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More On Arkin

(who is back blogging, by the way)

Howie Kurtz
reports on Washington Post blogger William Arkin’s interesting few weeks, which began with this quote:

    …an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary — oops sorry, volunteer — force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.

Arkin has apologized for using the word “mercenary” and Jim Brady has his back:

    Jim Brady, executive editor of, says the use of the word “mercenary” “was a mistake. It made it through the editing process, which is unfortunate. We certainly apologize for using it on the site. . . . I know it offended a lot of people, but I don’t think it’s something he should be fired for.”

Howie has some tough words for Arkin:

    This is an entirely self-inflicted wound. The word “mercenary” is clearly insulting to the young men and women who risk their lives in war zones. Whatever larger point Arkin was trying to make was obliterated by his own rhetorical ammunition.

Deb Howell also weighs in here.

    Arkin’s column did not meet Post standards, but then, newspaper editing isn’t perfect, either. But “mercenary” surely is live ammo; such an incendiary word should have popped out in flames to Post editors.

For his part, Arkin found much, but not all, of the feedback to be a bit much:

    The number of death threats and over-the-top vile crap is a little bit daunting.

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