- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2006

A proliferation of medals

The column “Bronze Star not as Shiny” (Nation, Wednesday) was right on the money. I am glad finally to see someone bring attention to token medal handouts.

I was deployed as a pilot in the Army for Operation Enduring Freedom II and III in Afghanistan. I was assigned to a well-known, prestigious active-duty unit from Fort Bragg, N.C.

In my company alone, seven persons out of 21 received the Bronze Star, a full 33 percent, including the company commander, the 1st sergeant, the two maintenance pilots, two instructor pilots and a platoon sergeant. One instructor preferred smoking and drinking diet soda over flying and to everyone’s dismay received the Bronze Star. The other instructor whined to the commander that he deserved one because he had instructed more than the other recipient.

We even had our battalion recruiting/retention sergeant receive a Bronze Star for retention. Literally, if you showed up, did your job and were in a leadership position, you received a Bronze Star. It was that simple.

There was another case in which a male and a female soldier were pulling guard duty. They started a fire to keep warm and burned down the guard tower. The male soldier was hurt, and the female soldier was given the Bronze Star for saving the male soldier from a fire they had started.

The Army gave out six Bronze Stars for every one Air Medal in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom I, II and III. Considering that each pilot received an Air Medal, that is a lot of token Bronze Stars.

In your article, it is no wonder pilot Rick Hinshaw misplaced his medal. There is no comparison between the token Bronze Stars given today and the ones given in World Wars I and II and Korea.



Taiwan deserves U.N. membership

The People’s Republic of China’s recent stonewalling in the United Nations regarding the North Korean and Iranian nuclear issues (“Trumping China’s U.N. card,” Commentary, Wednesday) is unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg. China’s misuse of its position in the United Nations is also apparent in its efforts to exclude Taiwan from the world body through the application of political pressure on other member countries.

With more than 700 missiles pointed at it from across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan seeks U.N. membership not only to take its rightful place in the international community, but to gain access to an arena in which it can begin to negotiate a lasting peace with China. Beijing should end its campaign to isolate Taiwan from the world and embrace the opportunity for the long-term peace and stability that Taiwan’s U.N. membership would bring.


North Potomac

Defending congressional arrogance

I’m not a learned constitutional lawyer, but it seems to me that the one thing that has made our American system of law work is the notion that no person is above the law. As I understand the sequence of events, Rep. William Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, was served numerous subpoenas requesting documents relevant to the investigation against him. He refused and even went so far as to move many of the documents to his congressional office, which, it should be noted, is financed by taxpayers (“Loving the Constitution more?” Commentary, Tuesday).

To get these documents, the Justice Department went to federal Judge Thomas Hogan for a warrant. Judge Hogan ruled that no one, not even a member of Congress, is above the law. The outcry from the White House and leaders of both parties in Congress painfully demonstrates how out of touch they are with those of us who elected them to govern.

Congress has thumbed its nose at everybody else as it has created laws that benefit its members. Campaign finance reform comes to mind. Members of Congress accept pay raises despite the 27th Amendment, which says, “No law, varying compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until the election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

For years, we’ve heard about this privilege or that privilege as members of all branches have tried to stay above the law. It’s time those who make the laws understand that they are bound to follow them.

I am also offended that Bruce Fein would equate Christ’s action in driving the money changers out of His Father’s temple to the raid on Mr. Jefferson’s office. Maybe that is part of the problem. As a Beltway insider, Mr. Fein has become too enamored of those who govern. They’re no different from any other citizen — bound to follow our nation’s laws, just like everybody else.

Come November, maybe the voters will teach some of the high and mighty that they are neither.



The abortion lobby and parental rights

Polls show that four of five Americans support a law requiring that at least one parent be told before a girl under 18 years of age could have an abortion. That’s why it’s amazing that any U.S. senator would persist in political plots to block the Child Custody Protection Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate (“Senate approves parental consent,” Page 1, Wednesday).

The bill would prevent boyfriends, rapists, abortion activists and anyone else from transporting a girl who is a minor from a state that requires parental consent or notification of abortion to a state without such laws for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.

It would have prevented the tragedy recently described by a Lancaster, Pa., mother to a congressional committee. Marcia Carroll testified that the parents of her daughter’s boyfriend took her daughter to a New Jersey facility for an abortion without Mrs. Carroll’s knowledge and then refused to take her daughter home until she had the abortion.

After the decisive Senate passage on Tuesday, with 14 Democrats voting for the bill, the Democratic Caucus moved to effectively kill the bill by objecting to the routine procedure of sending the bill to a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill.

“This is [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist’s ‘to-do’ list for the campaign,” complained Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat.

It’s hard to believe that merely preventing an opponent’s political advantage would justify, in Mr. Durbin’s mind, trampling the expressed values of four of five Americans on life-and-death matters affecting their children.

No doubt Mr. Durbin adds to that transparently Machiavellian motivation a penchant to please the amply funded abortion lobby; he has staked his own political fortunes on advancing abortion.

If the cabal of pro-abortion senators led by Mr. Durbin persists in maneuvers to kill this popularly mandated and duly passed bill, perhaps it’s time to transport them across state lines — and let them hear from their own constituents why parents have a right to help guide their daughters’ futures.


Senior policy analyst

Christian Medical Association

Ashburn, Va.

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