Monday, September 19, 2011

Dakota Meyer Interviewed on Sixty Minutes

Did you watch the interview with Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor awardee, on Sixty Minutes? The real story here is that not only did Meyer deserve his recognition for personal bravery, of course, but that his commanding officers were relieved from duty due to incompetence.

An investigation conducted after the battle determined that two Army officers making those decisions in the operations center that day "were clearly negligent." "The actions of key leaders" in the command center, the report said, "were inadequate and ineffective, contributing directly to the loss of life which ensued." Because of what the report calls "poor performance" and "an atmosphere of complacency," the operations center just did not realize how bad the situation was until it was too late.

"You can't sugarcoat it," said now retired Colonel Richard Hooker, who conducted the investigation.

"The two principal officers that were named in the investigation failed to discharge their duties in a responsible way - in a way that the army and the country [have] a right to expect them to behave," Hooker said.

This is something my husband asked in the beginning, when the story first emerged. He is a veteran of the Vietnam war, so he looked at it from the viewpoint of a serviceman who was charged with taking orders from superiors. He asked, what happened to the commanding officers?

Now we know. They were disciplined. In the Sixty Minutes interview it was described as "career-ending" reprimands.

Another question surfaces: Why did Barack Obama, Commander-in-Chief, chose to award this medal to a young man, brave as he was, who disobeyed orders from his higher-ups? Was it a poke in the eye to the military? Why this young, brave man instead of countless others who didn't disobey orders while performing acts of unbelievable bravery?

It is an interesting question. No one would take away the bravery of this young man, Dakota Meyer. We are parents of a son a year younger than him and certainly honor his courage and dedication to his fellow servicemen. His brothers. It is just an interesting observation and question.

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