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A left-wing columnist at MSNBC is raising eyebrows — and ire — for a Christmas Eve column published on the network’s website in which he says it is time to “decouple” Santa Claus from the U.S. military.
Opinion writer Hayes Brown has a problem with the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s six-decade tradition of ‘tracking Santa Claus’ on his imaginary journey around the world as he delivers presents, writing “if I had my way, this year would be the last” time it happened.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Scrooge or some kind of anti-Santa advocate prone to humbuggery, and I acknowledge that the story behind how NORAD’s predecessor started the tradition is cute: a typo in a newspaper for Sears’ Santa hotline was the number for a secret line of communication, originally designed to give the orders to launch a nuclear onslaught against and/or in response to the Soviet Union,” Brown wrote. “Heartwarming stuff, folks.”
“No, I’d prefer we end the tradition because it’s about time that we decoupled St. Nick from the world’s most powerful military,” he wrote.
“American culture is saturated with a desire to associate the military with the saccharine. We get videos of soldiers returning home to their pets or children but never questions about why they were deployed for so long or what threat they were fighting; military jets flying over NFL games give us an injection of jingoist testosterone before more regionally focused battles of testosterone are played on the field; and we get the Netflix movie ‘Operation Christmas Drop,’ a seasonally themed rom-com that cheerfully seeks to boost approval for America’s military base in Guam,” Brown continued.
“The messier business of war that goes on in the background doesn’t jibe with the Christmas spirit,” he went on.
He went on to explain that U.S. drone strikes have led to civilian casualties around the world, and that those have allowed civilian leaders snd military commanders to “avoid the political headaches that come from massive ground deployments.”
Brown then noted examples where, in his view, the U.S. military was not held accountable for strikes that left civilians dead before questioning whether anyone in the Pentagon or in the rank and file would be held to account if Santa was killed in a drone strike.
“Earlier this month, a friend of mine mused on Twitter: ‘wonder if this will be the year NORAD finally kills Santa,'” Brown wrote.
wonder if this will be the year NORAD finally kills Santa
— Kelsey D. Atherton (@AthertonKD) December 17, 2021
“It’s a great joke, which prompts this hypothetical: If the Air Force did accidentally target Santa, say during one of his stops outside the U.S., would we hear about it? Would the resulting loss of life be deemed ‘credible’? Or would it just be another case investigated and tucked away in the Pentagon’s files?” Brown asked.
“The fact that we can’t say with any certainty what the Pentagon would do isn’t exactly comforting, and no matter how absurd the hypothetical, the military wrongly killing someone is more frequent an occurrence than its interest in the delivery of toys,” Brown wrote in conclusion
“So out of concern for Santa’s safety, out of exasperation at the Pentagon’s propaganda and because at Christmas you tell the truth, let’s have NORAD release Santa from its annual pantomimed surveillance,” he added.
Twitter users responded to Brown’s piece with a combo of mocking and disgust.
“It’s a fun tradition my kids love. It helps them continue to believe in the magic of Christmas, especially for my oldest,” one wrote.
“The American military is far from perfect. But creating an opportunity to share some magic and fun for kids is not a bad thing. This was a bad take,” the user added.
It’s a fun tradition my kids love. It helps them continue to believe in the magic of Christmas, especially for my oldest.
The American military is far from perfect. But creating an opportunity to share some magic and fun for kids is not a bad thing.
This was a bad take. pic.twitter.com/8NbOYDN0vF
— CatsFanInOhio (@michaeldf88) December 24, 2021
Not to mention that Santa’s path on NORAD is not practical…. so why bother to dive into the hype?
— Merry N. May (@DakasiUsdi1girl) December 25, 2021
Under your thinking the Marines should immediately stop their long partnership with Toys for Tots. Under no circumstances should the war machine and making underprivileged kids’ lives a bit better ever mix.
— Mike Koehl (@mpk62) December 25, 2021
I think you’re confusing ppl who *serve* in fed’l uniformed svcs w/ the military, its actions, & policy. You want service mbrs to have no public face but the face they show during combat? To not be allowed to do things that give them pleasure & highlight their generous spirit?
— GreenGannet 🚶♀️😷💉💉 (@GreenGannet) December 25, 2021
Maybe it is just time to cancel Hayes Brown from MSNBC
— Mike (@rocketm2011) December 25, 2021
Was this article supposed to be satirical???
— Livvie (@livvie_ve) December 24, 2021
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