Just in time for Veteran’s Day on Tuesday, a leftist writer at Salon.com has penned a column saying it’s “childish” to honor America’s men and women in uniform as “heroes.”

In a column titled “You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy,” writer David Masciotra argues it’s been 70 years since American soldiers fought a war about freedom and “forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end.”

“Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him,” Masciotra writes. “It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as ‘heroes.'”

Citing police brutality, sexual assault in the ranks and alleged murder of civilians by the U.S. military, the author claims calling today’s troops “heroes” “betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism.”

“Even saluting a Marine, while holding a coffee cup, is tantamount to terrorism,” Masciotra insists.

His reasoning continues:”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. … Wars that are not heroic have no real heroes, except for the people who oppose those wars.”

Masciotra even goes so far as to suggest Americans “should do everything they can to discourage young, poor and working-class men and women from joining the military.”

And rather than give soldiers the blanket title of “hero,” Masciotra suggests America start using the term for teachers, hospice workers and social workers.

Several social media outlets, like Twitter, have erupted with criticism of Masciotra’s column.

Even television personality Montel Williams was incensed over Masciotra’s screed, launching a Twitter campaign demanding Salon.com apologize for the column.

Williams has blasted out several tweets, including the following:

  • “This piece by @DavidMasciotra is as offensive to #Veterans as it is intellectually dishonest.”
  • “Glad someone fought to defend ur right to prove ‘stupid is as stupid does’ from cheap seats.”
  • “I’d encourage you all to let @salon and @davidmasciotra know just how offensive this piece of mindless stupidity is.”
  • “@Salon owes #veterans an apology. This is as asinine as it is offensive, intellectually flawed.”
  • “Is this really @Salon editorial position? An apology is owed.”

A quick survey of the @Salon and @davidmasciotra Twitter feeds finds several sources taking up Williams’ call, though @Salon has yet to issue any kind of response. The Twitter handle @davidmasciotra does not appear to be linked to Masciotra himself.

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