Thursday, February 28, 2013

President Obama Creates New Medal for Drone Operators

Washington DC, Feb 28, 2013 -  One big story that the White House friendly media isn't reporting is the the many protests against President Obama's use of drones as a weapon of war.

Drones are essentially small remote control planes that carry either cameras for surveillance or warheads to kill people with.

Most people have no problem with the first case but are leery about the second.

This is because it is difficult to kill one person with a drone without also killing everyone else in the immediate vicinity. So sometimes innocent women and children, and other non combatants become victims of drone attacks.

When we use drones, we fight wars from a computer console and video screen. It isn't hard to imagine that using drones that often kill nearby civilians isn't particularly popular among the nations that are targeted. Rather than improving our relations with other nations, the use of these drones is causing outrage and anger in many parts of the world.

Despite this, the Obama Administration recently announced that the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it from afar. The drone operators can now be recognized for their bravery and heroism.

The new blue, red and white-ribboned Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to individuals for "extraordinary achievement" related to a military operation that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001.

The medal will be considered a bit higher in ranking than the Bronze Star, but is lower than the Silver Star, defense officials said.

The Bronze Star is the fourth highest combat decoration and rewards meritorious service in battle, while the Silver Star is the third highest combat award given for bravery.

The new Obama Administration medal has come under criticism from both veterans groups and members of Congress because the drone medal outranks other medals that were earned in actual combat. But unlike other combat medals, it does not require the recipient risk his or her life to get it.

John Hamilton, the VFW's commander in chief, said it's important to recognize drone pilots and others. "But medals that can only be earned in combat must outrank new medals earned in the rear," he said.

Members of Congress are also getting involved. Five veterans now serving in the House introduced a bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from rating the medal equal to or higher than the Purple Heart.

A medal's order of precedence refers to how it is supposed to be displayed, with the Medal of Honor getting top billing among nearly 60 medals and ribbons.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict To Step Down; Hillary Clinton Will Seek Job

Bill and Hillary with former Pope John Paul II