Did MSNBC's Chris Hayes Say Something Terrible When He Said He Was Not Comfortable Calling Fallen Soldiers "Heroes"?

On Sunday, liberal MSNBC commentator Chris Hayes did something you're not supposed to do, namely express mixed, conflicted opinions about soldiers.

Being anti-war is (sort of) okay and occasionally respectable as long as you clarify that World War II was fine, but to varying degrees, you simply must support the troops. The old safe anti-war standby is of course that you support the troops so much so that you want them to come home.

Maybe if he had stuck to that standby, he wouldn't have provoked any more outrage than a lefty on MSNBC would usually. But Hayes also said the following:

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.

This is an old story in that Hayes has already apologized. He chose the traditional sorry, "it's easy to criticize because I am not currently fighting in a war" method. 

Hayes should have known what might happen, especially when it was near (not actually on) Memorial Day. But he raised an excellent point. Now here is your obligatory clip from the film The Americanization of Emily, where James Garner's character expresses his disapproval of memorializing war. 

This is fiction, so it's arguably overly black and white. However, it makes some biting points about war and what it means to act as if to be in the military is the best, most noble thing that a human being can do. 

Now, what Hayes expressed was a personal statement of discomfort towards the way that we are all supposed to speak about soldiers, as well as an incredibly important point to raise about what it means to assume that every single person killed while serving in the (only, I assume, U.S.) military was heroic. Even when drafted. Even in wars mostly seen as mistakes, such as World War I or Vietnam.

But, Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic noted that the context of the debate was a panel show in the early morning on MSNBC and that other guests responded to Hayes' questions, but then Hayes himself offered this:

The argument on the other side of that is, we don't have a draft. This is voluntary. This is someone making a decision to take on a certain risk of that. And they're taking it on because they're bound to all of us through this social contract, through this democratic process of self-governance in which we decide collectively that we're going to go to war. And how we're going to go to war, and why we're going to go to war. And they also give up their own agency in a certain way that, for a liberal caricature like myself, seems very difficult to comprehend -- submitting so totally to what the electorate or people in power are going to decide about how to use your body, but they do that all of full volition. And if the word hero is not right, there's something about it that's noble, right?

There's something at least brave about that, sure. But of course the soldiers being memorialized include those who were drafted. The draft is one of the harshest uses of state power. It is a period of life-threatening indentured servitude that may also force you to violate cherished beliefs or morals. We could call it slavery without that being a rhetorical flourish.

So what if any of those soldiers honored had no interest being a solider? And was every single one of the 640,000-odd American soldiers killed in action since the Civil War really a hero? Confederates and Union soldiers, too? Or the ones who died of dysentery and car crashes? What are the rules about who qualifies? What about people who fought in other countries' armed forces? There are a million questions that come along with dubbing an entire kind of person heroic. They were all individuals.

Some critics said this was Memorial Day, and not the time for such things. But the pro-soldier mentality exists every day and this was Sunday before. How many buffer days does Memorial Day need before it's no longer "not the time" for questions?

Why not use the day as an excuse to seriously think about the meaning of war and soldiers and the state and such Big Topics? Or is just a day to barbecue and take the day off after all? Or a day to make oh, so witty remarks about how Hayes is just a big old woman for wanting to question life and death matters in this fashion?

It's not purely anti-war to plea for a little more nuance the way that we talk about soldiers who, by the way, Hayes never once actually insulted or said he "despised." But if a cause is unjust or someone didn't choose to participate in it or countless other qualifiers, is it true to call them all heroic? Or, to start from the other direction, if a soldier is inherently a hero, does that not at least suggest something positive about the cause in which he or she fought? 

I have no top-down mandates for who should or should not be honored with holidays or parades. And critics are of course free to respond to Hayes as harshly as they see fit, but it's still disappointing to see people trying to shut down a discussion by using the trump cards that Hayes never served in the military and various tautologies about how heroic are these heroes. If soldiers are as described, they deserve the nuance and the intellectual honesty of an explanation as to why they're heroic. War is a lot bigger than bumper stickers. And soldiers are (mostly likely) tough enough to handle a debate.

Reason on war 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • R C Dean||

    We've dumbed heroism down. You aren't a hero just because you show up, or just because you die. I'm certainly with him, that far.

    And I am far (far) from being anti-military, but the piety that must now be draped over any encounter with or reference to soldiers is almost as bad as that for cops, and is getting well into the nauseating range.

  • John||

    If not enough people volunteered, the government would draft. That guy went over there and got blown up so people like you could choose not to go RC. I think at least from yours or my perspective that qualifies as a hero.

  • Zeb||

    On the other hand, would we have gotten involved in Iraq and Afghanistan to the extent that they did had there been a draft? I would bet a lot that the wars would have become much more unpopular, very quickly had there been a draft. And whatever you think about the validity of either war, they are both optional wars.

  • John||

    I love how Afghanistan has become an optional war. Last I looked the Taliban attacked the US and killed 2800 Americans and are still alive and kicking.

  • fried wylie||

    Last I looked the Taliban a group of Saudis attacked the US and killed 2800 Americans and are still alive and kicking.

  • John||

    No. The Taliban, by allowing providing support to those Saudis and then refusing to turn over the ring leaders attacked the US.

  • fried wylie||

    by allowing providing support

    Based on our govt's definition of "support", I'll remain skeptical. Skeptical enough to accept the initial destruction of the taliban, but not to accept the following decade of life and resource wasting occupation.

  • Lyle||

    Ah, even Clinton knew that Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan. He bombed it, remember?

  • fried wylie||

    whoops, I didn't alter the latter part of the sentence to refer to the kingdom of saudi arabia like I meant to. the actual saudis involved are all, obviously, dead already.

  • Zeb||

    But what woudl be different had we not invaded Afghanistan? You cite what may well be a reasonable justification for the war. But justifiable does not mean necessary. And if it is not necessary, it is optional. There woudl still be a USA, in about the same shape it is now, had we not invaded Afghanistan.

    But my real point was about the draft. The wars would have gone differently had there been a draft.

  • fried wylie||

    But what woudl be different had we not invaded Afghanistan?

    Some servicemen would still be alive. Some money might not have been wasted.

  • sarcasmic||

    Some servicemen would still be alive. Some money might not have been wasted.

    Many Afghans would not have grown up seeing the stars and stripes as a symbol of occupation, death, and destruction.

  • wareagle||

    Some servicemen would still be alive.

    that sounds more like a rationale for not having a military at all rather than commentary about either war. First rule of combat is, young men die; second rule is, no one can change rule one.

    Having not responded to 9/11 would have been the same as painting a target on the whole of the US and saying "attack one and all; the most we'll do is issue a strongly-worded memo." Sometimes, war is a necessary thing. One of those times is when your civilians are pre-emptively attacked and you are fairly from where the attack was launched.

  • sarcasmic||

    Having not responded to 9/11 would have been the same as painting a target on the whole of the US

    I don't see that at all. The military response to 9/11 hasn't made us any safer than the TSA's security theater.

    Had the people who attacked us been employees of another government, then of course military action would have been justified.

    But they were not. There was no reason to go and topple two sovereign nations for the actions of civilian who did not represent their governments.

    Especially when you consider that the people involved were mostly Saudi and Egyptian!

    No excuse at all.

  • wareagle||

    so you would have advocated doing what? Going into Iraq will probably seen as wasted effort in the long run, though I have no tears over Saddam's death.

    Afghanistan, meanwhile, is a different matter. We did not "topple" a govt since that place has never really been a nation as we define it. However, the Taliban who more or less ran things gave al-Qaida the freedom to plot, plan, and do whatever it wanted to do.

    Sorry, but we could not let a slaughter of 3,000 innocent folks go unanswered. You can argue we targeted the wrong place, but you cannot make a case that there should have been no response.

  • sarcasmic||

    so you would have advocated doing what?

    I believe offering obscene rewards for certain peoples' heads (letters of marque and reprisal style) would have been far less expensive in both blood and treasure than sending troops and hardware to the other side of the globe in a endeavor with no defined goal or end.

  • wareagle||

    yes, I am sure that people who were and, to an extent, remain petrified of the Taliban would have rushed forth to collect bounties. Come on, man. People in the US are afraid to rat out gang members and mobsters; what makes you think those in a far more dangerous place than this would do so.

    I will agree with you all day long regarding how the war has been prosecuted, but I cannot go along with the idea of taking no action beyond offering bounties to the locals.

  • sarcasmic||

    I cannot go along with the idea of taking no action beyond offering bounties to the locals.

    Not just the locals, to anyone.
    To that government's police or military. To local tribal leaders. To neighboring governments. To civilian contractors with the means to accomplish the goal.

    When I say "obscene" I mean billions of dollars. Biggest lotto jackpot the world has ever seen. Big enough to get Pakistan or Russia to mobilize their own military, but far cheaper than using out own.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "There woudl still be a USA, in about the same shape it is now, had we not invaded Afghanistan."

    Maybe so, maybe not, but of all the bullshit since WWII that's the one place I can think of that needed an ass-kicking from us for harboring the fucks behind what happened. That doesn't mean it was handled splendidly.

  • John||

    The world would have known that it is perfectly okay to kill Americans in America with impunity and we would do nothing about it. I seriously doubt that would have ended well.

  • ||

    John, the people who attacked America didn't care about being punished by us anyway.

    Nor did invading Afghanistan show the world anything besides the incompetence and idiocy of the US government.

  • Cytotoxic||

    So much bullshit, so little time.

    Anybody who thinks that attacking the Taliban/AQ didn't make us safer has his head firmly up his ass. That is the way of the Cult of Noninterventionism. Two, it doesn't matter what nationality (SA/Egyptian) the attackers were. They were AQ operatives. The mere mention of that talking point so reeks of desperation and dishonesty that I'd laugh if idiots here weren't taking it seriously.

    "John, the people who attacked America didn't care about being punished by us anyway."

    Except for Bin Laden, who was actually surprised and frightened at America's response. He did not expect it. He expected what came after every other previous terror attack ie basically nothing ie basically what the cult members here are proposing.

  • ||

    That's right Ctyo, not wanting to intervene in other countries internal politics is the same as not wanting to retaliate from a sucker punch.

    Plus what perlhaqr said.

  • Zeb||

    So maybe (I'm not entirely convinced) some action was necessary for the reasons you propose. Still, my point stands that had there been a draft, the war would not have gone on this long or involved as many soldiers and that people volunteering for service are not necessarily taking the place of someone who woudl be drafted in the absence of enough volunteers. Bombing the fuck out of the Taliban and a stern warning not to let it happen again probably would have done the job.

  • perlhaqr||

    We have an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons. You really think "invasion" was the only way we could have demonstrated the lesson: "Do not fuck with America"?

  • ||

    Just about everything from 2003 onward was optional.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Last I looked the Taliban attacked the US and killed 2800 Americans and are still alive and kicking

    The ones responsible for 9/11 could have been eliminated with a military response short of attempting to occupy the entire country on some windmill-tilting quest to force it to be a modern democracy, particularly when that distraction ended up allowing the people we were actually there to eliminate to escape.

  • ||

    "Would we have gotten involved in Iraq and Afghanistan to the extent that they did had there been a draft?"

