News Item:
The troops also need to
support the American people.

The news item above refers to an article written by one William M. Arkin in the Washington Post.  It seems Mr Arkin is somewhat concerned [or offended] by the lack of support our troops have shown towards him.

Mr Arkin positions his article as a rebuttal to a televised report by Richard Engel of NBC News.  In the NBC piece, several soldiers expressed their frustration with folks back home like Mr Arkin, those who ‘support’ the troops, but not what they’re doing.  None of the troops interviewed referred to Mr Arkin by name, and it’s possible they don’t even know who he is, but as you read the article that Mr Arkin wrote, he seems to have taken their remarks very personally.

At the very top of the article [the second sentence to be exact], Arkin implies that the soldiers were not speaking their own minds.  Here’s a quote:

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.

In the very next sentence, Arkin expresses his hope that the soldiers were rebuffed for their remarks:

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.

Now why in the world would the soldiers be taken aside if they were only spewing the party line?

Then Mr Arkin chastizes the troops for their lack of gratitude that he still ‘supports’ them:

These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President’s handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect.

What better way to show your respect for the American way of life than to put your life on the line for it?

Rapists and murderers, that’s what our troops are.  Or am I reading this next part wrong?:

Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order.

Isn’t that a clear insinuation that the ‘bad apples’ are the norm, that rape and murder is a commonplace occurance, and shrugged off by most of our GI’s?

Going further:

We don’t see very many “baby killer” epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon.

Excuse me Mr Arkin, but you just did spit on them, in print.

And more:

We pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care.

What a waste of money that is.

We support them in every possible way.

Yes sir, Mr Arkin, that you do.

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.

It’s plain as hell, Mr Arkin [and the Mister is starting to stick in my throat] that you’re not going to do it for them.

And last but not least:

The recent NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary – oops sorry, volunteer – force.

Mercenary!!?  Oops sorry!!?
Every one of our men and women in uniform do owe you something, Mr Arkin, but gratitude and respect isn’t it.

Link: Washington Post

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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