Good Riddance to a Medal; Remote-Control Skill Does Not Compare to Valor under Fire
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
This administration certainly loves drones, but even that ardent passion has limits. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday put a stop to production of a medal that was to be awarded to drone operators, and not a moment too soon.
It wasnAAEt just the idea of the Distinguished Warfare Medal that offended good sense. The real outrage was ignited by the goofy idea to give it precedence over medals awarded for bravery and valor. The Distinguished Warfare Medal would outrank the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Air Force, Army and Navy/Marine Commendation Medals for valor.
ItAAEs hard to imagine such a bizarre idea coming from anywhere but this White House, where ignorance often trumps good sense. Nobody who has served in uniform, who has survived through enemy fire (or even read about valor and heroism) would have thought such a medal a good idea. Drone operators can strike anywhere in the world with a flick of a mouse, working in the air-conditioned comfort of secure military bases in the United States or Europe. They require great skill and dexterity and they serve with honor, but risk no more than carpal tunnel syndrome or a blister on a thumb as they manipulate a videogame-style controller. That holds no comparison to a soldier risking life and limb on the battlefield.
National Commander John Hamilton of the Veterans of Foreign Wars channeled the collective feeling of his organizationAAEs 1.9 million members in hammering the department to reconsider. The VFW just adamantly believes that medals that can only be earned in combat must rank higher than new medals awarded [for service] in the rear, Mr. Hamilton wrote.
The lobbying effort persuaded Mr. …