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Arkin responds (UPDATED)
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, February 01, 2007

Yes friends the mighty Arkin has shot back.

Entitled "The Arrogant and Intolerant Speak Out" Arkin takes aim at his critics. To call it a "whine" is, well, an understatement:
Well, one thing's abundantly clear about who will actually defend our rights to say what we believe: It isn't the hundreds who have written me saying they are soldiers or veterans or war supporters or real Americans and who also advise me to move to another country, to get f@##d, or to die a painful, violent death.

Contrary to the typically inaccurate and overstated assertion in dozens of blogs, hundreds of comments, and thousands of Emails I've received, I've never written that soldiers should "shut up," quite whining, be spit upon, or that they have no right to an opinion.

I said I was bothered by the notion that "the troops" were somehow becoming hallowed beings above society, that they had an attitude that only they had the means - or the right - to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor.

I was dead wrong in using the word mercenary to describe the American soldier today.

These men and women are not fighting for money with little regard for the nation. The situation might be much worse than that: evidently far too many in uniform believe that they are the one true nation. They hide behind the constitution and the flag and then spew an anti-Democrat, anti-liberal, anti-journalism, anti-dissent, and anti-citizen message that reflects a certain contempt for the American people.

What I've heard ever since my article "The Troops Also Need to Support the American People" was published on Tuesday are a lot of people telling ME to shut up and be grateful for the sacrifices others are making.

I never said we shouldn't support the troops. I just lamented that "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?"

Thousands have written telling me to "shut up and quit whining," that the troops do support the American people - "with their lives."

I can't respond to everyone individually - keep the cards and letters coming though, I do read them - but I'll try to tease out of the comments some themes that confirm in my mind the difficult state that this impossible war has put us.

[...]

But what does it say about our current political and military leadership?

Bush and company, and the Abizaid's, Casey's, and Petraeus's have had years to make their case to the American people that the threat is so great and the mission so noble that the sacrifice is worth it. They clearly have failed to make their case and that is why the majority of Americans no longer support the war.

The notion then that we should defer to the military to fight when and how and where they want is absurd. As the debate about the Iraq war demonstrates, war-making is a shared endeavor and the arrogant and intolerant few who think they are above the people seem those wearing the uniform.
Arkin, as is obvious, still doesn't get it. His detractors are the "arrogant and intolerant". "Projection" most psychiatrists would say.

To his credit he backs off the mercenary remark, but hey, we're all big boys aren't we and we understand that backing off a remark isn't the same as backing off a belief, is it?

His "response" is mostly a compendium of the worst that was said about his opinion (and up front, death threats or threats of violence of any sort are not acceptable from anyone). Somehow in his arrogance he apparently feels what he says is unassailable.

Oh and this:
I said I was bothered by the notion that "the troops" were somehow becoming hallowed beings above society, that they had an attitude that only they had the means - or the right - to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor.
BS. If that's what he was driving at in his previous screed he missed it by a mile.

And I loved this buried in a part that I snipped:
It is not just defense of the Constitution, it is also unanimity of thought and an unwavering regard for hierarchy. Without this, you can't have a military and you can't expect human beings to go against their instincts to put their lives on the line.

I'm not saying that this makes people in the military automatons, or that they are stupid. But this unanimity of thought and this absolute allegiance to a hierarchy of ideas is and should be foreign in the civilian world. That's what makes the two different.
No, Mr. Arkin, it's not. There isn't anymore allegiance to a hierarchy of ideas in the military than there is to any run-of-the-mill corporation in the civilian world like the Washington Post. And to pretend it is otherwise is to be willfully ignorant in an attempt to rationalize the absurdities you penned the last time you did this. Seems to me that by now someone would have been kind enough to introduce you to "the first law of holes".

What he and many other detractors don't seem to understand is the point those troops were making in that NBC clip wasn't about Bush, or Casey or even "the argument". It was a plea to get behind them and support them regardless of Bush, Casey or "the argument".

You see, for them and what they're doing and risking daily, that is all moot. They're there, they're going to attempt to accomplish their mission - and they want you to unite and support them and their mission while the attempt it.

That's not too much to ask as far as I'm concerned.

