Thursday, October 01, 2009

Should the Medal of Honor Be Awarded More Frequently?

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) thinks that the Medal of Honor has not been awarded often enough during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Hunter wants to establish a review board consisting of combat veteran, including some Medal of Honor recipients.  The board will review the Iraq and Afghanistan war medal applications for which a lesser medal was awarded to determine which of those should be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.  The Medal of Honor has been awarded only six times during Iraq and Afghanistan, a rate of 1 for every one million uniformed personnel, compared to a rate of 23 per million in Korea and 29 per million in WWII.  Our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan have also awarded their highest honor as infrequently as the U.S.  The following list indicates the number of Medal of Honor recipients by conflict since the Medal of Honor was established.
  • 1,522: Civil War
  • 426: Indian campaigns
  • 110: Spanish-American War
  • 119: World War I
  • 465: World War II
  • 134: Korean War
  • 246: Vietnam War
  • 2: Somalia
  • 6: Iraq and Afghanistan wars
The grounds for receiving a Medal of Honor, according to the Department of Defense, have not changed, however, warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan is much different than it was in previous wars. Iraq and Afghanistan are largely fought with remote-controlled weaponry and very much less close-combat fighting compared to previous wars. Even the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan use tactics that limit their own exposure.

Opponents, including some past recipients of the Medal of Honor, argue that this will only reduce the meaning and importance of the Medal of Honor.

 What do you think?

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