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.
I wonder if the troops who have been quoted complaining about the lack of armor and equipment have also been "disapproving of the American people". Nevertheless, apparently soldiers need to learn their place, especially after all we do for 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.
"Respect"? You mean as in "study, work hard, or you might get stuck in Iraq"? Too much of the "support" in some quarters is along the lines of "Of course we support you, since you're too dim-witted to support yourself. We'll get you out of Iraq, since you're unable to get yourselves out."
How about this for "respect"?
So, 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?
And then there's the "we respect you but" clauses:
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.
"Accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples..." Oh, yes. Accepting, as if you have to stop and think about it, and talk yourself out of thinking it's somehow endemic to the military. It's not like they're patriots or anything.
...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.
OK. "Mercenaries", whom we've indulged "through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder" with "obscene amenities" need to learn their place, stop lording it over real people, sit down and shut up.
If this is what "support" looks like, I'm glad William M. Arkin doesn't "oppose" the troops.