Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day: An Honest Man Versus A Liar

A big story over the Memorial Day weekend concerned one Chris Hayes, a commentator over at MSNBC who celebrated Memorial Day by announcing how uncomfortable he was with referring to our fallen warriors as heroes.

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.

This sounds like the sort of double talking faux intellectual rap nerdy poli sci majors use to try and get credulous freshman girls out of their panties at an Obama after party once a few joints have made the rounds.

Nevertheless, I have to give Mr. Hayes credit.

The fact is, most self-styled progressives hate and despise the military.Oh, they'll pay lip service to 'supporting the troops' because, you know, it sounds patriotic and provides them a figleaf, but the attitude is fairly obvious. To people like Chris Hayes, the people that go into the military are suckers and dupes, and more than one of his comrades on the left have shown that this is exactly how they see it...especially when they think no one's listening too closely.

Hayes, one of the editors of the left-wing fringe magazine The Nation was simply being honest, and I commend him for that.

Far less commendable were his efforts to walk things back once he came under fire from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and blogs on the right side of the fence. But then, the species is not noted for its courage.

Even more interesting were the attempts to defend Chris Hayes remarks from the left, most of them again using the usual sophistry to question whether the term 'heroes' is appropriate.

Let's examine something.

At the present time, we have a volunteer military. What that means is that some young men in our society made a choice to restrict their own freedom and risk their lives to defend the rest of us..including the Chris Hayes's of the country. Whether they actually see combat or not, there's a degree of selflessness and honor in doing so that can only be characterized as heroic. And there's always the chance, even in peace time or behind the lines that things can go horribly wrong.

The left, for instance, has always had a good chuckle over President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard service. What never seemed to get mentioned is that two airmen in his unit died in training accidents during his service. The risks are always inherent.

People like Chris Hayes don't understand this because increasingly, there's a social and even a regional divide on those whom serve and those whom don't. Because of that, many people who think like Chris Hayes not only have never served in the military themselves, they frequently don't know anyone who has. To them, it seems like anyone who would volunteer for the military is someone beneath them socially and intellectually, who had no other option. Especially for patriotic motives, which they also think of as borderline neanderthal. I mean, why would someone risk his life at minimal pay for such a deeply flawed country like America if they were, you know, smart?

That brings up an interesting point. I wonder if Mr. Hayes and his friends on the left have ever considered what it might be like if the military, law enforcement, the whole security apparatus started thinking like they do and looking out for number one?

We actually have an example of what that's like, and it's fairly close at hand.

Just south of our borders, there's a war going on between various drug cartels over control of the drug traffic and Mexico's organized crime industry. The two main players are the old line Sinaloa Cartel and a new, upstart cartel known as the Zetas. Guess where the Zetas came from?

They were originally part of an elite U.S.-trained military force designed to combat and defeat the drug cartels. And at some point, they took a good look at what and whom they were defending for $100 per month, got smart and went into the cartel business for themselves. A large chunk of Mexico's army and police have made the same sort of decision, either by actively getting involved with one of the cartels or passively by taking a payoff to look the other way.

Towards the end of the Western Empire, Rome's legions did exactly the same thing, selling themselves to the highest bidder and even sacking a city here and there. So did the notorious 'Free Companies' in the 14th century during the slack periods of ceasefire during the Hundred Year's War.

That's what happens when patriotism, loyalty and honor are no longer a motive and people with arms who know how to use them 'get smart', look out for number one and start pillaging the elites that used to despise them. And that's something Chris Hayes and his comrades on the left ought to spend some time thinking about the next time they're tempted to open their mouths in this fashion.

Speaking of which, having dealt with the honest man, let's deal with someone of an entire different sort.

President Barack Obama (aside from apparently confusing Memorial Day and Veteran's Day) had a number of flowery things to say to mark the occasion. Here's a sample:

We’re calling on all Americans to join us in honoring and supporting our extraordinary Vietnam veterans who are among the more than three million Americans who served in that war. There are so many ways to show our appreciation to these veterans and their families, and many of them are available at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

As this anniversary proceeds we will also continue working to ensure that our Vietnam Veterans– and all veterans – receive the services, respect, and support they have earned. Our efforts on behalf of Vietnam veterans are part of our larger effort to make sure our nation is serving all our veterans as well as they served us. And because no veteran who fights for our nation overseas should have to fight for a job when they come home, this country has made it a priority for businesses to hire veterans and provided resources that make it easier for veterans to find a job.

Supporting and honoring our veterans and their families can’t be the work of government and our businesses alone. That’s why the First Lady and the Vice President’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, are leading a national effort, Joining Forces, to mobilize Americans in supporting today’s military families and veterans. Only about one percent of Americans may wear the uniform, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting those who do.

Let's take a look at how President Obama has 'supported those who serve', to use his phrase.

Our commander-in-chief showed his support for our military and their families at the beginning of his term by attempting to charge our wounded warriors for the medical care they were receiving for free via the VA, making them take out their own private insurance...this while the president, congress, various apparatchniks and their families get the best medical care available at no charge. He only backed off after the national commanders of veteran's groups like the American Legion and the VFW threatened to make the mother of all stinks over the matter.