    I'd say we got involved to a much greater extent in Vietnam. I would much rather an all-volunteer military than one with members who are drafted to die for the state.

    As for the article, while we shouldn't hail being a soldier as the most noble thing a person could do, since most of us would prefer a world without need for war, we should still recognize the bravery of their actions and remember the fallen, since any war is a moment in history from which to learn.

  • R C Dean||

    That guy went over there and got blown up so people like you could choose not to go RC.

    No, he volunteered for his own reasons. And he may have gotten blown up because he was an idiot, not a hero.

    Just being a soldier, and even dying while in service, don't make you a hero. You can make a case that dying while in combat makes you a hero, but even that strikes me as diluting the term.

    YMMV.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    I volunteered and I was refused. Am I allowed to complain? Do I need to stand mute because the military is fighting a battle it won't allow me to fight?

    Even if you don't believe me, what about all the others who've attempted to join the military and we're refused because of advanced age, felonies, physical disabilities, homosexuality (in the past) drug use, and many other reasons. Are we allowed to criticize the military or did we lose that right when we were forbidden to join the service?

  • sarcasmic||

    I volunteered and I was refused.

    Me too. Apparently they don't like people with a childhood history of asthma.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    The week after 9/11, the (USAF) was turning down healthy male volunteers over age 28.

    There's no shortage of applicants for the military at all levels. Economics tells us something about a long line...

  • Carston||

    Agreed, most that I know that go into military do it for the money and benefits, it has nothing to do with a higher purpose or heroism, its just a job.

  • Raymond Luxury Yach-t||

    A job where you give up your rights, and get them back as privileges, where you can be ordered to kill people, and be ordered into harm's way. The Govt. will still fight wars without volunteers. Thanks to people like sarcasmic and Tommy_Grand they did not come for guys like me to fill the ranks. You guys are heroes too, and yes, you can still complain and criticize.

  • oncogenesis||

    That guy went over there and got blown up so people like you could choose not to go ...

    What if "that guy" served as a cook or supply clerk and didn't get blown up. Still a hero?

  • Raymond Luxury Yach-t||

    Exactly, John

  • TELLMOFF||

    An officer who allows his men to rape and murder civilians is not honorable or heroic. An officer should have his men scared of him and not be concerned with being popular.

  • Brandon||

    My wife's cousin is a soldier, been in the Army since he graduated High School in '02 and been to Iraq and Afghanistan numerous times, and he's getting out in September. We saw him last weekend for another cousin's HS graduation, and he made the mistake of saying he wasn't particularly proud to be in the Army and he was looking forward to getting out since he has enough years of service to not ever be drafted or recalled again. My father in law and an uncle actually got mad at him. "Well you should be proud, dammit. You're a hero..." etc. It turned into a rant about how our generation is lazy and doesn't appreciate the things we've been given. When a soldier is scolded for being insufficiently reverential to himself, the cult of military worship has gone too far.

  • John||

    A couple of things. First, how did Rachel Maddow manage to get her girlfriend a gig on MSNBC?

    Second, you right to some degree Lucy. Not everyone who dies in war dies a heroic death. Most of them are just unlucky. Some of them fucked up and got themselves and other people killed. People die in every way imaginable.

    Third, whether they are heroic or not in some ultimate way isn't really the issue. The bottom line is that collectively as a society through the actions of our government we sent these people to war. And because they went a lot of other people didn't have to. And as a result of that, they died unnatural and violent deaths. Given those facts, from our prospective, they deserve a tremendous amount of respect be that out of respect for their cause or guilt over being part of the society that sent them there depending on your view of things. And for that reason calling them "heroes" is not inappropriate.

  • nicole||

    John, couldn't we just as well call them "tragic victims" as heroes, by your reasoning? I mean, of course, since we didn't "collectively as a society" do anything, but since the government that purports to act for "us" in such a capacity, even though no such "us" exists, did so, and we might feel guilty about that because we weren't able to stop it.

    About half my tongue is in my cheek here. I can go all Realpolitik on foreign policy shit, and call a bunch of them heroes or whatever, if I want to put my "real world talking about actual politics" hat on (i.e., not my normal self here), or I can say that I'm a fucking anarchist nihilist and I'm sorry but I just can't admire anyone working for the state, even if it does mean they are protecting me and my way of life.

  • John||

    That is your call Nicole. But understand that you wake up every day and get to live in a really great place. Basically, the average American is better off than about 90% of the world. And the only reason you get to live that way is because people were willing to die to create it. That makes you a parasite in many ways and an ungrateful one at that. But since you claim to be an anarchist, you reveal yourself to be an idiot anyway.

    And if we ever had real anarchy, the only thing that would keep you alive would be your willingness to put out for someone big enough and bad enough to keep you around.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    And if we ever had real anarchy, the only thing that would keep you alive would be your willingness to put out for someone big enough and bad enough to keep you around.

    Wow, sexist much John. She might just be strong enough and have the force of will to take care of herself.

    Not an anarchist myself, more minarchist, but that still does not mean that every soldier that puts on a uniform and goes off to kill people is a hero. I know you think so, and that is your right, but I don't. I've seen too many troops that were anything but heroic.

  • John||

    I doubt she could take care of shit on her own. No one could. In anarchy it is just question of whether your gang is stronger than the other gang. And her willingness to put out is what would get her in the gang. That is how the world works.

  • nicole||

    Believe me, John, when I say nihilist, I mean it. I'm not saying I think the consequences would be "good," for me or for anyone. But speaking ethically I am just not a consequentialist.

  • John||

    Fair enough Nicole. I can respect that. And respect that a hell of a lot more than the atheists with a happy ending folks who hang out on here.

  • nicole||

    And in case anyone is wondering if there's any belief that will make you feel more alienated than libertarianism...it's that.

    But thanks John.

  • perlhaqr||

    And in case anyone is wondering if there's any belief that will make you feel more alienated than libertarianism...it's that.

    It's true! Even the libertarians think you've gone too far. Ah well, at least no one can claim I'm doing it to be popular.

  • Pi Guy||

    ...atheists with a happy ending folks...

    What the hell does tht even mean?

    Even without knowing, you've revealed yourself to be a sexist and god-bot. Neither serves as a cogent argument.

  • nicole||

    Pi Guy, John has referred to this before, it means something like, atheists who believe there is a positive meaning to their lives or that "everything will turn out happily in the end" even sans "heaven."

  • TELLMOFF||

    John, anarchy gangs are small gangs until they call themselves a nation.

  • Brandon||

    Mutually Assured Destruction can work on an individual level too, John.

    PS: You forgot to tell us all to Love It or Git Out.

  • Repairman Jack||

    shorter john: I'm afraid that my gang would get it's ass kicked if we didn't steal to fund it.

    What an utterly pathetic defense of statism.

  • Brandon||

    John is a pretty reasonable statist, but he tends to go neocon pretty hard when it comes to the War on Terror.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    sounded like DONDEROOOOOOOO!!!! there for a minute.

  • tarran||

    And the only reason you get to live that way is because people were willing to die to create it

    ROFL

    Nice John!

    If that were the case the fucking Societ Union must have been a paradise, what with the millions ready to die to create a great society there!

    Silly me, here I thought it was the freedom that the military has often stood against that unleashed peoples productive impulses. And no, gunning down Philipinos in the 1890's didn't create that prosperity. Nor did gassing Germans, bundling Cossacks into cattle cars to send them to death camps, or carpet bombing the shit out of Gooks accomplish any of that.

  • John||

    Yes Tarran just because the Soviets were bad, every government is equally bad. And we have a great country not because we have a rule of law and a decent government and people who were willing to die to defend it. No we have a nice country in spite of that.

    God you are fucking retard when it comes to these kinds of topics.

  • tarran||

    The military has nothing to do with Rule of Law, John.

    NADA.

  • John||

    It has everything you half wit because if we didn't have a military, we wouldn't have a country to have a rule of law in. Someone stronger would have come along and taken it.

  • sarcasmic||

    if we didn't have a military
    Who said anything about no military at all?
    Straw man and false dichotomy there, John.

    Someone stronger would have come along and taken it.
    The Canadians are coming! The Canadians are coming!

  • Lyle||

    Canada is Canada because of the War of 1812.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Actually AQ is coming. Or rather came to Denmark to attack the Danish Cartoonist with an axe. Surely it was blowback.

  • Randian||

    Certainly every time someone murders someone else, it's appropriate to fire up the War Machine, right Cyto?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Make sure to lift with your knees when hefting all those strawmen.

  • Randian||

    OK, who started the strawman argument again? It wasn't me.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yes it was you. Please see your comment above.

  • Randian||

    Wrong:

    Actually AQ is coming. Or rather came to Denmark to attack the Danish Cartoonist with an axe. Surely it was blowback.

    See, you put the "blowback" point in and attributed it as the argument, then argued against it with your preceding comments via sarcasm. That's called a "strawman". Look it up if you don't believe me.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Sigh. The blowback snark was irrelevant. Whatever.

  • Randian||

    Oh you're John Stewart now - "Don't take me seriously except when I wanna be taken seriously!" Got it.

  • ||

    Exception, rule. Let's make a big fuckin' deal out of it Cytoyoxic and indiscriminately slaughter innocent Muslims because a few crazies overreacted to a cartoon punlished in Europe, home to the most xenophobic and racist people in Western civilization.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Stop lying.

    1) Not a few crazies but a large dangerous organization that loves to kill other Muslims more than westerners.

    2) We've never indiscrimately slaughtered Muslims.

    Seriously. Stop lying.

  • Randian||

    We've never indiscrimately slaughtered Muslims.

    The lack of care and effort put into acquiring drone targets says otherwise. It may not be indiscriminate, but it sure is not discriminate either.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The lack of care and effort put into acquiring drone targets says otherwise.

    It is not America's job to be perfect. If it were up to me, you would see what indiscriminate really means. I wish we had nuked certain parts of Afghanistan.

  • Randian||

    That's productive. I know that the "Warmonger" phase of Objectivism kinda sucks, but you have to get over it some time.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Not genuflecting to pacifism and self-loeathing =/= 'warmonger' dearest Wormtongue.

  • Randian||

    I am neither a pacifist nor a self-loather. What world of doublespeak do you have to live in to think that advocating against the use of nuclear weapons means I am a "pacifist"? Seriously, what possible justification other than a staggering adherence to collectivism can you have to nuke a whole country?

  • ||

    1) Not a few crazies but a large dangerous organization that loves to kill other Muslims more than westerners.

    Which is pretty frickin' stupid of them since all that does is erode their support within their own religion. OBL himself was aware of this and lamanted that he was surroudned by such idiots that would isolate the organization. We're fighting a band of retarded fundies, not a James Bond villain. 24 was just a TV show dude.

    2) We've never indiscrimately slaughtered Muslims.

    No, we just inadvertantly do so. And if occassionally some of our soldiers go crazy and massacre some civilians like that guy in Afghanistan, well that's just the price we pay for safety. Ditto for Obama's drone shadow war. Pretty disgusting that anyone will defend our heavy-handed approach to fighting terror.

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) Doesn't matter. Still dangerous, still needs/needed killing.

