Editors Note: You can see Bryan Fischer’s Part I of the Medal of Honor By Clicking Here. You can see Part II by Clicking Here. You can See Part III by Clicking Here. And you can See His Latest On the Subject by Clicking Here.
By Bryan Fischer
I was a guest on Thom Hartmann’s television program last night, and his opening question revealed that the out-of-the-mainstream media has done the same thing to me that Alan Grayson did to “Taliban Dan” Webster: so badly twisted and distorted my words that they are accusing me of saying the exact opposite of what I actually said.
Hartmann asked me up front why I didn’t think Sgt. Salvatore Giunta should have been given the Medal of Honor, and appeared shocked when I informed him that I not only think he is eminently deserving of the award but had said so in the first line of my column about the issue. So Hartman clearly had not read a word I wrote, and was basing his interpretation of my column entirely on what other people said I said.
So it’s not as if my column has been read and then misinterpreted; it hasn’t even been read.
My point in all this is that we appear to have reached a point in awarding the MOH that we are squeamish about awarding to those who “take the hill” as well as awarding to those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their comrades.
As I expressed clearly, I believe both types of gallantry should be awarded our nation’s highest honor. My question is simply why we aren’t honoring more of the “take the hill” soldiers.
The Bible says we are to give “honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7). The nation clearly owed honor to Sgt. Giunta for his selfless heroism, and I and everyone I know applauded the award.
But if we are not also giving the award to the “take the hill” soldiers, then we are systematically depriving them of the honor due them. The problem is not that we are honoring the wrong people but that we aren’t honoring enough of the right people.
I received an angry phone call Thursday from a soldier who had done tours of duty in Iraq, and who had called to insist that I pull my original column down and issue an apology to the nation.
As we talked, it became clear that he hadn’t read my column either, and mistakenly thought I had said Sgt. Giunta was undeserving of the award. As I read the portions of my column in which I praised Sgt.Giunta and said he was eminently deserving of the award for imitating the sacrificial heroism of Christ himself, he calmed down and we ended the conversation quite amicably.
I reminded him that no “take the hill” MOH awards had yet been given during our conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’ve been to Iraq, I said. Is it possible that there simply have been no noteworthy displays of such bravery in either war?
He said of course not, and immediately recounted the exploits of one officer who led his men into battle against an enemy position, a soldier who received numerous wounds but refused to stop leading the advance until he and his men had secured their objective and had inflicted significant casualties on the enemy. He did receive a combat award, but not the MOH.
So I said,”Andy, that’s exactly what I’m talking about! Why wasn’t he given the Medal of Honor? If anyone is deserving of it, he certainly is!” He didn’t have an explanation, and mumbled something about the award system being political at the stage of the MOH. I said, “Andy, that’s exactly my point! For political reasons, we are not giving our ultimate award to heroes who take out the bad guys in pursuit of a military objective.”
As my interview with Thom Hartmann progressed, I made the standard observation that the purpose of the military is “to kill people and break things” so our families can sleep safely at night. He disagreed. No, he said, the purpose of the military is to protect our national security. Yes, I said, and it does that by killing people and breaking things. He steadfastly refused to accept that proposition, as if it were possible for our military to defend our national security without actually bombing anything or shooting anybody. That is the kind of Pollyanna-ish folly that makes me glad that Mr. Hartmann is not in charge of nation’s defense.
When I made the point about our failure to honor the “take the hill” soldiers at the end of my interview, Mr. Hartmann made my case for me. He essentially agreed with my view, that we aren’t doing that any longer, and said that perhaps the reason we no longer give our highest award for bravery to “take the hill” soldiers is that we as a society have “evolved” past the point where we think that such killing ought to be honored. He made my point better than I could have made it myself, and didn’t even realize he was doing it.
So I say it’s time we get back to an evenhanded application of the biblical truth that we are to give “honor to whom honor is owed.” Let us continue to honor our brave soldiers who expose themselves to lethal risk to save their fellow soldiers. Such courage is entirely worthy of our highest honor. But let’s not forget to also honor some “take the hill” soldiers along the way.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.