Backlash against new US medal for drone pilots
[Dawn] Should US drone pilots or cyber warriors thousands of miles from the battlefield be eligible for a more prestigious combat medal than soldiers maimed or killed in action?
I think they ought to get a medal hickey for every corpse.
The Pentagon concluded this week the answer is "yes" -- at least in extraordinary circumstances, and announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, outranking even the Bronze Star.

While supporters cheered America's nod to the changing nature of warfare, it has triggered an angry backlash with some veterans and active-duty troops upset over the most substantial shakeup in the hierarchy of military medals since World War Two.

Opponents say the new medal's rank is too high and sends a signal -- inadvertently, perhaps -- that the Pentagon does not sufficiently value the sacrifices of front-line troops.

For Brian Jopek, whose 20-year-old son, Ryan, earned a Bronze Star when he was killed by a roadside kaboom in Iraq in 2006, the debate is intensely personal.

"To me it's just a slap in the face, not only for my son, me, other members of my family," Jopek, who also served in Iraq and is now a journalist in Wisconsin, told Rooters.
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-17