CHRIS HAYES: Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow. Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke, who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible]. Um, I, I, ah, [Steve] Beck, sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”? I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.
(Before I begin, he did issue an apology after the pitchforks and torches appeared.) See Chris Hayes comes across as one of those bleeding heart liberal types from the MSNBC network, the left wing echo-chamber where memes and ideas like this probably seem normal before being exposed to normal Americans. I believe the network is slowly becoming a parody of itself, the news-version of Whose Line is it Anyway: “Welcome to MSNBC, the network where the stories are made up and the truth doesn’t matter!”
“We’re calling troops heroes = we want more war” is the roommate of the “If you wave a flag, oops here comes 1939 Germany!” dribble that knuckleheads espouse in a pious tone whenever someone brings up the topic of patriotism. See this “logic” reminds me of that crappy line from one of the recent Starwars prequel films… ”Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering! o.o ” deal. No, no; one does not always bring the other, and it doesn’t perfectly follow that script. Believers in those two ideas could likely build beautiful rhetorical card-houses to try to prove their point, the problem is that they’re false, the cards do not stand even in the vacuum of theory.
So, Hayes is a dips**t. Big whoop. He said something logically-challenged and then got pilloried for it.
Well, just as I was beginning to simmer down, Cenk Uygur opened his garbage chute too. For those not familiar with Cenk Uygur, he’s known to some as “The Young Turks guy”, from their Youtube channel. (Note: The name is kind of bizarre, because that’s actually the name of the group that was responsible for the Armenian Genocide. Really dude? Really?)
“Everyone attacks Chris Hayes for daring…’How dare you possibly suggest that? You have to bow your head, call everyone in the military heroes, because war is awesome, the Pentagon is the greatest, our soldiers are all heavenly.”
When it comes to massive defense spending and crushing dictators I’m all for it. For a good stretch of my life I’ve spent oodles of time on web communities with a very high number of former armed forces personnel, been on their newsletters, read books published by the men, followed their works, I’ve sent care packages, yada yada-
(Let me stat: I am no Gary Sinese, there are others who support the troops in more productive or better ways than I do, this isn’t my point!), so I could be categorized as a member of the “vast right wing conspiracy”.
Let me say this:
-We, (Those who “agree” with or support armed conflicts overseas) do not think war is “awesome”.
Further, want to know how offensive this is to military personnel and veterans in particular? This is like saying that a civil rights group likes the firebombings of a certain group’s buildings, because it lets them do stuff. Yes, it’s that offensive. I cannot tell you how pissed and shocked some of them are when that stuff comes up. See, most veterans and active duty military personnel are simple family people who return from conflicts with the goal of simply living their lives in solitude. We rarely get to hear their side, those in the media who claim to support them seem to seldom really pick up their cause or listen to what they have to say when they disagree – (on say the effectiveness of waterboarding, who should comprise their ranks, rules of engagement, etc).
-We do not think everything that happens in the Pentagon is manna from heaven. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the service members I’ve been around shake their heads and vent about people shining seats with their asses in the Pentagon, or what goes on in the procurement area? I’d have quite a lot of money. Know what a “Fobbit” is? Or a “Pogue?” If you knew what those terms meant, you’d understand the fact that there’s a little bit of occasional low-level-tension even within the service branches,
-We are not blind to poor conduct by armed service members. Being in the military involves real codes of honor that journalists likely wouldn’t understand, they (“military peoplez”) of all people are most pissed off when some knucklehead takes pictures with humiliated prisoners or something like that. They don’t quite need 40 straight days of front page NYTimes coverage (Referencing Abu Gharib here) to know how to police their own units. I find it interesting how these news outlets choose to support the troops (I Mean, of course they support the troops, they tell us this all the time): By letting the actions of a handful of idiots (in the stress of a warzone, can’t forget that context), becomes a vast majority of their coverage on the war. They become the paint brush that ends up painting a bad shadow on much of a war effort.
The TV media has done this too, when it’s not stressing the death toll on a nightly basis, which it did in the lead up to the 04 election, and the 08 election. Odd how it seemed to disappear after 08 though… hmm..
Want to know what I think is alarming? When we as a nation express our gratitude and reverence to these guys, that it makes some people uncomfortable for some odd reason.
To those people, let me pass on a message from some of the service members I know, and those who respect them: “**** you if it really bothers you that much.”