There are two main reasons. The first reason is that Congress has tried to award more medals, and particularly higher profile medals, in the waning days of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There have been only ten Medals of Honor awarded during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and only three of those have gone to living soldiers. The rush to award Medals of Honor was therefore present on the civilian side, and the second reason is that the rush was also on the military side. The Marine Corps also wanted to have one of their own awarded the Medal of Honor, feeling that they deserved more recognition due to their role in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Of the nine previous Medals of Honor awarded since 2001, 1 went to a Marine, 2 went to members of the Navy, and the remaining six all went to members of the Army. For a proud organization that has, in many ways, stepped outside its intention in the last decade, some more recognition would obviously be expected.
Meyer's fellow Marines that were with him during the battle for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor say that he did indeed deserve it. While the official count given by the Marine Corps may prove to be inaccurate, the Washington Post reports that at least seven others present at the battle backed the decision to nominate Meyer for the Medal of Honor. This would seem to indicate that even if the story on the Marine Corps website is somewhat embellished, it doesn't mean that this Medal of Honor is tainted.
Another, and perhaps the most interesting aspect of this story is the timing. As I believe has been mentioned on this blog, Meyer has filed suit against BAE Systems, a contracting company and his former employer. According to Meyer, he was shown the door after protesting an arms deal BAE was in the process of making. Not only was he shown the door at BAE, but he claims he was also blacklisted from other potential employers. At the time of the suit in late November, BAE made statements suggesting that, although they would be fighting the lawsuit, they wouldn't go into personal attacks against Meyer. These two facts-the controversy over Meyer's Medal of Honor and his lawsuit against BAE Systems-raise some questions. Is this simply bad timing for Meyer, or could BAE Systems have leaked the news regarding the possible misrepresentation of Meyer's actions in an attempt to discredit him? While that could be too big of a conspiracy theory stretch, it will be interesting to see how Meyer's legal actions play out with BAE Systems.