I know that I’m a few days late on this story, but whatever.
So Chris Hayes claimed on his MSNBC show that he felt ‘uncomfortable’ calling American troops heroes. Obviously this set off a media frenzy in which the press claimed that Hayes was ‘unpatriotic’, and ‘disrespectful to the fallen.’
Yet if we listen to what he said, both of those things are questionable. The latter certainly seems to be in serious doubt. A link to the video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUJu8Ac5-b4
Now the media have proved time and again that they have very selective hearing and it seems to be the case here too. Hayes repeated that he was not questioning the valour of the individuals’ lives spent and lost in war, rather questioning whether the motive was a worthy one. He quite clearly repeats that this opinion is not an attack on the heroics of the troops abroad: “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.” He was therefore trying to question whether the loss of these lives was necessary, but could not articulate his opinions into a manner in which that message was clearly conveyed. This seems to be the root of the problem.
On the other hand, why bring this up on Memorial Day Weekend? A day where America is supposed to unite as one, and remember the troops fighting in wars around the world, the fallen and their families. I’m not American, so I’m no expert, but this is surely a catastrophic error of judgement on Chris Hayes’ part. Why would he say something like that, in a statement which puts pressure on a thesaurus, and says one thing, but then discards it for another? The main reason of why it was such a huge story was because of the timing. I’m not supporting his opinions, but the fact is that this story would not have been so big if it was on any other weekend in the year. He said: “I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”Now don’t get me wrong here, I have very strong feelings towards the way America just invades other countries for personal gain, but quite simply, Chris Hayes is just wrong. Giving recognition to these people is the bare minimum of what they deserve and glorifying them does not give anyone ammunition to justify wars.
And this view, not on Memorial Day Weekend, but on any day is just completely disrespectful. How can he question the hero-status of the troops who risk their lives every single day, thousands of miles away from their families, so he can sit safely in his big office and sleep with peace of mind at night?! Surely he needs to question the political regimes which keep sending these men to war. The men and women are not to blame, or have any part in the decision of whether they will have to risk their lives over and over again for their country. They do whatever it takes to protect their country, and if they aren’t heroes, then I don’t know who is. We should not only feel comfortable, but proud to call our troops heroes, not just in America, but here in Britain too.
Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!