Here’s Washington Post national security reporter/blogger William Arkin’s screed against NBC’s report, which quoted troops who want Americans to support their mission. An excerpt from Arkin’s unhinged diatribe:
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.
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.
“Obscene amenities?” What the…?!?!?! Amenities like this?
“A marine awakened others for guard duty in a house in Ramadi. With temperatures dropping to the 30s, the Americans and Iraqis clustered for warmth…”
Allah has exit questions.
John Hinderaker tries to decipher Arkin’s incoherence:
In other words, I guess, “screw them.” I still don’t get it, though: what is the “price we pay” for having a volunteer army? The fact that soldiers are disappointed if the folks back home don’t support their mission? Wow, that’s a heavy price all right!
Of course, the worst part of this — besides the incoherent writing style — is the characterization of the NBC report. Not one of the soldiers in the clip remotely suggested that Americans “give up their rights and responsibilities”. They didn’t say that George Bush should make everyone who opposes the war shut up, or else. They were asked about their take on people who say they support the troops but oppose the war, and they expressed their views.
Unfortunately, Mr. Arkin can’t handle free speech. He incomprehensibly calls them mercenaries because they volunteered for the military, and apparently because they have the audacity to offer their opinions when asked.. (By definition, a mercenary is someone who hires himself out as a soldier for a nation not his own.)
Arkin finishes by suggesting that America rethink what it owes the troops, so I’ll oblige. We owe them our support because they risk their lives to ensure that we retain our freedoms. They don’t get paid all that well to do it, either, but they do it because they love our country. I’m fine with them expressing their opinions when reporters stick cameras in their faces and ask for them, even if they don’t agree with me. I still respect them for what they do, which apparently is the difference between Arkin and myself.
Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive is not so polite.
Neither are some of the commenters at Arkin’s WaPo blog:
Charles Johnson at LGF sez: “this latest blast of hatred shouldn’t surprise anyone.”
Milblogger John Noonan at Op-For: “I’ve lost all respect for the Washington Post, the newspaper that I grew up reading. How they can consider themselves a serious publication after dripping this excrement over their pages is beyond me. For shame.”
Dan Riehl ties it all together: “It’s official. The press has gone to war.”
Yeah, there’s definitely something in the water at the Washington Post.