Video: MSNBC observes Memorial Day

posted at 9:36 am on May 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

If there’s one thing on which we all can agree, it’s that any man or woman who gives their last full measure of devotion in service to their nation has a legitimate claim to the title “hero.” Regardless of whether one supports the policies that put the service member in that position, the man or woman volunteered to follow the orders of his Commander in Chief to defend all of us and our freedom, knowing full well what they may have to sacrifice on our behalf. Unfortunately, that’s not quite a universal point of agreement, as it turns out.  Yesterday, MSNBC and its host Chris Hayes called that recognition warmongering in an incoherent, rambling statement that will haunt the channel and its host for a very long time:

Newsbusters has the transcript:

CHRIS HAYES: Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow.  Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke [sic, actually Beck], who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible].  Um, I, I, ah, back 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.

The spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars tells Hayes that he’s absolutely wrong about it:

A spokesman for a leading veterans organization criticized MSNBC’s Chris Hayes for arguing on his television show that that he’s “uncomfortable” describing American soldiers who died in battles as heroes.

“If Mr. Hayes feels uncomfortable, I suggest he enlist, go to war, then come home to what he expects is a grateful nation but encounters the opposite. It’s far too easy to cast stones from inexperience,” Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis told The Daily Caller on Sunday.

I’d suggest that Hayes needs to talk to a few veterans.  We’re specifically remembering those who died in service to their country today (Veterans Day in November honors those still among us), but those veterans knew the men and women who didn’t make it back home to their families.  Ask those veterans who the heroes were and are, and you won’t hear any whimpering about rhetorical proximations.

My left-of-center friend Brendan Loy didn’t mince words on Twitter about Hayes’ comments:

Since there’s some lib anti-military BS aboot, I’ll take this moment to thank the #heroes who died fighting for me, my country & my freedom.

I don’t always agree with the orders they’re following, but that’s utterly beside the point. Those who volunteer to defend us ARE heroes.

If your standard for heroism of individual soldiers is that they must disobey all orders you/they disagree with: LOL. That’s nuts.

It’s not the military’s job to make policy. The civilian gov’t sets policy. The military carries it out. Usually heroically.

Maybe it would just be best if Hayes says, “Thank you”:

Thank you to all those who have given their lives in service to our nation, from an overwhelmingly grateful free citizenry. Their loved ones are in our prayers today.

Update: My friend Kevin McCullough writes an open letter to Chris Hayes and anyone else having trouble seeing the fallen as heroes.

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I’m not buying his story either.

hawkdriver on May 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

lol….RXB is an obvious fraud.

His narcisism and leftest tactics aside, no “one time” conservative could possibly be so twisted in worldview.

Pity him.

Tim_CA on May 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I disagree Bizarro, but maybe I’m missing it. He says:

I don’t think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I’ve set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.

but then never mentions anything he’d change. He never even enumerates any particular wrong. He just reiterates his original point, then writes:

But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don’t, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.

He is sorry that he perfectly conforms to the model of a detached pundit?

I can’t even tell what he’s apologizing for, let alone being able to peck out any humility.

Personally, I never had any problem with his expressing his opinion anyway. I just sharply disagreed with it. The original opinion, not the abstracted one — that referring to fallen soldiers and marines as “heroes” is rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.

Axe on May 29, 2012 at 6:05 AM

While he didn’t back off of his sentiment about disliking war, I think he did an acceptable job in his apology trying to separate that opinion from the soldiers who fight those wars he dislikes – I don’t think he ever meant to demean anyone.

I saw his apology as an acknowledgement that his original statement was detached, insensitive, and soulless (which is was), that it wasn’t a reflection of the standards he believes in (he isn’t an unempathetic person at heart). I accept that as true, because in my experience, people who say, “maybe I’m wrong about that”, like Hayes originally did, show us their minds are still open, and it looked to me like his apology came about as a response to the criticism he received i.e. I think he really was listening to what others pointed out to him.

Considering that his apology included, “It’s very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots”, how do you believe it could have been better?

Bizarro No. 1 on May 29, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Local talk radio covered this topic this AM with Victoria Clarke (former DOD spokesperson) and Major Garrett (Congressional correspondent) filling in for one of the regulars. Clarke’s immediate comment was what an idiot. General consensus is that this prissy little beta male was trying to make some broad intellectual statement that was well beyond his ability to do so.

Clarke also pointed out that the DoD has a program to embed journalists in Afghanistan. All Hayes would have to do is go through the training. Then, maybe he could see first hand what our troops really do, not what Hayes thinks they do having lived for so long in the liberal echo chambers of Brown University and MSNBC.

Of course, I don’t think that Hayes would be able to physically cut the training in the first place.

