Oops, I meant the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This highest civilian award in the U.S. recognizes individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Today, L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer III, General Tommy Franks, and CIA Director George Tenet (who is reportedly asking $5 million for his ghost-written memoirs) all get this distinction to add to their trove of mementos recognizing their service to the empire.
Jerry Bremer failed to pacify and rebuild Iraq. Tommy Franks failed to think about the after-war war. George Tenet has miserably low standards for what he thinks is a slam dunk and duped his country and fellow citizens on Saddam Hussein’s WMDs.
Others who got this award — Katherine Hepburn (was a tireless campaigner for UNICEF), Lady Bird Johnson (beautified the nation’s highways), Doris Day, Bob Hope, Cesar Chavez, David Brinkley, NY Fire Department Rev. Mychal Judge, Walter Wriston, Beverly Sills, Arnold Palmer, Estee Lauder, Paul Nitze, Pope John Paul II, National Geographic Chairman Gilbert Grosvenor, Douglas MacArthur, Billy Graham.
There are many who have received this medal — initiated by Truman, pumped back to life by Kennedy, and then awarded semi-prolifically since.
But the three awardees today are flacks and spear-carriers for George Bush’s failed enterprise in the Middle East today, and the perceived stock value of this highest of all civilian awards just fell to historical lows today.
— Steve Clemons