Hit & Run

Tom Sowell's World

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I generally enjoy Thomas Sowell, but what I can only suppose was intended to be an ode to D-Day vets is a downright loopy read. In the course of a fairly unhinged rant against the Geneva Convention, the ACLU, and "world opinion" and, I think, in favor of pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran and North Korea, Sowell declares:

It is impossible to fight a war without heroism. Yet can you name a single American military hero acclaimed by the media for an act of courage in combat? Such courage is systematically ignored by most of the media.

Sowell forgets Sgt. Paul Smith, Medal of Honor recipient. Here's the St. Pete Times' stellar four-part interactive story on Smith's life and death, published several months after he fell and almost a year and a half before he received the nation's highest military honor. Here's USA Today covering Smith's loss, along with that of several other servicemen, five days after he sustained a fatal head wound holding off an Iraqi brigade:

Like any good military man, Paul Smith had a plan: become a professional soldier and have a family.

He completed both missions long before he was killed in action Friday at age 33.

Smith, a 14-year Army veteran and father of two, enlisted shortly after graduating from Tampa Bay Technical High School in 1989. Within a year, he was in the Gulf, serving in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Later, he went to another of the world's hot spots, Bosnia.

"He had his life mapped out since he was 18," his stepfather, Donald Pvirre, told The Tampa Tribune. "That's what he wanted to do."

He did it well. Pvirre said Smith had "earned medals from all over."

"He did not die in vain, and we know that," Smith's sister, Lisa DeVane, said in a statement released by the family.

He served with pride, honor and integrity, DeVane said. "Paul made it clear that it was his privilege to lead 25 of America's finest soldiers into war and that he was prepared to do whatever it took to ensure their safe return home."

Here's the Tribune following Smith's widow, Brigit, to Washington to receive his medal. Here's the Blogs for Bush take on the event and some video from local TV and The Washington Post story, too. They all covered it.

Here's coverage of Brigit Smith, born in Germany, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as she along with 300 others at the Tampa Civic Center become U.S. citizens. "It's unbelievable how people come up to me, strangers, they just come up to me and cry," she says.

From just the other day here's the fifth-grade graduation of David Smith, Paul's son, from Sunray Elementary in Holiday, Florida. The Pasco County school district unveiled a plaque that will sit at the base of school's flagpole. It reads: "In Memory of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, Medal of Honor Recipient, Loving Father of David A. Smith, Sunray Elementary School, Graduate, Class of 2005."

Sorry, Tom. That "systematically ignore" memo must've itself been ignored.