camp David, if you can."

Friend of Roz Mazer sez:

Is it really smart to make your lame psy op sound like a threat against the President?

Well, at least Roz can harvest the IP address, for starters...

Does anyone who matters NOT know what's going on in these "comments" sections?

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 7, 2009 10:41 PM

I was a military leader. If 13 of my people were killed, I'd be there in a nano-second, for their families and for their brothers and sisters in arms. To Bush, it was second nature to be there quickly, and to make it about them, not him. Maybe the widows and orphans will get a nice shout-out at the memorial service, where we'll get yet another preening performance. Remember, it's all about him, just like the Dover photo-op. Forget the speech, which I'm sure will be lovely. You should have been there already. Enjoy Camp David, if you can.

Posted by: bernie_attorney | November 7, 2009 8:26 PM

SENATE INTEL CHAIR FEINSTEIN: Patsy for Silent Military Coup?


Posted by: scrivener50 | November 7, 2009 2:24 PM

I had the good fortune to serve under Eisenhower and Kennedy, men of opposing politics but giants compared to today's politicians. I grieve for the brave men and women in today's military

Posted by: eldergent | November 7, 2009 1:43 PM

Excellent article on Obama's intelligent, thoughtful, strong and moving remarks.

An excellent take on why the Fort Hood shootings occurred--extremely insightful, from an expert on CBS Early Show this morning:

http: //
y/main 5563817.shtml

Posted by: sallybond1 | November 7, 2009 1:14 PM

Barack Hussein Obama who was raised a Muslim should not be making apologies for Muslim terrorists.

Posted by: Jerzy | November 7, 2009 8:52 AM

obama always is full of 1/2 truths. This was a radical muslem terrorist attack as indicated by his scream as he opened fire on soldiers/citizen/taxpayer/voters.
Maybe obama you never received survival training by frankie the communist or rev wright the I hate America radical. Did billy ayers teach you always have Acorn do your dirty work???? I pray to GOD the State attorney Generals will get all of ACORN Computers and bring to Justice the incompetents that have perpetuated this destruction of the Unites states of America.
Thank god on Friday Jefferson got his reccommended Sentence and this along with MADHOFF IS JUST A BEGINNIING. FROM REDSTATE"Friday night, prosecutors in the case of The United States v. William Jefferson (D-LA) issued a memorandum recommending a prison sentence of 27 to 33 years for the former congressman from New Orleans, consistent with Federal sentencing guidelines. Such a long sentence is justified, according to the memo, by the severity of the crimes, flight risk, and the possibility of hidden assets.

Anything approaching the recommended punishment would be the longest sentence ever meted out on given to a U.S. Congressman.


Posted by: bobojake | November 7, 2009 8:48 AM

Obama has acted with extreme insensitivity toward the Fort Hood victims. He seems more concerned with the killer than his victims. Why hasn't he gone to Fort Hood? Has he called any of the victims' families? He's acting with more disdain than Bush did during Katrina.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | November 7, 2009 8:31 AM

Sorry cclaxton, too little, too late. That horse left the barn Thursday. He made a terrible decision not to honor the dead and wounded before he gave a "shout-out" to a Native American "Medal of Honor" winner (actually Medal of Freedom winner). He blames Bush still for everything else, I am sure he will blame Bush for this flub.

Of course, if Bush had done this, we know the WaPo and the other MSM would have jumped him for being stupid and insensitive. As usual, Obama gets a free pass.

Interestingly enough, in perusing liberal websites, they selectively edit this part out of the video. I am sure MSNBC and the regular networks will do the same and turn around and blame Fox News somehow for "bias" if they show the whole speech in its context. What hypocrisy.

Posted by: taocpa | November 7, 2009 8:24 AM

I am more disgusted with the comments from hz9604 jpost1 and sally62 than with the murderer of our patriots. The President's words addressed the feelings and thoughts of our nation about this tragic event. And what do these three UNPATRIOTIC and UNAMERICAN blowhards have to say? Just another excuse try to bash OUR SITTING PRESIDENT.


It won't hurt you to say it was a good speech and appropriate, or just say nothing.

Posted by: cclaxton | November 7, 2009 7:46 AM

I did not see the speech but NBC Chicago is reporting complaints about Obama's insensitivity (remember the Special Olympics comment) and disconnect prior to addressing the Fort Hood event. He gave a "shout out" to a native American chief.

Of course, WaPo will not criticize Obama.

Posted by: hz9604 | November 7, 2009 7:25 AM

Nice piece of teleprompting. Too bad he doesn't understand or believe any of it; but what would you expect from a clueless moron who doesn't know the difference between the Medal of Honor and the Medal of Freedom.

Posted by: jpost1 | November 7, 2009 6:48 AM

Much better speech than the first one where he was mostly in a hurry to talk about his administrations "successes" and jobs.

Guess he needed time to get the speech writers together or to do some scenarios. 13 dead soldiers are not worth letting politics aside for a day and to speak from the heart - politics first, then time to write the words that will make people believe it is from the heart.

Isn't he the commander in chief? Shouldn't he have been by their sides as soon as possible, with his wife?

Posted by: sally62 | November 7, 2009 6:29 AM

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