WATCH: Brian Williams Talks About “Beauty of Our Weapons” in Syrian Missile Strike


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Late Thursday night (American time), while the world still reeled from the unexpected news that President Trump ordered a Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airbase, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams waxed poetic about the “beauty” of the missile launches.

“We see these beautiful pictures at night, from the decks of these two US Navy vessels,” Williams said. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’ And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments, making what is for them a brief flight.”

The Cohen quote came from the song “First We Take Manhattan,” which includes these lyrics:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I’m guided by a signal in the heavens
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

When asked about the meaning of the song, Cohen said ” I think it means exactly what it says. It is a terrorist song. I think it’s a response to terrorism.”

Twitter was quick to mock the perceived callousness of Williams’ reaction.

Admiring the beauty of a weapons strike is presumably much easier from a safe distance:

Some were quick to compare Williams to other famous (though fictional) media figures who also got excited over certain weapons in the US military arsenal: