Thursday, February 01, 2007

William Arkin is an idiot.

Via Charles, I found two of the most idiotic, hate-filled, leftist, whiney articles I've ever seen. They were written by William Arkin from WAPO.

Below, I’ve directly contradicted Arkin's article on many key points and demonstrated why he is an idiot and why people dislike him.

Mr. Arkin, don’t take it personally. I’m sure you are swell guy. But even nice people that are highly educated can be idiots. Mostly, it appears you lack the ability to think critically. You tow a liberal party line without truly understanding the platitudes and weak ad-hominem attacks you throw out so easily.

I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. (“even those…” That quote is pretty arrogant –you are graciously allowing these lesser beings to express opinions. Either you are an idiot with a journalism job or you are just an idiot.)

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. (Wow, this is incredibly arrogant. The troops should be grateful that we support them? So, not only do they endure hardships, risk their lives, leave their families and jobs and often come home limbless or in a body bag, now they have to be grateful to US? QED, but I’ll continue, just to clarify your idiocy.)

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. (Again, wow. This is such an idiotic statement that I almost feel sorry for you. So, the American public simply accepted that there were some bad apples. You state that as if there is some doubt. Also, how, exactly, are we “indulging” the soldiers? I seem to recall some pretty stiff punishments being handed out for all of these incidents.)

Sure, it is the junior enlisted men who go to jail. But even at anti-war protests, the focus is firmly on the White House and the policy. We don't see very many "baby killer" epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon. (Well, this is just a bald-faced lie. The troops are being spit at and there are “baby killer” epithets being thrown at them. You can see this for yourself at the Code Pink demonstrations outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center or the many funerals disrupted by that crazy religious group. Apparently, you didn’t do any level of research to back up these claims. Again, you’re an idiot.)

So, we pay the soldiers a decent wage (False. Look at the pay tables and calculate poverty levels – many soldiers live below the poverty line and many even get food stamps. Lack of research makes you an idiot.), take care of their families (False. Soldiers get a little extra pay for each dependent, but not enough to actually support that person. I’d hardly call this taking care of them. They also get nothing in the way of special privilege or additional support while their spouse/parent is deployed.), provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems (False. Please, give me an example of a “vast social support system” that we provide military members or their families.) and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them (What? A little proof would be good. You’re a big web poster guy, so give me a link or two), we support them in every possible way (The “we” would include you, so please, tell me exactly what you have done to support the troops. I send care packages twice per month via Soldier’s Angels.), 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? (Again, QED. How did you come up with this inference based upon the soldiers you quoted? The general theme of every statement above is that FEEL like they aren’t being supported because some citizens don’t support what they are doing. Only an idiot would miscomprehend those statements in this way.)

I can imagine some post-9/11 moment, when the American people say enough already with the wars against terrorism and those in the national security establishment feel these same frustrations. In my little parable, those in leadership positions shake their heads that the people don't get it, that they don't understand that the threat from terrorism, while difficult to defeat, demands commitment and sacrifice and is very real because it is so shadowy, that the very survival of the United States is at stake. Those Hoovers and Nixons will use these kids in uniform as their soldiers. If it weren't about the United States, I'd say the story would end with a military coup where those in the know, and those with fire in their bellies, would save the nation from the people. (This is the strangest fantasy that I’ve ever read. Even the “Hoovers and Nixons” reference is off-base. What about Kennedy – the man who got us into Vietnam? What about Johnson – the man who escalated Vietnam? Nixon may have been a crook, but he’s actually the person that got us OUT of Vietnam. But, I can’t expect a proven idiot to understand history.)

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. (“Mercenary – noun – a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army, any hireling.” Actually, since you are just an idiot hireling (hireling – noun – a person who works only for pay, especially in a menial or boring job, with little or no concern for the value of the work – you certainly fit that definition – you can’t be expected to understand the definition of “mercenary.”)

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. (Ahh, here’s the problem, no one “believes.” Yes, you shouldn’t give people that are smarter than you any real facts, just provide them with platitudes and opinions so you can get them to “believe” rather than know. Only an idiot would do that, since the American public is smarter than you give them credit for.)

(This entire article gives the impression of a man who was somehow wronged by the military and is bitter about it. It takes the most restrained comments of a few soldiers and extrapolates it to the entire military and disingenuously tears them apart over it. The concept of the article itself is idiotic. America shouldn’t ponder what we owe the soldiers. It is quite obvious. They risk their lives for us every single day. They are willing to put their lives on the line and you want us to ponder what it is we owe them. QED – you, sir, are an idiot.)

(I think today’s article as a whole proves that you are an idiot. You wrote a hate-filled, anti-military article and now you are surprised to get a vitriolic response. Only an idiot wouldn’t have seen that coming. QED)

(But, I still want to address a few points in the article.)

