Information Warfare: Bashing Baby Killers


February2, 2007: A report on NBC Nightly News has touched off a bit of controversy in the blogosphere. In the initial NBC report, several troops expressed their frustration about opponents of the efforts in Iraq who claim to support the troops, but don't support the mission. One media response to this came from William Arkin, who decried the troops' comments, hoped they had been counseled, raised the specter of a military coup, and then referred to them as mercenaries. The response to the Arkin comments in the milblogging community has been fierce, with big blogs like OPFOR, Blackfive, and others returning fire.

Arkin's comments are just the latest shot taken at the volunteer army by the anti-war movement. This past November, Senator John Kerry got into trouble by implying a 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, Arkin's comments also have little, if any, basis in truth. Arkin's comments also managed to deliver other insults as well, including cheap shots centered around Abu Ghraib and Haditha, implying both were typical of the conduct of American troops in Iraq. It seems that Arkin echoed the claims of Seymour Hersh from October of last year. In a speech at a Canadian university, Hersh claimed that the American forces in Iraq were routinely carrying out atrocities.

The attack on the troops was also factually-challenged in one other aspect. In the post, Arkin also claimed that nobody had been spitting on troops and calling them baby killers. Apparently he did not hear of the incident involving Joshua Sparling during the protests in late January. At least one anti-war protestor spat at the Iraq veteran, who had lost a leg while over there. There have been other incidents reported by the blogosphere where veterans have been called baby killers as well. This was all about statements like those made by t Hersh in his speech last October. That said, much of this disrespect has not been covered in the mainstream media. Nor were Hersh's comments, for that matter.

In a very real sense, there is only so much hypocrisy that the anti-war movement would be able to get away with. Eventually, they were going to be told they could not have it both ways. Their claims of supporting the troops are now being challenged by the troops themselves, some of whom pointed out that the support seems to be half-hearted at best. It certainly is fair to ask the anti-war movement how they reconcile their belief that they support the troops with their opposition to what they are doing.

Ultimately, Arkin's comments are just the latest instance of the anti-war movement's mask slipping. Like the comments from John Kerry and Seymour Hersh, they reveal how the anti-war movement really feels about the troops. The truth is that the anti-war movement is not really that supportive of the troops. Arkin, like Kerry and Hersh, just happened to be honest about his feelings. – Harold C. Hutchison (


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