Something wrong with this picture

16 people receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.

A pioneer, a preacher, an activist and an athlete are among 16 people who President Obama will honor Wednesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The recipients, said the White House, were chosen for their relentless breaking of barriers and for setting “a standard to which we all should strive.”

The annual award was created after World War II when President Harry Truman wanted to honor civilian service during the war.

Not that I greatly mind. Far from it. The President wants to give Desmond Tutu, a South African who’s done pretty much nothing significant for the United States the highest civilian award possible, have at it.

Just explain to me why only 6 people have received the Medal of Honor for actions in combat in the past EIGHT YEARS.


We don’t have them.

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6 Responses to Something wrong with this picture

  1. Niall says:

    Perhaps we could look at the relative importance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom vs. the Medal of Honor a bit differenently.

    It’s the point of the PMF to honor a large number of people, because we want to believe that there are large numbers of people making the world a better place. It’s very much like the French Legion d’Honneur, which is awarded right and left, to Frenchmen and foreigners alike. Indeed, it’s hard to understand you could avoid getting one.

    Then there are awards which, by the nature of the thing they are honoring, have to be very exclusive and can’t be handed out like candy. Because doing so would devalue them and their recipients. The Nobel prizes are in this category. So is the Medal of Honor. I personally would be offended if the MoH was handed out as indiscriminately as the PMF.

    As for Desmond Tutu getting a PMF, the award itself is not restricted to US citizens, nor just to people who have done something to improve the US itself:

    “It is designed to recognize individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The award is not limited to United States citizens and, while a civilian award, can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.”

  2. fastnav says:

    All true statements.

    I still find it hard to believe that 16 people are deserving of the praise of our country for their actions in one year, and only 6 people have done enough to merit the award of the MoH since 9/11 (and none of them having lived through their actions).

  3. Niall says:

    I think the reason is that categories in which you can distinguish yourself for the PMF are so various and broad, whereas the reasons for awarding the MoH are very narrow. And the MoH has traditionally favored those who died in battle.

    Which isn’t to say more shouldn’t be awarded. But I’ll predict right here if that happened it wouldn’t be more than a day or two before veterans started griping about how easy it is now to get an MoH, when back in their day you had to at least die to get it, and how these namby-pamby leftist socialist Obamaoids just don’t understand what military sacrifice is all about, blah blah blah.

    What do you think about the frequency/distribution of other major military awards of valor since 9/11? I know nothing about that.

  4. fastnav says:

    I think that the Bronze Star has come out far too easily and frequently. It’s to the point now that the combat “V” means something, not the Bronze Star itself.

    The Silver Star… still rightfully earned by those who have done tremendous things.

  5. BC says:

    Apparently all able-bodied, straight, caucasians males are excluded from consideration for this award.

  6. Niall says:

    BC –

    For which award? And how do you know who’s straight and who’s gay?

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