By the way, as an emailer points out:
Insofar as he’s arguing that one doesn’t need to be a soldier to have an opinion about the war...that’s the anti-“chickenhawk” point we’ve been making for years now.
One of the few positives which is coming out of Arkin's "arguements".

UPDATE: This is interesting. The link above is good (i.e. it gets you to the story) but when you go to the WaPo blog page where Arkin lists his blog entries, it isn't there.

Why is he hiding it?

UPDATE II: Listen to audio clip of Arkin at Hot Air. Alan Combs interviews him. Interesting points on the "anti-chicken hawk" arguments and "political correctness". He calls his piece a "philosophical" piece. It is pure spin. And I think that after listening it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to call him "anti-military" by his own definition.

UPDATE III: Arkin tries for the third time and still, clearly, doesn't get it. He's not worth taking apart again.
 
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It’s interesting that, although the links from here, Hot Air and presumably other blogs do connect to Arkin’s blog entry, the entry doesn’t seem to appear on the "Early Warning" blog itself. Click Arkin’s fetching photo to go to the blog’s home page and an earlier entry appears as the first item. Earlier today the "Arrogant and Intolerant" speil was on the blog’s main page, but in the time it took me to compose a comment, it was apparently snatched. By someone at WAPO with both editorial control and a brain?

I’ve noticed that while comments to Arkin’s first innane entry continue to accrue at a dizzying clip, only a few are being appended to his follow-up. Which, as I say, is only accessible from links such as the one here. At least for me. How very strange. This ain’t the way blogs are supposed to work. Can’t the MSM do anything right?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
And, I see that as I typed the foregoing, you noticed the same darn thing. Again, I’m wondering if someone above Arkin’s head is interfering.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
McQ:
To his credit he backs off the mercenary remark, but hey, we’re all big boys aren’t we and we understand that backing off a remark isn’t the same as backing off a belief, is it?
Arkin:
I was dead wrong in using the word mercenary to describe the American soldier today.

These men and women are not fighting for money with little regard for the nation. The situation might be much worse than that:
That is refering to the situation of fighting for money, which is how he was defining a mercenary.

McQ, he didn’t back off the remark, he doubled down on it.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I said I was bothered by the notion that "the troops" were somehow becoming hallowed beings above society, that they had an attitude that only they had the means - or the right - to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor.
Well, at least he’s rejecting the ’chickenhawk’ trope.
 
Written By: Aaron
URL: http://
rehashing this is like flogging a dead horse.

It does nothing to motivate the horse and only makes the flogger look really foolish.

What else ya got there, White Guy(tm)?
 
Written By: Rick Day
URL: http://goplobby.org
and the flag and then spew an anti-Democrat, anti-liberal, anti-journalism, anti-dissent, and anti-citizen message that reflects a certain contempt for the American people.
Buried within, is the nugget that reveals the true nature of his contempt
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
rehashing this is like flogging a dead horse.

It does nothing to motivate the horse and only makes the flogger look really foolish.

What else ya got there, White Guy(tm)?

Written By: Rick Day
URL: http://goplobby.org
What it’s a new posting on a NEW Arkin comment, Rick, just tired of having your head handed to you daily?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I said I was bothered by the notion that "the troops" were somehow becoming hallowed beings above society, that they had an attitude that only they had the means - or the right - to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor
He’s right you know. Only the Cindy Sheehans of the world have the "moral authority" to judge Iraq!

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
rehashing this is like flogging a dead horse.
To keep with the barnyard theme, it’s usually like that when its your ox being gored.

And I can sympathize: It’s tough seeing a guy who you agree with, like Arkin, having his "arguments" so utterly destroyed right before your eyes, isn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
But what does it say about our current political and military leadership?

Bush and company, and the Abizaid’s, Casey’s, and Petraeus’s have had years to make their case to the American people that the threat is so great and the mission so noble that the sacrifice is worth it. They clearly have failed to make their case and that is why the majority of Americans no longer support the war.
I guess I have to say it again....but here is yet ANOTHER example of the left just seeing everything through the anti-Bush prism. This is not "Bush’s war" and the consequences of giving up will not just be confined to Bush’s poll numbers.

