On January 4, William Arkin, an investigative reporter with a storied career working the national security beat, resigned from NBC with a denunciation of the media and the failures of the national security establishment that under President Donald Trump “is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism.”
The resignation email expressed Arkin’s frustration over the media’s “mechanical” complicity in suborning “our new kind of wars” which are seemingly permanent, increasingly expansive, and utterly lacking in measures of tangible success.
“To me there is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested. Despite being at “war,” no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the Petraeus’ and Wes Clarks’, or the so-called warrior monks like Mattis and McMaster, we’ve had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence. And yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as “analysts”. We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.”
Major news organizations have effectively given these commanders and ‘analysts’ an unassailable platform as public intellectuals, which is a role well beyond what their narrow professional expertise warrants.