Happy Nomad on May 29, 2012 at 7:14 AM

One more thing about Hayes: Not only does this gaffe reveal the Left’s organic disdain for soldiery, but it may also inadvertently point a bit to how they don’t see the military as a place where people are supposed to fight. They prefer to think of it as a recently-acquired social engineering sandbox. It has become, as a result, a PC morass.

This despicable administration could easily do an actions-speak-louder-than words by removing Purple Hearts for Ft Hood Victims from the list of objectionable items in the defense bill.

But no, that would require proper identification of the true enemy in the Long War (1400+ years) which has finally hit our shores.

And so anything the Left and its capstone cell of operatives in the WH say about veterans would qualify for “You’re full of it” treatment. And on top of that, in this case, you can add a special “Cram it!”

curved space on May 29, 2012 at 8:33 AM

I agree with what both of you are saying here – where I may differ is the significance of it.

Hayes is a wimp, no doubt. He doesn’t like war; he doesn’t understand the connection between liberty and the necessity of war. Because of this, it’s difficult for him to associate the word “hero” with those who fight these wars he dislikes. But, he’s not a jerk at heart, and he understands that just because he has trouble using “hero” in this context does not mean that our troops are not brave nor heroic.

That position, while silly, is far more tolerable to me than that of the ingrateful Leftists who do actually hate our troops – to his credit, at least Hayes isn’t an a$$hole who insists that his position here is the only valid one.

Bizarro No. 1 on May 29, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Ignorance. I know the Christians of Iraq were FAR better off when ole Saddam was in power. Of course, there aren’t many Christians in Iraq anymore thanks to our “liberation”. Get your head out of the sand, buddy.

RightXBrigade on May 28, 2012 at 10:26 PM

As an American soldier, do you believe it’s your job to care more about Iraqi Christians than Iraqi non-Christians?

What about non-Christians in Iraq – were they better off under Saddam in your opinion, too?

I long for the days when we weren’t the world’s policemen. I don’t see how Iraq no-fly zones and naval blockades made any American safer. Whenever we put our nose in the business of other countries we get blow back which in turn makes us less safe. Not to mention the fact that perpetual war TAKES our freedoms rather than saves it, i.e. Patriot Act, suspension of habeus corpus, NDAA, etc.

RightXBrigade on May 29, 2012 at 1:00 AM

Ok, so you’re the President after 1992. How do you believe the US should have handled Saddam after 1991 – do you believe he should have gone unpunished for breaking the cease-fire agreements he made?

Bizarro No. 1 on May 29, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Poster boy for LibTards®.

8thAirForce on May 29, 2012 at 6:06 PM

HAHA Wow! I am really getting you guys worked up! haha

Let’s just end this now. I am anti-war, you are pro-war. I’ll agree to disagree. I won’t, however, change my views because then we’d all be wrong. Oh by the way, I’m NOT a soldier. I am a Marine. That was probably the biggest insult I got so far. Worse than the Code Pink one, haha. We don’t do stress cards in the Corps… YUT!

RightXBrigade on May 29, 2012 at 6:26 PM

HAHA Wow! I am really getting you guys worked up! haha

RightXBrigade on May 29, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Another Troll that thinks he’s a MENSA member.

um actually partner….it looks like it took a little over 12 minutes for the people here to figure out exactly what you are.

Now run along and play in your room….tomorrow’s a school day.

Tim_CA on May 29, 2012 at 7:02 PM

HAHA Wow! I am really getting you guys worked up! haha

Let’s just end this now. I am anti-war, you are pro-war. I’ll agree to disagree. I won’t, however, change my views because then we’d all be wrong. Oh by the way, I’m NOT a soldier. I am a Marine. That was probably the biggest insult I got so far. Worse than the Code Pink one, haha. We don’t do stress cards in the Corps… YUT!

RightXBrigade on May 29, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Why don’t you answer the questions I asked you instead of cowardly running away from them while throwing out stupid, pathetic insults? Do you think Jesus approves of that kind of behavior?

btw, you are being overly technical when presuming that “soldier” is a term which can’t be a generic reference to any person in the military, you big baby!

Bizarro No. 1 on May 29, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Rachel Maddow is more of a man than he is.

Bitter Clinger on May 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM

She should give him one of her balls, that way they would both have two.

Wade on May 29, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Oh by the way, I’m NOT a soldier. I am a Marine. That was probably the biggest insult I got so far.

I’m sure the other Marines who post here are so proud of you. Or maybe skeptical. Proud or skeptical. They could go either way.

hawkdriver on May 30, 2012 at 3:05 AM

I wish we were as outraged over the BS justifications for these unconstitutional wars as we are over a nobody MSNBC journalist’s opinion. Where are the priorities??

RightXBrigade on May 28, 2012 at 8:13 PM

This, this is the first comment on a thread about Memorial Day by a Marine? You can’t even caveat your comment by honoring the fallen before you go off the deep end with your anti-war Ron Paul screed?

Color me doubtful.

hawkdriver on May 30, 2012 at 3:36 AM