I resisted the urge to drop what I was doing and launch a full-scale thermonuclear rant about William M. Arkin’s The Troops Also Need to Support the American People in the Washington Post’s blog section. The guy is is obviously very biased, very clueless, and intentionally inflammatory.
I mean, how stupid does one have to be to suggest that “the troops also need to support the American people”? Hello, McFly, but what the Hades do you think the military has been doing every single minute of every single day for the past two hundred-odd years?
Stuff like this is priceless (all emphasis Murdoc’s):
I’m all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army.
Wow. That’s mighty white of you Mr. Arkin. You are to be commended for your willingness to let soldiers, even soldiers for Pete’s sake, have opinions. What next? Do they get to breathe clean air, too?
After listing several troops, by name, who voiced their criticism of the, um criticism they’re getting, Arkin wrote:
These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President’s handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect.
This is basically a summary of Arkin’s position. Don’t cry about folks being unhappy with what you’re doing. Just be glad they still have some respect for you personally.
Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order.
This is quite something, too. Is it just me, or is he maybe suggesting that the American public is being duped when they “accept” that these sorts of things are exceptions?
So, we pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?
I don’t know what Arkin thinks a “decent wage” is, but it’s clear that he has little concept of what it’s like to be in the military or in a military family. Particularly during a time of war. He makes it sound like they’re making out like it’s Christmas every morning. It ain’t Christmas every morning, and I suspect that many people realize this. Even many people as stupid as Mr. Arkin is pretending to be.
As for supporting them in “every possible way”, he keeps saying that but his words are obviously empty. If the troops were supported in “every possible way” they probably wouldn’t be complaining, would they? And fine folks like Mr. Arkin wouldn’t have to keep pretending that they “support the troops” when it’s very painfully clear that they don’t.
And I like the “defer to the military and the generals” bit. Yeah. What would the military and generals know about fighting wars? Politicians, at the least, should be calling the shots, if not bloggers for the Washington Post.
Mr. Arkin writes that the military says we should “let them fight their war”. Two things: 1) It isn’t “their war”. 2) If they’re sent, we should let them fight it. But he doesn’t seem to get either point.
Then we have this little gem:
But it is the United States, and the recent NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary – oops sorry, volunteer – force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.
This is astounding. So astounding, in fact, that Mr. Arkin himself had to address it directly:
I intentionally chose to criticize the military and used the word to incite and call into question their presumption that the public had a duty to support them. The public has duties, but not to the American military.
So I committed blasphemy, and for this seeming lack of respect and appreciation for individuals in uniform, I have been roundly criticized and condemned.
Mercenary, of course, is an insult and pejorative, and it does not accurately describe the condition of the American soldier today. I sincerely apologize to anyone in the military who took my words literally.
Though I don’t necessarily agree with everything he said, he should have stopped there. But he didn’t. He added a lot more “of course we support the troops” garbage mixed in with his non-support. Leftie anti-war types spend so much time carrying on about how they “support the troops” that it merely underscores the fact that just about everything they do demonstrates that they don’t support the troops. It is exactly these types that the discouraged US troops were talking about. Exactly Mr. Arkin’s type. The finger was pointed at him. He’s got no other option than to scream about it. I mean, he can’t rationally defend his position.
Finally, in the original piece, Arkin adds:
I’ll accept that the soldiers, in order to soldier on, have to believe that they are manning the parapet, and that’s where their frustrations come in. I’ll accept as well that they are young and naive and are frustrated with their own lack of progress and the never changing situation in Iraq. Cut off from society and constantly told that everyone supports them, no wonder the debate back home confuses them.
The “young and naive” bit is dangerously close to Kerry’s “stuck in Iraq” moment, no? I’m sick of hearing how gullible US troops are and how they’ve somehow been duped into doing what they do. But calling them naive is how Mr. Arkin supports the troops.
The “frustrated with their own lack of progress” statement is quite something. It’s not the lack of progress they’re frustrated with, it’s the way their progress is misreported or unreported. That’s what they said. Their complaint is that people seem to think that no progress is being made, and Mr. Arkin proves it by saying that their problem is that they’re frustrated because no progress is being made. Talk about frustration.
The main reason that they’re “confused” when they’re “constantly told that everyone supports them” is because it’s pretty clear that those telling them that are LYING. It’s quite something to read Arkin’s column and realize that HE THINKS HE SUPPORTS THE TROOPS. Talk about confusion.
Arkin’s piece is so obviously an intentional controversy generator that I find it’s actually a bit difficult to get too worked up over it. If someone had a slightly smarter argument and didn’t spend so much time making sure we understand that they support the troops (when it’s clear that they don’t), maybe we’d have the makings of a real barn-burner. But, to be honest, this is actually quite pedestrian.
UPDATE: I forgot to link to some who did go into greater, err, detail on this. Here are a few:
- John at Op-For: Fallen
- Wizbang: The Troops need to Shut Up and Take the Insults
- Jimbo: A hearty F*** You to William Arkin
- Blackfive: Tripe-Meister William Arkin in the WashPo
- Malkin: Troops=mercenaries
There are a lot more out there, as Arkin’s intentional stupidity has everyone in an uproar. I suspect that that was his intention.
UPDATE 2: Oh, and this guy is the moron who published a book revealing 3,000 military and intel code names, many of them TOP SECRET, with the comment “I don’t have one bit of concern”.
With friends like this, who needs enemas?