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Arkin: The Troops need to Shut Up and Take the Insults

A man named William Arkin writing at a Washington Post blog says that the troops need to support anti-war Americans and their views. He writes this in reference to the NBC Nightly News video of US troops asking that Americans support them all the way. Arkin's essay is nothing more than a string of insult after insult. Here's just a few:

I've been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq last Friday in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war in the United States.

I'm sure the soldiers were expressing a majority opinion common amongst the ranks - that's why it is news - and I'm also sure no one in the military leadership or the administration put the soldiers up to expressing their views, nor steered NBC reporter Richard Engel to the story.

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.

In other words, our troops should be told to just shut up and allow the left to insult them. How dare they defend themselves.

And get this paragraph:

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?

The only person who thinks the troops are above society is you. You resent them for an attitude that they don't have but you apply to them anyway. And since you asked the question, yes you should defer to the military and the generals and let them fight the war.

Take a look at this slap:

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.

And there's this one:

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 naïve 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.

Arkin actually thinks the troops are lying to themselves when they say that what they are doing is important? What bunk.

Everything in this essay is complete bunk, not to mention arrogant and patronizing.

If you're wondering who William Arkin is, check out Hugh Hewitt's piece at The Weekly Standard.

Update: Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive has a few choice words for Mr. Arkin.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Arkin: The Troops need to Shut Up and Take the Insults:

» Blue Crab Boulevard linked with The Difference

» Bill's Bites linked with It's called "Gonad Envy."

» Flopping Aces linked with Screw The Troops!

» Sensible Mom linked with WAPO's Blunder

» bRight & Early linked with First Cup 02.01.07

» The Thunder Run linked with Web Reconnaissance for 02/01/2007

» Murdoc Online linked with Arkin Inflammatory

Comments (38)

Another nutjob reporter pol... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

Another nutjob reporter policing the media.

LGF and Blackfive took Arki... (Below threshold)

LGF and Blackfive took Arkin out to the woodshed.

(paraphrasing:) "If people ... (Below threshold)

(paraphrasing:) "If people back home don't support us, everything we're doing is in vain." That's psycho-babbling bullshit! Win the "war" and the point will be moot. Unfortunately, soldier, you're "live bait" for the hoped-for Iranian catch of the day! (Iraq has been written off already. HELLO!)

Ya know, I type some pretty... (Below threshold)

Ya know, I type some pretty incoherent stuff at times, but BD above is in a category all his or her own.

Correct epador, and that ca... (Below threshold)

Correct epador, and that category is buffoon.

The troops are entitled to ... (Below threshold)

The troops are entitled to have and express whatever opinion they want (including the opinion that those of us who oppose the war are traitors).

The people are also entitled to have and express whatever opinion they want.

I would only ask the troops to respect that, in a democracy, not everyone is going to agree with the decision to go into a war and how to conduct it. Disagreement with the decision to go to war isn't showing a lack of respect or support for the troops; it's an expression of the freedom of thought that is guaranteed by a democracy. Only in a dictatorship will you see a country fight a war without any internal voices of dissent.

And democracy is what we are fighting for after all, isn't it?

epador, "his or her"? MORE ... (Below threshold)

epador, "his or her"? MORE psycho-babbling bullshit from the consumers of Compassionate Conservatism. If in doubt (and why you'd be in doubt of "bryanD", I don't know, but anyway...), use the masculine "his". Unless you're using Incoherency as a fetish, in which case: BYE!

"If people back home don... (Below threshold)

"If people back home don't support us, everything we're doing is in vain."

Was that one of the statements in the NBC story? That strikes me as an odd statement also. If your cause is right and just it stands on its own merits.

This sounds like someone who looks to others for approval and self-esteem, perhaps with a little bit of "it's not our fault the war is failing, it's your fault for not supporting us" thrown in for good measure.

Whether there is a ticker-tape parade for soldiers returning from Iraq, or not -- has no bearing on the validity of the war, or the performance of the soldiers who did the fighting. In an unpopular was such as this, any soldier who must have the approval of others is going to be greatly disappointed.

"If people back home don... (Below threshold)

"If people back home don't support us, everything we're doing is in vain."

Since the soldier who said that was quoted for only a couple seconds, my guess is that in context, the idea was, "If people back home don't support us [and thus force us to quit], everything we're doing is in vain."

