MSNBC broadcaster Chris Hayes has caused outrage on Memorial Day by saying he feels “uncomfortable” branding soldiers who have died in battle “heroes”.
Chris Hayes, a liberal commentator who hosts Up with Chris Hayes, said the word “heroes” is used to justify further war.
His stuttered comments have sparked outrage among veterans organizations and across the internet.
Chris Hayes said: “I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words <<heroes>>.
“I feel… uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”
He went on: “I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that.
“But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic.”
He then added: “But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
A spokesman for a veterans organization, Veterans of Foreign Wars, suggested Chris Hayes put himself through the anguish of war before criticizing soldiers.
“If Mr. Hayes feels uncomfortable, I suggest he enlist, go to war, then come home to what he expects is a grateful nation but encounters the opposite,” Joe Davis told The Daily Caller.
“It’s far too easy to cast stones from inexperience.”
Bloggers and users of social networking sites also condemned the comments, with “Chris Hayes” trending on Twitter after the broadcast.
Newsbusters blogger Mark Finkelstein said Chris Hayes’s stuttered speech “almost seems a parody of the conflicted intellectual”.
“What does it say about the liberal chattering class, which Hayes epitomizes, that it chokes on calling America’s fallen what they rightly and surely are: heroes?”
Conservative commentator Warner Todd Huston wrote on blog Wizbang: “I’d like to remind you that many of those Neanderthals that you despise so much died for your right to hate them.”
“Fire Chris Hayes!” one Twitter user wrote on the site.
“His outright DISDAIN for our valiant men and women is disgusting!”
Chris Hayes, who has never served in the armed forces, has hosted his weekend show on MSNBC since last September.
He has appeared as a guest host and commentator on shows including The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and The Rachel Maddow Show.
Chris Hayes also remains Editor-at-Large of the left-leaning The Nation.