    2) Heavy-handed? Are you kidding me? The troops have enough ridiculous combat restrictions as is. This has to be the lightest footprint of any serious war ever.

  • Azathoth!!||

    We HAVE never indiscriminately slaughtered Muslims. That's the problem.

    We didn't win WW2 by stopping every Axis soldier and questioning his political beliefs. We didn't win WW2 by making sure each bullet only got it's intended target, that each bomb only killed properly designated and admitted combatants.

    We won by destroying our enemies. Destroying--not spanking them.

    And this whole stupid conflict would be over now if we'd gone in like that.

    Win, then fix things.

  • Randian||

    We HAVE never indiscriminately slaughtered Muslims. That's the problem.
    ...
    We won by destroying our enemies. Destroying--not spanking them.

    Except:

    1. Muslims are not all your enemy
    2. This is not World War II and
    3. There is no existential threat

    Invoking WWII should be its own argumentative fallacy.

  • ||

    How is AQ coming? To America I mean.

  • tarran||

    You laugh, but prior to WW-II the Canadians were pretty warlike culturally.

    The article I read on their military history cited the Dieppe fiasco as a major turning point. however, that martial tradition continues, but is channeled into providing soldiers for UN peacekeeping operations.

  • CockGobbla||

    Our opportunity to experience the great quality of life in America shouldn't have to be earned, it should be expected.

    The fact that their voluntarily enlistment staved off the hungry beasts that are the civilian draft boards doesn't entitle them to heroic reverence.

    The heroism of a war should be dependent on the morality of the war being fought.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's quite the false dichotomy there, John.

    A choice between killing brown people on the other side of the globe, or no government at all.

    Tony much?

  • John||

    The dichotomy is this. You can either have the will to do the violence to maintain your nice society against people who would destroy it or you can have history roll over you like a steam roller. That is it.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    You can either have the will to do the violence to maintain your nice society against people who would destroy it or you can have history roll over you like a steam roller.

    This is exactly right. If you are not willing to defend yourself, others will take what you have. However, I don't think our present military is for 'defence' but really is used for 'projecting force.'

  • sarcasmic||

    against people who would destroy it

    Like who? Dirt farmers in Afghanistan?

    Please. There are no threats in this world that justify even a tenth of what we euphemistically call "National Defense".

  • wareagle||

    it's always the "brown people." When we went to war against other white folks, was that morally superior? Please. Just so happens that the first blow was struck by brown folks this time.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They use that talking point because their arguments suck and it's just so witty and clever!

  • Randian||

    Sign me up for the "Invoking Brown People Argument Sucks" crowd. Seriously, reasonistas, you don't like it when Al Sharpton does it, so knock it the fuck off.

  • Azathoth!!||

    What's with the 'brown people' crap? Are they Mexicans(the other 'brown' meat)? Do you all just refexively resort to leftist tropes when threatened?

    Talk about 'tonying'.

    Brown people? Please.

  • Zeb||

    If we ever had real anarchy, we would very soon have governments again. As soon as a gang becomes powerful enough to control some territory exclusively, poof: government.
    This is why I don't usually go around calling myself an anarchist, even though I can't think of any moral justification for any coercive government. Anarchy woudl probably be unpleasant for most people and in any case, it wouldn't last.
    Governments (and militaries) are at best necessary evils.

  • Repairman Jack||

    If we ever had real anarchy(ancapistan), governments and militaries would still exist. As soon as humans form organizations that maintain codes of conduct, poof: government. What distinguishes a government from a ruler is whether the right of individual secession is honored. This is why it's important to define terms.

  • Repairman Jack||

    That is your call John. But understand that you wake up every day and get to live in a really great place. And the only reason you get to live that way is because human effort exerted under the principle of the division of labor in social cooperation achieves, other things remaining equal, a greater output per unit of input than the isolated efforts of solitary individuals. That you think a nationalist monopoly that funds itself through theft is responsible, if not necessary for our prosperity makes you a fool in many ways and a useful tool of tyrants. But since you claim to be a minarchist, you reveal yourself to be an utopian idiot anyway.

    And if we ever had real anarchy, the only thing that would necessarily distinguish it from today would be the absence of government monopolies that sustain themselves through aggression.

  • Randian||

    *eyeroll* Why do anarchists always assume the argument?

  • Repairman Jack||

    Did you notice how I was mimicking his post? Maybe I was doing that for a reason.

  • Randian||

    And that reason would be...?

    It must be Obvious Day on Camp Stupid!

  • Repairman Jack||

    You really couldn't understand that I was claiming that assuming the argument was one thing I was mimicking?

    Really?

  • Randian||

    Hey, looked serious to me! Sorry about that. The argument downthread is making me really cranky.

  • Repairman Jack||

    Oh, it was serious. I am an anarchist and I do think that minarchists are ignorant and dangerous. It's just that I'm a moral nihilist and think preferences and beliefs are primarily formed by emotional feelings, determined by how the amgydala has been structured by previous neural states, so appealing to reason is most often worthless. Mimicry is just fun.

  • sloopyinca||

    A couple of things. First, how did Rachel Maddow manage to get her girlfriend a gig on MSNBC?

    Way to diminish your point by making an idiotic homophobic comment right out of the gate, John.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Someone's butthurt...

  • T||

    I think it's more a comment on Hayes' lack of manliness. I notice you didn't get all upset when he called Justin Bieber a lesbian this morning.

  • sloopyinca||

    Maybe I did come across as butthurt, and for that I apologize. It's just that when dealing with a serious topic like this, it's unnecessary to attack the man for his effeminate appearance and detracts from the discussion (because progressives will seize on it and not let go).

    As far as the Bieber comment this morning, it was a light comment not made while discussing a more important matter.

    You know what? I guess it was just butthurt. My bad, guys.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I was going to make a comment about agreeing with Ellen DeGeneris.

  • Zeb||

    Calling all soldiers killed in war heroes makes the word pretty much meaningless. A hero should be someone who stands out from others, who does something exceptional above and beyond simply what is required. The overuse of the word is an insult to people who actually behave heroically.

  • John||

    I think getting killed is above and beyond. Most people would like to avoid that experience.

  • Adam330||

    I think the word hero implies some volition. With the exception of the guy who runs into a hail of gunfire or jumps on a grenade, very few killed soldiers choose to die. They choose to sign up, of course. But that's a pretty low bar. By that standard, Nidal Hasan was a hero.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think it necessarily is. Many get killed while doing nothing particularly special. Unless you think that simply volunteering to put yourself in the situation is heroic. In which case all soldiers are heroes, and the word is even more meaningless.

    I just think "hero" should be reserved for people who do something really special, or consciously decide to make the ultimate sacrifice (in an immediate sense, not just by volunteering for combat). Find another word to use to honor all of the others who are killed in war.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I think getting killed is above and beyond.

    Getting killed either means you were unlucky or got caught slipping. In many cases, it's one-in-the-same.

  • Pi Guy||

    Remember, folks: the point's not to die for your country but to get the other guy to die for his.

  • ChrisO||

    The term "hero" is being destroyed the same way "tragedy" was.

  • MWG||

    It really is a tragedy.

  • wareagle||

    but is it a heroic tragedy?

    To the point, part of me agrees with Hayes; seems anyone in a uniform gets the 'hero' label these days. I respect the service of troops and their decision to take up arms for ideals in which they believe. The blind worship, however, is a bit much. I suspect a good deal of any outrage will come from Hayes' being at MSNBC.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    So a draftee who ran onto Omaha Beach and was shortly thereafter cut to ribbons by machine-gun fire certainly is no hero, since he did not stand out from other dead soldiers on the beach and was possibly there against his will. Got it. Calling hima hero insults the memory of all the Medal of Honor winners. I wonder how many of them would agree. (Guess: zero, and more than half would punch you in the face for asking.)

    By the same token, I suppose, someone who volunteered for the paratroopers because he knew he was all but certain to be drafted is not a hero, since he "volunteered" under duress. And he is especially not a hero if his plane got shot down before he had a chance to do anything "heroic."

    This thread is mildly sickening.

  • R C Dean||

    What about the guy who slipped on his way into the landing craft and drowned?

    Or the guy who got food poisoning after the landing and died?

    Are they heroes?

    The guys who charge into fire and get killed, you can make a case. But there are a lot of soldiers who die on campaign, even, that don't go out so colorfully.

    Just sayin', is all. I for one am getting a little tired of the cheapening of our language, and the slobbering piety triggered by anyone in a uniform, that seems to be on the rise.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    This is one case where I think we don't need to waste time worrying about these distinctions. If you were a soldier who died or were injured during your service I see no harm in honoring you on Memorial Day, and it is the least we can do for those folks, whether draftees or volunteers.

    Band of Brothers was on yesterday and in one episode a trooper keeps a captured Luger in his pocket. It goes off unexpectedly and kills him. Is that in itself heroic or just stupid? Probably stupid. Given that he was in Bastogne at the time, I'm perfectly willing to celebrate him as a hero, as opposed to worrying about the circumstances of his death. It would be impossible (and ridiculous, in my view) to try and have a Memorial Day while singling out everyone who died stupidly in war. The dead soldier in BoB, for example, did many heroic things before killing himself by accident.

    I hear you about the cheapening of our language. I'm not sure this is the best place to make a stand on that issue when there are so many other opportunities. Even as to wars I don't support, like Iraq, and as to deaths that are not heroic in a traditional sense (like getting blown up by an IED on patrol), we can honor the sacrifice these kids have made. They don't get to choose their deployments. The same kids who died in Iraq would also willingly throw themselves into harm's way if China tried to sink one of our carriers or invade California.

  • T||

    We can honor their sacrifice without calling them heroes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The same kids who died in Iraq would also willingly throw themselves into harm's way if China tried to sink one of our carriers or invade California.

    Yeah, right. The Chinese are just itchin' to invade California.

    Oh, wait. Nevermind.

  • wareagle||

    the point is that the term ought to require some earning of it. Just showing up for duty does not make one a hero, and that is as true of firemen as it is for soldiers. It's what they do on the job that earns that distinction and quite a few have earned it. But tossing the blanket over all of them is as ridiculous as these staged "daddy's home" events that are now daily rituals on the news.

  • Adam330||

    I think you're essentially admitting the point- whether a soldier is a hero depends on his individual actions. Calling all soldiers, or all soldiers who die, heroes doesn't add up.

  • Adam330||

    And by the way, the military itself engages in this type of evaluation. All soldiers who are wounded or die by enemy action get the purple heart, but not all of them get medals indicating heroism (Meal of Honor, Silver start, etc.)

  • Timon 19||

    Does the "330" tell of your location?

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    At the very least there is some objective standard for awarding the Purple Heart. Awards for valor often depend on who was writing your citation and how good they are at writing.

  • Robert||

    Anyone who runs in Omaha to dive into the ocean deserves whatever they get. There's no beach in Omaha!

  • ChrisO||

    Lucy, you're a hero just for watching MSNBC so I don't have to. Thank you for your sacrifice.

  • WWNGD?||

    I was told I need to be upset about this therefor I am.

  • sarcasmic||

    Taboooooooooooooooooo!

