Democrats & Liberals Archives

Medals Of Honor

I recently saw a story about a British soldier in Iraq who received the Victoria Cross. That got me wondering why I haven’t heard of any American soldiers getting medals. I googled around and found that Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith got a posthumous Medal of Honor for an action on April 4, 2003. Does it really take two years for the Department of Defense to decide whether someone merits the nation’s highest military honor? And seriously, one single Medal of Honor for the whole operation?

About 12,000 US troops have been officially (I'll get to that) listed as dead or wounded in Iraq with only one Medal of Honor awarded, while President Bush throws around the Medal of Freedom like a Shriner tossing candy from out the clown car in a parade. If L. Paul Bremer, George Tenet, Pope John Paul II, and Estee Lauder for Christ's sake deserve the nation's highest civilian honor, surely there's more than one out of 12,000 US soldiers who deserves to be honored. Despite what Republicans say during political campaigns about combat veterans like Cleland, Kerry, and McCain, they can't all be cowards.

Anyhow, that reminded me of a bill (S.11) the Democrats introduced in the Senate, so I went back and took a look,

Reports show that the DoD may be dramatically underreporting U.S. casualties in Iraq. S.11 requires the DoD to prepare a monthly report on casualties and establishes an advisory panel on medals and decorations to ensure that deserving servicemembers are honored.

Dramatically underreporting US casualties! WTF? I had to look that one up. According to the Pentagon, as of September 15, 2004,

Nearly 17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers.

Granted, those soldiers aren't combat casualties, but they're "lost to the organization" regardless. I hope they're getting the same benefits as combat casualties - because our combat vets get little enough as it is.

So that puts the number of US casualties at over 29,000. Again, out of 29,000 casualties, surely there's more than one trooper who deserves a medal. Sneaking our combat casualties home in the dead of night is shameful, but denying them the recognition they deserve is just despicable.

Make sure our soldiers get the honor they deserve. Ask your Senator to support Senate bill S.11 (full text).

Posted by American Pundit at April 27, 2005 1:54 AM