The Washington Post’s William Arkin has now posted this “Note to My Readers on Supporting the Troops.” Unlike Arkin’s first response to his critics, which was online only briefly before being removed, this one shows unmistakable signs that the Post’s editors have now caught up with Arkin, and had heavy involvement–to say the least–in drafting this sort-of-apology.
As apologies go, it is innovative in one respect. We are all used to seeing pseudo-apologies by people who express their regret to “anyone who misunderstood (or misinterpreted) my words.” Arkin reverses that formula:
Mercenary, of course, is an insult and pejorative, and it does not accurately describe the condition of the American soldier today. I sincerely apologize to anyone in the military who took my words literally.
Which means, what? Relax, guys, it was only a metaphor? Beats me.
There isn’t much else worth commenting on. This seems to be the key paragraph:
I also reiterate my core point, which is that military attitudes should not serve as a censor of the civilian debate at home, either literally or through intimidation.
Which is, of course, a straw man. Arkin cites no one who has ever proposed that military attitudes should “censor…the civilian debate at home;” certainly the soldiers quoted by NBC, whose inoffensive statements set Arkin off on his original rant, didn’t do so. One more time, Bill: pointing out that things you write are wrong and employ bad arguments isn’t the same as trying to “censor” you.
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