  • Espantapajaros||

    I'm with Hayes. I've never quite understood why it is I'm supposed to consider the manner in which our military is deployed as having fuckall to do with our freedom. Apparently, asking that question around Memorial Day is akin to asking, "what, you mean there's a better way than a pitchfork to unload a truck full of dead babies?"

    I get that I should probably a thank a vet for holding off the horde of evildoers who want to destroy us, or whatever Western installation is within cameling distance, in retaliation for the hegemony and violence said vet's employers unleash on the world, but even that would seem a bit inauthentic.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Don't you know that our freedom is intrinsically tied to keeping soldiers in Germany? The Nazis, or the Soviets, or worse, the Nazi-Commies might rise to power any day now.

  • Peter L||

    Greece just elected a bunch of Nazi's and Communists. If only they could learn to work together we would have a new target!

  • T||

    But are Greek Nazis better or worse than Illinois Nazis?

  • Wilt Chamberlain||

    I too feel a little uncomfortable at calling anyone who dies in a war a hero. It doesn't take into account how or why that person died, or if the cause was justifiable. For example, do we call Vikings or Mongols heroes? What about the Turks who invaded Spain? I'm not comparing our soldiers to Vikings obviously, but you have to draw a line between war hero and random soldier. I thinkWWI is a good example above, the war basically had no point. Were there any heroes in that war? Maybe the ones who saved other's lives. But why were they there in the first place? When you save someone's life from a burning building, more than likely it was an accident that put them in danger. But in war, you're saving someone's life form a situation they either A) volunteered to be in or B) were drafted against their will. So I think that even further complicates the issue.

  • John||

    If you were a French soldier in World War I, Germany invaded your country. I sure as hell had a point for them.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Actually, France declared war on Germany first in an attempted to retake Alsace-Lorraine while Germany was distracted elsewhere. Unfortunately Germany finished mobilizing faster and preemptively invaded Belgium a few days before France was able to begin its invasion.

  • John||

    Not true. The Germans demanded that France give them most of Eastern France as "Security" against invasion. Only then did France declare war.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Germany demanded they abandon the fortresses at Toulon and Verdun. Leaving two fortresses near the border is hardly the same as giving up the eastern half of the country. I'm not saying Germany was blameless, just that neither was France. Both countries wanted the war.

  • Mongo||

    My heroes! *sigh*

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    I hereby appoint you to the Committee to Identify Random Soldiers. Please head on over to Arlington and put an appropriate note on all the graves of the ordinary soldiers so we can be sure not to think of them on Memorial Day.

  • tarran||

    From Merriam Webster, the definition of a hero:

    1 a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
    b : an illustrious warrior
    c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
    d : one who shows great courage
    2 a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
    b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
    3
    plural usually he·ros : submarine 2
    4 : an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol

    Frankly, very little that people who join the military do is heroic. The vituperation aimed at people who point out this obvious fact strikes me as a classic example of the pressure brought to bear on people who challenge groupthink.

  • John||

    d : one who shows great courage

    I think it takes a lot of courage to get on the plane and do multiple tours in a place full of people who want to kill you. You just don't like their cause, so you disagree. But it fits even the definition you give.

  • Espantapajaros||

    If your going there at all is primarily the reason they want to kill you, it does fairly raise the question of courage vs. stupidity.

  • John||

    In reason land no one but America is ever capable of evil. Reality doesn't fit reason land.

  • Zeb||

    America is not a person. And every government and every person is capable of evil. Who exactly suggested otherwise?

  • tarran||

    In reason land no one but America is ever capable of evil. Reality doesn't fit reason land.

    LOL! Classic case of the Fallacy of False Dichotomy.

  • John||

    And every government is just like the Soviet Union

    LOL., Have I mention how fucking stupid you are Tarran? Rothbard following fucking moron.

  • pmains||

    John. Consider what you're saying.

    "In reason land no one but America is ever capable of evil."

    "And every government is just like the Soviet Union"

    So, every government is like the Soviet Union (i.e., evil), but nobody is evil besides the United States. Well done. Why respond when you can react?

  • sarcasmic||

    I thought it was more of a straw man argument than a false dichotomy.

    A fallacy either way though.

    John turns into Tony when the subject becomes war, fellating those fallacies like a hooker with an itchy throat.

  • Espantapajaros||

    Evil is in your head. While I understand that Congress' power to wage war isn't constrained in the Constitution by any standards of jus ad bellum, it's still pretty stupid to selfishly, directly interfere in the political processes of countries like Iran and Iraq, then turn around and cry foul when they take over your embassy or decide they don't want to price their oil in your currency.

    I'll admit that it is by my own bias that I refuse to automagically connect courage to the service of hegemony, and I don't imagine the average grunt thinks that deeply about the implications of their decision to sign up for the rigid command structure of the military. For most, the flag and the poem and the anthems seem to suffice, and I'm certainly sympathetic. But a hero, just for signing up? No.

  • John||

    Evil is in your head.

    Evil exists everywhere in the world. Most people in the world are tribal and would gladly steal everything you have and enslave you given the opportunity. That is just how humans are. Because of that, if you want to live in peace, you have to be willing to do violence to enforce that peace.

  • ||

    Most people in the world are tribal and would gladly steal everything you have and enslave you given the opportunity. That is just how humans are.

    How nice would it be to live in your simplistic black and white world, John? Your paradigm of reality, though a reflection of the vast majority of the retards inhabiting this country, is so wrong, it is difficult to know where to start. I usually just throw up my hands and give up when trying to have a conversation of depth and nuance with a troglodyte such as you so often show yourself to be.

    I can assume that you are basically projecting, though, and would gleefully rape and pillage your neighbors were it not for the threat of violence against you. Just a quick FYI, John, not everyone is like you, and human nature is much more complicated than your ignorance will allow you to understand.

    And guess what, John, much of the hatred for this country does not come unprovoked. It's not as though our gov't and it's policies have lead to a country that is a gleaming example of innocence with no reason to despise. Hell, I despise this gov't and it's policies and they've yet to kill my family with a drone, piloted by heroes.

  • John||

    el escéptico

    You are an idiot who has clearly never been outside the United States or the Western World. Otherwise you would understand how lousy and evil the world actually is.

  • Espantapajaros||

    "Most people in the world are tribal and would gladly steal everything you have and enslave you given the opportunity."

    You mean like eminent domain abuse and asset forfeiture?

    Or are you conjuring distant enemies who want to hop on a boat and come seize my Nissan Sentra for jihad?

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    For most, the flag and the poem and the anthems seem to suffice, and I'm certainly sympathetic.

    Most of the people I knew in the military were there for either money (college), to have a job, or because of family tradition pressures. I meet very few that were there for patriotic reasons.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    *met*

  • ||

    I don't think anyone here has ever espoused that America is the only people ever capable of evil. But fuck me running if anyone out there in the big bad world presents such a threat as to warrant the military we have or the places we go.

  • Espantapajaros||

    ...by that measure, home invaders are really quite heroic.

  • Zeb||

    And the 9-11 hijackers.

  • Spoonman.||

    DING DING DING

  • ||

    John, the 9-11 hijackers were courageous enough (or lunatic enough) to get on a plane and face certain death (though the multiple tours part, not so much).

    Nothing about their actions was the least bit heroic, though.

  • ||

    Heroism is in the eye of the beholder, not an objective term. To some, they are the ultimate heroes, to others the ultimate villains. And the barbarians on both sides will ensure that dichotomy remains, rather than labeling them criminals, without all of the emotional investment. You can't keep the war drums pounding without heroes and villains.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I think it takes a lot of courage to get on the plane and do multiple tours in a place full of people who want to kill you.

    1) If that's what the military trained you for and pays you for, what exactly is heroic about doing the job you agreed to do?

    2) Approximately 90 percent of military jobs are non-combat, so at least 9 of 10 are not getting on planes and doing multiple tours in a place full of people who want to kill them.

  • Bobarian||

    'Approximately 90 percent of military jobs are non-combat, so at least 9 of 10 are not getting on planes and doing multiple tours in a place full of people who want to kill them.'

    This is completely false in the current war we have been fighting. There is no 'frontline' and no 'rear'. Over 70% of the current Army has at least one combat tour, and the nature of the fight is such that the supporters and other non-combat soldiers are sometimes at even greater risk than the tankers and infantry men whose primary job is to close with and destroy the enemy.

  • Brendan||

    Same with the 9/11 hijackers. Takes a lot of courage to get on a plane knowing you're going to die and knowing you might be killed trying to fulfill your mission.

    You just don't like their cause, so you disagree. But it fits even the definition you give.

    Cops who kill unarmed people in their homes, armed robbers, rapists, carjackers, in fact nearly all violent criminals can fit into that definition. They're all risking their lives to do something they want and/or believe in that others may disagree with.

  • affenkopf||

    By this definition any soldier risking his life by choice becomes a hero no matter for what cause or country.

  • Pi Guy||

    It takes a lot of courage to jump out of a plane here.

    Heros all!!!!

  • Mensan||

    I was in the Army for over 12 years, and I have no objection to what Hayes said. I am not a hero. The majority of people who serve, and even the majority of those who die in service are not heroes. A few are genuine heroes. Being drafted does not automatically disqualify someone from later being heroic. There were draftees who went on the earn the Medal of Honor.

  • John||

    That is a good point. And the average guy who is unlucky enough to die is not a "hero" in the way that say Audie Murphy was. Yet, at the same time, they made the ultimate sacrifice. And for that reason calling them "heroes" is not inappropriate or offensive even if it doesn't fit the strict definition of the term.

  • Adam330||

    How the 9/11 victims? I hear them called heroes all of the time, but for the life of me can't figure out why they were heroic. Sure, some of them were, like the some of the first responders and the ones on flight 11, but the vast majority were just victims.

  • John||

    I think intentionally putting yourself in harms way is part of even the most liberal definition. So that would preclude most but not all 9-11 victims.

  • Adam330||

    Ok, so by what action do all soldiers put themselves into harms way? Simply by signing up? I can't believe you just called Nidal Hasan a hero!

  • MJGreen||

    I think the more important question is, would the 9/11 terrorists be heroes? Or, if their use of civilians in conducting the attack disqualifies them, what about suicide bombers or Iraqi insurgents? That CIA informant that blew himself up at a US base in Afghanistan? Major Hassan of the Ft Hood shootings?

  • MJGreen||

    Aaaand I shouldn't leave the computer before hitting submit. Plenty of others have now brought this up.

  • Lord Humungus||

    now shooting dogs and innocent people, plus throwing countless behind bars for drug violations - that's heroic!

  • Randian||

    I don't normally pull this card in arguments because it is usually fallacious, but I am a two-time veteran (Iraq and Afghanistan) and I don't mind anyone expressing mixed feelings about Soldiers. It has become a point of cognitive dissonance where we say we can criticize the policies but we cannot criticize the Soldiers. That's akin to saying you have to respect the "Office" of the Presidency if not the "Man". The two are inextricably linked. But-for Soldiers choosing to execute United States foreign policy and wars of choice, there would be no wars of choice. If you feel ambivalent about that, it shows you're at least bothering to show up and think, which is better than the drones who just thank me because of some ill-defined compulsion to do so.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Thanks for sharing that. Good to know how a veteran feels.

