Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rejected Honor

I had posted on Jesse MacBeth- Rush's "phony soldier"- back in May. The NYTimes Seven, I do not consider "phony soldiers". Their opinions deserve respect, even as we on the right may disagree (2 of them have since been killed).

However, the Jimmy Masseys, the Scott Beauchamps, the Josh Lansdales, the Tom Harkins, and even the Jeff Engelhardts are not war heroes. Some are fakes; others are kerrymandering opportunists.

What about Lt. Ehren Watada? Conscientious objector, or a disgrace in uniform? Adam Kokesh?

Others, like Cloy Richards, leaves you wondering.

Kevin Tillman is a patriotic American who served; but who sounds as if he's gone to the Kos cooler for one too many glasses of kool-aid.

Then there is Josh Gaines:

Josh Gaines, 27, plans to mail the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He said he will do so during a protest scheduled for Wednesday in Madison.

“I’m going to give those back because I truly feel that I did not defend my nation and I did not help with the Global War on Terrorism,” said Gaines, who lives in Madison. “If anything, this conflict has bred more terrorism in the Middle East.”

Gaines served a yearlong tour in Iraq between 2004 and 2005 with the U.S. Army Reserve. He spent his time guarding two military bases and issuing ammunition to soldiers but never fired a weapon, he said.

I will not disparage Josh Gaines' character. He served his country and expressed his disatisfaction with the war.

Jonathan Dedering, a Students for a Democratic Society activist who is helping organize Wednesday’s protest, said it’s extremely rare for Iraq veterans to return their medals. The tactic was a more common form of protest among Vietnam veterans.

“To many Americans this will be a very big deal,” Dedering said in an e-mail message.

A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War agreed.

“I don’t know any soldiers who have served in Iraq and have returned their medals,” said Sholom Keller, who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and has decided to hang on to his medals. “I personally am not into theatrical displays, but I would say that this individual’s actions are commendable.”

President Bush created the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal in 2003 to honor those who served after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Department of Defense reauthorized the National Defense Service Medal for the same purpose in 2002.

So how dramatic and significant is the act of giving back "attendance" medals? Jeff Emanuel serves up some perspective:
First of all, when I read this story to the group of people I'm sitting with right now -- a Lieutenant, a Sergeant First Class, a Staff Sergeant, a Sergeant, and a Specialist in the active duty US Army -- and in the place I'm sitting right now -- in Samarra, Iraq, with a unit (which these gentlemen are members of) that has served 14 months of its 15-month tour here (and has lost twelve men during that time) -- the result was not horror, but laughter. Genuine, serious laughter that somebody would be such a publicity-seeking idiot as to do something like this at an orchestrated protest.

The laughter -- and scoffing -- grew as the soldiers here heard that the medals that Gaines (who was once an Army Reservist, and who -- according to the AP -- "served a yearlong tour in Iraq between 2004 and 2005" in which he "spent his time guarding two military bases and issuing ammunition to soldiers but never fired a weapon") was returning were, as mentioned above, the "Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal," of which, according to another supposed Army veteran, "most veterans of Iraq have earned at least one."
Emanuel goes on to tarnish and minimize the significance of Gaines' bold, daring act of political defiance:
both of those medals are automatically given to every single person who goes to Iraq. In fact, the National Defense Service Medal is given to every single soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine who has served on active duty (including called-up Guard and Reserve), “…from 11 September 2001 to a termination date to be determined in the future.” The NDSM isn’t an Iraq medal: every active serviceman receives it.

The Global War on Terror (GWOT) Expeditionary Medal is automatically awarded to any individual who deploys not just to Iraq or Afghanistan, but to any one of thirty-three countries (or eleven different bodies of water), for thirty consecutive or sixty nonconsecutive days, in support of the GWOT. True, this award is related to – and a product of – Mr. Gaines’s Iraq deployment, but again, he would have received it for any of a number of different assignments and deployments throughout the world. It is not an Iraq-specific award.

The point here is that those are the automatic medals. Virtually every single serviceman who deploys to Iraq and conducts themselves with a modicum of professionalism while there (in other words, who is not such an utter dirtbag that they are simply awaiting the proper paperwork to be administratively removed from the Army) receives another award for their tour. Depending on what they did, that could range from an Army Commendation Medal to a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, or could be any one of several other things. Either Mr. Gibbons is holding out on his liberal friends (and holding back gifts from his good friend Rummy), or he was such a poor soldier in Iraq that he received no award for his entire tour -- just the automatic medals, which recognize no award-deserving achievement whatsoever.
I certainly do not think of these commendation medals as worthless. Anyone who enlists, especially during wartime, deserves recognition and gratitude for their military service. These medals recognize that fact. It's just too bad Gaines can't disagree with the war and still be proud of his service to his country. Instead, his medals have become a political prop for the left and a personal source of shame.