"...Unfortunately, soldi... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

"...Unfortunately, soldier, you're 'live bait' for the hoped-for Iranian catch of the day..."

This is insufferable BryanD. I don't care if you express your nutty views, but this, this is just wrong and hateful. This is a window into the twisted person you are.

You should be banned. You should apologize.

You should meet me soon so I can shove those words right up your ass.

So is the liberal basically... (Below threshold)

So is the liberal basically saying that the guy who fights for your freedom of speech and opinion, is the only one who shouldn't be able to have one?

Sounds about right in liberalville.

Sorry! Not afraid of anyone... (Below threshold)

Sorry! Not afraid of anyone who uses "just" and "wrong" next to each other. You sound light in the loafers.

bryanD: You are scared of y... (Below threshold)

bryanD: You are scared of your own shadow as all slime ball traitors are. Hiding behind a keyboard and slandering the American soldiers when the weakest one could trash your a** in two seconds. Let them find out where you live and you'll be like a previous cowardly poster from NY. The troops from Fort Drum found out exactly where he lived and he had to move and go into hiding. He forgot that the military has some of the best electronic personnel around. Tracking was easy. Hey Lee, Lee was that you? Back under another name?

Scrapiron: I'll take Camp P... (Below threshold)

Scrapiron: I'll take Camp Pendleton over Fort Drum. ANYDAY. Semper Fi, Chickenhawk!

bryanD, hate to tell... (Below threshold)

bryanD, hate to tell you, but scrapiron is a retired 65yro vet. You might want to reconsider your little masturbatory "chickenhawk" squawk you just made.

If he's anything like my 85yro uncle (who got court-martialed down from 2nd Lt. to Sgt. in the USAAC during WWII for buzzing a hapless kid on a tractor while leading his 6-plane squadron on a training flight on the day of his graduation, then as a gunnery Sgt. on a B-17 spent 9 months in an Austrian concentration camp when his '17 was shot down over France on D-Day +16), I'd take scrapiron anyday.

Here's a hint: carjacking is a big concern in certain areas of New Orleans. Instead of spending $$$ on a tiny can of pepper spray, my uncle spent $5 on something much more likely to discourage a carjacker.

A jumbo size can of Wasp & Hornet spray.

My money's on scrappy.

p.s.: the war can be won. Problem is, it seems like you think Iraq = war against islamofascism. It's actually just one small part, as is Afghanistan, Iran, and idjits like Kim Jong Il who want to ride its coattails.

Age and treachery will ALWAYS overcome youth and skill.

scrapiron, here's a ... (Below threshold)

scrapiron, here's a story for you: back in 2000, at age 78, my uncle visited Berlin with my cousin, his eldest son - who was 50 and stands at 6'4", 230#, and is a Harley nut, but very soft-spoken (unlike his father).

So the two are sitting in a Berlin pub, when an old German man walks up and decides to chat up my uncle. He asks if my uncle had ever visited Berlin before.

My uncle immediately answers loudly (he's a bit hard of hearing):

"Yes, I have. I flew over this town seven times during the War and bombed the sh*t out of it."

All conversation in the pub immediately stops. Silence.

My cousin turns to his father and says, "uh, Pop, I think we'd better leave..."

They left, only because my cousin recognized that had they stayed, things would have got ugly. As for my uncle, he wasn't too worried about it.

wanderlust, thanks for the ... (Below threshold)

wanderlust, thanks for the anecdote (I prefer S&W to Black Flag, though), and as for Scrapiron, though his service is commendable and a gold star in the scheme of things, he sounds like a bitter lunatic. Maybe that's the "voice" he writes with. In which case I recommend he write some Crazy Old Guy novel. And the quasi-threat to sic the dogs on me is a bona fide giveaway: he ain't shit now and he wasn't shit "then". Unless he's now a lunatic and it's not his fault. Who knows, who cares. It's cyberspace and talk is cheap.

What a freakin' hypocrite..... (Below threshold)

What a freakin' hypocrite... he's probably one of those anti-war people who is moaning about how we're sending our poor men and women to die- but if our soldiers express the opinion that they wish Americans were more supportive, we're suddenly taking care of them, their families, doling out for their every whims, and the soldiers are a bunch of ingrates who shouldn't express their opinions.