  • Randian||

    No problem. I have to agree with RC that the gratuitousness of thanks and benefits has gotten almost embarrassing. Veterans' organizations are almost like child-advocacy groups: who is going to argue against them? But it has gotten out of control. $100,000 signing bonuses, the lavishness of the post 9/11 GI Bill (which doesn't even require deployment any more)...well, I could go on. I hate to sound ungrateful, but overdoing it is almost as embarrassing as the baby-killer jeers.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    I've found reading Doonesbury very interesting in this light. I'm sure Garry Trudeau is strongly anti-war, but his portrayal of the grunts in Iraq and Afghanistan has been extremely sympathetic, and his coverage of the results of brain damage caused by closed head traumas is particularly valuable, because we have no idea how much difficulty folks who've been injured that way will be experiencing in the next twenty-thirty years.
    I understand returning vets (and even those still over there) really appreciate his coverage of their lives.

  • T||

    Garry Trudeau is still writing Doonesbury? Shit, who knew.

  • Voros McCracken||

    The Americanization of Emily is an excellent film, and the D-Day beach scene is hysterical.

  • PapayaSF||

    I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.

    He thinks that we'll want more war so that we can have more heroes? Since we also use the word "heroes" for firefighters who rescue people from burning buildings, do people also want more burning buildings?

  • John||

    And not every firefighter who dies in the line of duty dies a heroic death. Some of them are just standing around and the building blows up. Some of them do something stupid and get themselves killed. Yet, calling dead firefighters heroes is not inappropriate. It has become a way to express gratitude for someone who made the ultimate sacrifice for a cause.

  • ||

    Yet, calling dead firefighters heroes is not inappropriate.

    I think it is inappropriate. It cheapens the word to call non-heroic actions heroic. It's the equivalent of those statist teachers who feel every kid on a soccer team deserves a trophy, even if the kid was a slacker who cut a lot of practices and played badly.

  • T||

    Ding. The first guy who died in the Gulf War was an Air Force Statff Sergeant who got crushed unloading planes. While unfortunate, it's not heroic.

  • wareagle||

    is calling someone a hero the only way to express gratitude? Come on, John. The word is being tossed around to the point that it has lost meaning. In a sense, it's like the F-word which is so over-used it has all the gravity of saying "green."

    I have no problem mourning the loss of life of people killed in battle or of firemen who die on the job. But calling them heroes for no greater reason than their job title does a disservice to the word.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Some soldiers are heroes, some aren't.

    The main problem I have with what Hayes said is that "I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war" is just dimwitted navel-gazing.

    I don't feel uncomfortable saying that the guys who went up the cliffs at Normandy, for example -- whether they were jackasses or nice guys or doing it for their fellow soldiers or whatever -- to take Europe back from a fascist, genocidal, sociopath were heroes, at least during that time and I don't think saying so is remotely rhetorically proximate to justifying more war. I don't mean to mythologize them or paint them as superhuman or imagine they had it in their heads that they were fighting for some glorious ideal, but they were BAMFs who were doing something heroic in a context not of their making.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Perhaps!

    Thanks for sharing.

    I'm very anti-war, but I am also a big old history nerd and keen on honoring dead individuals...

    Certainly people storming the beaches were insanely brave. I am not sure about the rest.

  • John||

    Well Lucy, if they hadn't done that, who would have stopped the Nazis? They planned to take over the world and had the means to do so. If people were not willing to meet them with violence, that is what would have happened. If dying to prevent that doesn't make you heroic just what does?

  • ||

    The older I get, the less point I see in celebrating war victories. Sure, it was good to stop Hitler, but it took destroying Europe to do it, and what was good about that?

  • John||

    That wasn't our fault, it was the Nazi's fault. And being thankful for the people who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the world from falling under evil, is hardly celebrating war.

    And what is good about it is that it is better than the alternative, a fascist Europe.

  • ||

    Sure, by the time he conquered France, there was nothing to be done for it than to destroy Europe. But, fuck. That sucks too much to build monuments to it, I think.

  • Ashlyn||

    "Our fault"? Well, no. We weren't born yet. We had nothing to do with it.

    Do we get to claim credit or accept blame based on membership in a tribe?

  • ||

    Well one good thing is that it made us the only economic powerhouse in the entire world for like 50 years.

  • ||

    It would have been far more heroic than anything any soldier ever did on a battlefield if, say, Woodrow Wilson had insisted on a sane treaty at Versailles, or if someone had convinced Gavrilo Princip to get a job instead of ruining the 20th century.

    You have to resist violent lunatics like Hitler, and it's certainly heroic to do so, but celebrating it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth sometimes.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Well, it's not as if anyone was begging all sides in WWI to make a reasonable peace deal.

    Except this guy: "Benedict made many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace, but these pleas for a negotiated peace made him unpopular, even in Catholic countries like Italy, among many supporters of the war who were determined to accept nothing less than total victory." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....ce_efforts

  • wareagle||

    maybe we are not celebrating the means by which the violent lunatic is defeated, but rather our ability to 1) recognize him for the evil that he is and 2) be willing to take action to stop him.

    My ex-father in law was in 3 wars. No story from his military career involves actual missions; they are always about non-combat events.

  • ||

    The only war story I ever got from any of my relatives that fought was one about the time they overran a Jap supply dump which was full of 55 gallon drums of ethanol. The predictable happened.

    This particular great-uncle was a combat medic in the Phillipines, so I don't think I'd want to have heard any of his stories.

  • Robert||

    Would you believe that a couple nights ago, some expert on the radio whose name I forgot (I'd heard or read him before, never thought he was so bad as this) said the real problem there was accepting Germany's surrender -- that had they gone on to occupy Berlin and humiliate the country rather than having an armistice, there would've been no 2nd European war. His idea was that the Germans weren't convinced they couldn't defeat all of Europe, as they should've been. I think he's a nut.

  • Robert||

    Time stops everyone and everything. "Eventually" is a long time. Something stopped the tyranny of the dinosaurs too, and long before that, something stopped the tyranny of nonexistence.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I don't know... being insanely brave and fighting for those who were unable (and some unwilling, admittedly) to do for themselves and to stop the spread of the Nazis is pretty damned heroic to me. I don't have a problem calling them heroes even though they themselves wouldn't.

  • ||

    Certainly people storming the beaches were insanely brave.

    Not really. If you were drafted, and you didn't want to storm that beach, but knew that if you tried to avoid getting on that boat heading toward that beach you would be shot as a deserter, you could in fact be a coward who was thrust into a clusterfuck you wanted to avoid but couldn't.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    And "though cowardice we shall all be saved."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT1Izzb6rDo

  • MJGreen||

    Yes, they were not storming the beach to "take Europe back from a fascist, genocidal, sociopath." They stormed the beach because they were told to do so, and they fought as hard as they were able so that they could get back home in as few pieces as possible.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    All you had to do was read about another 10 words to get to this part: " I don't mean to mythologize them or paint them as superhuman or imagine they had it in their heads that they were fighting for some glorious ideal..."

  • ||

    Nicely said, Lucy. And good work with the clip.

  • ||

    To be an actual hero, you have to do something HEROIC. Otherwise, you could have been cannon fodder who got in the way of a bullet or shell.

    Pisses me off, the way people assume that someone killed in a war was defending our country, when most of the wars were ones we should have stayed the hell out of.

  • Tim||

    My dad served in the US Army in WWII. One of our few "good" wars. He never told stories until he was falling into dementia and now he almost relives the episodes as he describes them. He's my hero but all he did was survive, and he knows it.

  • ||

    Or, to start from the other direction, if a soldier is inherently a hero, does that not at least suggest something positive about the cause in which he or she fought?

    No, an act of heroism is the mark of individual character. It has nothing to do with the usually malign and evil reasons rulers start wars.

    Someone drafted by the Nazis could act heroically. Someone who volunteered for the other side of that conflict could die in a cowardly moment.

  • John||

    I would agree with this. The Nazi who refused to blow up Paris and risked death, acted heroically. The Nazis who risked their lives to help Jews acted more heroically than I probably ever will.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Someone drafted by the Nazis could act heroically.

    The great tragedy of war is that otherwise good men might serve bad causes.

    See: Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel.

  • BarryD||

    Wait...

    Hayes, as a liberal caricature (which he surely is) has a problem giving up his agency to the collective? That's rich.

    It sounds like he's perfectly fine with being the subject of an authoritarian state as long as it uses "democratic" terminology (like the German Democratic Republic and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? but I digress).

    Is he just averse to being told to do pushups and jog around in boots?

    I can't blame him for that, but his lack of self-awareness is what makes him a liberal caricature (and perhaps most liberals, caricatures).

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    good point.

  • Marvin||

    It's hilarious the amount of traffic this is getting. I don't know of anyone you people are trying to label heroes who think themselves heroes or care. It seems everyone but these service members are getting in a tiff about this word. It's funny how the institution has become a political football and no one told us. In the end, say whatever you want and call whomever you want a hero. No one that matters will give a damn, we're here to do our duty. Our civilian leaders elected by the Republic decides what we do and where we go. So long as we act with honor we can hold our heads high and look you in the eye.

  • Randian||

    Our civilian leaders elected by the Republic decides what we do and where we go.

    Actually, if you signed up in a time of deployment, you are pretty much "deciding" to make yourself a part of that conflict. The fact that people in Washington voted on something does not abrogate your moral agency. "Befehl ist Befehl" is not a valid excuse.

  • Marvin||

    I agree however, there are no there is no such thing as absolute moral good or bad. What you may feel as morally unjust may be something else to another. For you to assume that your moral right is the absolute moral right is presumptuous. That would be similar to saying that only Catholics will go to heaven and discounting the other 6 billion currently alive today and the untold billions who have lived without knowledge of Christianity. Since U.S. Servicemember swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, what your comment alludes to is if morality dictates that the wars we participated in are unjust and then Servicemembers should not have participated, why did we not have a Constitution crisis?

  • Randian||

    I agree however, there are no there is no such thing as absolute moral good or bad.

    Would you say that's an absolute rule you have there?

    For you to assume that your moral right is the absolute moral right is presumptuous.

    If I wasn't right, I would change my mind.

    Since U.S. Servicemember swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, what your comment alludes to is if morality dictates that the wars we participated in are unjust and then Servicemembers should not have participated, why did we not have a Constitution crisis?

    There is a difference between unjust and Unconstitutional. We didn't have a constitutional crisis because none of the three branches declared the war unconstitutional. That's pretty straightforward.

    That would be similar to saying that only Catholics will go to heaven and discounting the other 6 billion currently alive today and the untold billions who have lived without knowledge of Christianity

    I am not talking about Christianity, so I don't see how this comment applies.

  • Marvin||

    What I was alluding to is that just because you think your version is right does not mean that it is the only one that is right.

    Your statement about moral agency implies that I should have come to the same conclusion. Yet, it does not leave room for any semblance that another person may disagree and come to a different conclusion just as valid.

