Information Warfare: We Support the Stupid Mercenaries


May 2, 2007: Yet another example of a media celebrity letting their true feeling about the troops slip out. In this case, it is "The View" guest co-host Ricki Lake (best known for a trashy talk show), who used the word "ineducation" to describe why young Americans join the military. This was in response to a question from co-host Rosie O'Donnell as to why they enlist. An attempt to challenge that by co-host Elizabeth Hasselback was slapped down by O'Donnell, who went on to claim that felons were being allowed to enlist. This is not the first time that such insults have been fired off, but it does show the contempt that is held for the troops in at least some quarters of the anti-war movement.

This is not the first time such comments have been made by opponents of the Iraqi component campaign of the war on terror. In February, NBC commentator William Arkin, criticized American soldiers who defended their efforts in the war on terror. Arkin also had expressed his hope the troops who made the comments had been counseled. Arkin also raised the specter of a military coup, and then referred to them as mercenaries.

In November, 2006, Senator John Kerry made comments concerning an alleged lack of intelligence among the troops and the notion that many of the recruits are poor. Like Kerry's comments, which killed his 2008 presidential bid, Rosie O'Donnell's comments also have little, if any, basis in truth. Every year since 1983, over 90 percent of all recruits have at least a high school diploma. Many officers and enlisted personnel tend to get college degrees (both graduate and undergraduate), often paid for by the armed services. The claim that most of the recruits are poor also did not stand up to facts. Most of the recruits come from middle-class families. These recruits also score high on the AVSAB tests (two-thirds of recruits score over 60 percent on the test), another indication that they are not stupid. Also, felonies are a bar to enlistment.

The comments from Ricki Lake, Rosie O'Donnell, and John Kerry are not the worst things that have been said about the troops. Some scurrilous and very incendiary charges came from Seymour Hersh, a journalist who broke various stories in the Vietnam War. Hersh openly called for American troops to be treated as they were when they returned from Vietnam. Hersh claimed that the American forces in Iraq were carrying out atrocities. In one instance, he claimed a video of a massacre at a soccer game in the wake of an IED attack existed. Yet Hersh made this claim at a lecture at McGill University in Canada. He apparently had not heard of the Army's Criminal Investigative Division and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (the latter of which is the subject of a popular prime-time TV series).

In a very real sense, there is only so much hypocrisy that the anti-war movement will be able to get away with. It certainly is fair to ask the anti-war movement how they reconcile their belief that they support the troops, when they express almost implacable opposition to what the troops are doing. These claims of support become harder to buy when they come right after the person making them has called the troops stupid on national TV. - Harold C. Hutchison ([email protected])




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