Venerating the military is such a common American cultural ritual that one barely notices when it happens any longer. This morning, ABC News‘ Jake Tapper pointed to a fun, playful video of his ABC News colleague, Pentagon correspondent Luis Martinez, jumping out of a military airplane with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army team that regularly parachutes into football stadiums during halftime as the adoring crowd cheers. In the four-minute video, Martinez plays the role of the hapless clown, acting goofy and nervous with his manly, stoic military guide, Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Figel, over whom Martinez openly slobbers and to whom he is symbolically tied as he jumps.
That worshipful, tongue-wagging fun and games with the U.S. military might not be the most appropriate activity for someone who is supposedly an adversarial reporter covering the Pentagon would never occur to any of them, because, like NBC, they’re just practicing America’s national religion — military worship — and who would ever object to that? Martinez was the reporter who gave anonymity to military officials to smear Michael Hastings over his Rolling Stone article that ended the career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, allowing the anonymous officer to claim — falsely — that the quotes used by Hastings were off the record. Martinez did the same when he gave anonymity to a military officer to falsely attack a story by Jeremy Scahill exposing the network of secret prisons in Somalia which the U.S. effectively operates. Nobody practices this religion of military worship like the Pentagon Watchdogs who work at the nation’s major television networks.
I hate reality shows. I'm not too particularly fond of watching military video games either, but dropping Todd Palin and Dean Cain into Call of Duty and expecting me to watch is pretty much a brand new low. Greenwald concludes:
It’s actually necessary that America have a network reality show that pairs big, muscular soldiers with adoring D-list celebrities — hosted by a former Army General along with someone who used to be on Dancing with the Stars – as they play sanitized war games for the amusement of viewers, all in between commercials from the nation’s largest corporations. That’s way too perfect of a symbol of American culture and politics for us not to have.
Even I have to agree with him on that sentiment. I can't think of a show I want to see be pulled faster from a network than this for a variety of reasons: it's crude, shallow, it glorifies our military and demeans our troops as lavishly trained animals, but most of all it's bread and circus nonsense that given the actual horrors of war is a bridge way the hell too far.
It also neatly absolves the drooling armchair generals we already have in Washington, too. They're the ones who send real people off to die quite real deaths, and often cause all new ones from innocent bystanders. I understand war is necessary whenever there's human conflict, but there's no need to glorify it like this to sell fast cars and beef jerky.
To hell with this show.