President Obama recently doubled down on this 'respect' by slashing VA benefits in his new military budget, specifically from a program many vets depend on called TriCare as part of his crusade to hollow out our military.

Not only that, but the president's remarks on veteran's fighting for jobs must ring maddeningly hollow to career military who have literally been thrown out of the service without the full pensions they were just short of earning, again because of the cuts President Obama mandated.

Then, of course, there were the ongoing efforts by the Obama Department of Justice to disenfranchise military votes overseas during the 2010 midterms.

Not to say that President Obama doesn't find our military useful at times. Aside from taking credit for Admiral McRaven's planning and decisions on the bin-Laden raid, you might remember this president's use of dead military bodies being flown back to American soil as a political photo-op in defiance of Department of Defense regulations,the wishes of the families and simple common decency.

Small wonder that after this kind of 'support' from President Obama, very few veterans are going to vote for him, and we can almost certainly expect another effort by the Department of Justice to disenfranchise as much of our active duty military vote as possible in the coming November election.

You see, when it comes down to it, President Obama has exactly the same attitude towards our military that Chris Hayes does. The difference is that Chris Hayes, just for a minute, decided to be honest about it.

Without question, I prefer the honest man, no matter how flawed and misguided his reasoning.Such men can be worked with, at least on some level. The liar is only fit to be cast bodily out of the Temple.



Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with you about Hayes or where he is coming from on this, but man, have you guys hacking on him ever been in the military? Because I can tell you, not everyone in a uniform is any kind of "hero." There are a lot of good people but there are thieves, slackers, cowards, and blowhards too.

There are just as many kinds of people in uniform as there are out of it and not everyone joined out of patriotism or selflessness. I see as many guys who just didn't know what to do after high school as flag wavers. There's nothing wrong with that and I guess everyone knows by now you're going to get deployed probably but outside of the infantry, it's still safer to be deployed than to be on a base stateside.

All this hero worship is getting a little disgusting. It is, frankly, downright liberal... it smacks of the "everybody who plays is a winner" ethos that the left loves to wallow in. Have you guys been infected too?

The dead aren't all heroes. They're just dead. Some died heroically, some died poorly, but there's nothing inherent in being in the way of a bullet or bomb that makes you a hero. Hayes is basically telling the truth, but it's all the hero-worship that is making it the truth. It cheapens the real heroism out there to broaden that term to everyone who enlists and it makes it easy for liberals to mock because it's so plainly untrue.

Please stop! You can be respectful without resorting to hero worship.

Rob said...

Actually anonymous, I'm not 'hacking' on him or on Presidentr Obama for not being in the military, and I defy you to find anything like that in what I wrote. I'm saying they don't appreciate or understand it. Big difference.

The military definitely has its foul balls,like any other walk of life. But my point is that yes, voluntarily making a decision to risk your life and curtail your own freedom for the benefit of others is inherently an altruistic and heroic decision.

There are degrees of heroism, just like there are in anything else. The military recognizes that with medals, promotion, increased responsibility,unit citations and mentions in dispatches.

You're right, none of the dead wanted to die. But being willing to put yourself in harm's way when all it takes is to just say no thank you and expect someone else do it is a degree of heroic behavior in and of itself.

You call recognizing that 'hero worship'? I call it common sense.

Let's just say your use of the term 'flag wavers' kind of gives away whom you are and where you stand. Likewise, the remark about some guys 'just not knowing what to do after high school'. And th eopening bit about saying you agree wiuth me and then saying 'Hayes is telling the truth.'

Sorry, no sale.

And by the way, I could care less what lefties mock.

Old School said...

This is one of your better posts Rob. And that's saying something indeed.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about this called 'Tommy'..I wonder if you know it. It certainly resonates over the years with this old soldier.

Anonymous said...

But my point is that yes, voluntarily making a decision to risk your life and curtail your own freedom for the benefit of others is inherently an altruistic and heroic decision.

By that definition, we should all salute those 19 heroes who hijacked the planes on 9/11.

Rob said...

Oh, dang Anonymous! I guess you told me!

FYI,there's a substantial portion of the Muslim world (and yes, the Angry Left) that feels they are heroes.Hey, using boxcutters to cut the throat of stewardesses and murdering innocent civilians? Gutsy!

But no decent human being does, and certainly no American with any claim to patriotism or love of country.

Assuming you're the same anonymous from yesterday...well, like I said, I could smell you coming in. And you did me the favor of allowing my readers to get a good whiff of what the left peddles and how to answer it, so they can deal with it when they encounter it themselves.

Rob said...

Old School
Greetings. I'm familiar with the poem, and in fact I used it as part of a piece I wrote on the odious Chris Matthews commenting on President Obama speaking at West Point and calling our military academy 'an enemy camp, full of rabble."


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you anonymous. How dare you?

I bet you'd feel different if one of your loved ones was on one of the hijacked airlines or in the Twin Towers.

How you compare that to our guys in uniform is f**king beyond me.

Israeli Jew said...

Anonymous is just like Chris Hayes and Obama. They think that the soldiers are crap until the time comes when they themselves need to be protected.

Then these people scream like little girls and hide behind them.