Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Medal of Honor and Using "Feminized" As An Insult

If I've learned anything in the quarter of a century I've been alive, it's that crazy people tend to say crazy things. (Impressive huh?) Because of this, I'm not really surprised that a guy who thinks all the grizzlies should be killed off because "no number of live grizzlies worth one dead human being" would also claim "we have feminized the Medal of Honor." As I said, crazy people say crazy things. This guy is obviously no exception.

Here's what Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, had to say about the Medal of Honor recipients lately:
The Medal of Honor will be awarded this afternoon to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for his heroism in Afghanistan, and deservedly so. He took a bullet in his protective vest as he pulled one soldier to safety, and then rescued the sergeant who was walking point and had been taken captive by two Taliban, whom Sgt. Giunta shot to free his comrade-in-arms.

This is just the eighth Medal of Honor awarded during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sgt. Giunta is the only one who lived long enough to receive his medal in person.

But I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

Gen. George Patton once famously said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”

When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire, climbing the cliffs of Pointe do Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements.

That kind of heroism has apparently become passe when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.

So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?

I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery. We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.
I have two major issues with Fisher's argument. One, I think it's a bit naive to value killing and destruction above saving lives and building futures. Do you know how easy it is to tear down a building? It is nothing compared to the work and planning that would into building that structure. People kill people every single day and often it's not even done on purpose. To save a life is something special. Fisher also purposefully ignores the fact that in most of these cases the people awarded the Medal of Honor also killed enemy combatants.

My second issue, not too shockingly, is with the way Fisher uses "feminized" as an insult. Fisher is basically saying that masculinity is more valuable than femininity. I know this isn't surprising coming from someone who goes on to talk about Jesus's "sacrifice" and how we need to also be "honoring those who kill bad guys," but it's still pretty annoying that this sort of insult is often the first thing someone thinks of to attack the "manliness" of something. Femininity, or things associated with women, is not less then masculinity in any capacity. For Fisher to use it in his attempt to delegitimize the recent string of Medal of Honor recipients is completely sexist.

Also, anyone who is ever this eager about killing people should be kept as far away from the battlefield as possible. The Medal of Honor is awarded to people who go “above and beyond the call of duty.” Taking human lives should never be enough to qualify for that.

4 comments:

  1. You will be heartened to know that my conservative, ex-Air Force father teared up watching the "60 Minutes" segement about Sgt. Giunta, and actually called me into the living room to watch it, saying, "You need to see this story."

    But then, my dad actually understands what it means to have brothers in arms with you in the thick of the battle--the men who lean on you, that you lean on.

    And this asshole is taking Patton's quote way out of context. (P.S. Giunta DID kill a Taliban fighter but his primary objective was to save an American soldier.)

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  2. I think Fischer is more enamored with the idea of war then real experiences these people have to go through. The plus side is this story is how I found out about Sgt. Giunta.

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  3. Yeah, this guy just sounds like he's war crazy... I consider myself a moderate conservative, and I honestly don't see how someone can say crap like this... Oh well, he's probably just angry that he didn't get one while he was in the military. Also, didn't he shoot multiple enemy soldiers while protecting the guy?

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  4. Wow. Interesting post. I think I'll just take the act of "feminizing" anything as desirable and progressive.

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