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This Commander in Chief Doesn’t Know the Medal of Honor from His…

November 10, 2009

Barack Obama Doesn't know the difference between this and a Medal of Honor ceremony

This month, President Obama, despite his rather showy appearance to salute the coffins of American servicemen arriving at Dover– and finally showing up today at Fort Hood for the public memorial service– is proving  how ignorant (if not indifferent) he is to the military’s traditions of how Americans honor our fallen heroes.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I want to thank my Cabinet members and senior administration officials who participated today. I hear that Dr. Joe Medicine Crow (ph) was around, and so I want to give a shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner. It’s good to see you.

Largely overlooked in the shock many felt over Obama’s casual and callow statement about the massacre at Ft. Hood was the fact that he showed in his “shout out” to Joe Medicine Crow, that he did not know the difference between the Presidential Medal of Freedom— a largely political award at the discretion of the President– and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest honor for valor in combat; and as likely to be awarded posthumously as not.  In fact, all of the Medal of Honor recipients in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have so far been awarded to soldiers who gave their lives to save those of their comrades.

A private who is awarded (not “wins” as the President crassly put it) the Medal of Honor would be literally saluted by a room full of generals.  Such is the reverence in which it is held, and the rarity of its awarding.

I mean to take nothing away from Joe Medicine Crow, a distinguished American who fought bravely in WWII, and earned a Bronze Star in combat.  And as you can see in this video, is an exceedingly charming and fascinating guy.

To add just another touch of Irony, Crow was honored by President Obama just 3 months ago in August of this year!  Here is an excerpt of the press release from the Office of the White House Press Secretary announcing the naming of Joe Medicine Crow as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, the last living Plains Indian war chief, is the author of seminal works in Native American history and culture. He is the last person alive to have received direct oral testimony from a participant in the Battle of the Little Bighorn: his grandfather was a scout for General George Armstrong Custer. A veteran of World War II, Medicine Crow accomplished during the war all of the four tasks required to become a ‘war chief,’ including stealing fifty Nazi SS horses from a German camp. Medicine Crow was the first member of his tribe to attend college, receiving his master’s degree in anthropology in 1939, and continues to lecture at universities and notable institutions like the United Nations. His contributions to the preservation of the culture and history of the First Americans are matched only by his importance as a role model to young Native Americans across the country.”

As impressive as Joe Medicine Crow is, and as deserving a recipient as he may have been for a Presidential Medal, compare the above citation with that of Michael Monsoor, a Navy Seal who was a recent Medal of Honor recipient.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as automatic weapons gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army Sniper Overwatch Element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element’s position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy’s initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor’s chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Ironically, in an obvious agenda piece in the New York Times about Muslims serving in the U.S. military, they included Monsoor, whose Navy biography clearly states that he was a practicing Catholic (as are the majority of Americans of Lebanese descent, not to mention his mother’s Irish heritage), as an example of a heroic American Muslim!

The corrected article now makes little sense at the end, as it preserved a quote from Muslim soldier making the point that Monsoor would never achieve the fame of Hasan.  But that’s not because of Monsoor’s supposed heritage, it’s because he’s a hero.  The lame stream media hasn’t celebrated one of those in a long, long time.

There was a time when the media celebrated the Medal of Honor.  One of the more famous examples is Audie Murphy, whose press—not to mention his looks—was good enough to make this war hero into a movie star.  His Medal of Honor citation is also a good example—and contrast to the Presidential Medal—of what it takes for a living soldier to be awarded the CMOH:

2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.

There are living American heroes who have performed like Audie Murphy among us today.  The recent trend to only award the Medal of Honor posthumously should be reversed.  While the Silver Star and Navy Cross are indeed badges of incredible courage; the idea that the nation’s highest honor can only be achieved through horrific damage to one’s self, and not for horrific damage done to the enemy at risk to one’s self, is a concession to political correctness that should never be allowed.

This Veterans Day, do yourself a favor, spend some time browsing the official Medal of Honor website. There is no better reminder of the heroism and sacrifice that is characteristic of the United States Armed Forces, and a great antidote to the pervasive attitude to the contrary in the modern media.

  1. John Davidson permalink
    November 10, 2009 10:45 am

    I don’t think he realizes yet that he was elected president awhile back.

    • jochang permalink
      November 10, 2009 11:19 am

      He also has more important things on his mind, John. FORE!!!

  2. David Forsmark permalink
    November 10, 2009 12:20 pm

    Ralph Peters strikes again.