    For a service member to defy those lawful orders given by the civilian leader would mean that those orders were Unconstitutional so yes, it is pretty straightforward that whether "just or unjust" a war may appear, it doesn't factor into whether Servicemembers uphold the constitution. Ummm, if every religion say that only they have the right concept of heaven then is there only one heaven? What about Budhists? Or Hindus? Or atheists? Similarly, if there is only your version or moral agency what about the millions or service members and their families and friends who had a different view?

  • Randian||

    oh boy what a boring viewpoint. "You can't be right 'cuz other people say they're right too!"

    I had forgotten how completely dull most people's philosophical outlooks were.

  • ||

    The bottom line is that collectively as a society through the actions of our government we sent these people to war.

    Listen to yourself. That is statism.

    "collectively" NO
    "as a society" NO
    "we" NO
    "our government" NO

    War is started by individuals, oftentimes by just one such individual. Unless you supported those war-starters, you are not responsible.

  • Marvin||

    So, all those Germans who ignored the events that occurred in the Nazi concentration camps were not responsible for the continuance of those atrocities? Additionally, if the electorate chooses the leader, doesn't the social contract hold that the society has the burden of that leader's actions? Your comments would lead one to believe that we can partake of the fruits of democracy but not the burdens of its responsibility.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    So, all those Germans who ignored the events that occurred in the Nazi concentration camps were not responsible for the continuance of those atrocities?

    No, they weren't if they didn't support them or take part in them. Sometimes you can be against something and not have the power to stop it.

    Additionally, if the electorate chooses the leader, doesn't the social contract hold that the society has the burden of that leader's actions?

    The 'social contract' is crap. If you didn't vote for the leaders, or if you voted against them; then you are not responsible for thier actons. Society cannot be responsible for anything, only individuals can be held responsible.

  • ||

    So, all those Germans who ignored the events that occurred in the Nazi concentration camps were not responsible for the continuance of those atrocities?

    Depends on the individual. Some were unaware of the camps existence. Some were incurious about what was going on behind all that barbed wire. Some knew, but felt they had no power to stop it. Some knew, and joined the resistence. Some supported Hitler from the get-go, and supported exterminating the Jews, and thought the camps were a great idea.

    Additionally, if the electorate chooses the leader, doesn't the social contract hold that the society has the burden of that leader's actions?

    There is no electorate, just individuals. Some people vote for the people who win elections, some against.

    There is no social contract. No one bothered to ask me if I wanted to be the subject of the kleptocratic mob rule governance that was foisted on me. They just fucking assumed that was the case, and took taxes from me without my consent, and foisted laws upon me, most of which I disagree with.

    There is no "society". There are individuals. Use the same logic above about blaming "society" for its "collective guilt".

  • Marvin||

    Did you not enter into that social contract by continuing to live by it? Wasn't this country founded because our ancestors decided not to continue the social contract with King George? Don't thousands of former citizens End their social contract with the United States every year by renouncing their citizenship? Don't tens of thousands of Israeli and South Korean men reaffirm their social contacts with those countries by returning to serve their required years of conscription? Do we not receive benefits (however little they are) because of the taxes we pay? Do we not pay the City, County, State and the Federal government to have working street light, public education for my kids, firefighters and police officers to keep my neighborhood safe?

  • T||

    A contract where one party can unilaterally change the terms with no recourse is not a contract. Fuck your social contract in the ear.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Don't thousands of former citizens End their social contract with the United States every year by renouncing their citizenship?

    Methinks you've never researched how difficult it is to renounce American citizenship.

  • Marvin||

    Difficult, but not impossible. Who said that everything was supposed to be handed to you on a silver platter? I never said it was easy, yet more and more Americans are doing it every year.

  • ||

    Lysander Spooner disagrees.

  • Marvin||

    To what end?

  • ||

    That the Constitution was a binding social contract. In his view it was only agreement between the people alive at that time on how to govern the new nation. It isn't binding to anybody who didn't ratify it, hence the South committed "No Treason" when it seceded. And this guy was an abolitionist.

  • ||

    Fuck off slaver.

  • Marvin||

    Wow, love the trolling.

  • ||

    That's not trolling asshole. That is straight up sentiment. Anyone who would deem to hold others to some made up "social contract" where one party can change the terms and conditions on a whim or by consent of 51% of the population is a fucking slaver.

  • ||

    Marvin appears to be the standard by-product of state run education. There are far more thoughtless slavers in this country than there are us... this isn't going to end well.

  • ||

    Well there were those many thousands of Germans that resisted the Nazi regime in small ways by hiding one or two Jews and committing other subversive acts.

    But then there were hundreds of thousands more that did nothing even when they had a pretty good idea what was going on. I recently took a class on the Holocaust taught by an expert on the subject and read some pretty fascinating interviews she conducted with rescuers and bystanders.

    It was really as simple as the rescuers feeling a deep moral obligation to help someone in need while the bystander felt weak and helpless. I came away with the impression that there are only so many truly heroic people in a given society that are willing to act alone. The rest are just subject to complacency and group-think.

  • Randian||

    An action by the State =/= statism or statist, unless you're an anarchist, and I would think that as many problems as have been pointed out about that political viewpoint, its adherents would be a little more thoughtful and circumspect.

  • ||

    My favorite MoH winner, Tony Stein.

    A toolmaker prior to the war, Stein customized a .30 caliber M1919 Browning machine gun from a wrecked Navy fighter plane into a highly effective personal machine gun he nicknamed the "Stinger".[3]

    I want one.

  • Restoras||

    Looks really heavy.

  • BarryD||

    Would Chris Hayes, or any other liberal caricature, be more comfortable labeling dead soldiers as "victims of our collective democratic will?"

    That would be accurate, in many cases, but he'd have to explain why it's okay to have all the other people victimized by the tyranny of his beloved collective majority mob.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The "hero" culture was a reaction to the absolutely disgraceful way that vets returning from Vietnam were treated by the civilian population. It's also somewhat warranted: not only are we the only unipolar "Great Power" to employ a purely voluntary military, we also undertake pains to reduce the horrors of war inflicted on the enemy as well as ourselves. Not too long ago something like Abu Gharib would have gone unnoticed; in many active militaries (even those of developed countries like France) such implements are still used without hand-wringing.

    Our foreign policy is terrible. That's not a reflection on the troops -- and while not all who served deserve the label of "hero", inculcating a high standard for the armed forces to live up to is better than the alternatives.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Going by definitions a and b above, I would say a lot of soldiers qualify as heroes because they are "illustrious warrior[s}" or "show[ed] great courage."

    People can show courage or illustrious warriorship even if they're fighting in a bad cause.

    But that dictionary definition isn't always what people mean. Often, they mean "bravely dying in a cause I support." If you die in some disapproved cause the best you can hope for from some people is to be honored as a brave fanatic.

    In this sense, using the term is a proxy for endorsing the cause for which the civilian leadership sent the putative hero to war. It's a human shield strategy when used that way, and that's why, I think, people like Hayes are uncomfortable.

  • MrStanton||

    I am a combat veteran of the Viet Nam War. I agree with Mr. Hays statements. I do not agree that he should have apologised, however, I think I understand the reasons why.

  • Robert||

    My sound processor isn't working, but I loved what the automatic captioning did for the film clip from about 0:37 to 0:40.

  • AlmightyJB||

    This reminds me of a discussion I saw years ago, might have been on Firing Line. I know Buckley Jr. and Doris Kearns Goodwin were on but don't recall who else. The question I believe was who the greatest person of the 20th century was or something along those lines. Of course Goodwin had her head completely up FDR's ass the whole debate, no surprise. I think Goodwin (might have been someone else) also threw out the american soldier collectively. They talked about the courage, bravery and valor of our soldiers in WWII fighting and defeating the Nazi's. Buckley then replies, who's to say that the american soldiers were any more brave, nobel or patriot then the German soldiers? They were fighting just as courageously. This of course blew everyone away. It was a great point though. The front line soldiers for the most part would have had no idea what was going on in the concentration camps, they were fighting and sacrificing their lives for their country just the same as the american soldiers were. I had never heard anyone make they sort of equivalence between our soldiers and enemy soldiers before that day.

  • BarryD||

    Imagine if this happened today.

    WaPo and NYT would both have front-page headlines: "William F. Buckley thinks Nazis were Heroes!"

  • fried wylie||

    Barbarians At The Gates: getting people to lay down their lives and fork over their resources since the invention of gates.

  • NotSure||

    There are some bizarre national heroes in history the two most striking are Genghis Khan and Vlad the Impaler, both are celebrated heroes in their respective lands.

    Some will obviously see soldiers dying "defending" their country by occupying another land on the other side of the planet as heroic, I see it as stupid.

  • Alice Bowie||

    But if our intention is to invade that other land (or as we put it, make it a democracy that will play our game), then they are not stupid. They are Heroes of an aggressive force (USA).

  • AlmightyJB||

    Also, reminds me of this:

    Homer: That little Timmy is a real hero.
    Lisa: What makes him a hero dad?
    Homer: Well he fell down the well and ... can't get out.
    Lisa: How does that make him a hero?
    Homer: Well, it's more than you did!

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I'm old enough to remember when "the REAL heroes are those who went to Canada." Which I always thought was REALLY fucking stupid.

    But the "hero" title is overused, IMO. I think Hayes is a dick, but this comment was meaningless, hardly "inflammatory", and just provided one of those opportunities for gratuitous "ZOMFGWHYDOYOUHATETEHTROOOPZZ!"

    In the history of man, this is one more "whatever".

  • Alice Bowie||

    Although we do not have a draft, I consider all minorities and poor whites that enlist to be drafted.

    One may argue that a young person should be smart enough to make their own decisions...and smart ones at that. However, these young kids are fooled into the military with all sorts of false promises and lies.

    I remember when ROTC confronted me in the mid 80s. They were lying then and I'm willing to bet that they lie now.

    The entire pro-war and pro-military conservative movement lies to these kids.

    And, that story of a mother lying to herself about the death of her son, that is really really sad.

    We need a strong Military. It's a crappy world and the USA has created many enemies. We need our guys for serious matters and NOT ISRAEL or Conoco Philips.

    STOP THE WARS

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Short Alice:

    JOOOOOOOOOOZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!! ILLUMINATI!!!!!!!!!!!! FREEMASON ZIONIST ILLUMINATI LIZARD PEOPLE JOOOOOOZZZZZ!!!!!!!

  • ||

    Jesus, even when I mostly agree with your broader appoint you come off as paternalistic and a crypto-racist.

  • Alice Bowie||

    sorry it sounds racist but many members of the military from the HOOD (regardless of race) were fooled into this. And, its those kids that end up as the "boots on the ground".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Alice Bowie||

    That was pretty funny Mulatto.

    But even I, don't subscribe to that stuff.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, if you want to make the point that it's wrong that a disproportionate amount of soldiers come from inner-city or rural backgrounds (as opposed to middle class suburbia), you'd be wise to drop the silly Zionist/Haliburton lobby angle and instead merely quote the G.O.A.T., himself, Muhammad Ali: "I ain't got no quarrel with the VietCong; no VietCong ever called me nigger."

  • Ashlyn||

    All minority and poor white soldiers are draftees? Right, and all heterosexual women are rape victims.

    Because you know, these people with brown skin or trailer park addresses or boobs just aren't as smart as me and you. They aren't competent to consent to important, life-altering decisions.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Did u ever see the movie "Born on the 4th of July"?

