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Somber trip to Fort Hood for president

By Philip Rucker and Michael D. Shear
FORT HOOD, Tex.--President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will make a somber trip here Tuesday to attend a memorial service for those killed in last week's rampage at this Army post, the largest military installation in the nation.

The visit comes as Obama's administration -- including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the military -- is struggling to understand the motives of Army Major Nidal M. Hasan, accused of fatally shooting 13 people and wounding dozens of others.

The president will speak at the memorial service, giving him another opportunity to express outrage over the deaths and to tell the nation that the government is taking steps to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Before the service, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central time, the Obamas will meet privately with the families of those who were killed. They will visit wounded soldiers at the post's Darnell Army Medical Center after the service, White House officials said.

The memorial is open to the general public and can accomodate about 3,000 people. In addition to Obama, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. also will speak. There will be a sermon, a roll call of the names of the dead and a 21-gun salute -- all aimed at facilitating the grieving process for soldiers, civilians and family members at Fort Hood, Army officials said.

Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, Fort Hood's commanding officer, said the service would be a traditional ceremony, similar to those held to honor those who die in combat.

"This is what we do," said Cone said. "This is a process that we as soldiers go through and many of our families have been a part of this...It will be familiar and comfortable to many of our soldiers."

Security was increased on the post in advance of Tuesday's service. For reasons of both safety and privacy, workers stacked 4,700-pound steel shipping containers, three high, around the perimeter of the memorial service site building--creating what some soldiers dubbed "the Great Wall of Fort Hood."

Cone said Army officials are working to create a renewed sense of safety on the post, where about 50,000 soldiers and civilians are stationed. "This cannot become a battlefield," he said.

In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama said the tragedy of the shooting was compounded by where it took place: a way station at a U.S. military base where soldiers are processed before heading into battle.

"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," Obama said.

With the U.S. fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama acknowledged in an interview broadcast Monday night, men and women in the armed serves are under the "most severe stress."

"There are going to be instances in which an individual cracks," the president told ABC News. "I think the questions that we're asking now -- and we don't have yet complete answers to -- is is this an individual who's acting in this way or is it some larger set of actors? You know, what are the motivations? Those are all questions that I think we have to ask ourselves."

Cone said 27 of the soldiers injured in Thursday's shooting have been released from hospitals and most of them are expected to attend the service. Fifteen soldiers remain hospitalized, eight of them in intensive care, Cone said.

Obama will return from Texas to Washington Tuesday evening and make final preparations for for a 10-day trip to Japan, China and Singapore. One highlight of that trip will be what administration officials are calling a major speech in Japan about relations with the region.

Before he leaves, Obama is expected to hold a final meeting Wednesday with his military advisers as he weighs his options for the war in Afghanistan. A decision on sending additional troops to that war zone is expected in the coming weeks, likely after Obama returns from Asia.

By By Philip Rucker and Michael Shear  |  November 10, 2009; 7:48 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama , National Security  
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The only other president in my lifetime who could have given this speech was Ronald Reagan. If he had, all of you devout ladies and gentlemen would have applauded and wiped away a tear.

It's so sad that you can't hear this American president give a moving tribute...from where ever it is that your head and your heart is located.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | November 11, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

This is a direct result of comrade obama and the democrats policies. And to some degree Bush as well. When political correctness supersedes security, this is what you get. How many more attacks from within by muslims will it take before the left wakes up.

Posted by: California_Irishman | November 10, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

So,once again we find The Annointed One,
His Arrogance Barack Hussein and Michelle
Obama using the Memorial Service for the
Victums of His Fellow Muslim Terrorist Mass
Murderer and using this as a pathetic excuse to jet set off to Asian on another
World Apology Tour as well..And,which all
also allows Ditherer in Chief Obama yet
another feeble excuse to stall and do even
dithering about troop levels for Obama's
War in Afghanistan as well.. So when in the
Hell are we going to Impeach & Execute
Muslim Terrorist in Chief Barack Obama for
Hig Treason? How Disgusting You are Obama!

Posted by: loneeagle1938 | November 10, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree... I bet it isn't a minute into his speech and somehow.. someway.. he will blame Bush for this tragedy.

he of course will not say it was a MUslim extremist and an act of terrorism. That would be insenitive. Perhaps he can apologize to the Muslim world again while he is there...

You would think he could fit the Berlin Wall into his "road trip" but I guess that would acknowledge the greatness of Reagan.. So once again, Obama is "dissing the rest of the world like he has already done so many times by saying it isn't worth his time to go.

Posted by: tbastian | November 10, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

How long do you think it will be before President Obama, his aides, and the media will put the blame on President Bush? I can hear it now - "we inherited this".

Posted by: Linda7 | November 10, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

it was 6 weeks before Christmas...
with no jobs in sight...
because health care for scrooge obama
is all the people deserve...

Posted by: DwightCollins | November 10, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"The president will speak at the memorial service, giving him another opportunity to express outrage over the deaths..."
When did obama express outrage over the massacre? I must have missed it. I saw only the brief statement after his "shout-out" to Crow for the wrong award. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | November 10, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse


Until an investigation independent of the military determines what happened and why, Hasan must be regarded as a suspect, and possibly, a victim who could have been under external influences -- pharmacological, technological, psychological, or any combination of same. Think "Manchurian Candidate."

That's assuming credible witnesses have definitively identified Hasan as SOLE gunman and haven't confused him with another person, or persons, in similar attire.

On Friday, it appeared that the FBI has been designated by POTUS as the lead agency in the investigation and that the Army's own Criminal Investigation Division would assist. Hopefully, Obama won't reverse course on that prudent presidential directive.


• Deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya confirms the essence what unjustly targeted citizens worldwide -- including this journalist -- have been reporting for years...

...MILITARY, SECRET SERVICES, AND INTEL AGENCIES of many nations, including the U.S., silently assault and torture "targeted individuals," including those regarded as "dissenters" or slandered as undesirables, with debilitating, health-degrading, "slow-kill" electromagnetic microwave and laser radiation weapons systems -- reported to include a nationwide installation camouflaged as cell towers, along with satellites and portable weaponry.

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Obozo should address the 5th column of moslems in our military and country. As a liberal military hater he will dodge this issue, I'm afraid

Posted by: bnichols6 | November 10, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see if our President has the courage to "speak truth to power" and call what he has tepidly labeled as a "crime against our nation" as the unspeakable "act of terrorism" that it is. As he speaks words of comfort to Ft. Hood's grieving families and soldiers, will he assure them that he fully understands why they serve our Nation at what he calls a "way station where they are processed?" Or will he once again leave an impression that his role as Commander in Chief is beyond his pay grade?

Posted by: mpwynn | November 10, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow 3 posters blast the President of the United States for going to a service for dead soldiers. These are truly bad times in this country.

Posted by: rharring | November 10, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

As a former USAF officer it,is difficult to express my feelings about a muslim terrorist attack within our own Army. How could the nation and the US Army allow such a travesty to take place, is beyond me.

As the President of the United States, Obama should go to Fort Hood, but as a man and as an arch-leftist who is wrecking this county, he should stay away. If I was at Fort Hood, I would not want him there. These are troubled times in our nation.

Posted by: walterndebby | November 10, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

While President Obama is at Fort Hood mourning the results of this tragic occurrence perhaps he might ponder the thought that the unemployment rate of servicemen and women is higher than that of the general populace. What a manner in which to treat those who have served their country at the risk of their own lives.

Posted by: mpomroy | November 10, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Let's see how Odumbo keeps his politically correct agenda going. It will be a farce.

Posted by: tjhall1 | November 10, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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