- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An MSNBC host issued an apology for saying he is “uncomfortable” calling America’s fallen troops heroes on Memorial Day weekend. His gaffe was to say what most leftists firmly believe.

Chris Hayes, who appears on MSNBC and is editor-at-large for the left-wing magazine the Nation, created instant controversy Sunday when he said, “I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words ‘heroes.’ … I feel comfortable - uncomfortable - about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”

The quote went viral after it was linked on the Drudge Report, and, on Monday, Mr. Hayes issued an explanation. “In seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don’t,” he wrote, “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.”

The word “heroes” has been used to describe America’s fallen for more than 200 years. It’s not “rhetorically proximate” to justifications for war but a traditional mark of gratitude and respect for the sacrifice made by the person who was killed and the family members left behind. It’s a way of recognizing that regardless of how a person died, he did so in service to the country. It’s not a glorification of war but a solemn acknowledgment of sacrifice. The other heroes - the people who engage in extraordinary acts of bravery and are recognized with medals or other official citations - are mostly uncomfortable with the term and generally don’t call attention to their deeds. The American warrior has never been a braggart.


It’s important that Mr. Hayes apologized for his tactless quip, but it accurately reflected the extreme liberal beliefs about those who serve in uniform. To the left, troops killed in war are not heroes but victims. They are at the mercy of poor economic conditions that drive them unwillingly to enlist, enticed by promises of pay and benefits and fooled by phony patriotic appeals. They are then turned into brainwashed robots, shorn of individuality and creativity and forced to live in an uncaring hierarchy where their only duty is unhesitatingly to follow orders. They are sent to fight illegitimate wars foisted on America to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. When they are killed, it’s usually by someone legitimately defending his homeland against imperialist invaders.

MSNBC viewers and readers of the Nation have heard propaganda like this before. Mr. Hayes caught attention by mentioning his discomfort on the weekend when it would be most offensive to most people. Americans should push back against the liberals’ patronizing and contemptuous line on the troops more often, but don’t expect apologies very often.

The Washington Times