12/16/2011

Obama White House rewrites story for Marine who won Medal of Honor

So why isn't this part of the Washington Post story the lead? You have to get to the 17th paragraph to find this.

The Marine officials, who requested anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, acknowledged that portions of the narrative were changed from the account Williams submitted. They said that the changes occurred between July, when Obama approved Meyer’s medal nomination, and the September White House ceremony. Inaccuracies were written into the citation and the narrative of Meyer’s deeds, although the narrative contained far more errors and exaggerations.

The president’s version drew on materials the Marine Corps provided but it was written in the White House, the Marine officials said. While there’s no indication that the White House knew that Obama was narrating an embellished story — to an audience of several hundred Meyer family members, top officials, lawmakers and service members — the revelations could tarnish one of the signature moments of his time as commander in chief.

The White House said Obama’s remarks were based primarily on “extensive documentation provided by the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps,” including sworn testimony from Meyer and other eyewitnesses. It also relied on news reports and on a 2011 book, “The Wrong War” by Bing West. However, McClatchy found that the book’s account of the battle is riddled with inaccuracies.

Sterner said errors in citations had always haunted recipients and that many Medal of Honor winners had been cited for things they didn’t do. He added that the mounting pressure to find a living recipient has made mistakes in details almost inevitable. . . .

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