I’m beginning to think that William M. Arkin is a Rovian plant at the Washington Post whose job is to make the radical anti-war movement look even more hyper extreme than it is. His fourth and final “I really do love the soldiers–in spite of the fact that they’re a bunch of lying, murderous rapists–well, except for the lovable doltish idiots” meme is a masterpiece in the use of strawmen, denial, and just plain STFU. If ever there was a rational and logical counter-argument to the war, Rove made certain that you won’t find it in anything Arkin wrote.
In case you missed it, here’s a Reader’s Digest version of the series:
Part I: I love the troops, really I do. In spite of the fact that you’re really just “mercenaries.” All of you–except for the “young” and the “naive.” Oh, and STFU.
Part II: Oh, did I say “mercenaries”? Sorry. I didn’t mean to be “inflammatory.” I meant to say “arrogant,” and “intolerant” “automotons” possessed of a “unanimity of thought and an unwavering regard for hierarchy.” [Note to Editors, if short on column space, shorten to "nazi" --WMA.] Also, I didn’t mean “young” and “naive.” I meant instead “stupid.” Mea culpa.
Part III. Okay, now I’m pissed. 21 year old Specialist Taylor, who I told in Part I to STFU now really needs to STFU. I don’t care that you’ve actually been to Iraq and I haven’t. I don’t care that you think you can still win this war. I don’t care if you think that it’s important. I know differently. But your opinions don’t matter because by expressing them you serve as a “censor” on debate, even though you never did try to censor me. You really only just responded to my original column. Still, I feel “intimidated.” Oh, and did I forget to mention: STFU.
Part IV: Stop it! STOP IT! Now you’ve hurt my feelings. You’ve “demonized” me, even though it is I who called you “mercenaries.” You’ve “dehumanized” me, even though it is I who called you “automotons.” And that part about repeatedly calling me an “elitist” really hurts, especially since “I know that my words carry more weight, and that gives me an added responsibility.” So “On the advice of my
lawyers editors, this is the last column I will post for awhile on this subject.”
Oops, I almost forgot to add: STFU.
UPDATE from others:
His demonization of the military wasn’t demonization but the criticism of his demonization is. Got that.
Arkin is writing again about what has become his favorite topic: Himself.
Intellectually, you’ve brought a dull spoon to a gunfight.
It’s an amazing role reversal when a journalist employed by the Washington Post plays the victim card (despite his best protestations to the contrary) and brays against an angry mob furiously engaged in a “campaign to annihilate me”.
Somewhere, Richard Nixon is chuckling at the new media world.
I’m perfectly willing to accept that left wingers . . . do in fact support and have sympathy for the troops. It’d just be nice if they showed it once in a while by defending our troops against some the vicious attacks launched by their left-wing fellows.
Winds of Change:
Nowhere in the column . . . does he suggest that he may have anything to hear or learn from the people who wrote him.
Not everyone condemns Arkin:
The Command TOC:
I will not allow [the "right wing"] to intimidate me. Even if there is good debate and I am proven wrong, or my ideas change, or I learn something new, I will never back down from the Nazis . . .”
(Which I suppose only buttresses WOC’s point about not hearing or learning.)
Arkin’s response also seems to indicate that the media is more willing to fight a war against the war on terror rather than to call out opponents of the war on apparent hypocrisy.
Free speech is speech that doesn’t offend people you’re afraid of.
NOTE: There are so many comments at the bottom of each of Arkin’s columns that uploading might take a while.