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article imageObama: Fort Hood shooting 'despicable' and 'heartbreaking'

By Salim Jiwa     Nov 8, 2009 in World
In his weekly radio address President Barack Obama described the Fort Hood shooting as despicable and heartbreaking, but he also praised the patriotism of many faiths and races in an apparent bid to stem a backlash against minorities.
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the lowering of flags across federal installations and naval ships and described the Fort Hood shooting which took 13 lives and left 30 wounded as a crime against “our nation.”
“Thursday’s shooting was one of the most devastating ever committed on an American military base,” Obama said in his weekly radio address on Saturday.
“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.
“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 (soldier readiness processing center) 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.
Obama, according to a transcript of his radio address, said troops stationed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan were stunned by the news of the attack on U.S. soil.
“Soldiers stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world called and emailed loved ones at Ft. Hood, all expressing the same stunned reaction: I’m supposed to be the one in harm’s way, not you.
“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 Ft. 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.
He also asked Americans not to doubt the loyalty of those who are from other faiths or race because of the incident involving Dr. Nidal Hasan – a U.S.-born man of Palestinian descent.
In an apparent bid to stem a possible backlash against minorities in the army, Obama praised the patriotism of Americans who are from different races and faiths.
“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," he said.
" 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 Ft. Hood showed America and showed the world," the president added.
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