Yesterday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Clinton Romesha, a retired Army staff sergeant, for his remarkable bravery defending an American outpost in Afghanistan from Taliban insurgents. While Romesha is undoubtedly deserving of the honor, Glenn could not help but notice President Obama’s eagerness to hand out the prestigious award during his first term.
“Yesterday the President awarded yet another medal of honor, and I don't understand what he's doing here,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “This is something new… We don't usually hand these out like candy. And not that these recipients don't deserve it – I want to make it clear that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying: why the change in policy on giving these guys these Congressional Medal of Honor all the time?”
Pat and Glenn agreed that it seems like the President hands out a Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, every six months or so. And as it turns out, Obama has awarded 10 Medals of Honor (including Romesha) since taking office in January 2009. Comparatively, President George W. Bush awarded 11 Medals of Honor over the course of his two terms (spanning from January 2001 to January 2009).
While no one is downplaying the significance of Romesha’s bravery or the sacrifice of other Medal of Honor recipients, there have been points in history where Medals of Honor have been awarded under suspicious circumstances.
“The reason why I bring this up is because there was an important time in history that people don't know about. I don't know about it,” Glenn said. “Pat has been telling me about it. I haven't had time to research it myself. But there was an important time in history when these were given out like candy.”
Pat explained that following the Battle of Wounded Knee in December 1890, 20 Medals of Honor were handed out by the Army. The Battle was not without controversy, and it is widely referred to as a massacre by most accounts. During a disarming of the Lakota tribe on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, 150 men, women, and children were killed by the U.S. Army.
“We slaughtered the Indians, I mean just slaughtered them,” Glenn said. “And to cover that, the government decided, let's make this into a great battle. Let's turn the – let’s spin this story. Let's give the Congressional Medal of Honor to all these guys. And so like, 20 of them got the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was unheard of. It didn't – it just didn't happen. That's again why I look at this president and say, why is he doing that?”
In the wake of the murder of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle last week and the commentary from the SEAL that killed Osama bin Laden implying the government has failed to provide for the troops returning home from overseas, Obama’s motives in handing out these awards could be seen as suspect.
“So he's doing this for a reason,” Glenn said. “I mean, the guys who did the job that he got credit for, he's not even taking care of those guys. He's not making sure that they are taken care of or anything else. Forget the stupid medal.”
“He's appointing all the kind of people that hate the military. He's gutting it. So why is he wrapping himself around the Congressional Medal of Honor? To devalue it? That doesn't seem – what is the end game on this? What is he doing this for,” Glenn questioned. “And I know that sounds really, really pessimistic, but give me a reason. Give me something that shows he respects the military. Why is he doing it? Does anybody have a clue? Because I can't figure – Pat and I have been trying to noodle this one for almost since this guy got in office because he started giving them out like they're Pez. We're like, what is that? Why is he doing that? Because he doesn't feel that way personally. So who's in his office setting this up and getting this done?”
There is no denying the recipients of this award are heroes in every sense of the word, which is why the Medal of Honor continues to hold the significance it does, but the fact that this President has handed out nearly as many Medals of Honor in one term as President Bush did in two, is a bit of a head-scratcher.
“If you had somebody who was like pro military and, like, ‘Hey, these guys are doing...’ but you've got a guy who says, you know, basically ‘We're the bullies of the world.’ So why? It doesn't fit,” Glenn concluded. “Something's wrong there, and it just doesn't fit.”