Mary Robinson to receive the US Medal of Freedom? Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and High Commissioner of the UN's Human Rights Commission will receive the award according to the White House. Just what is the Medal of Freedom?
Established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945, the Medal is to be awarded to a person who "has performed a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate. The Medal of Freedom may also be awarded to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, who, on or after December 7, 1941 has similarly aided any nation engaged with the United States in the prosecution of a war against a common enemy or enemies." Executive Order 9586.
What were Mr. Obama's thoughts when he announced the award to Mrs. Robinson? Speaking of all the recipients, the president said:
"These outstanding men and women represent an incredible diversity of back-grounds. Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs. Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way.
"Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive. It is my great honor to award them the Medal of Freedom."
I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. While the Executive Order speaks of assisting the US in a war against a common enemy, the president is recognizing "accomplishments" in "sports," "fine arts," and "foreign affairs." If she is being rewarded for her role in foreign affairs, doesn't anyone at the White House remember that Mrs. Robinson almost singlehandedly turned the first Durban conference into an Israel bashing party that set the tone leading to years of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments and actions by NGOs and governments around the world? She set back the cause of human rights around the world instead of advancing it.
Sorry folks, granting a Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson cheapens an award originally designed to go to those who assist the US in advancing the cause of freedom, not to a woman who set it back.