by Russ McSpadden
The U.S. has a growing corps of cyber-warriors and drone pilots who target human populations with bomb strapped drones. Now the Pentagon is commending their all-too-real virtual combat with a new medal.Last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the military’s first new combat medal in nearly a century. The Distinguished Warfare Medal is bestowed to individuals in recognition of “extraordinary contributions” to combat operations conducted from afar.
In the military hierarchy of honor, the new ‘lethal gamer’ medal is the eighth highest award behind the Medal of Honor.
Some are calling it the “Chair-borne Medal,” “the Nintendo Medal,” “the Purple Buttocks,” and the “Distant Warfare Medal,” demeaning the computer-based iWarriors because they are not exposed to imminent mortal danger like traditional combat soldiers. A growing alliance of veterans groups and politicians are lobbying the Pentagon and President Obama to downgrade the award, which is ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in terms of distinction.
Regardless of the kerfuffle over the proper accolades for the military’s deadly computer nerd-core, little argument has been put forward questioning the ethics of bestowing an honorary trinket on a group of techno-assassins that spy on and bomb suspected terrorists, American citizens, wedding parties and children from the comfort of a computer screen.