William Arkin is not on the top of my like list right now. A week ago on his blog, he called the troops mercenaries. Check it out:
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.
The notion of dirty work is that, like laundry, it is something that has to be done but no one else wants to do it. But Iraq is not dirty work: it is not some necessary endeavor; the people just don’t believe that anymore.
The hell? That is just disgraceful. Now, I’m for free speech. You’ve may have read my entry defending people’s right to free speech to bash our dear President, even calling for his impeachment, during war time. Bash the President, Congress, administration, Rummy, DoD, the military as an institution, and even the (convicted) bad apples in our armed forces, but to group all our men and women serving overseas and label them as people who kill for money, I think is just wrong.
Yes, Arkin has his right to say this, but I just think the characterization is wrong, plain wrong, and disgraceful, and will only hurt him. So, his calls them mercenaries. Gets a lot of flack for it? What does he do then? Claims it was to promote debate.
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.
Mmm, I’m not sure about that. What the American public doesn’t have a duty to support is any member of the military that would bring disgrace to this country, as some have, and they have been rightly punished for doing so. However, the vast majority are good people, over there risking their lives, and whether or not this war is right or wrong is irrelevant to that fact. They choose to enlist, yes, but not where they go. Unless they’re doing something wrong, they deserve our support.
It was seem that most of his original article was about some troops who are angry that people who may support the troops don’t necessarily support the war. That I have a problem with, and I recently wrote about it. On the other hand, Arkin could have written his article without that inflammatory language, and still have gotten his point across. To end, and get my own point across, I’ll share one comment I particularly likeed on his latest entry:
Mr Arkin – My gripe with you is the same one that I have with most self-centered individuals…it’s not what you did; it’s how you did it. You could have written the same article and made the same points without insulting the American troops or our intelligence. But then you probably wouldn’t have seen your name all over the TV screen, would you? And in your mind, even bad press is good press; isn’t it? Well, congrats on that one. I’m sure your Mom must be proud.
Jose Garza, commenter, Demonization and Responsibility