Powered by Blogger

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chris Hayes smites heroes

I was rather upset when I heard about the hullabaloo over MSNBC host, Chris Hayes' comments on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day on a segment of his show, Up, about the disconnect between average Americans and the war effort:

"Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word 'hero'? I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect the memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, 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."

I had noted my objections on FB:

Of course there's tons of outrage out there about his comments, but bottom line, are we really upset because someone was contemplating the meaning of something? It's kind of disgusting that so many people's response is "How DARE he!" How dare he what? Think about something?  We're just not big in this country on thinking.  It's really sad. 

And Chris ended his comments with "maybe I'm wrong . . ." When have you ever heard, when will you ever hear, Rush Limbaugh, or people on the right, make that statement???

Then Peter Beinart said it so much better than I ever could:

I don’t share Hayes’s queasiness about the using the word “hero” to describe those Americans who died in Afghanistan and Iraq. In America today, where self-gratification is practically a national religion, there is something heroic about voluntarily placing your fate at your country’s service. But Hayes’s larger point—that in honoring the dead we should not surrender our critical faculties about war—is not only correct, it’s crucial. For more than 10 years now, the Coulters and Dick Cheneys of American politics have used the pain and pride of a nation at war to cow those who might have questioned our post-9/11 wars. In 2002 many congressional Democrats were too afraid of Karl Rove to vote against authorizing the invasion of Iraq. In 2009 Barack Obama acquiesced to an escalation in Afghanistan about which he had grave doubts, in part because of the political pressure he felt from the military brass and their allies in the congressional GOP. And even now, with most Americans convinced that the Afghan War is a waste of money and blood, it remains perilous for a television host to use Memorial Day to ask why our troops are still dying there.

. . . What good does it do a family that recently lost their son in Afghanistan to be told that he was a hero by a politician who can’t justify why he was there? It is telling that the presidential candidate who spoke about America’s wars in the least reverential terms—Ron Paul—received the most campaign donations from America’s war fighters.

. . . What do we owe my sister-in-law—and her husband and two small girls—for having made a sacrifice that most Americans of my demographic can’t even contemplate? We owe them our reverence, absolutely. But more that, we owe them our citizenship. Our deepest duty is to ask ourselves, relentlessly, whether the cause for which my sister-in-law sacrificed justifies the pain it has caused her family and the many American and Afghan families that have suffered far more. And if the answer is no, we owe them more than our sympathy and admiration. We owe them our rage.



Post a Comment

<< Home