Well, one thing's abundantly clear about who will actually defend our rights to say what we believe: It isn't the hundreds who have written me saying they are soldiers or veterans or war supporters or real Americans -- who also advise me to move to another country, to get f@##d, or to die a painful, violent death. (Wrong. They might not defend your right to say what you believe, but I’m confident they’ll defend mine. Since I am part of the “our” that you mention, this statement is a lie. Only and idiot would write a lie this obvious. I’m also confident that many people that wrote you a nasty-gram would still defend your right of free speech.)

Contrary to the typically inaccurate and overstated assertion in dozens of blogs, hundreds of comments, and thousands of e-mails I've received, I've never written that soldiers should "shut up," quit whining, be spit upon, or that they have no right to an opinion. (More idiocy. You are trying to take a literal view of the non-literal but accurate framing of the idiotic arguments you made in the previous column. “Shut-up and quit whining” is a fair interpretation of the article. Your failure to understand that demonstrates your idiocy.)

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. (Apparently, you have no ability to gauge a fair interpretation of the article. While this indeed is a fair characterization of the text, it is not an adequate characterization of the tone. The tone was clearly, “shut-up and quit whining.”)

I was dead wrong in using the word mercenary to describe the American soldier today.

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.
(“Far too many” is a very inexact term. How many is that? Give me a number, please. A more appropriate phrase would have been something like “I got 55 e-mails, which for me is far too many.” Inexactitude is a hallmark sign of idiocy. QED)

I never said we shouldn't support the troops. I just lamented that "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?" (Again, this is a fair interpretation of the text, but not the tone. You did say “America needs to ponder what it is we really owe those in uniform.” That strongly implies that we should either reduce or eliminate the support. Accusing you of advocating not supporting the troops is a fair interpretation. Not understanding the implications of what you write is yet another hallmark sign of idiocy – QED.)

I can't respond to everyone individually - keep the cards and letters coming though, I do read them - but I'll try to tease out of the comments some themes that confirm in my mind the difficult state that this impossible war has put us. (This serves as an example of why the negative interpretations of your writing are fair. The reader is expected to understand the implied meaning of “the difficult state” but not take implications from other inexact and nebulous statements. Again, inexactitude is akin to idiocy – QED.)

But these are not the only people who have a valid opinion, and there is great danger for the nation - as Bush-Cheney and company have already demonstrated - when people arrogate to themselves the sole determinant to make a judgment about national security. (There is great danger for the nation when people arrogate to themselves the sole determinant to make a judgment about national security. This is an amazingly idiotic argument. President Bush and Vice President Cheney were fairly elected and are responsible for national security. No one is arrogating responsibility for national security, we asked them to do it. I can easily presume that either you don’t understand the meaning of “arrogate” or you don’t understand federal elections. Either presumption demonstrates your idiocy – QED.)

Given that I spent so much of my time in this column every week railing about Washington myself, the dismissal is hilarious. But there is such contempt for civil society in these words and I wonder where it comes from? (This wonderment in the face of obvious evidence is also a hallmark sign of idiocy. There is no contempt for civil society, there is contempt for you. Also, you don’t spend your time railing against Washington. You are generally complimentary towards liberal people and ideals and usually rail against republican people and ideals.)

But this unanimity of thought and this absolute allegiance to a hierarchy of ideas is and should be foreign in the civilian world. (It seems that once again, you are out of your depth and into idiocy. The concepts you identify could be adequately used to describe large corporations or political parties or even sports teams. The concept is not foreign; your understanding of it is foreign – which points to idiocy.)

I hesitate to describe the military "attitude" about the world, or to even apply some negative connotation to the assertion that the military, from the Pentagon on down to the lowest platoon assumes a singular worldview.

Bush and company, and the Abizaid's, Casey's, and Petraeus's have had years to make their case to the American people that the threat is so great and the mission so noble that the sacrifice is worth it. They clearly have failed to make their case and that is why the majority of Americans no longer support the war.
(For the life of me, I don’t understand how this point relates back to people being angry at you for advocating a decrease in the level of support given to the troops. This simply demonstrates how bewildered you are by the very idea that someone wouldn’t like you and/or your writing. Frankly, your writing leaves much to be desired – mostly because you are an idiot.)

The notion then that we should defer to the military to fight when and how and where they want is absurd. As the debate about the Iraq war demonstrates, war-making is a shared endeavor and the arrogant and intolerant few who think they are above the people seem to be those who are wearing the uniform. (This statement demonstrates your ignorance and idiocy and is a strong indicator of why people just don’t like you. You are not sharing in any endeavor with regard to the war. You are sniping from the sidelines. You aren’t clearly stating the arguments on both sides, providing thoughtful analysis and reaching fact based conclusions. You are stating that despite all that they do for us, the troops should be grateful that we support them. THAT is the absurd notion, you are an absurd writer and you are a complete idiot – QED.)

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