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Understandably bothered

Owen Canfield Modified: June 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm •  Published: March 8, 2013

It’s easy to see why some members of Congress have a problem with the military’s Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was approved last month by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The honor is the first new combat-related medal in decades and will be given to service members who assist operations from afar — drone operators and the like. Panetta said in approving the medal that he had long felt these folks deserved recognition for their work.

Perhaps they do. What has members of Congress upset is the medal’s placement ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, which are awarded for valor while in harm’s way.

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said the Bronze Star and Purple Heart shouldn’t rank below a medal “for someone who sits far from the battlefield and operates a remote control panel thousands of miles from the battlefield.”

Members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars also have urged the administration to downgrade the award. This hasn’t happened and, given President Obama’s bullish use of drones, may not be likely.


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