Friday, November 26, 2010

 
Christian Right Activist Blasts Medal of Honor as 'Feminized,' Sparks Fury
Nov. 21, 2010
David Gibson
Politics Daily

While a divided nation last Tuesday finally rallied around one bright shining moment of patriotic glory -- President Obama's awarding of the Medal of Honor to Afghan hero Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta -- a popular right-wing Christian commentator sharply split opinions even within his own camp. He blasted the award as "feminized" because it honors Giunta for saving his comrades rather than killing the enemy.

The Army's official citation details how Giunta "exposed himself to withering enemy fire" during a daring effort to engage the enemy and extract his wounded comrades from an ambush. But Bryan Fischer, a columnist for the American Family Association who has often provoked headlines and consternation with his commentaries, read the narrative as hardly the sort of thing American soldiers were once known for.

President Obama awards Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta"When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire, climbing the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements," wrote Fischer, director of issue analysis for the AFA, a longtime lobby on the Christian right. "That kind of heroism has apparently become passé when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."

"So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things, so our families can sleep safely at night?" he asked.

Fischer based his claim on a line in a column in The Wall Street Journal by William McGurn, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. In the midst of his high praise for Giunta's heroism, McGurn noted that rather than "Rambos decorated for great damage inflicted on the enemy," every Medal of Honor awarded from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "has been for an effort to save life."

In fact, that's not exactly the case. The official account of the first Medal of Honor given for service in Iraq, to Army Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, shows how, among other courageous acts, Smith "braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons," losing his life in the process."...

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