Those opposed to the Iraq war demean those who serve in the military. They are continually characterized as losers who could not find a real job so they go into the service.
This is especially true of the liberal mainstream media.
New York Times journalist Chris Hedges described, while speaking at a college commencement in 2003, the soldiers he met in Iraq "as boys from places such as Mississippi and Arkansas who joined the military because there were no job opportunities."
A 2004 Newsweek magazine article about Pat Tillman, claimed, "American troops tend to be working-class or poor, disproportionately black, brown, or rural ..." When I called the editor to ask for the source of this assertion, he could not furnish one.
That same edition of Newsweek featured liberal journalist Anna Quindlen mentioning a chant by an anti-capitalist, antiwar, protest group called the Radical Teen Cheerleaders. The chant was, "Hey Bush/Who fights your war/Just minorities and the poor."
Peter Beinart editor of the left-wing magazine, The New Republic, followed this template in a 2004 piece he wrote about the military. "This week, the papers were filled with the heartbreaking story of Pat Tillman ... .Tillman's story is so moving in part because it is so anomalous. ...the gulf between the military and the rest of American society is wider than it has been for generations," Beinart asserted.
Bill Maher remarked during his HBO show in 2005 that the military recruits the dregs of society.
However, the paradigm of how liberals - especially liberal journalists - feel about those in the military was exhibited by William Arkin. He is a "military analyst" for NBC. He also writes a blog for The Washington Post. It was his blog that revealed the true feelings of liberals about the military. Arkin wrote, "I've been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq ... in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war (sic) in the United States. I'm sure the soldiers were expressing a majority opinion common amongst the ranks ... I'm also sure no one in the military leadership or the administration put the soldiers up to expressing their views... . 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. (emphasis added)
(Before continuing to quote from Arkin, it is worth noting that Arkin does not want troops to express their opinion in favor of the war, yet leftists like Arkin want those who support the war to be one of the troops.)
Arkin was just warming up. He wrote, "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..." (Emphasis added)
Yes, according to William Arkin, Washington Post journalist and NBC "military analyst," the soldiers should be grateful to us - not we grateful to them. Such is the Alice in Wonderland world of the liberal mainstream media. You see, according to Arkin, "the American public has indulged those in uniform ... . We don't see very many "baby killer" epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon ..." One can presume then that Arkin believes American troops should be grateful that no one is calling them a baby killer or spitting on them. (This is not true by the way; a wounded Iraq veteran, Joshua Sparling, an amputee, was spat upon at the recent antiwar rally. Other Iraq veterans have also reported similar treatment. So what Arkin lacks in attitude, he more than lacks in his journalistic skills.)
Arkin's diatribe continues, "... 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 ..." Not content with invective, Arkin then does what liberals always do, engage the ad hominem, the personal insult. He writes, "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 ..."
He then resorts to the liberal cliché that troops are stupid. Arkin wrote, "I'll accept that the soldiers ... have to believe that they are manning the parapet ... . I'll accept ... that they are young and naïve and are frustrated with their own lack of progress ... . Cut off from society and constantly told that everyone supports them, no wonder the debate back home confuses them." Cut off from society? Once again, not only does Arkin display his bigotry in this piece, he also displays his ignorance and poor journalism. I have communicated in realtime with troops in Iraq. They get realtime news from the Armed Forces Network, CNN and Fox.
Arkin ends his rant by concluding, "America needs to ponder what it is we really owe those in uniform."
This is the liberal mainstream media, ladies and gentlemen. This article by William Arkin - and his status as a blogger with The Washington Post and as a "military analyst" for NBC News - should tell you all you need to know about the reportage by the mainstream liberal media of the Iraq war. Their reportage is biased, it is firmly in the camp of the antiwar groups, and worst of all, it is packaged as if it is impartial. The liberal mainstream media have an innate hatred and contempt for those in the military. Remember this when you read or hear the next news from Iraq.
Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of A?Sense of Duty, available at Amazon.com