Kerry Medals PowerPoint

Daniel Radosh has a hilarious PowerPoint presentation to explain this situation.

Hat tip to Phil Carter, who also has a more serious explanation of the ribbons/medals issue.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Boy I’d never hire him as my attorney. He kills thousands of pixels to say absolutely nothing about the the actual substance of the debate.

    This issue has never been about what people call decorations. The issues is that Kerry kept changing the story to match the audience he told it to.

    On the other hand, the fact that he makes such a passionate argument, devoid of all facts, reason, logic and critical thinking proves he should be a partner with Johnny Cochran.

    On second thought, he probably has a very bright future.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I don’t think Phil was arguing about the overall debate, just explaining the narrow issue of medals and ribbons. This issue seems to elude most of the mainstream media, so some clarification is in order.

  3. Boyd says:

    Also, understanding the context of awards, be they medals, ribbons or badges, is necessary to even be able to tell whether or not Kerry is saying the same thing when he says, “I threw my medals,” and “I threw my ribbons.”

    From my point of view, though, Phil is waaaay off the mark in his conclusion. Medals and ribbons are functionally interchangeable? Not in my Navy they weren’t. Until about 1990, you got one physical medal at the time it was awarded. Period. If it were ever lost or damaged, the procedures for replacing it were so complicated and difficult as to be impossible, especially the more senior (merit-based) medals. Additionally, those senior medals often were engraved, personalizing it to the awardee.

    Ribbons, on the other hand, can be bought inexpensively and in quantity whenever you want from a variety of sources.

    These differences lead to the difference in how they’re used: ribbons on every-day uniforms, medals only for the most special of occasions. As a reference, I wore my full-sized medals only about three or four times during my 20-year Naval career.

    “Ribbons, medals are absolutely the same thing…”

    Either Kerry understands the emotional and practical importance of medals, and is therefore lying, or he hasn’t got a clue about military heritage and tradition, and his Vietnam service is useless as means of evaluating his experience, honor, et al as a candidate for President.

    And further, throwing his ribbons over the fence was, to me, worse than if he had thrown his medals. The intent that day was to display the thrower’s contempt for the military and their service within it. He wanted to appear to display contempt, but still be able to have his medals, in effect eating his cake and having it, too.