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Saying Something Nice Department

After my previous post... On the plus side of the President's martial credentials - while I haven't done the math, I do believe President Obama will hold the record for awarding Medals of Honor not earned on his watch, snatching that crown from President Bush the Younger. And might well be second only to FDR in total number of awards granted under his tenure.

That's not snark, by the way, just observation. One reason this President has so many is his predecessor allowed his SecDefs to essentially hijack the award criteria to "The Medal of Posthumous Honor."

7 Comments

I'm not sure why Obama has awarded so many, reaching back to find people he can give them to. I doubt Alonzo Cushing cares, frankly. Others may. Some truly deserve them, but the numbers make me think Obama is trying to say he doesn't really hate the military and using the medals to hide what he really is. I don't think that should detract from the valor of those men, but there is always that niggling thought when you see him make such an award.
 
QM, you beat me to it.  I was cogitating on this last night and decided that it seems like any other photo op - the member of Congress dishing out food in a shelter, for example.  'Look at me!  I care!  See?  I'm doing something to support/help/honor  (fill in the blank)."

As you say, those receiving them undoubtedly deserve them, but I can't see it as much of anything but a cynical shell game.
 
Clearly this administration has been more diligent in awarding the MOH, and I will not argue if it was or was not deserved in any individual case.  Certainly those from the GWOT (or man-made disasters) in AFG or IRQ are beyond question not only deserved, but getting a bit better in timeliness and recognizing that living as well as dead have earned this bit of ribbon.

However, the retro "look back" to make awards to people who may have been downgraded to a lesser award due to discrimination certainly smacks of pandering and politically motivated discrimination against others who may have been equally heroic, but not of the approved protected classes.

I salute each and every MOH recipient and am in awe of their bravery, but I am not at all trusting of the actions or motives of ANYTHING that Obama does.  He may have done the right  thing, but "why?" will always be an unanswered question.

 
 Just to be clear for you guys - the impetus for many of these "look-back" awards pre-dates Mr. Obama's assumption of residency on Pennsylvania Avenue.  The Cushing award push dates back to the 80s.  

The Asian-American upgrades came as a result of a study conducted in 1996, which cascaded the others.

Don't really think this is his doing.  It's just all coming together on his watch.

 



 
 
I think that an unmistakable characteristic of the trend is that the political element has reentered the mix. Most recent retro awards were upgrades of earlier valor awards, most often the Distinguished Service Cross. The new variable justifying overturning contemporaneous judgments has often been the application of identity politics. These latest three do not seem to have that component, but all haven't entered into the realm of political theater.
 
Or maybe, Ivncenturion, the new awards correct earlier mistakes because the awards were downgraded at the time for exactly for the reason of "identity politics" back in the day.

 
Of course that's possible, but the facts as we currently know them strongly support my assertion. The most important factors in World War II awards of the Medal of Honor, for example, was not ethnicity but rather theater of war, service, and division. Award practices varied greatly by service and the influence of the Commanding Generals of divisions. Political awards in WWII were strongly tied to public relations considerations in order to improve morale at home and shore up political support for the war. It has never been and never will be a perfect system.