Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Feminizing" the Medal of Honor?

I was skimming Memeorandum and came across one of the more bizarre articles I've seen in awhile. Bryan Fischer, writing at a blog called "The Moral Liberal," argues that the Medal of Honor has become "feminized" because we aren't awarding it to people for killing the enemy.
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.
How many things are wrong with this argument? Let's see. First, it's idiotic. The reason the majority of Medal of Honor's (MOH) are posthumous is that they are often awarded for amazing acts of self-sacrifice, such as falling on a grenade. This is not something new. In what way is throwing yourself on a grenade to save your comrades "feminine"?

By his use of "feminized" as a pejorative, Fischer takes an idiotic argument and combines it with misogyny. But not only is Fischer's argument a blend of stupidity and misogyny, it's also factually incorrect. Here's part of the MOH citation for Sergeant First Class Paul Smith, for actions during the Iraq War.
Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers.
Like many MOH winners, Sgt. Smith not only sacrificed his life, he inflicted major casualties on the enemy. In other words, unlike what Fischer believes, part of the reason Smith won the MOH was because he effectively killed the enemy. It seems clear that Fischer has never bothered to read through the MOH citations available online. If he had, maybe he could have saved himself the embarrassment of posting such a ludicrous column.


  1. Just a note, He doesn't run The Moral Liberal.

  2. Certainly the Air Force has been feminized, and not in a good way, and yes I know from my own experience there are important differences between men and women that affect the military culture. Saying so is not misogynistic. So, I thought I'd take a look at Mr. Fischer's essay.

    It was...unpalatable. Apart from being erroneous, as you point out, the essay is a cheap attempt at winning support from those who are misogynistic. It abuses patriotism. It would dishonor the recent MOH recipients but for the fact that their deeds place them above any dishonor.

    So, another radio blowhard is making things difficult. The value in such drivel is as a caution to those whose views may appear superficially similar. Thanks for drawing attention to it.