We Support The Troops Who Don’t Complain That We Don’t Support The Mission.

We are a nation at war in a foreign land with troops under fire in an offensive that has just begun, yet the Senate Democrats spent what Democratic senator Joe Lieberman called “The eve of battle” debating whether to pass a symbolic resolution expressing no confidence that we will win. The troops are not happy about that – they do not view it as “support”, and they shouldn’t because it isn’t.

Neither does Senator John McCain. In this short video he expresses his opinion on the “we support the troops but not the mission” meme with eloquence and a hint of anger.

McCain: “Isn’t it true – when you say you support the troops, that you disapprove of what they’re doing and you don’t think their mission is gonna succeed – isn’t it true that maybe SOME of the troops may not view that as an expression of support?…most of them say ‘If you don’t support my mission then you don’t support ME….when I look one of these soldiers or marines in the eye and say ‘I really support you my friend and I know you’re going into harm’s way and I don’t think you’re gonna succeed and I’m against your mission but I support you.’ they don’t BUY it!

Yes, they don’t buy it and that is a problem for the Dems – particularly the far left antiwar fringe. Liberals made much political hay during the Vietnam War by trooping out disgruntled vets like John Kerry to peace carnivals and encouraging them to fling their medals at the leering clown in the White House cage, hoping to hit the target that would send him and the war tumbling into the cold, wet bucket of defeat. They succeeded.

Disgruntled soldiers are in no short supply this time around, except they are not disgruntled at those who sent them to war, so much as those who want them to lose it. They sense – rightly – that the claims of support from the antiwar crowd are disingenuous and patronizing at best.

Case in point: NBC News military analyst William Arkin published two columns in the Washington Post last week excoriating the troops for opposing those who oppose their mission.

The Troops Also Need to Support the American People

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 sure the soldiers were expressing a majority opinion common amongst the ranks – that’s why it is news – and I’m also sure no one in the military leadership or the administration put the soldiers up to expressing their views, nor steered NBC reporter Richard Engel to the story.

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.

The Arrogant and Intolerant Speak Out

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.

This is a classic case of “projection”: an NBC News military analyst who calls American soldiers in a theater of war “Mercenaries” and scolds them for disagreeing with him. He says THEY are arrogant and intolerant and even hopes their commanders take them aside and tell them to shut up. THEY are being contemptuous? Look to the mote in thine own eye, Mr. Arkin.

This Marcusian contempt for free speech is not new to the Left, particularly the far Left. They have long argued in favor of dissent for themselves while working to squash dissent for anybody else. The sixties cry of “No free speech for Fascists” (“Fascists” being, of course anybody who disagrees with their politics) translated into policy in any venue where Liberals were given a measure of control. Conservatives (or even Moderates) know to keep their opinions to themselves in Academia, Hollywood, etc.

It’s very odd – in the past, soldiers caught flack for expressing support of critics of their mission publicly. Now they catch hell for from Liberals for criticizing the critics of their mission. It’s bad enough that our sons and daughters at war have to duck bullets and shrapnel from the enemy in Iraq, do they also have to duck sneers and smears from the media at home?

Shame. Shame on you all. Have you no decency?



  1. Posted February 9, 2007 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    “I’m all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army.”

    Gee, how fucking generous.

    It’s so easy to be a total jerk from the security and safety of a couch in your own home; and when the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your life is to cross the road in busy traffic; and the only significant thing you contribute to your country and the world is casting a vote at an election, or writing a letter to an editor.

    Where do these people come from, and why are there so many of them?

  2. Posted February 9, 2007 at 11:08 pm | Permalink


    It’s just scurrilous. These chickenshit snobs know nothing but attack, attack, attack.

    You knew it was coming: Vietnam vets went through the same deal at the hands of the “peace crowd” when they came home.


  3. Posted February 12, 2007 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Some of us come from the point of view that it’s not only O.K. but a virtue to speak one’s mind…however, I’m all for tact and decency when it comes to addressing our soldiers who are merely doing their jobs and most of them are idealists in the purest sense.

    Nobility and Honor radiate from any person who is willing to raise their hand and swear to lay down their life in service to their nation and people, especially those who put themselves in harm’s way without the real hope of fee or reward, save the occasional medal or median range paycheck…I know of very few soldiers, including myself, who joined the military strictly for the honors or the money…in my case it was a matter of family tradition coupled with the desire to make the world a better place.

    You already know how I feel about the war, but I will defend any person’s right to free speech so long as they aren’t causing an actual, demonstrable harm to our soldiers in the field. Any soldier who has re-enlisted during the current conflict knows how the American public feels…yet they soldier on. That’s actually pretty damned noble and determined if you ask me…

  4. Posted February 12, 2007 at 9:13 pm | Permalink


    The Beast is not sure at whom you are aiming this comment about it being “a virtue to speak one’s mind”: are you complaining about Mr. Arkins’ hope that soldiers who voice frustration with opposition to the war at home would be taken aside by military commanders and have it explained “…why it wasn’t for them to disapprove of the American people.”? Seems to me that Mr. Arkin does not share your enthusiasm for speaking out – at least not for soldiers.

    The Beast has no problem with speaking one’s mind, but The Beast also believes when you say stupid, arrogant and hurtful things it’s okay for others to speak their minds and object. Certainly Mr. Arkin has every right to say what he wishes (and he has), but that right does not insulate him from the criticism or consequences which proceed naturally from his exercize thereof.

    Therefore your noble sentiment “I will defend any person’s right to free speech” is most appropriately aimed at the soldiers, rather than Mr. Arkin. Unless, of course you are trying to equate critcism of a free speech with a call to censorship of it, which would be a bit of a red herring in this Beast’s opinion.

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