  3. November 10, 2009 12:50 pm

    A very well done and very comprehensive post. You said it in your first paragraph: he is abysmally ignorant when it comes to all things military. I find this frightening in the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces. He makes a mockery of the fine traditions which have made our country great. Furthermore, he just does not care if it’s not about him. Why would he know a Medal of Freedom from a Medal of Honor if it wasn’t awarded to him? You can bet the heavily mortgaged ranch he knows what the Nobel thingy looks like and what it means—if, indeed, it means anything anymore.



  4. CowboyUp permalink
    November 10, 2009 12:52 pm

    Hussein is like that NTS screener that thought WW2 Marine aviator and Fmr. Gov. Joe Foss’s CMH was a throwing star, only hussein’s POTUS, CinC of our Armed Forces, and some people claim he’s smart and very well educated. I know smarter, better educated high school dropouts.

  5. David Forsmark permalink
    November 10, 2009 1:08 pm

    Welcome over from the FPM comment section, Cowboy. Good to see you.

  6. Brent Smith permalink
    November 10, 2009 1:10 pm

    Fantastic post, David. I have always been amazed at the stories of the men who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Many times they truely seem like something superhuman. I was wondering how long it was going to be before someone here at Newsreal pointed out Obama’s gaffe. It troubles and saddens me deeply that the guy in charge either cares so little or knows so little that he would mistake the two awards.

  7. David Forsmark permalink
    November 10, 2009 1:27 pm

    We pointed it out a few days ago, but sadly, there has been a lot to write about lately.

  8. Jack Hampton permalink
    November 10, 2009 1:56 pm

    I have been disturbed by this comment of his in regard to the Congressional Medal Of Honor confusing it with a a Medal Of Freedom that he awarded the gemtleman himself. I do not want to be a nit picker but I have that old gut feeling that this man does not really have that much concern for our military. It is a problem the Democrats have of appearance who did not want them wearing there uniforms in the Whitehouse and Hillary who thought they and the Secret Service were just to carry there bags. The Democrats even drag up phony heros I do not know how it got this way. Despite his short comings on the border GWB’s affection for the military was real and so was there affection for him.

  9. November 10, 2009 4:35 pm

    Excellent post! I totally agree that our current Commander in Chief is, at best, out of touch with our military. (Even commented to that effect here on NewsReal.)

    Thank you for bringing this out so eloquently. We all need to read the citations of Medal of Honor recipients more often.

    Obama’s medal misspeak further underscores his contempt for our military. In his mind there is no difference in those medals. In fact, I suspect in his narcissistic mind the Medal of Freedom must be more important because it’s awarded by him and not by Congress.

  10. David Forsmark permalink
    November 10, 2009 5:11 pm

    Good catch, Cree. Like I said, I meant to get to it sooner. Check out Frontpage tomorrow and you’ll see what I was working on, and let me know if you think it was worth the delay.

  11. shane comeback permalink
    November 11, 2009 4:31 am

    What was on the “Presidential coins” President Obama left at the base of the pictures of the Ft.Hood dead? What is their significance?

    • Owen J. Faust permalink
      November 11, 2009 5:22 am

      The significance is that the coins likely were those commemorative colorized coins with Obama’s picture on them. It “IS” all about him after all….clearly so when taken with his obvious disdain for the military and apparent narcissism.

  12. Nazani14 permalink
    November 11, 2009 7:02 am

    “I mean to take nothing away from Joe Medicine Crow, a distinguished American who fought bravely in WWII, and earned a Bronze Star in combat.”
    You don’t? Then why even bring it up?

    Speaking as a veteran who’s been shot at on three different continents, I see nothing wrong with this award, and it takes nothing away from other awardees. Military awards and medals are symbols – often nobody is around to take note when you put your life on the line for others. Adults don’t whine about stuff like this. When you show respect to one veteran, adults realize that that recognition is meant to symbolize respect for those whose contributions will forever go unknown.

    So, you want to honor a veteran? Do something to make health care affordable. Like so many, I’m in a mid-income job, making too much to be eligible for VA medical benefits, but not enough to really get a good quality health insurance policy. Help veterans by making lobbying by big corporations illegal, so they play no role in determining our foreign policy. Help veterans by defending the environment, because future wars are likely to be fought over dwindling resources. Help a veteran by keeping religion out of politics.
    And a shout-out to all my gay, atheist, Wiccan, etc. brothers and sisters in BDUs – you did a great job along the gruene grenze, in the jungles, in the sand, and today is YOUR day!

