This was one of my favorite Gary Larson Far Side Cartoons:
Of course, back in those innocent days, no one could have expected that there really would be rich rewards for saving the Princess, much less that the military would be awarding medals to men and women who bravely rain death and destruction upon the innocent and guilty alike from thousands of miles away. But apparently, nothing is too good for the men and women who struggle into their PJs every day to man their keyboards and clutch their mice in order to protect us from school children, wedding parties and the occasional actual terrorist:
They fight the war from computer consoles and video screens.
But the troops that launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that for the first time the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it from afar.
The medal will be below the silver star, but above the bronze, meaning a keyboard hero rates higher than someone who has seen actual combat. But that kind of stuff is so 20th century. No need to get your hands dirty, or actually see the results of your actions, to be a hero these days.
So, the laugh’s on those of us who laughed with Gary Larson, and also on those of us who used to make fun of those other keyboard commandos who valiantly cheered from behind in support of the Iraq War, and the other military misadventures that it was so easy for the right wing blogosphere to support. Why nowadays, even they can contribute, so long as they can wield a mouse.
We Democrats can take special pride in knowing that it was a Democratically controlled Department of Defense that recognized the unique contribution, the special sacrifices, and the extraordinary bravery it takes to anonymously kill and maim. Who says we don’t support the troops?