Lee and BD: Have you bought... (Below threshold)

Lee and BD: Have you bought your Koran yet?

Been awhile since I posted ... (Below threshold)

Been awhile since I posted here. Something happened with public perceptions since WW II and even the Korean war. Nowadays the shreiking dissent of the few given more press the good of the many. I lay this at the feet of the media.

There has not been a war where mistakes were not made. No one said "War is Perfect"...they said "War is Hell." The difference is the way it's covered. Forget whether there is bias in the media or not. The competition between news sources has escalated to near hysteria. It matters not if the story is correct. It matters who put it out there first. Corrections can be made later....on A12... better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Good news rarely sells. Bad news does. The media feeds on the bad news. Again this reminds me of the star trek episode where a pulsating round light got energy by pitting members of the crew against each other. It literally fed of the negative energy.

the difference of this war and the others? wall to wall media coverage. coverage of the bad...and not the good. and that's not good.

BD: Check your meds, tough ... (Below threshold)

BD: Check your meds, tough guy. They ain't working.

Sarcasm off, the next time somebody suggests you might be having an anger problem, listen up, because they're trying to help you. Your posts are getting more incoherent every day. You're barely trying to make a point any more - you appear to be simply seething with rage. All bullshit aside, you need some professional help. When even Lee tells you you're over the top, you should pay attention.

Lee and BD: Have y... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:
Lee and BD: Have you bought your Koran yet?

And are they wearing their burqas full-time or just on special occasions?

the moonbats here should wa... (Below threshold)

the moonbats here should watch this, The Islamic Mein Kampf


jpI'd be wary of s... (Below threshold)


I'd be wary of something w/ the soundtrack that is the audio background on your link.

The soundtrack smacks of propaganda, to say the least, and sounds like a piece that "Big Brother" might have orchestrated for the "two minute hate" in 1984.

Am I the only one here who ... (Below threshold)

Am I the only one here who reacts to such stories with a shrug these days? A WaPo blogger offers his opinion of soldiers, other people tell him to go to hell, et cetera. I find the back and forth between right- and left-wing blogs on these matters to be rather predictable, and thus uninteresting.

Still, I have a question: Is it fair to say that most writers, pro- or anti- Iraq war, would really prefer that American service members not be there ... even if they recognize some necessity for their presence?


Another, related thought: ... (Below threshold)

Another, related thought: Sometimes I wonder if debate on this war would be more informed if there had been a general conscription. In that case, at least, fewer people would form their opinions of the war w/o appreciating those opinions' impact on people who are literally their siblings and spouses.


I knew this day would come,... (Below threshold)

I knew this day would come, but someone has finally pushed my buttons enough to drive me into action. I so felt the need to respond to this jackass -- oops, gentleman -- that I setup a blogger account just to post my thoughts.

If Arken is really in this 'for the troops', then he should have written this.

If you want them to stop being confused, Mr. Arken, then stop sending mixed messages. Either let them blow the hell out of the terrorists with everything we've got, or bring them home.

Stop putting prerequisites and conditions on the way they execute the war and let them do the job we sent them to do.

NBC News shouldn't only be ... (Below threshold)

NBC News shouldn't only be interviewing soldiers who support Bush's war in Iraq. A majority of our general officers, active and retired, no longer support staying the course and neither do soldiers in the ranks. They're smarter than that. Riding around waiting to get blown up or kicking in doors is no way to win a war.


"For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president's handling of the war than approve of it. Barely one-third of service members approve of the way the president is handling the war, ac cording to the 2006 Military Times Poll."

Really want to know what th... (Below threshold)

Really want to know what the military is thinking? It's probably that you gave us a job to do, now politicians, stay the fuck out of the way and let us do it. But no, just like Nam, the micro managing of the military by the administration just had to be. The former chief of staff said 500 to 600,000 troops to do the job.

The politicians do not realize to fight and win a war, you go with massive power, kick ass, and then leave, as you have done the military objective. Then let the politicians go in and help that country build itself back to modern status.

Hell, they can't even properly equip the "surge" troops let alone the ones that are already there. It's not the military's fault, it is all the politicians. It doesn't matter if your a leftie or righty on this problem. Start demanding our politicians, from Congress up to the WH get their shit together and start "supporting our troops".

