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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rick Moran smacks down some loather of the military named Arkin from Washington's other newspaper.

While waiting for Mr. Moran to post his weekly "24" update, the following caught my eye while perusing Right Wing Nuthouse.

ARKIN: IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…
CATEGORY: Media

The strange and bizarre saga of William Arkin endures as the Military Affairs columnist and blogger for the Washington Post continues to offer up explanations for what he really meant in his January 30th post savaging the American military.

Yesterday, Arkin posted an incoherent defense of his position that referred to his critics as “arrogant and intolerant” while furiously trying to backtrack from his original thoughts by lying about what he said in the January 30th post.

Not surprisingly, this didn’t work very well. In fact, a couple of hours after the response to his critics was posted, it was hastily taken down. Someone somewhere at WaPo may have seen Arkin’s response as not only inadequate but insulting as well and subsequently removed the offending post from Arkin’s webpage.

Arkin proved himself nothing if not dogged by posting a second, less inflammatory but still incoherent response to his critics that still contains obvious falsehoods about what he said in the original post while saying that he knew all along that his words would draw a huge negative reaction and that he did it on purpose to get a dialogue started on the issue of the military being put on a pedestal:

I knew when I used the word “mercenary” in my Tuesday column that I was being highly inflammatory.

NBC News ran a piece in which enlisted soldiers in Iraq expressed frustration about waning American support.

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.


Long time readers of this site know that I rarely use profanity in a post but Arkin’s words impel me to make an exception:

What a crock of shit.

Everything he writes rings hollow. I don’t believe for one minute he could have possibly sensed the firestorm of controversy that erupted over his insults. And his “apology” – that he’s sorry anyone in the military took his words “literally” – is a shocking prevarication.

He didn’t just use the word “mercenary” in passing. He used it as part of what passes for humor on the left. It was a deliberate smear – the kind that keeps you in good standing with the anti-war crowd. It is a wink and a nod at the hard left, telling them that he agrees with them but that the mask must stay on so that the slack jawed, goober chewing, shotgun toting, mouthbreathers in the hinterlands don’t get their panties in a bunch:

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.


In effect, he was telling his friends on the left to take the insult literally while maintaining a certain deniability by making an awkward bon mot out of the phrase.

Where Arkin refuses to back down is in his belief that the American soldier shouldn’t be dissing the home folks – not when patriots like him “support” them:

Those in uniform who think about and speak out about this predicament are rightly frustrated and angry. Many seem to find some solace in blaming the media
or anti-war “leftists” or the Democratic Party or the liberals, or even an ungrateful or insufficiently martial American public.

But if those in the military are now going to argue that we are losing in Iraq because the military has lacked for Ssomething, then the absence of such support should be placed at the feet of the Bush administration, Rumsfeld and company, and a Republican Congress—not on the shoulders of the American public, who have been nothing but supportive, even those who have opposed the war…

In the middle of all of this are the troops, the pawns in political battles at home as much as they are on the real battlefield. We unquestioningly “support” these troops for the very reasons that they are pawns. We give them what we can to be successful, and we have a contract with them, because they are our sons and daughters and a part of us, not to place them in an impossible spot


Is it “solace” those men on the NBC report were seeking? It sounded to me like they were seeking an answer to a very good question – a question that Arkin refuses to even try and answer (except by muddying the waters by saying they shouldn’t be asking questions in the first place): How can you “support the troops” without supporting their mission?

Arkin is silent on this point except to say that of course you can be supportive of the men while opposing the war! How dare you even raise the question!

No explanation. Just platitudes about free speech – a curious defense given his scolding of the soldiers themselves for speaking out. I agree with Arkin that it is possible to be a patriotic American and oppose the war and agitate for bringing the troops home now. And while we shouldn’t question their patriotism, we damn well can question their judgement. Of course, they can similarly question the judgement of those of us who support our continued deployment. This is called democratic debate. Perhaps Arkin has forgotten how that works and that the soldiers also have every right to participate.

All of this comes back to the mask being worn by Arkin and many on the left and how it hides their true feelings about the military and the United States in general. At the beginning of the war, we heard much from our lefty friends about how this time, unlike what happened in Viet Nam, they wouldn’t blame the war on the troops. No spitting please. No calling them “baby killers.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that they don’t really think that. They’re just not going to make the political error this time around of getting the rest of the American people angry at them for what they truly believe.

This why it is impossible for Arkin and others to answer the simple question posed by the soldiers. There literally is no answer because the soldiers are correct. But for very good political reasons, most of the anti-war crowd will obfuscate and set up straw men about “free speech” rather than give a direct response. Simply saying that it is possible to support the troops while opposing their mission doesn’t cut it. By putting the onus on the troops for asking it, Arkin tries to shift the focus from the obvious answer – he doesn’t “support” the troops or the war effort – to why the interlocutor was wrong for inquiring in the first place. They are “intimidating” the American people or they are “blaming” the citizenry for our failures in Iraq by asking the question...

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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