The same day that President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Sal Giunta, its first living recipient since the Vietnam War, a conservative writer posted a lengthy condemnation of what he called "the feminization of the Medal of Honor." The post was written by Bryan Fischer, the public policy director for the conservative American Family Association. Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor for a near-superhuman assault directly into Taliban positions to rescue wounded and captured fellow soldiers. Here's Fischer's case and the understandably unsympathetic reaction.
- 'Feminized' Award Should Privilege Killing Over Saving Bryan Fischer makes his case: "I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized. We have feminized the Medal of Honor. 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. Not one."
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 do Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements.
That kind of heroism has apparently become passe 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?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.
- Goes Against Every American, Christian, Logical Ideal Mother Jones's Adam Weinstein reacts, "I find it hard to imagine that anyone could throw a 'wussy' flag at Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta. Or 1st Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, a Marine who earned the Medal of Honor in Korea for jumping on a grenade and trading his life for that of his fellow Marines. To Fischer, self-sacrifice is feminine, impotent, and weak, and we should spurn it. We should replace the better angels of our nature with our lesser knuckle-dragging, village-destroying demons. ... 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, the Sermon on the Mount, and every theistic calculation of just war theory recorded in the history of sentient consciousness. It is a usurpation of the powers of the Christian God and his son."
- What Makes a Great Soldier? It's Not Killing Pseudonymous U.S. "security professional" and blogger Gulliver tries to wrap his head around this. "It's only after pausing momentarily to consider this perverse complaint that I've come to really consider why the preservation of life is such an important component of nearly every story of uncommon valor: because without meaningful sacrifice, without that 'selfless disregard for his own safety' that seems to grace every MOH citation, without that fundamental knowledge that a man was willing to trade his life for those of his colleagues in the performance of his duty -- without all that, and without our collective belief in all of that, soldiering is just another profession, and the soldier's 'duty' is no more glorious than a mercenary's job."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.