The Guilt Medal

Can there be too much of a good thing? It seems so when the subject is awards in this so-called war on terrorism.

We are curious about the medals that make up the war on terrorism trifecta, especially the latest DoD addition.

Some background: In 2003, the White House announced the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the former for military expeditions and the latter military operations, according to a White House release. In August 2007, a similar medal was concocted to recognize the contributions of DoD civilians “operating in direct support of military forces engaged in the war on terror.” We assume they wanted to honor valuable government employees, as opposed to the hapless schleps whose work supports little or is otherwise insignificant. (Hey govvies, don’t you feel unappreciated and overlooked if you’re not getting this award? Or maybe you think civilian recognition comes in the form of a paycheck and promotion. Maybe we are all naïve.)

Is it possible this civilian installment is the “Guilt Medal?” The “Gee, I’m Sorry You Got Blown Up, Here’s a Medal” medal. The “Please, We’re a lot Harder to Sue if We Give You a Medal” medal. How about the “Please Don’t Take Your Invaluable Experience to the Private Sector” medal? Will we get to where we are awarding medals to women for giving birth to a specific number of children (the more babies, the nicer the medal) because of their demonstrated support to populating the homeland and continuing our way of life? (We think that’s been done before.) Why don’t we just give everyone an award?

Sarcastic? Somewhat. But our brothers and sisters are pegging the Absurd-O-Meter with this obsession to recognize, as hollow as it might be. Remember that Cold War Train to Nowhere, otherwise known as the Cold War Service Medal? While it might never be approved, it is certainly no worse than the current crop of feel-good trinkets that panders to some unknown constituency.

Is the honor of service no longer enough?

Recent Posts