  13. David Forsmark permalink
    November 11, 2009 7:44 am

    And, apparently we should promote literacy classes as well. No one said Joe Medicine Crow was an unworthy recipient of a Presidential Medal, though I am more impressed with the Bronze Star. The point is that Obama has no clue of the significance of the Medal of Honor.

  14. Sandy Valencour permalink
    November 11, 2009 9:02 am

    So you have nothing better to do than to nit pick the Pres? You people are always for wars for one reason or another. Good health care for vets, physical and mental are the most important. I know many medal of honor recipients, some have died and a few are alive. They don’t care what anyone calls them and never have. They didn’t even want the medal in the first place, not one I have ever talked to in my years in veteran affairs. Do them a favor and stop wars…that is what they want
    Let’s not start on gaffs in the white house as no one could compare to bush/cheney. Even Ford made mistakes publically but we all laughed about them. Stop with this crap and get on with the business of a country done under by republicans for so many years I can’t count. Stop screwing this country with your politics and harming the citizens. Stop your idiots that speak for your party. How damn dare you spend time on this and let the country go without healthcare and screwing women out of THEIR rights. Shame on you for not seeing the light and the truth. Unbelieveable that you must stoop to crap like this

    • peachey permalink
      November 11, 2009 11:02 am

      Since the Medal of Honor is granted to so few, I question the fact that you state that you “know” several. For serviceman and servicewomen this is a sacred honor and not flaunted and openly discussed with the public. Your approach is angry and disgruntled especially since you reference the VA. All reasonable men and women deplore wars and the horror that it brings to the innocent of this world. However, there are the special among us that are willing to go forward and defend our country and the innocents in other countries in the face of death. Perhaps Mr. Obama will hire you for his teleprompter staff. And who are “you people” anyway? Stop labeling “people” that you know nothing about. Hopefully you do not carry your anger to work. I would hate to think of the veterans being exposed to it since some of them may be political Conservatives and labeled as “you people” by you. JMO.

    • In the Know permalink
      November 11, 2009 11:58 am

      All typed while shaking a finger at taxpayers and voting for whoever promises the most free money…..

  15. shane comeback permalink
    November 11, 2009 3:48 pm

    Kudos to peachey, and hey, what a kickass gorgeous painting of the hero Audie Murphy.

  16. shane comeback permalink
    November 11, 2009 4:02 pm

    “let the country go without healthcare and screw women out of their rights” Where are you living?
    ‘done under by republicans for so many years that I can’t count” Ah–are you aware of how many years out of the last 48 the dims have run the congress?
    You can’t have known “many” MOH winners,because there aren’t that many. You lie flat out when you say they “didn’t want the medals in the first place.” Can’t you find some other day to desecrate with a phony post, other than Veteran’s Day?

  17. peachey permalink
    November 11, 2009 5:48 pm

    Thanks Shane. He really got on my nerves with the B.S. At my age, I have a low tolerance level for his behavior and don’t feel that I (or anyone for that matter) should have to tolerate such a deliberate attempt to trivialize those honorable men and women that serve us with their lives.

  18. November 11, 2009 6:53 pm

    i have always had respect for the president until now. obama is a worm!

  19. HLynneRD permalink
    November 11, 2009 10:00 pm

    I enjoyed your post, and agree that Obama has no clue about the Services Medal of Honor, it isn’t the Congressional Medal of Honor. Congress has nothing to do with its award. There is the Air Force Medal of Honor, the Army Medal of Honor, the Navy Medal of Honor, the Marine Corps Medal of honor and the Coast Guard Medal of Honor. The Awardees’ of the MoH need to be honored for their sacrifices and gallantry, not used as political fodder for a clueless CNC.

    As far as Sandy’s remarks, I doubt this person has ever spoken to a MoH recipient in their life, much less Lots of them. Not one has ever stated they didn’t want the medal, what they consistently say is, they’re not Heroes, they’re accepting the award for the real heroes who gave their lives in the action that resulted in their nomination for the medal. As others have basically said, you’re a lowlife who hasn’t the decency to let a very reverential and special day go by without your asinine remarks.

    • David Forsmark permalink
      November 12, 2009 6:43 am

      You are correct that there is an MOH for each service. The one shown above is the Army’s. However, it is technically the Congressional Medal of Honor, as it was created by an act of Congress in the 1860s, first for the Navy.

      Again, check out the great official CMOH site. Here is the link to the history page,, but you can spend hours here reading about the incredible men who are the recipients of our nation’s highest honor.

  20. November 15, 2009 6:04 pm

    Please honor the great American War Hero and Patriot Audie Murphy with your signature on behalf of this initiative to bestow upon him a posthumous presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
    It only takes a moment!

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