Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No Medal of Honor?

As I've mentioned before, I'm on the mailing lists of a lot of veterans' organizations as well as individual veterans with an axe to grind. Sometimes they have a case...

Consider this latest missive from one of these, an email titled "Something That Didn't Make the News" which consisted of a photograph along with the facts about Marine Captain Brian Chontosh receiving the Navy Cross for outstanding heroism in Iraq.

The facts are not in dispute. Chontosh is an authentic military hero.

What is troubling is the allegation that this is "something that didn't make the news", the underlying allegation being that the SCLM* has been stifling the "good" news about Iraq in exchange for broadcasting the awful news -- you know, the atrocities, the families torn asunder, etc etc ad nauseum.

The intended audience for this is, apparently, that wide spectrum of veterans who have allegedly seen first hand the Liberal Media in play and agree that the same Liberal Media is a bunch of traitors who never look for the good and always broadcast the bad, and who consequently "lost" Vietnam...

Okay, I will stipulate that "the media" is not blameless in any of this, but I would like to point out some basic facts about media coverage any kind of story:

1. The "media" nowadays is pretty clueless as to what is a news story and what is not. After all, since the advent of television news, the decision has consistently been "if it bleeds, it leads"... Shit that requires some kind of thought or reflection really doesn't sell...

2. The Navy Cross, as is well known to veterans, is a Big Deal in the Navy and Marine Corps. Just as big as the Distinguished Service Cross in the Army and Air Force types. Both medals are the second-highest that can be awarded.

3. The Medal of Honor (often referred to, incorrectly, as the Congressional Medal of Honor) is the very highest medal that a grateful nation can bestow on a warrior.

Okay, so here's the scoop: Since the start of the war in Afghanistan and the Illegal Occupation of Iraq there have been a total of only six awards of the Medal of Honor, all of them posthumously.

If you read the citation for Chontosh's award, you will see that in any other war he would most likely have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

This happened under the watch of Bush 43 (aka "Baby Doc" Bush). So the unanswerable question is why did the motherfucker end up being so fucking stingy with the medals?

But back to the question as to why you didn't see this in the media. That's an easy one. As far as the media is concerned (which after all, does reflect public attitude), there's no reason to praise or publicize anyone who is "only" Number Two.

Yeah, no overturned cars, no broken windows, no international coverage of the riots. Think about it: Only the most anal-retentive sports fan can name, off the top of his head, the last five losers in the Super Bowl or the Word Series. Go ahead, try it...

It's actually a shocking (not really) tragedy of the Baby Doc Bush Maladministration that this is happening.

Especially when you understand that the one single US Army engagement that produced the very highest number of Medals of Honor per capita was...

...ready for this?...

...the slaughter of Native Americans at the so-called "battle" of Wounded Knee in 1890.

So gimme a fuckin' break already. Obama, now that you're in the White House, how about a little break for the warriors you were stuck with as a result of your predecessor's wars? How about a review of all the citations for the "second best" medals?

How about giving Chontosh, and his fellow warriors, their due?

* SCLM=So Called Liberal Media