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February 06, 2007

Bill Arkin: Still A Douche

Why, oh why, did FoxNews send someone sounding even whinier than Arkin to ambush-interview him?

Arkin writes a new column, in which he whines about how "painful" all this has been for him, and also says his editors have, err, suggested he write on this issue no further. But he also says he still has the "impulse" to respond to criticism of him, so I imagine it'll be fairly easy to bait him into getting fired.

Notice how callous he is about maligning others, but when fire is returned on him, he writes thousand-plus-word columns about how put-upon he is and how "painful" the attacks are. And, of course, how evil and partisan those making the attacks are.

As they say: A gallon of irony spilled, but not a drop splashed on him.

Demonization and Responsibility


The many e-mails I've gotten privately from people serving in the military are, not surprisingly, the most respectful and reflective. Some correspondents are downright indignant, some are sarcastic, and most are hurt by the "mercenary" epithet and my commentary. But they are philosophical about their service and where we are in the war and the country today.

The torrents of other mail -- biting, fanatical, threatening -- represent the worst of polarized and hate-filled America. I'm not complaining about being criticized or being made the latest punching bag for those who subsist off of high-volume conquest. Nor am I apologizing for addressing, however imperfectly, the questions I did last week, nor for being critical of the military.

Instead, I'm trying to make sense of the worldview of those who have responded. For the critics, I have become the enemy and have been demonized. In that process, I have ceased being a person, an individual, or a human being, all essential to justify the campaign to annihilate me. I'm not trying to offer myself up as victim here, nor do I expect the critics to change their view. I'm merely pointing out the process and the implications of the dehumanization.

This from the guy who accused soldiers of being "mercenaries" and also suggested they harbor desires to conduct a coup against the civilian-run government and rule by military junta.

Gosh, Arkin's critics are so "polarized" and "hate-filled," aren't they?


Note: On the advice of my editors, this is the last column I will post for awhile on this subject. My impulse would be to continue to fight back and answer the critics, but I see the wisdom in their observation that nothing new is being said here and the Internet frenzy is adding nothing to the debate or our understanding of our world. I also see that I cannot continue to write about humanity and difficult questions if indeed what I wish is to vanquish those who attack me.

A blog is a deeply personal endeavor and for that reason, the writing and the comments in response veer towards the hyper-personalized. I need to say to my readers, though, that I write an opinion column. It is my voice, one that is often sarcastic and one that solely reflects my 30 years of experience in the field. I strive to see an angle in an event that is different. Because I try to be ahead of the curve, and not just reflect conventional wisdom, the observations are often uncooked, and often even wrong. I feel successful when I've tapped into something, and I guess the recent postings have been a success in that regard, even though they have become painful for me and others.

Shorter Arkin: Poor put-upon me.

It's easy enough to "tap into something" by hatefully maligning a large group of people. He thinks he's really knocked one out of the park here, doesn't he?

Demonizing = using one's words and one's true beliefs as a basis of fair critique.

Leftist Dogma 101: It's "free speech" when you attack others. It's a vile, intimidating hate-crime when others attack you for your owhn attack.

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posted by Ace at 04:08 PM

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