Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Iowa vets call on Vander Plaats to denounce statements about Medal of Honor
Former gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats should denounce the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer for his claim that continuing to give the Medal of Honor to people who save American lives instead of to those who kill the enemy has “feminized” the award, a pair of Iowa veterans said in a statement Thursday.
Fischer’s organization spent nearly $140,000 financing Iowa for Freedom, a group led by Vander Plaats that successfully campaigned for the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices. In addition to helping bankroll the effort, Fischer also had Vander Plaats on his radio program and spoke up for the anti-retention campaign at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, Fischer wrote on his blog that while Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta of Hiawatha certainly earned the Medal of Honor he was just awarded by President Barack Obama, it was time we stopped rewarding only those who saved lives and instead rewarded those who took enemy lives. Giunta earned the medal by rushing into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during a harrowing battle in Afghanistan in 2007.
Two Vietnam War veterans — Frank Thorne and Bob Eikleberry — joined with the LGBT-rights group One Iowa in calling for Vander Plaats to speak out against Fischer’s statements.
“Courage under fire is a concept that Bob Vander Plaats and Bryan Fisher don’t seem to understand,” Eikleberry said. “To claim that risking one’s life in the service of our country is anything less than noble disparages the men and women who risk their lives each day to protect us.”
Thorne said Fisher’s statement “dishonors Giunta’s service and the sacrifice he has made for our country.”
“With friends like this, it’s painfully clear that Bob Vander Plaats is out of step with Iowans,” said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. “All Iowans can be proud of Giunta’s service to our country. The honor could not be more deserved.”
Fischer attempted to clarify his argument on Thursday, pointing out he plainly said Giunta was deservedly honored for his heroism in Afghanistan.
“I’m not saying that our soldiers have become feminized in the least, especially those who have earned the Medal of Honor,” Fischer wrote. “It’s not our soldiers who have become feminized, it is the awards process that has become feminized. What I am saying is that I am observing a trend in which we single out bravery in self-defense and yet seem hesitant to single out bravery in launching aggressive attacks that result in the deaths of enemy soldiers.”
He later added: “I never even remotely suggested that we should stop honoring exceptional bravery in defense of our own troops.”
Fischer concluded that it was time America “started imitating God’s example” by celebrating soldiers who “show valor and gallantry in waging aggressive war in a just cause against the enemies of freedom, even while inflicting massive casualties in the process.”