Monday, November 13, 2006

The Only Good Hero is a Dead Hero 

Am I the only one to notice a distinct pattern here? (all emphasis added)
Sgt. Smith's actions saved 100 lives that day, those of his men and the lightly armed medics, journalists and wounded personnel at the forward aid station and command center. His firepower was crucial to their survival.

Two years later, on April 4, 2005, President Bush, awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith and presented it to the Smith family in a ceremony at the White House to an audience of generals, diplomats, members of Sgt. Smith's platoon and former Medal of Honor recipients.

- Ventura County Star, 11/12/2006

Yesterday, on the eve of Veterans Day, President Bush announced that Cpl. Jason Dunham would become the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War for sacrificing his life in Iraq for his fellow Marines. Dunham, assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment, died more than two years ago after covering a grenade with his helmet.
- Honolulu Star Bulletin, 11/11/2006

Two other Marines have reportedly been nominated for the Medal of Honor for heroism in Iraq. Both would be posthumous awards.

Sgt. Rafael Peralta, 25, with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, died Nov. 15, 2004, during the second battle of Fallujah. His unit had been fighting insurgents in a house when he was mortally wounded. He then cradled a grenade to save other Marines in the room.

The other name mentioned is Lance Cpl. Christopher Adlesperger, 20, with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, who died Dec. 9, 2004. One month earlier, Adlesperger, after taking fire from a house during the Fallujah battle, climbed to the top of the house, fired grenades through the roof, shot and killed insurgents as they ran out of the house, and led the charge back into the house to make sure it was secure, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

- Army Times, 11/10/2006

I also recall a Navy Times article that mentioned a possible Medal of Honor nomination for Navy SEAL LT Michael Patrick Murphy for service in Afghanistan. There has not been a Medal of Honor awarded to a living recipient during the action cited since Vietnam. I have no intention of taking due honor and respect away from these brave and glorious men, but I cannot be convinced that there are no equally deserving acts of heroism performed by men (or women) who engaged the enemy, did substantial damage and still lived to tell the tale.

I think we are in danger of allowing this great honor to be recast solely as a victim's medal, which would be a tragedy. We have come to a point where in polite, correct, society violence itself is villianized instead of the motivation and purpose. We have come to believe, as a society, that "violence never solves anything," and therefore to openly and strongly praise anyone based upon their expert application of violence seems an anathema. It's okay if the recipient is dead, because then their actions seem more selfless, more necessary. Besides, they're not there to serve as living reminders that violence, in fact, is sometimes the only way to solve certain things. But it is exactly this fact of which that we, as a society, need to be reminded from time to time.

BTW, CBS carried the news of Cpl. Dunham's honor buried in an "other developments" paragraph under an article with the headline Suicide Bomber Kills 35 In Baghdad. Big surprise, eh?

Damn! Better break out the wallet 

Now that the election is over and the Democrats rule the Congressional roost, what do I expect to see over the next couple of years?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry Was Just Being Kerry 

The buzz over the past couple of days is John Kerry and his remark that, basically, smart kids go to college and get good jobs while dumb kids go into the military. After much outrage he didn't apologize and then kind-of apologized. I've not served on the ground in Iraq (or Afghanistan), but as a Navy man for over twenty years I think I've got a perspective on this.

Was I insulted? No.
Was I outraged? No.

Why? Because I already had very little respect for the man and whatever he had to say his words and opinions do not personally effect me. Do I take it personally when the neighborhood stray takes a dump in my yard? No, because he's just being a dog and I knew long ago he was an obnoxious pest. Perhaps I am cynical, but I expect nothing but condescention and sneering disrespect from that pompous wind-bag anyway (I mean Kerry, not the dog), so it has long ceased bothering me to see Sen. Kerry act like Sen. Kerry. I'll grant him that he probably did not intend for those words to come out like that and he most certainly intended to mean something else, but his whole initial non-apology was because he didn't really see anything wrong with what he said. This crap that "As a combat veteran ... [he] never intended to refer to any troop" is just that. Being a combat veteran does not automatically make you not be an ass, just like being a Naval Officer doesn't automatically make you respect all service members. Talk to anyone who's been in and they're bound to have at least one story of some numbskull officer who thought he was better than the enlisted troops just because he has that commissioning document. I think one would be hard pressed to abuse me of the opinion that Sen. Kerry feels he is better than not only the enlisted service members but the entire officer corps as well. That's just who he is and I'm not loosing any sleep over him acting like the pompous jerk he has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be.

That said, though, I like to see the story get play simply because I believe the more people who have to deal with the fact that this is how Sen. Kerry is and the fact that the Democrats only two short years ago felt he best represented them to be the President, the better informed the American voting public will be.

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