Salon.com has a funny way of honoring the military right before Veterans Day.
David Masciorta penned an offensive column Sunday titled, "You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy" with the sub-head "It's been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end." The reaction on social media was swift and merciless. The Salon Twitter account used a shortened version of the column's sub-headline to promote clicks to its site:
Stop worshiping men in uniform: "It's been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom." http://t.co/JDA9DcjLp2— Salon.com (@Salon) November 9, 2014
At the risk of polluting this fine site with Mr. Maciorta's leftist ranting, let's just take a quick look at his "argument":
One of the reasons that the American public so eagerly and excitedly complies with the cultural code of lionizing every soldier and cop is because of the physical risk-taking and bravery many of them display on the foreign battleground and the American street. Physical strength and courage is only useful and laudable when invested in a cause that is noble and moral. The causes of American foreign policy, especially at the present, rarely qualify for either compliment. The “troops are heroes” boosters of American life typically toss out clichés to defend their generalization – “They defend our freedom,” “They fight so we don’t have to.”
No American freedom is currently at stake in Afghanistan. It is impossible to imagine an argument to the contrary, just as the war in Iraq was clearly fought for the interests of empire, the profits of defense contractors, and the edification of neoconservative theorists. It had nothing to do with the safety or freedom of the American people. The last time the U.S. military deployed to fight for the protection of American life was in World War II – an inconvenient fact that reduces clichés about “thanking a soldier” for free speech to rubble. If a soldier deserves gratitude, so does the litigator who argued key First Amendment cases in court, the legislators who voted for the protection of free speech, and thousands of external agitators who rallied for more speech rights, less censorship and broader access to media.
Salon's choice of subjects got an immediate reaction on Twitter:
@Salon Im sure the Afghans like their freedom from the Taliban— Kris Murphy (@KrisinAL) November 9, 2014
Veterans Day isn't til Tuesday. Usually you wait til the actual holiday to disrespect it @Salon— Michele Frost (@michelelfrost) November 9, 2014
@RobProvince Give a 2 year old a hand full of poop and a wall to smear it on and you've got a Salon contributer.— Eric Larson (@larsoneric50) November 9, 2014
@Salon Translated: "Why won't you love me, Daddy?"— Shoebart (@theshoebart) November 9, 2014