The Arkin-inspired brouhaha continues...
For me, the initial fury has subsided to the quieter sadness and fear. James Lileks about covers it when he writes that he read Arkin with a "heavy heart."
Others' responses have certainly been more hyperbolic.
But in those replies, the hyperbole itself tells us something: the anger and fury of those Arkin has maligned is real and deep. Arkin stood up and "said" what so many of these guys have heard among their local acquaintances and fear was expected ideology among a segment of the "elite." But now it's been said in a national media organ, by a member of the "intelligensia." The soldiers and veterans finally have a big and visible target for what they have wanted to say for so long.
I'm beginning to suspect that the anti-military values of the 60's generation never really went away; they just went underground for awhile. And when the Democrats won after having run on nothing, all the factions of the Party were free to fill in the blanks, and so the anti-troop wing read their pet ideas into the Democrats' win. Erroneously believing it was "anti-war" that powered the Dem win, they think they're now safe to spout their ignorance, hatred, and paucity of soul.
I think they may have overestimated the support they'll find, but
there are a few things that worry me: not enough Americans actually have regular interaction with today's military, interaction that would put the lie to the anti-military message they're going to increasingly receive; and far to many people are unquestioning receivers of the inaccuracy and bias that is now a vast majority of printed and electronic news media.
What to do? I don't know. Matt at Blackfive recently wrote a bit that was inspired by Uncle J's beatdown of Arkin. He laid things out in ways we usually don't see on the blog. He's not just speaking to the regulars; he's got the whole milblogosphere in mind, I think:
Hang on to your hats, Ladies. It's going to get A LOT rougher before it gets better. There's chatter from some bloggers willing to give up because it's too intense. Not us, we're in this fight for the men and women fighting for the rights of those POSs to spew their uber-tripe (besides, Jimbo has fun with this stuff - especially, when he's off his meds).
There's a lot that all of us here are working on. Details to follow.
For those who want to belittle milbloggers and their impact: he's not just talking about keyboard commandos sitting and writing on their blogs; that's not enough to counteract what we fear is the coming wave of soldier mistreatment. And to say "it's too intense" isn't some play on words as if this were a battlefield firefight. The "intensity" is because the hateful words heading their direction are real and they are painful. I know too many people whose hearts are heavy, for whom this isn't an intellectual exercise... people who believe the country is nearing a crossroads in terms of national security and patriotic values.
And don't underestimate the passion that will motivate the older veterans. I've seen it this last year as I've attended troop support events/activities. The tender and protective love of the Vietnam-era veterans toward their younger brothers is obvious in the most simple words and actions up through things like the Patriot Guard Riders; the fire runs soul-deep and the commitment is unshakable. When they say "never again," they mean it. These last two days I've had this vision of older men climbing the interior walls of their homes with fire in their bellies and blood on their minds. Most are far too disciplined to wreak physical havoc on the scumbags that are popping up, but that passion will fire whatever course of legal action is open to them.
Hang onto your hats. And speak up when this kind of ignorance and hatefulness pops up in your circle of influence.
And to end this on a brighter note... That potential Valour-IT donor I wrote about about awhile back is definitely serious and is making noises about a level of donation that would fund an endowment for Valour-IT. Keep me and the Soldiers' Angels leadership in your prayers. If this goes right, Valour-IT will become a fixture for as long as it is needed.