One of the hidden reasons used to prevent the Medal of Honor from being awarded to living recipients is that the story is not quite ended. When a man rolls on a grenade, he saves the lives of his team at the cost of his own, in certain knowledge of immediate death. Greater love hath no man than this.
But some who performed with conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty at great personal hazard and nevertheless live to tell the tale wind up being imperfect citizens, once back among the sheep.
That said, I am not quite certain that it is time to lump Marine veteran and recent Medal of Honor awardee Dakota Meyer into the category of those with “troubled lives,” in their post-military service.
British Aerospace appears to be, however:
Two months ago, Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama for his service in Afghanistan, the military’s most prestigious award. On Monday, Sgt. Meyer alleged that a defense contractor has called him mentally unstable and a problem drinker, ruining his chances for a job in the defense industry.
In legal papers filed Monday, the Marine claims that BAE Systems, where he worked earlier this year, retaliated against him after he raised objections about BAE’s alleged decision to sell high-tech sniper scopes to the Pakistani military. He says his supervisor at BAE effectively blocked his hiring by another defense contractor by making the claims about drinking and his mental condition.
Based on our discussions here, I laud Sgt. Meyer’s objection to the sale of high end infantry weapons to the Pakistani military. The sale of F-16s I find less troubling, as they are unlikely to wind up in the hands of some rustic Afghan with a bone to pick. But a sniper rifle – especially one that has night vision capability – could wind up anywhere.
We own the night. We need to keep owning it. Or at a bare minimum, share our ownership only with unambiguous allies.
It’s too soon to know whether Sgt. Meyer’s behavior landed him in hot water with the boss, or whether he is facing retaliation for sticking to his guns rather than playing team ball with a defense contractor whose compelling concern is the quarterly sales number. Or whether both things are simultaneously true.
But we do know two things for certain: Sgt. Dakota Meyer’s actions on the 8th of September, 2009 saved 36 lives and were well-deserving of the recognition he received. And BAe is in for some very unwelcome – and potentially self-inflicted – scrutiny.