Revisiting the Neutered Medal of Honor Argument

In November of 2010, Rev. Bryan Fischer, who has been called the public face of Rev. Donald Wildmon’s conservative American Family Association, wrote an inflammatory series of four posts titled The feminization of the medal of honor. Occasioned by the award to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who, incidentally, did kill Taliban forces in the process of saving life, Fischer’s theme was, if I remember correctly, picked up by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, et al.

This is just the eighth Medal of Honor awarded during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. . . . When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire . . . and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements.

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 [not helping your argument here, Rev. -- RW] so our families can sleep safely at night?

I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery.

As you can imagine this generated some strong reaction. The Atlantic Wire directs us to an example at Mother Jones, where Adam Weinstein.

To say that killing is the highest virtue for any human being, much less a soldier in the employ of his (or HER) democratic republic, is a repudiation of the Ten Commandments. . . . It is a usurpation of the powers of the Christian God and his son.

Such responses walk right into the liberals-are-soft on-national security trap. Meanwhile, Rev. Fischer probably misses the mark when he speaks of “feminization.”

We no longer fight in defense of the “free world” (unless you’re one of those who believe that Muslims are champing at the bit to enfold the United States into its dream of a caliphate ruled by shariah law). More likely, the change in award emphasis reflects the national ambiguity about U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. Killing in these wars is often less than politically correct.

One can’t help but suspect that if the United States were fighting a war in its defense, such as World War II, the Pentagon would have no qualms about once again issuing medals of honor to natural-born killing machines such as Audie Murphy.