In compliance with the Fairness Doctrine and other proposed federal rules aimed at balancing online media opinions, I am introducing Iowahawk's new "Equal Time" feature. From time to time, I will be opening these pages to those with opposing viewpoints, where we will be debating the various top issues of the day. Please welcome today's guest dissenter, retired US Marine Corps LTC Mike Williams, as we debate today's Equal Time question: "Should Washington Post Military Analyst William Arkin Be Beaten Like the Repulsive Sack of Shit He Is?"
The Iowahawk View
Washington Post Military Affairs correspondent William Arkin recently stirred controversy with a blog post that termed active duty soldiers "mercenaries" who are "indulged" and given "obscene amenities" who should be "explained... why it isn't up to them to disapprove" of anti-war opinions. After the initial dustup, Arkin responded to critics by calling them "arrogant and intolerant," and after time for reflection, termed soldiers "worse" than mercenaries, and secretly harboring desires for a military coup.
Some policy analysts have proposed that in response, Arkin should be beaten for being the repulsive sack of shit he is. We at Iowahawk strongly disagree, and for a number of compelling reasons. First, unlike his critics, Mr. Arkin is a civilian and professional journalist, and as such is uniquely entitled to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. Secondly, Arkin's subsequent hospitalization would impose an economic hardship on the already financially-strapped Washington Post, as well as his other employers at Greenpeace, the Institute for Policy Studies, Human Rights Watch, NRDC, Vanguard of the Proletariat Ski Shop, and Jaamat al-Islaam. Third, the only benefit his beaters would receive is a temporary cathartic sense of satisfaction, which must be weighed againt the potential risk of skinned knuckles and boot stains.
In short, beating William Arkin like the repulsive sack of shit he is would not only be illegal, anti-business and messy, it would potentially bolster his point about intolerance.
Rebuttal: LTC (Ret.) Mike Williams
Iowahawk's "case" is so weak and misguided, on so many levels, that I scarcely know where to begin. So let's take it point-by-point: First, vigorous public beatings of repulsive shit sacks are not necessarily at odds with the First Amendment, as long as no taxpayer dollars are involved. I agree that all due effort should be taken to insure that any beatings Mr. Arkin receives are only by private sector individuals, using privately-supplied tire irons. Further, any inconvenience Mr. Arkin experiences would be temporary, and he would be free to return to writing his column after recuperation and reconstructive dental surgery.
Turning to Iowahawk's second point: while it is true that the Washington Post, Greenpeace, et al., would be temporarily be deprived of Mr. Arkin's services during the immediate post-beating period, they should have factored this risk when they hired him. We, as a nation, should not be subsidizing the foolish decisions of multinational corporations. Finally, while it is true that potential beaters should first conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis, it appears that Iowahawk has wildly underestimated the value of the satisfaction that would accrue from such a beating.
That said, beaters aren't the only ones who should weigh the costs and benefits of their actions. Like the KKK member who walks through Compton in a hood screaming the "n-word," Mr. Arkin shouldn't be surprised when he gets a Timberland facial in return.
To summarize, on the issue of Arkin-beating, Iowahawk is simply "all wet."
There you go again, Mike! Frankly, I just can't sit here and let your last statement slip by. Of course a Klansman screaming the n-word in the middle of Compton should expect to get a righteous curb-stomp, as noted in the Courts' "Fighting Words" Doctrine. But that's where your analogy breaks down. How could Mr. Arkin have foreseen his Constitutionally-protected words would have prompted any anger or outrage? Yes, they were targeted at US military personnel, but they were meant only for the private consumption of urbane Washington Post readers. Mr. Arkin likely had no idea that they would ever be read by combat hoi-polloi, as he clearly believes them to be illiterate hillbilly fundamentalists. And, even if Mr. Arkin knew his remarks were potentially provocative, he should still be entitled to a presumption of "safe distance" because they were targeted at soldiers in Iraq, a cozy 10,000 miles away from his home in South Pomfret, Vermont.
Let's face it, Mike, your comparison of Arkin's writings to "Fighting Words" hate speech is weak and facetious. Rather than screaming the n-word in downtown Compton, Arkin was simply screaming the n-word within the presumed allegorical safety of a private Klan rally. Beating him to a bloody, toothless pulp would only make him a martyr among the other Klansman, limit our access to important national defense secrets, and hurt subscriptions to the Washington Kleagle. I mean Post.
In conclusion, Iowahawk roundly condemns such unproductive violence against the sack-of-shit community. But as guest, I'm giving you the last word.
Final Word: LTC (Ret.) Mike Williams
Well, Iowahawk, you raise some good points, but I'm afraid we will just have to agree to disagree. I know that many have offered watered-down compromise solutions such as swirlies, purple nurples, or keying Mr. Arkin's car, but it's far too early to dismiss a good old-fashioned ass kicking.
That said, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to voice my opposing viewpoint on this important topic. I may not agree with your opinion not to beat this sack of shit, but I will defend your right not to beat him.