    The star really felt like a fool and felt the reason for going to war was crazy.

    If it were my kid, I'd kidnap him/her before having to go to war for corporations being threatened in that country or for the interest of another country.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Leave that "involuntary draft" shit to fools like Charlie Rangel, Alice.

  • Restoras||

    You're going with a movie as proof?

  • Sam Grove||

    The attack on 9/11 could have been thwarted as the intelligence was available to the government. Many of the hijackers were on terrorist watch lists, yet were in the country legally.

    Given the record showing FDR's actions to provoke the Japanese into attacking the U.S. (to overcome anti-war sentiment prevalent in the U.S.) I do not find it unlikely that the attack of 9/11 was "permitted" in order arouse citizens into submitting to increased surveillance and greater military action.
    The Project for a New American Century actually cited the need for a "Pearl Harbor" incident to enable the government to increase its footprint in the middle east.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I seriously doubt that the USA provoked either attack.

    911 was a bunch of dudes pissed off at us that got back to us...on the CHEAP. The USA had nothing to do with it.

    Remember, we could have simply planted WMDs on Iraq and called all the Liberals STUPID...and that didn't happen.

    I'm afraid the IRAQ/Afghan War is the typical PROCUREMENT Scam operated primarily by the former CEO of Haliburton and Vice President.

  • T||

    Smedley Butler is your hero, isn't he?

  • Sam Grove||

    Sorry, I haven't read Smedley Butler, but I agree that war is a racket.

  • Sam Grove||

    Before U.S. entry into the war, FDR sent U.S. military vessels into Japanese territorial waters, he worked to cut off Japanese access to oil (Japan had no native sources), left Pearl Harbor inadequately defended, and, in the week before the attack on PH, he told his staff that "...we are at war with Japan, all that is left is to get them to strike the first blow.

    Japanese planners had calculated that the U.S. had 600 times the war making capacity of Japan. The Japanese strategists came to regard war with the U.S. as inevitable, not desirable.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The PNAC also sent a signed (Bolton, Bennett, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol, among others)letter to President Clinton in 1998 urging regime change in Iraq. They also declared the need to be able to fight two wars simultaniously. In fact their 1997 Rebuilding America's Defences paper was clearly used in developing the U.S. National Security Stategy written just after the first anniversary of 9/11.

    http://www.newamericancentury......letter.htm

    http://www.newamericancentury......fenses.pdf

  • Sam Grove||

    Blowback is a term used by the CIA to describe undesired consequences of U.S. interventions in other countries.

  • ||

    I still say the draft dodger was more heroic and noble than the guy who enlists. It takes a great deal of courage to tell the government to fuck off and risk jail time or having to flee the country rather than go fight a senseless war that contradicts your conscience.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Forget about the contradictions to ones conscience. People don't want to be seriously injured or killed.

    GWB, Dick Cheney, Donny Rumsfeld, etc. etc. etc. You know what these people have in common? None of their kids went to WAR.

  • T||

    Etc. had kids?

    Oh, that's right. Peter Cetera.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Bill Clinton, Obama, and Romney - none of them have been to war either, Alice.

  • Restoras||

    Civilian control of the military is a bitch, ain't it?

  • Robert||

    Too bad Miller Beer changed their "Real American Heroes" radio ad campaign to "Real Men of Genius" after the Terror.

    But seriously, watch the video above with automatic captioning on; it rocks.

  • Killazontherun||

    At the BBQ my brother a Navy vet came up to me, understand he was joking and so was I but to an outsider it would have sounded like two archnemesis going at it, and he asked, 'what are your plans to honor us heroes?'

    I told him. "You are not exactly Achilles, asshole."

    "Achilles was fictional."

    "Exactly my point. Heroes are for mythology and comic books."

    Later on, I elaborated. Say you have a neighborhood block. There is a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker and two groups of delinquents who are constantly throwing rocks and shooting each other with BBs. Who are the productive adults in this picture? Suppose that one group of delinquents extracts protection money from the butcher and the baker and the second group extracts money from the candlestick maker, have the groups of delinquents added any value through turning their gang war into protection rackets? Of course not.

  • Randian||

    When was the last time a Soldier came to your house to shake you down for money? When was that even an implied threat?

  • Killazontherun||

    You're fucking kidding right?

  • Randian||

    No. Tell me one time anyone threatened you with the Armed Forces of the United States if you didn't pay your taxes.

  • Killazontherun||

    So, if I don't pay my taxes next quarter I can expect a unit of SEALS to stand in front of my house defending me from the IRS, then? Get the fuck out of here with that silly shit. That you can't accept a properly done anatomy of the state and all of its minions in all of its ugliness is your problem, not mine.

    Sentimentalist.

  • Randian||

    Oh wow, so failure to intervene means they are actively engaging? This is Tony-level doublespeak. "By failing to engage in commerce, you are engaging in commerce, and can therefore be forced to engage in commerce". You just provided the moral justification for Obamacare. Congratulations!

    Did you know you killed 1000 starving African children this month? No? Well, I didn't see you stopping it, so you must be responsible for the fact it happened.

  • Killazontherun||

    Their paychecks are not extracted from me then? You're arguments are hysterical attempts to deny the obvious.

  • Randian||

    I never said they weren't extracted, did I? You compared Soldiers to a group of delinquents extracting protection money, and then cried when you realized you were wrong, and THEN you tried to equate action and inaction.

    Poor widdle guy.

  • sarcasmic||

    You compared Soldiers to a group of delinquents extracting protection money

    Better describes the police than the military.

  • Killazontherun||

    and then cried when you realized you were wrong

    There is not a single flaw in the block economy example I created. The flaws you are finding are in the statist world view crumbling around you do to your internal inconsistencies and errors in applying logic to get at the ugly truth. Cops and soldiers cannot be justified separately. They are both part of the same system that extracts value from your productivity.

  • Randian||

    Cops and soldiers cannot be justified separately. They are both part of the same system that extracts value from your productivity.

    People are not a system. They are individuals. Your fallacy is just one step away from the 'organic' view of government.

    There is not a single flaw in the block economy example I created.

    Uh, yes, there is, because no Soldier has ever extracted one penny from you. Ever.

  • Killazontherun||

    So, my money doesn't go from my account into his account. If it does, that is extracting. You agreed with me before that it did, so why are you now changing your mind?

  • Randian||

    So, my money doesn't go from my account into his account. If it does, that is extracting. You agreed with me before that it did, so why are you now changing your mind?

    I agree that the money is extracted. I disagree that he is the one doing the extracting. Do you see the difference?

    Here:

    Definition of EXTRACT

    1
    : to pull or take out forcibly
    2
    : to withdraw (as the medicinally active components of a plant or animal tissue) by physical or chemical process; also : to treat with a solvent so as to remove a soluble substance

    Did a Soldier "pull or take out forcibly your money"? Did a Soldier "withdraw by physical process" your money?

    No, he did not.

  • Killazontherun||

    I suppose I could have said the gang appointed one of their own and called him 'taxman' to come by and do the extracting and then divide the loot amongst the other gang members, but that is unnecessary because as in my original example, if you take careful notice not to miss the obvious, it is all the same gang.

  • Randian||

    I suppose I could have said the gang appointed one of their own and called him 'taxman' to come by and do the extracting and then divide the loot amongst the other gang members, but that is unnecessary because as in my original example, if you take careful notice not to miss the obvious, it is all the same gang.

    Like I said, you assign collective blame, and yet I'm allegedly the collectivist.

  • Killazontherun||

    You just provided the moral justification for Obamacare. Congratulations!

    Yeah, I'm the one justifying socialism, you twisted fuck.

  • Randian||

    Better describes the police than the military.

    Bingo!

    Yeah, I'm the one justifying socialism, you twisted fuck.

    Only in the Fever Dreams of the most deontological and religious of anarchists could I ever be accused of "justifying socialism". It really isn't my problem that you, like the President and his hangers-on, equated inaction with action and applied the same moral consequences to each.

  • Killazontherun||

    You both missed the point. The SEALs are not going to show up to protect me because it is diametrically opposed to their interest. The greater point being that the interest of the citizen is not copacetic with that of the soldier.

  • Randian||

    And because they fail to show up, therefore they are exactly the same as the group that is actively extracting the money from you?

    Because that's the analogy you made.

  • Killazontherun||

    No, your misinterpretation had no legs to stand on in the first place. You thought you had a brilliant little brain fart with the that equating it to Obama care nonsense when your point was a million miles away from addressing the question raised.

  • Randian||

    Of course, you're just going to pound the desk and claim I misunderstood, but fail to explain your actual point with that analogy you allegedly made to your brother. Because...esotericism!

  • Killazontherun||

    I'm being esoteric? Nope. Chose my words for their clarity.

    allegedly made to your brother

    You don't have an honest rapport with your family, and it sounds suspicious to you when others do? That's sad.

  • Randian||

    I'm being esoteric? Nope. Chose my words for their clarity.

    Still choosing not to explain this wonderful "point" both sarcasmic and I allegedly "missed" I see.

    You don't have an honest rapport with your family, and it sounds suspicious to you when others do? That's sad.

    ad hominem for the win! If you don't feel like addressing the argument, just say so. Don't try to personalize the attack just because you don't feel like putting out the effort.

  • Killazontherun||

    ad hominem for the win! If you don't feel like addressing the argument, just say so. Don't try to personalize the attack just because you don't feel like putting out the effort.

    Too cute by half. It was in response to the ad hominem where you implied that I'm a liar.

  • sarcasmic||

    therefore they are exactly the same as the group that is actively extracting the money from you?

    They all get their paychecks from the same place.

  • Randian||

    They all get their paychecks from the same place

    Yes, and? Does that mean that firefighters are actively extracting money from you? That some DNR guy way out in Idaho doing soils testing is exactly the same as the police officer or the IRS agent?

  • sarcasmic||

    Does that mean that firefighters are actively extracting money from you? That some DNR guy way out in Idaho doing soils testing is exactly the same as the police officer or the IRS agent?

    No one is making that argument except you.

    Straw man much?

  • Randian||

    No one is making that argument except you.

    Straw man much?

    Actually, killaz DID make that argument, which is exactly why we're discussing it now. Look at what he just said upthread:

    Cops and soldiers cannot be justified separately. They are both part of the same system that extracts value from your productivity.

    Individuals are not individuals because they are collectivized into a system. And yet I'm the one justifying collectivism.

    Huh.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yes, you are. You are justifying them in terms of their collective unit and role.

  • Randian||

    Yes, you are. You are justifying them in terms of their collective unit and role.

    Who is "them", what is a "collective unit", what does their "role" have to do with it, and how are you saying "their role" without recognizing their individuality?

  • Killazontherun||

    You are the one who capitalizes 'soldier' when you use it, so, project much?

  • Randian||

    It's habit.

    And that's another ad hominem. I am waiting for your answers to the questions.

    I want to assign individuals responsibility based on their individual roles. You want to assign collective blame to some monolithic 'system'. Yet somehow I am the collectivist...

