El Presidente Obama awarded himself the Department Of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service on Jan. 4.
As medals go, this one has become cheapened over the years, kind of like the utterly meaningless Nobel Peace Prize that Obama received early in his presidency before he’d done anything.
This wholly undeserved DoD medal was presented to Obama by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter following a selection process that reportedly did not involve the president.
But that’s irrelevant. In this situation the supposedly independent selection process becomes a legal fiction. The secretary is an “instrumentality” of the president. He serves at the pleasure of the president and his actions are backed up by the president’s authority, so effectively the president was awarding himself the medal.
Don’t believe me? The critical consideration here is, if Secretary Carter had refused to bestow the award on his boss, the egomaniacal military-hating president who thinks soldiers should be globetrotting social workers, would he have kept his job? Not a chance.
The same thing happened with the two previous presidents but they didn’t quite inflict the same damage on the nation’s military.
One can argue about what Bush and Clinton did to deserve their medals, but Obama did nothing good for the nation’s armed services.
As Thomas C. Donnelly writes,
He’s done more damage to American military power than his successor can repair. It’s not simply that Obama tried to end U.S. involvement in the Middle East by unilaterally withdrawing from Iraq, conducting a phony surge in Afghanistan, and failing to respond to the civil war in Syria. It’s not just that Obama did little beyond telling Vladimir Putin to “cut it out” after Russia annexed Crimea and after Putin otherwise exploited whatever opportunity arose to unravel the post–Cold War peace of Europe, or that Obama neglected to back up the promise of a “Pacific pivot” as the Chinese dredged their way (island-making instead of island-hopping) across the South China Sea. Retreats can be reversed, even if the price of victory rises when it has to be won twice (or three or four times, in the case of Iraq).
Obama not only restrained the American habit of involving ourselves in the world’s affairs but also, by reducing our military power, constrained a future president’s ability to do so. The propensity to “resort to force,” in his view, was a disease shared nearly equally by past presidents of both parties.
And Obama’s current Secretary of State John Kerry is openly contemptuous of the armed services. After his dubious service in Vietnam, Kerry made up atrocity stories about his own side’s soldiers. Kerry’s whole political career has been devoted to trashing and sabotaging the military and America in general — which is why he was such a good fit in President Obama’s cabinet.
One of the few recipients of the DoD’s highest civilian award who actually did something good for the military is movie director Steven Spielberg. He received the medal in 1999 from then-Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen for his 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan.”
As the Pentagon said at the time:
The movie sparked national awareness of the World War II generation’s sacrifices. Cohen said it helped reconnect the American public with the nation’s men and women in uniform. Spielberg’s “masterpiece poignantly captured the stirring sacrifices of America’s World War II heroes, and paid living tribute to their indomitable fighting spirit,” Cohen stated in the award citation. The film is a “historic contribution to the national consciousness, reminding all Americans that the legacy of freedom enjoyed today endures in great measure because of their selfless and courageous actions.”
“Saving Private Ryan” also prompted veterans to reveal personal war stories, Cohen said. “For decades, many of the veterans struggled to find the right words, the right way to share with family and friends what they had suffered through during that war. Over the past year, we have heard so many stories of veterans, who after seeing this film, finally venturing forth to tell a son, a daughter, or a grandchild of their experience.
“So this film has not only provided an emotional catharsis for yesterday’s veterans, but a reminder to today’s soldiers that the ‘gift outright’ was many deeds of war, that blood and bone and soul was sacrified [sic] so that a mechanized evil in Europe would not triumph and stamp out the fires of freedom,” Cohen concluded.
Obama, on the other hand, did everything in his power to advance evil in the world.