This discussion, as penny ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

This discussion, as penny wit suggests is really is about war and how we much and at what cost we can abide for it's necessity, or ala Allen 'wholescale firepower or means justify the ends' . Molley Ivins who just died, had this to say about the circular reasoning divide between liberals and conservatives ... "I had a slightly insane discussion the other day with a winger who wanted urgently for me to understand that the Haditha massacre is the kind of thing that happens in war. Whereas I was trying to point out to him that the Haditha massacre is the kind of thing that happens in war."

Hey, markg8,"... e... (Below threshold)

Hey, markg8,

"... either do soldiers in the ranks.:

From your link (it helps to read more than the headlines):

"The mail survey, conducted Nov. 13 through Dec. 22, is the fourth annual gauge of active-duty mili tary subscribers to the Military Times newspapers. The results should not be read as representative of the military as a whole; the survey's respondents are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population"

Oh, ... and the folks filli... (Below threshold)

Oh, ... and the folks filling out that survey probably also have more time to fill out surveys than the soldiers in the ranks.


goddam mercenary soldiers. ... (Below threshold)
les nessman:

goddam mercenary soldiers. they're almost as bad as those mercinary doctors. yeah, sure doc, you saved my kids life; but you get paid for it, right? paid with filthy money, you mercenary.

and you firefighters who get burned up saving lives, you're just goddam dirty mercenaries too. you ran into a burning building to save someone? so what, who cares! you get paid for it don't you? you're lucky we tolerate your presence.

and you mercenaries, oops, i mean 'people who voluntarily join the police force', you're just in it for the money. so you stopped a criminal and got shot in the process. big deal. you still get paid don't you? we spend a lot of money on police cars and expensive handcuffs, the least you could do is bleed and die for us.

i don't know why soldiers get paid at all. they should be paying me.

now, reporters...yeah i can understand why they get paid. reporters are the real heroes.

Yo,You're right it... (Below threshold)


You're right it's a self selected survey, not scientific at all. But I'd say that if the respondents are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population then a scientifically conducted study with randomly selected respondents would see results that are even more dramatically against the war. These guys are the backbone of the professional army and being more career-oriented are more likely to benefit from career advancement during wartime. Reports have shown that to be the case. The Army is promoting over 90% of eligible officers because so many are getting out. And yet this survey and at least one other I've seen show
attitudes in the military about Iraq mirror those of the general populace here at home. I haven't seen any polls that contradict these findings.

I just realized that I'm a ... (Below threshold)

I just realized that I'm a mercinary. I teach physics to college kids and get paid for it. I feel so dirty.

markg8These guy... (Below threshold)


These guys are the backbone of the professional army and being more career-oriented are more likely to benefit from career advancement during wartime. Reports have shown that to be the case.
The backbone is actually those they lead and they are re-enlisting at rates that exceed what is needed, and have consistently since the war began.

The "they're just dumb lemmings" meme will start in about ten seconds.

To bryanDumbass: if you are... (Below threshold)

To bryanDumbass: if you are so brave how about giving out your address to your nearest army base.

War is a political descisio... (Below threshold)

War is a political descision, And anyone who says that the prosecution of such should be left up to the soldiers and generals is an idiot.

I spent 5 years in the Corps and frankly the troop should have kept his trap shut. I promise you those who do not agree with this bit of bullshit are not allowed to go blabing to the media about how Bush is a moron and this illegal war against a nation that never attacked us run by incompetent boobs who did everything in their power to avoid actually putting their asses on the line when it was their time should never have been started.

You put on the uniform you shut up and do your duty as long as the orders you recieve are lawful. If they aren't you are duty bound by your oath of service to resist but other than that you are not allowed to use your military rank or trappings for political purposes.

It is because of this limit on personal expression in the military that those of us who are not in are duty bound to ensure that the political decision to go to war is the proper one.

And frankly all the idiots who Voted for the cheerleading draftdodger in cheif are the ones who failed to SUPPORT THE TROOPS.

Funny that for the most part those are the same people who dislike paying their taxes which is how you really support the troops.

And don't give me all that jingoistic BS I was in during GW1 and I saw how that support the troop crap worked all the free drinks and special deals evaporated the minute the troops started coming back to the states.






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