WaPo Columnist: US Troops 'Naive Mercenaries' -- What Do We Really Owe Them?

February 1st, 2007 12:56 PM

Half-serious warning: those with heart conditions are advised to have their medications handy when reading this.

With Democrats in congressional power, are leftists feeling suddenly empowered to express formerly taboo views? First came a column in the Los Angeles Times arguing we have overreacted to 9-11. Now comes Washington Post columnist William Arkin to express contempt for our troops and question how much we really owe them after all.

Excerpts from The Troops Also Need to Support the American People:

  • "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 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."
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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?"
  • DEFIBRILLATOR ALERT: "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."
  • "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."
  • "America needs to ponder what it is we really owe those in uniform."

Don't think the Washington Post didn't know what they were getting when they hired Arkin to write a column. Arkin is a man who once wrote a book divulging the secret locations of nuclear bases around the world.

Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net