Writer William Arkin is taking a lot of heat about an article he wrote questioning soldiers' frustration to the growing opposition to the Iraq war. The article, which appeared in the Washington Post, has generated an impressive outcry, most of which borders on the fanatical and it's not hard to see why. Calling soldiers "mercenaries" and insinuating selfish motives probably isn't the way to have this debate. And so, unfortunately, it has become microcosm of the debate itself and how often reasoned arguments receive little attention.
But the overall point of his article is that we should press on with the Iraq war debate, regardless of how it affects the soldiers. This is, obviously, a hard position, but one that I agree with. Further, I think it is in everyone's best interest, including the soldiers, that we have this debate.
After 9/11 I quit my job and joined the Air Force. I viewed the terrorist attacks as nothing less than a modern day Pearl Harbor and I wanted to do what ever my government needed me to do. I did not sign up to be a hero. I did not sign up to win any popularity contests. Even today I rarely openly talk about my service because I didn't do it for recognition, I did it to help. It was the least I could do for everything my country has done for me.
Military personnel are entitled to their opinion, but only to a point. You can't actively protest or become involved with one particular movement or another, because you are essentially a public servant. You are paid by the taxpayers to do what you signed up to do--defend the Constitution. And so, along those lines, I believe Mr. Arkin makes a valid point in that men and women of the military are in service. That comes before being served.
I fully understand the frustrations they express. Being in the military is a special honor. It is an organization I am extremely proud to have served in. Everyone I served with I regard as a brother or a sister. There is a certain bond that is formed from surviving boot camp, to being part of the military machine. And, honestly, it seems a little insulting when someone wants to question your service.
But very few people are questioning the military. If I had to guess I would say opinion of the military is probably higher than ever. It is the leadership, the Bush administration, many people are taking exception with. And they should take exception with it. Their conduct in this war has been dismal, unlike anything we have ever seen before. It is tyranical to suggest that Americans keep their mouths shut simply because we have soldiers in the field. Wouldn't that then become an automatic trump card for any President? Or, perhaps, has it not already?
If there was more vocal opposition to the use of troops, maybe we wouldn't use them so indiscriminately. But that is how great their service is: they just want to serve. They don't ask how or why, theirs is to do or die, literally. Such sacrifice is both breathtaking and sobering. It demands proper oversight and proper debate.
Tracposted to: Blog-o-Fascists, Riehl World View, Captain's Quarters, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, Is It Just Me?, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, Shadowscope, Cao's Blog, The Bullwinkle Blog, The Amboy Times, Phastidio.net, Conservative Cat, Sujet- Celebrities, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Right Celebrity, The HILL Chronicles, Woman Honor Thyself, stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, and The Pink Flamingo, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.