  • ||

    Dude, he's saying you're justifying cops and soldiers by saying that they didn't personally come take your money out of your wallet. Obviously they are not personally coming to your home and forcing you to give up your money, but they are beholden to the government who does. Furthermore, we all know that if us Reasonoids stopped paying taxes tomorrow, Seal Team Six would not deploy to defend us from the jackboots.

    Now anarchists and minarchist or whatever can argue all day long about whether it is necessary or proper for this (taxation to support cops and soldiers) to take place, but nobody should be arguing that it doesn't, in fact, take place.

  • Randian||

    Dude, he's saying you're justifying cops and soldiers by saying that they didn't personally come take your money out of your wallet.

    But I wasn't justifying anything. I pointed out that even stretching the coercion so far doesn't get you to blaming individual service members.

    Seal Team Six would not deploy to defend us from the jackboots.

    Action ! = inaction. The fact that they would not does not render them morally equivalent to those who are doing to actual handcuffing and force-initiating.

  • ||

    Servicepeople take an oath to uphold the constitution and protect the people from enemies both foreign and domestic. If you are standing idly by while other agents of the government are initiating force, you bear at least a little moral responsibility.

    Although, I guess I see where you're coming from cause if I pass some guy on the street getting beat up by three other guys and do nothing, I'm not directly responsible for that guys injuries since I wasn't the one actually kicking him. It still makes me kinda a dick though.

  • Killazontherun||

    Just to show how weak your case against mine is, let's suppose for a second that the minarchist have a point when they justify robbing everyone as being necessary to prevent a few from being robbed. Even in your case, and this is my point above, the state does not add value. At best, even in your situation, Thomas Jeff sends ships to deal with pirates, product is conserved, not increased.

  • Randian||

    Of course, that assumes that there is no value in security. Assume that I would only ship 1000 tonnes of cargo instead of 10000 because I fear loss. Assume that I only carry a few grams of drugs because if someone "rips and runs" against me, I have no recourse.

    That lack of security and recourse leads to inefficiencies.

  • Killazontherun||

    And that is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. You know why no one counts protection as a point the production chain in the text books? Because it isn't.

  • Randian||

    Probably the same reason they don't count air, food, water, or the culture of consumerism - it's ambient to the surroundings.

    It's very productive, by the way, to get beaten in an argument and then go "oh you all just don't understand the way my HIGHER LEVEL MIND WORKS so I am not going to deign to explain it to you proles"

  • Killazontherun||

    oh you all just don't understand the way my HIGHER LEVEL MIND WORKS so I am not going to deign to explain it to you proles

    That's just your feeling playing tricks on you. You are feeling the heat and you can't take it.

    Probably the same reason they don't count air, food, water, or the culture of consumerism - it's ambient to the surroundings.

    You just made a perfect illustration of how you have no idea what added value (productivity) means. Suppose, the gangs have left to bother someone else, but another group of hoodlums comes by and breaks my windows. I pay Dick Tracy's Detective Service to shoot the fuckers. No value has been added to my productivity, but instead, I'm forced to spend more to conserve what I already have.

  • Randian||

    I'm forced to spend more to conserve what I already have.

    I gave you examples where the sense of security can materially contribute to efficiency and therefore the bottom line. If you don't think the type of government matters and we can just deal with whatever random gang comes along, then you set up two businesses: one here and one in Russia. See which one does better.

    That's just your feeling playing tricks on you. You are feeling the heat and you can't take it.

    This gets better and better. You allegedly had some grand point to make, one that sarcasmic and I both supposedly missed, and now instead of trying to explain yourself, you're putting fault on me the receiver of your garbled and unintelligible message.

    That's rich. Keep going, dude.

  • Killazontherun||

    If you don't think the type of government matters and we can just deal with whatever random gang comes along, then you set up two businesses: one here and one in Russia.

    One gang extracts thirty percent from the butcher and the baker, another gang extracts eighty percent from the candlestick maker. Neither case is creating added value.

    You allegedly had some grand point to make, one that sarcasmic and I both supposedly missed

    I explained your misunderstanding, already. SEALs wont defend me. Not in their interest to do so. Part and partial of the same gang of extractors of value. Are you still missing it?

  • Randian||

    I explained your misunderstanding, already. SEALs wont defend me. Not in their interest to do so. Part and partial of the same gang of extractors of value. Are you still missing it?

    Except that equates action and inaction, which has been pointed out to you repeatedly now. The guy in Japan isn't defending you either...does that make him an active extractor too?

  • Killazontherun||

    The wrong is not righted until the money extracted from my account is taken back from the SEALs account and put back into my pocket. It does me no good to go after the taxman because the money has been redistributed to his fellow co-conspirators.

  • sarcasmic||

    It is true that government creates nothing of value.

    However, in its absence you'll have gangs of armed thugs competing to charge you for "protection", and the winner becomes government.

    That's all government is. It sucks, and it's inevitable.

  • Randian||

    It is true that government creates nothing of value.

    However, in its absence you'll have gangs of armed thugs competing to charge you for "protection", and the winner becomes government.

    That's all government is. It sucks, and it's inevitable.

    It's sort of like arguing with gravity, or the weather, or death. People are always going to want to take the easy way and force other people to enrich themselves. The key is to make them believe that they should restrain themselves from doing so. That is the miracle of constitutional republicanism.

  • sarcasmic||

    The key is to make them believe that they should restrain themselves from doing so.

    Such a system only works when there is an incentive to repeal shitty rules.

    The logical conclusion of reacting to unintended consequences with more shitty rules is a totalitarian state where the rulers need show no restraint.

    That is the miracle of constitutional republicanism.

    There's no miracle. Just staving off the inevitable for a few centuries. It won't be long before liberty passes out of living memory, the American Experiment is forever dead and gone, and humanity returns to its default state: slavery.

  • Randian||

    I would bet that if the security apparatus evaporated tomorrow, businesses would start putting security fees on their books and evaluate the risk/reward ratio of cutting those particular expenses year-over-year.

  • ||

    Killaz point that that wouldn't add any value to the products is true though.

  • Randian||

    Only if you don't think that theft is inevitable. I think that it is. It would be nice if you didn't have to build your boats so they float, but that's how buoyancy works. It would be nice if you didn't have to protect your stuff, but that's how humanity works. I mean, are you saying there's no value in packing eggs into egg crates?

  • ||

    Eggs still get broken in egg crates, so they don't necessarily add any value to the eggs. The egg crate does have value unto itself though.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    When was the last time a Soldier came to your house to shake you down for money? When was that even an implied threat?

    Only in America? Because I have some stories about my 3rd World travels that would be germane to that line of inquiry.

    Jus' sayin'

  • Sam Grove||

    If you are able to successfully fight off the domestic military, you can bet that the armed forces will be called in next.

  • Killazontherun||

    Excellent point, Sam.

  • Randian||

    That still has nothing to do with what you said, which continues to be wrong, no matter how many different ways you try to get around it.

    If you are able to successfully fight off the domestic military, you can bet that the armed forces will be called in next.

    So you would say right now that armed forces members are actively extracting money from you? Is that an accurate description of reality?

  • Sam Grove||

    I didn't say that at all, but nothing is off the table.

  • Randian||

    If you are able to successfully fight off the domestic military, you can bet that the armed forces will be called in next.

    Not if they're Oathkeepers. But wait Killaz says "derp collective guilt all the same" so the Oathkeepers must not be real. My bad.

  • GILMORE||

    I think RC cola summed it up pretty well in the first comment ("we've dumbed down heroism")

    re: if a soldier is inherently a hero, does that not at least suggest something positive about the cause in which he or she fought

    a) I disagree with the "if" premise - and b) you can still have a hero in a war that may have no moral/strategic justification or casus belli...

    am reading the book "Matterhorn" again - by Marine Vietnam vet Karl Marlantes. Fictionalized account of his own experience. (in the 'about the author, they note: "received the Navy Cross, Bronze Star, 2 Navy Commendation medals for Valor, 2 Purple Hearts, and 10 air medals..." )

    He volunteered... he was an officer. Many men under his command were drafted, others were 'lifers', aiming to make a career out of the military.

    He notes a few times in the book that, in combat, the distinction between the volunteers the draftees pretty much disappears = everyone fights to stay alive, and sometimes they fight to keep each other alive.

    a) The 'heroes' are usually dead ones.

    b) Although many of those killed are killed because they were stupid, incompetent, in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because their gear failed them, or because of *someone else's* stupid fucking mistake, or by accident, or because an officer ordered them to do something idiotic and suicidal.

    Marlantes notes that the latter group (b) made up a majority of the dead. Being dead doesn't make you by default a hero.

  • sloopyinca||

  • sarcasmic||

    With all these stories I'm beginning to wonder if police academies adopt dogs from the local shelter so that trainees can practice shooting them.

  • sloopyinca||

    You've just been lured into my trap of actual reported stories where cops act in an idiotic or illegal manner and are rarely (if ever) held criminally or financially responsible for their actions.

    Why can't you just believe dunphy's (solitary) example of cops (possibly) being held to a higher standard as evidence that a double-standard is not commonplace? Why are you such a bigot like me? Isn't an anonymous cop's anecdotal evidence not enough to make you change your mind? No? Well then you're just part of the reason anti-cop bigorati.

  • sarcasmic||

    *hangs his head in shame*

  • shamalam||

    Speaking as a veteran who was not a hero, I have no problem with people objecting to the term "hero" to describe everybody who "served".

    I was in the Army from 71 to 74. Back then we soldiers were treated the exact opposite of today's treatment. We were pariahs, disrespected as a matter of course.

    I joined the army (did not get drafted) for a bunch of reasons:
    1. It looked like an adventure, and it turned out to be an adventure.
    2. I was a poor kid from inner-city Chicago, so I was not going to be offered an executive position at my daddy's company. By comparison, a few years in the Army looked pretty good to me.
    3. The GI bill was pretty attractive. There was no way in hell that I was going to college without that deal.
    4. I was 18 so I did not give a fuck about politics, and I had no "objections" to the war in Vietnam. To this day, I can not comprehend how any 18 year old kid gives a flying fuck about politics.

    To this day I see my time in the Army as a huge positive influence in my life, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I have two sons. My oldest son just got out of the Army after serving six years; he went to Iraq. The whole experience for him was, on balance, positive. My youngest son plans to enlist after he turns 18 in July.

    No regrets.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Luckily for all of you, you came back fine. I wish the BEST as well for your youngest son.

    This is not the case for many people. Many people that I know look at it as a waste of time. They came back four years old and with no special skills or experience that helped them out in any way.

    I don't know people that were seriously injured or died. However, I doubt these people or there family see this as positive.

  • shamalam||

    Coming back uninjured was mostly a matter of luck, I agree, but simple luck plays a large part in everybody's life.

    The people who look at it as a waste of time have other opportunities; many people don't have those other opportunities. Even if you come out of the military with no special skills, you still get the GI bill to pay for college. College is a huge opportunity for a kid!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'll bet Hayes would "be comfortable" calling Brett Kimberlin a hero.

  • hk||

    The MSM is worthless, there is nothing wrong with some criticism and our wars are expensive. We need to encourage peace.

  • zamoracarl711||

    as Carol explained I am startled that you can earn $5862 in 1 month on the internet. did you read this site makecash16com

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement