Audio: William Arkin supports the troops in his own funny little way

posted at 10:18 am on February 1, 2007 by Allahpundit

Here’s the man of the hour, playing softball last night with Alan Colmes about the WaPo column heard ’round the blogospheric world. Well, the right side of the blogospheric world, anyway.

N.B.: The clip has been heavily edited.

Update: He’s got a new post up at WaPo. I wonder what Maureen Dowd and the rest of the patriotic dissent crew who granted Cindy Sheehan absolute moral authority because her son died in Iraq would say about this?

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.

And then the crux of it: creeping military dictatorship by authoritarian robots, whom he’s certainly not calling authoritarian robots even though he pretty much is.

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…

[S]omething is inculcated into the minds of military members from day one of duty. 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.

Update: A reader e-mails to say that Arkin’s new post, from which I quoted above, doesn’t appear on the front page of his blog. Only if you use the permalink can you see it. Just a glitch or did he try to remove it?

Update: One of Ace’s readers did some Lexis-Nexising and pulled a few profiles of Arkin from the online archives. Seems he has a habit of disclosing secrets.

Update: Good question:

I’m especially taken by [Arkin’s] central complaint about the connn-unnn-drumm that the US military no longer (as if it ever did) perfectly represents the broader beliefs and traits of American society.

Question: What about the connn-unnn-drummm that the US media represents the broader American society even less?

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I have served my country in the Air Force for 27 years, I believe that should give me the right to say what I think. People like Martin Sheen who pretended to be President and spend thier lives pretending feel that they have more say than me just because they are a celebrity.

Our military is one of the best organizations in the world. We are allowed to have opinions and express them to our leaders. Our leaders listen to our input and make a decision. We then follow that decsion. In hindsight some decisions aren’t the right ones, but when you are dealing with war the right decision isn’t always black and white.

We are not mercenaries, my fellow warriors in the military are patriots, we definitely don’t do it for the money. We do it because we love this country and everything it stands for. We follow rules, such as the rules of engagement that spell out what we can and can’t do in time of war.

William Arkin was in the military, and I respect that. He was in the military in the 1970s, our military today is nothing like it was in the 70s.

We are prepared to give our life if necessary to ensure Mr. Arkin can say what he wants and pretenders like Martin Sheen have more of a voice than me. We are prepared to give our lives are they?

Sven on February 2, 2007 at 10:06 AM

So he’s basically making the Ann Coulter argument in Godless that it is inappropriate to use people who can’t be criticized because of their status (eg Jersey Girls), in this case soldiers, to make a point. Kinda ironic.

kmcguire on February 1, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Coulter did not say that; she said don’t put these women up there as unassailable; we’ll assail whomever we wish on the merits of their speech. And if that were Arkin’s point, it would go without saying.

Rather, he is telling the soldiers to stfu and claiming that they are wrong. The argument about whether one can criticize these soldiers is ancillary.

The Rule: more speech is better; telling people they can’t talk is worse.

Jaibones on February 2, 2007 at 11:28 AM

So today he says “… 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. …”

When, sir, did that word ever accurately describe the American soldier?

I think he’s trolling for traffic, myself, and that they deleted the comment where I mentioned that I take as confirmation.

htom on February 2, 2007 at 3:48 PM