Source: The New York Times
quote: A U.S. military worth saluting The U.S. military is the most respected institution in American life, according to several polls.Why do Americans regard the military so highly?The military is perceived as more effective than other institutions in achieving its goals.Outward performance matters, but the military has excelled internally as well.The military is an institution where accountability matters, and this may also account for its popularity.Big business, big labor and politicians are also seen as self-interested, while the military is not.The military, like big business, organized labor and Congress, is a large institution, but it is not seen as overly powerful or unaccountable. In an April Gallup poll, only 14% of those surveyed said the military had too much power. Yet 43% felt that labor unions did.
quote: First, military worship is the central religion of America's political and media culture. The military is by far the most respected and beloved institution among the US population - a dangerous fact in any democracy - and, even assuming they wanted to (which they don't), our brave denizens of establishment journalism are petrified of running afoul of that kind of popular sentiment.Recall the intense controversy that erupted last Memorial Day when MSNBC's Chris Hayes gently pondered whether all soldiers should be considered "heroes". His own network, NBC, quickly assembled a panel on the Today Show to unanimously denounce him in the harshest and most personal terms ("I hope that he doesn't get more viewers as a result of this...this guy is like a – if you've seen him...he looks like a weenie" - "Could you be more inappropriate on Memorial Day?"), and Hayes then subjected himself to the predictable ritual of public apology (though he notably did not retract the substance of his remarks).Hayes was forced (either overtly or by the rising pressure) to apologize because his comments were blasphemous: of America's true religion. At virtually every major sporting event, some uber-patriotic display of military might is featured as the crowd chants and swoons. It's perfectly reasonable not to hold members of the military responsible for the acts of aggression ordered by US politicians, but that hardly means that the other extreme - compelled reverence - is justifiable either.Yet US journalists - whose ostensible role is to be adversarial to powerful and secretive political institutions (which includes, first and foremost, the National Security State) - are the most pious high priests of this national religion.