Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The war machine grinds on

Marines promoted inflated story for Medal of Honor winner, By Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers, Dec. 14, 2011
"WASHINGTON — With Dakota Meyer standing at attention in his dress uniform, sweat glistening on his forehead under the television lights, President Barack Obama extolled the former Marine corporal for the “extraordinary actions” that had earned him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor.

"... But there's a problem with this account: Crucial parts that the Marine Corps publicized and Obama described are untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents McClatchy examined.

"... But an exhaustive assessment by a McClatchy correspondent who was embedded with the unit and survived the ambush found that the Marines' official accounts of Meyer’s deeds — retold in a book, countless news reports and on U.S. military websites — were embellished. They're marred by errors and inconsistencies, ascribe actions to Meyer that are unverified or didn’t happen and create precise, almost novelistic detail out of the jumbled and contradictory recollections of the Marines, soldiers and pilots engaged in battle.

"The approval of Meyer’s medal — in an unusually short time — came as lawmakers and serving and former officers pressed the military services and the Pentagon to award more Medals of Honor because of the relatively few conferred in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Only 10 of the decorations have been awarded since 2001, seven of them posthumously.

"Meyer is the first living Marine since the Vietnam War to be awarded the honor. It was first bestowed in 1863..."
Yes, canonization of war-heroes, medals, honours, monuments and most any glorification of battle is done not out respect for the blooded victims but to serve political purposes of the day. Doubt that? Read on.

Forgotten Soldiers of the Integration Fight, By William Doyle, New York Times Opinion, September 28, 2002
"On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Oxford, Miss., will be coming to terms with one of the major events of its past. Forty years ago on that day, in the early morning, a force of nearly 30,000 American combat troops raced toward Oxford in a colossal armada of helicopters, transport planes, Jeeps and Army trucks.

"Their mission was to save Oxford, the University of Mississippi and a small force of federal marshals from being destroyed by over 2,000 white civilians who were rioting after James Meredith, a black Air Force veteran, arrived to integrate the school.

"... Snipers opened fire on the Army convoys and bricks struck the heads of American soldiers. Black G.I.'s in one convoy were ambushed by white civilians who tried to decapitate them in their open Jeeps with metal pipes.

"Maj. William Callicott of the Mississippi National Guard had served in World War II; he said he ''never was as terrified as I was going onto the campus that night.''

"...The Army troops restored order to the school and the city, block by block.

"...What the troops did in Oxford was so courageous that their commanders nominated them for scores of medals. But an internal Army memo from May 1963 states:
'The focus of additional attention on this incident would not be in the best interest of the US Army or the nation. . . . decorations should not be awarded for actions involving conflict between US Army units and other Americans.''
"Memories of what the troops did then faded away..."
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1 comment:

  1. Just as an aside, google the "Angel of Fredericsburg" - one Richard Kirkland, a 19 year old South Carolina Confederate soldier, who, on Dec 13, 1862, crossed a stonewall separating Union and Confederate armies so that he could administer aid to fallen Union soldiers. He risked his life to save his fellow Americans - he was from the south and he was aiding wounded soldiers from the north. While he would have been viewed as an enemy combatant in 1862, he risked his life to aid northern (Union) soldiers. A memorial has been created where he preformed this most couragous act. There is an American individual who should have been issued numerous medals (and it doesn't appear he ever was). The world could use more heros like Kirkland.

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