Brian Williams calls images of US missile launch ‘beautiful’

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: NBC News Anchor Brian Williams speaks onstage at The New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation present the 8th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Comedy Festival)

NEW YORK — Brian Williams is facing online criticism for waxing poetic about what he called “beautiful pictures” of U.S. missiles launching during an attack on a Syrian air base.

Video released by the military shows Tomahawk missiles targeted for a Syrian airfield launching from the decks of U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday.

During his MSNBC program, “The 11th Hour,” late Thursday night, Williams said the “beautiful pictures at night” tempted him to quote a line from a Leonard Cohen song: “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.” He went on to call the images “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”

Williams was quickly mocked and criticized on Twitter for the remarks, with some users suggesting they were insensitive to the realities of war.

MSNBC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.