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Coming soon: Cindy Sheehan

Reader comment on item: Muhammad Ali v. George W. Bush

Submitted by Pat (United States), Nov 29, 2005 at 11:36

"President John F. Kennedy authorized the practice of awarding Presidential Medals of Freedom to persons "for especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors" (Executive Order 11085 dated Feb. 22, 1963)."

Clearly, the achievements of Muhammad Ali contributed nothing to the security of the United States.
World peace? Only if you think surrendering to Islamic militants constitutes a contribution to "peace".
That leaves cultural or other public or private endeavors.

Given that all the president could refer to were Ali's achievements in the ring and his self-promotion as "the greatest", I would argue that this is not so much the nadir of Bush's presidency as it is a reflection of our society. Attaining celebrity has become an achievement. If you use your celebrity to rebel against the establishment, then you're a hero. Heroes get medals.

Expect a future president to give one to Cindy Sheehan.

As questionable as this award may have been, I found it far less offensive than the medal given to George Tenet. As head of the CIA, Mr. "Slam Dunk" Tenet did more damage to our security and to world peace than Ali ever did and he has no cultural endeavors to speak of. So how did HE get it?

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