The American deployment of weapons of mass destruction has historically been attended by a certain hushed solemnity befitting the staggering human cost of war, and an acknowledgment of the desperate situations forcing the hand of those who would order them. Upon dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, for example, Truman delivered a somber radio address urging Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities, noting that if Japan did not surrender, thousands of their lives would unfortunately be lost. J. Robert Oppenheimer, upon witnessing the first detonation of the mushroom cloud that would be his legacy, famously quoted the Bhagavad-Gita, saying, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” More recently, Brian Williams waxed poetic about the beautiful Leonard Cohen afterworld glimpsed in the tails of Syrian missile strikes.
And this morning, while playing footage of the “Mother Of All Bombs” that was dropped on Afghanistan this Thursday, which Afghan officials say killed dozens of Islamic State militants—yet has caused some to question whether it was a proportionate response, or how this recent rash of violence fits into the isolationist foreign policy Trump sold his base on, or even just pause momentarily to consider the precarious state of a world that seems to be hurtling ever more rapidly to the brink of all-out war—Fox And Friends cued up Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red White And Blue.”
“You hear Mother Freedom / Start ringin’ her bell / And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you / Brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue,” Keith sang, his 2002, Bush-era country hit perfectly timed to the Pentagon’s grainy footage of desert sands being flattened under flame and ash. Like Oppenheimer and Truman before them, the Fox And Friends hosts demonstrated marked restraint in that, when the cameras panned to them, they were all smiling reservedly, rather than jacking off on a bald eagle.
“That video is black and white, but that is what freedom looks like,” Ainsley Earhardt added, looking very composed as she eschewed crushing an immigrant under a Monster Truck. “That’s the red, white, and blue.”
Geraldo Rivera, the very picture of professional decorum as he refrained from ripping off his shirt and lewdly tweaking his own nipples, beamed as he replied, “One of my favorite things, in the 16 years I’ve been here at Fox News, is watching bombs drop on bad guys.” Sure, there have been other highlights—getting kicked out of Iraq for broadcasting U.S. troop maneuvers, blaming Trayvon Martin’s death on his hoodie, shaming the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre for not fighting back. But none of them have given Geraldo the sort of deep-down, mustache-tingling, dignified satisfaction of seeing death rain down to the strains of America’s favorite shit-kicking war-boner anthem.
All in all, it was a weighty historical moment that Fox And Friends afforded the gravitas it demanded, in that they didn’t play the part where Keith sings about putting a boot in your ass. Gotta save something for North Korea!