Hey! At least we have to give him kudos for shipping his real medals to former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and not throwing "ribbons" over a fence in order to claim 20 years down the road, medals on chest, how proud he was to have served in the successful "pacification of Iraq". Nope. 50 years down the road, Gaines can proudly tell his grandchildren he has no medals to show them, because: “I truly feel that I did not defend my nation and I did not help with the Global War on Terrorism

If only he had a Bronze Star or Silver Star Medal to return back to Rumsfeld. Then he'd really be the political tool hero of the anti-war movement and Bush-haters and have something else not to show his grandkids.

Further reading...

Ray Robison- Phoniness In and Out of Uniform
Michelle Malkin on Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy



Blogger Gayle said...

As your post proves without a doubt, there is indeed more than one phony soldier out there! Reid's rant against Rush is so transparent, and I love the cartoon. :)

Rush demanded that Reid come on his show and confront him like a "real man". LOL! How in the world can Reid do that? The only thing "real" about him is his hypocrisy. No, lying Harry does not fit my idea of a "real man" in any way.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 7:49:00 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

Word, If you wonder why I did the post about the my Father's experiences that I did this exactly the reason why.

My Father saw some of the most horrendous carnage anyone can imagine when letting the doors down on that boat he was on. He had a six inch thick piece of metal to crouch behind when the doors came down but the soldiers that were cut to ribbons before his eys were in the open and had no chance against direct machine gun fire and not just once or twice but until all the 1800 or so soldiers had been put ashore.

Yes, he saw some horrific things but didn't talk about it much. There were some absolutely huge blunders but that is a part of war and if people can't except that then maybe they should surrender and be under the boot of tyranny like those Fillipinos my Father described to me whose bodies were mangled so badly they were barely recognizable as human beings.

There are veterans from every war that feel as though they have been wronged by being sent to war. That's the way it is. If there are a few of them now just imagine if the democrats submit to morondot org and we surrender and lose this war, running away from the fight with our tail between our legs. If there are a thousand disgruntled service people now, there will be hundreds of thousands if we run away.

I was very angry at the way Rumsfeld and the Generals that conducted the war in the beginning. They turned away from every military principle that's ever been hard fought and learned.

The Vietnam vets I talk to are watching very closely to see if the troops are betrayed again by cowardly and stupid democrats and you bet they are not going to sit by quitely as I will not if democrats try to cut and run before the job is done.

Fake soldiers, phony soldiers, disgruntled soldiers there may some difference but not as much as they claim.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger RoxieAmerica said...

Our elected officials have far more important things than Rush! Gez!

The war is being treated as a political game by elected officials. It is a disgrace. Where are leaders with solutions?

It is sad, very sad.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

My husband, a Vietnam vet, can tell you all about 'phony soldiers' and disgraceful discourse during a time of war.

Great post, Wordsmith.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Rush could not have said it any better! Well done.

Of course if Reid and company were to read this they would seek a Resolution against you and waste MORE of the time that should be devoted to the people's business.

After all my Constitution says that is the entire reason for having a Congress not to attack private citizens.

Well documented facts about phony soldiers will never convince Hapless Harry that they are what they are, because they happen to agree with him.

I am sure that the majority of soldiers who ARE soldiers and support the war and their mission are traitors to the elite liberals like Reid. He sees them as an enemy to his power and lust for more

Thursday, October 04, 2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Word you nailed it.

The "Phoney Soldier" to me is someone like my father-in-law.

That idiot spent 3 weeks in the Navy, fell, broke his leg, got out on some medical thing a ma jig, and till this day still uses the VA for everything he can get.

He IS a "Phoney Soldier"!

It's people like him that have screwed up the VA system.

Well that's my definition of a Phoney Soldier and I think that's exactly what Rush was talking about.

Not the 7 or any Soldier for that matter that has served and disagreed with the war. They are different.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 8:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Great post!! The cartoon says it all!

Thursday, October 04, 2007 11:49:00 PM  

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