Bush isn’t the enemy, but he’s the only one the left recognizes- or cares to fight. As Cap himself noted in another thread, he (and the majority of the left) ok with empty rhetoric and do nothing gestures against our real enemies. But heaven help the "decider" (whatever the f*ck that means) who does something.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Don’t mind Rick "Bong Boy" Day. He’s one of the Big-L Libertarians who make it impossible for real libertarians to be taken seriously.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
"The situation might be much worse than that: evidently far too many in uniform believe that they are the one true nation. They hide behind the constitution and the flag and then spew an anti-Democrat, anti-liberal, anti-journalism, anti-dissent, and anti-citizen message that reflects a certain contempt for the American people.
"

The situation might be much worse than that: evidently far too many in THE PRESS believe that they are the one true nation. They hide behind the constitution and the flag and then spew an anti-AMERICAN, anti-CONSERVATIVE, anti-TRUTH, anti-WAR, and anti-FREEDOM message that reflects a certain contempt for the American people.
 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Don’t mind Rick "Bong Boy" Day. He’s one of the Big-L Libertarians who make it impossible for real libertarians to be taken seriously.

And You SIR a COLLECTIVIST and SPLITTER...you know doubt, are under the delusion that the State has any useful function whatsoever. Further I doubt you have a website that has a clever a handle as GOPlobby....Neeener-Neener-NEENER!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Now we see what happens when an arrogant liberal puts into print what he says over coffee every day. Unfortunately, his attitude and thoughts are not an aberration. Can you believe that even worse things are shared among stupid liberals every day? All supporting the troops, of course, whatever that means.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
This is part and parcel of the recent blog on DailyKos where one of the contributors finally admits that it would be better if we DID lose the war.
This is indeed the sort of things they talk about among themselves everyday.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
On a different but related subject, Arkin and Fieldhouse, though liberals, have produced some nice work(s) on nuclear weapons...I wouldn’t want anyone to think the man a TOTAL ignoramus. When he puts his mind to it he’s quite capable of decent research and useful factual output. True it’s usually in the harnes of the "Freeze Movement" or against "Star Wars" but the facts are nice, whether you agree with his conclusions or not.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Don’t mind Rick "Bong Boy" Day. He’s one of the Big-L Libertarians who make it impossible for real libertarians to be taken seriously.
And the anti-war "base" of the Democratic party, populated by the likes of Arkin, have made it hard for that party to have any credibility on Iraq.

In my personal opinion, the rhetorical excesses of this crowd were the main reason that the anti-war case was not taken more seriously by the American public prior to the invasion.

To be more precise, the failure of the "adults" in the Democratic party to marginalize the kooks and articulate the serious arguments against the war, their willingness to allow ANSWER to become the face of the anti-war movement, ensured that they were left out of the mainstream discourse. They were like childen talking among themselves at the kiddie table, while the grown-ups had the real conversation at the supper table.

To some extent, the reluctance among Democrats to engage the elements of "the base" who do things like bash the troops is understandable as simple cowardice: They don’t want to go out alone to criticize "their team", and be seen as aiding "the enemy." Some people though, like Erb in the previous thread, actually try to defend this stuff. Look for these two tactics:

1. Pretend that those of us who take offense at extreme rhetoric (i.e. calling American troops "mercenaries") are trying to censor or silence the anti-war view.

2. Characterize anything that a war opponent says as "questioning our government policy," no matter how absurd, odious, or patently untrue. It is wrong, according to the Erbians of the world, to "hurl insults" at someone who just flamed you if that person is an opponent of the war, because what you mistook as a personal attack was probably an attempt to "question the government."
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
To some extent, the reluctance among Democrats to engage the elements of "the base" who do things like bash the troops
Here’s your error; The Republicans have tried to paint ALL war opponents as bashing the troops, so there is nothing to marginalize, there is not much distinction by Republicans between those that oppose the mission and those that oppose the troops.

Republicans HATE it when someone says they support the troops but not the mission, and pretend they are synonymous, so all Americans are being pushed toward being (or being labeled) anti-military if they don’t agree with the policy.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
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