Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Arkin's insult to the troops...

Bill Arkin has managed to royally insult the troops.

Apparently, he took offense to a NBC Nightly News report this past Friday that has disclosed how the troops are not buying the "support the troops, oppose the mission" line taken by so many in the anti-war movement.

In fact, he wanted them taken aside for re-education:
I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people.
Never mind that the troops have freedom of speech, too. Or does Arkin only believe in free speech for those who support his agenda?

But then, Arkin gets worse. See below:
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.

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.

It seems like shades of Seymour Hersh's comments this past November.

Arkin even tries to excuse his present snit over the troops calling out the anti-war movement on its hypocrisy:
Sure it is the junior enlisted men who go to jail, but even at anti-war protests, the focus is firmly on the White House and the policy. We just don't see very man "baby killer" epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon.
Really, Mr. Arkin? I guess he did not bother to ask Joshua Sparling about his experiences with the anti-war movement. Seems some saliva got fired off there, Mr. Arkin.

Then again, Arkin seems to enjoy raising the specter of doom at the notion of the anti-war movement being called out:
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 can imagine some post-9/11 moment, when the American people say enough already with the wars against terrorism and those in the national security establishment feel these same frustrations. In my little parable, those in leadership positions shake their heads that the people don't get it, that they don't understand that the threat from terrorism, while difficult to defeat, demands commitment and sacrifice and is very real because it is so shadowy, that the very survival of the United States is at stake. Those Hoover's and Nixon's will use these kids in uniform as their soldiers. If I weren't the United States, I'd say the story end with a military coup where those in the know, and those with fire in their bellies, save the nation from the people.

Seems to me that Mr. Arkin's got some paranoia issues. But that is not excuse for what Arkin fires off next:
But it is the United States and instead this 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.
Mercenaries? Mr. Arkin, this is just too far. The volunteer military we have today is probably the best we have had in the history of this country. In Desert Storm and the war on terror, they have liberated three countries with less than 5,000 dead total. The all-volunteer force has worked. Indeed, they get paid far less than in many civilian jobs and still have to pay federal income taxes, not to mention various state taxes.

Mercenaries? I don't think so, Mr. Arkin. Your mask has slipped, and the truth about your contempt for our defenders is out there for all who wish to see it.

It is sick and disgusting. Before you sanctimoniously lecture our troops about "supporting the people", maybe you need to refresh your memory that American troops have been fighting and dying to make sure you had the right to spew your libelous comments about them.


Ken Prescott said...

Mr. Arkin, as a former Marine who has appreciated and made use of your scholarship, it is with profound disappointment that I must respectfully score this post as a "round out of impact."

First of all, the "obscene amenities" remark reflects a certain . . . non-familiarity with life for those deployed in Iraq. Many leave well-paying jobs in civilian life to sleep on a cot for a year or more, in a country that, to quote Billy Joel's hit, "goes to extremes" with respect to climate. And, as an added bonus, there are crazed fanatics, secular and religious, who want to kill them.

Perhaps things were different in your day; after all, you were stationed with the permanent garrison in Berlin, and the Army's always been good about taking care of the troops in noncombat deployments.

Second is the following unfortunate passage: "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."

First, as more than one poster has observed, there has been exactly one Abu Ghraib and one Haditha. In those cases where courts-martial have returned verdicts, the perpetrators are being held to account for their actions. In the case of Haditha, it is being prosecuted vigorously.

Second, no command element or national command authority issued orders for those actions. I don't give an airborne fornication at a rolling doughnut what BS war stories by professional phony veterans such as Jesse MacBeth you cite, you're just simply wrong.

Ken Prescott said...

Further, Mr. Arkin, the remainder of your insults about mercenaries is pretty much beneath comment.

I'd like to chalk this post up to you having hit the bottle a wee bit too hard. If such be the case, look into AA. Hey, maybe you can do a public service video with Mel Gibson about the evils of demon rum.

If, on the other hand, you were sober when you wrote that screed, then you're just an asshole. Nothing personal.