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Tilting at Windmills

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July 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SCOTT THOMAS....Have you been following the Scott Thomas story? He's a pseudonymous soldier in Iraq who wrote a couple of columns for TNR describing the ways in which war robs us of our humanity. One soldier dug up a skull and wore it on his head. Another one amused himself by running over dogs in his Bradley. Thomas himself mocked a woman who had been disfigured by an IED.

Conservative sites went crazy. Thomas didn't really exist. His stories were made up. The left hates the troops. Etc. etc.

The whole thing has been kind of weird. Needless to say, Thomas does exist (he went public this morning on TNR's blog) and so far nobody has any evidence that he's made anything up. What's more, his point is, if anything, so common as to be almost banal. So why the hysteria? I guess Andrew Sullivan has the best take on it:

Mainly, it seems to me, the conservative blogosphere has taken such an almighty empirical beating this last year that they have an overwhelming psychic need to lash out at those still clinging to sanity on the war. This Scott Thomas story is a godsend for these people, a beautiful distraction from the reality they refuse to face.

It combines all the usual Weimar themes out there: treasonous MSM journalists, treasonous soldiers, stories of atrocities that undermine morale (regardless of whether they're true or not), and blanket ideological denial. We have to understand that some people still do not believe that the U.S. is torturing or has tortured detainees, still do not believe that torture or murder or rape occurred at Abu Ghraib, still believe that everyone at Gitmo is a dangerous terrorist captured by US forces, and still believe we're winning in Iraq.

Like a Kabuki story, though, you can already see how this is going to play out. Not only will Thomas's character be dragged savagely through the mud (Michelle Malkin is leading the charge over at her site), but eventually some small part of Thomas's account will turn out to be slightly exaggerated and the right will erupt in righteous fervor. They were right all along! Thomas did make up his stories! The left does hate the troops! The war is going swimmingly! At least, it would be if the MSM weren't undermining it at every turn.

Etc. etc. It's almost like we don't even have to bother with real life anymore.

Kevin Drum 5:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (217)

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Comments

Why the endless attacks against Kabuki theatre?

Posted by: ~~~~ on July 26, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how the chickenhawks will be able to prove diddly. Unlike typewriter kerning, they aint gonna get ready made evidence from Karl, and they would have to actually (gulp), go to Iraq to find out.

Being chickenhawks and all, that is out of the question.

Look for Mr Scott Thomas to get assigned lead humvee on the next patrol up IED blvd. however.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on July 26, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

[deleted]

Posted by: Al on July 26, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

war robs us of our humanity

While "Scott Thomas's" writings are valuable, this basic insight is hardly new. Many combat veterans of various wars have described this. For example, in Studs Terkel's excellent book The "Good" War (the word "good" is in quotes in the title), one fellow who fought in the Pacific in WWII describes casually flipping pebbles into an upturned skull filled with rainwater. He didn't do it to be morbid or vengeful, he was just bored. Only afterward did he realize how macabre it was. At the time he'd seen so much death that he thought little of it.

"War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it" -- William Tecumseh Sherman

Posted by: alex on July 26, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The possibility that he was married to or engaged to a TNR staffer is the most interesting tidbit.

A lot of the milblogs are assuming that he is probably a whiner, bad troop, etc..., though the truth is he is probably a decent well liked guy with slightly different political leanings.

Posted by: rory @ parentalcation on July 26, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

As if any of this is new - just about any book on WWI, Paul Fussell's excellent Doing Battle, the massacre at Hoengsong in Korea, just about any book about Vietnam, and the well-documented "turkey shoot" and less well-document massacre by McCafferty's command at the close of the first Gulf War.

Posted by: JeffII on July 26, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Some will complain: "war dehumanizes you" (whatever that means - what if we're talking about something that is innately human, but just shocking to those who've never experienced it - like sex?)

Others (like Al) will say: "no, war doesn't make people into crazies, you're all just making it up in some big leftwing conspiracy because you're out to get lovers of Freedom and America and Goodness, and you're in league with the Devil!"

I say - who gives a crap?
At the end of the day, there are still nasty people out there that will try to kill you if they get a chance. War is a necessary part of survival.

On the other hand, there are even nastier assholes who use that fact as a pretext to con you into financing the most heinous criminal war profiteering enterprises, because they are less human than the guy who makes necklaces out of the human ears he cuts off his victims.

Let's not focus on how war affects the warfighter. It could be much worse for them. They could get killed. Let's focus on how we can stop falling for the bullshit con-jobs of the war profiteers. The Cheneys, the Bush Crime Family. etc.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 26, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al's comment above sounds suspiciously familiar.

Posted by: John B. on July 26, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

I liked the way Malkin characterized him as "another Winter Soldier" as if that automatically debunked him. With a gratuitous slap at John Kerry thrown in just for the hell of it. To say that these people are beneath contempt is an insult to the concept of being beneath contempt.
I'm going back to the other thread and talk about impeachment some more!

Posted by: thersites on July 26, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

As if any of this is new - just about any book on WWI, Paul Fussell's excellent Doing Battle, the massacre at Hoengsong in Korea, just about any book about Vietnam, and the well-documented "turkey shoot" and less well-document massacre by McCafferty's command at the close of the first Gulf War.
Exactly. There's also the famous photograph from World War II of an American woman contemplating the Japanese skull her husband sent home to her as a souvenir.

All soldiers are tempted to callousness and atrocities. You judge between them by whether their army tries to minimize the brutalizing effects of combat, ignores it, encourages it, or is simply too broken or incompetant to take action.

Posted by: Berken on July 26, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

War dehuminizes all of us.

Posted by: N on July 26, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

. . . or, why don't we talk about human slavery, okay? We're really getting our tax-dollars worth in this war. Uh huh. That's the way to get that bang-for-your-buck! All right, way to go Republicans!

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 26, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan's comments are more or less right, but it's about more than that. Really, it doesn't matter to the right whether his story is true or false; the point of this whole absurd manufactured furor was identifying the guy, in order to ensure that he suffers retaliation. It's exactly what happened with Jamil Hussein. Truth isn't the issue; the issue is making examples of anyone who deviates from the party line.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on July 26, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Al couldn't contribute because he's too busy "celebrating" with the corpses of dead soldiers. He loves it! The U.S. Constitution was only a "quaint" piece of paper, anyway.

Posted by: Kenji on July 26, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Should someone point out that TNR is (or at the very least was) nearly as pro war as the WEEKLY Standard ?

Posted by: erg on July 26, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, those various, reliable accounts of necklaces strung with human ears, etc., worn by US troops in Nam were all "made up", too. ...

What's that?? They WEREN"T???
___________

[OT] Follow-up to a prior posting:

"Who Knows Why Ward Churchill Was Fired?"
by Ira Chernus
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/26/2780/print/

' My employer, the University of Colorado, has finally fired my colleague, tenured professor Ward Churchill. Why? There are lots of explanations. Take your pick. ...'
__________

Posted by: Poilu on July 26, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Mie! Mie! Mie!

Posted by: Ichikawa Danjuro on July 26, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Old news, Kevin. What do you care anyway, since from your anti-impeachment post earlier today, you made it very clear you are just a doormat for the Bush Administration?

Confessions from U.S. Soldiers in Iraq on the Brutal Treatment of Civilians

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 26, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Actually there is a fair amount of evidence that the printed stories were not accurate. Several soldiers who served in the same unit have pointed out a number of details that they said were untrue.

I am struck by the lack of supporting details from the New Republic of from Thomas. E.g., on what date did a woman with a damaged face eat in Thomas's mess hall and get insulted? Where the childrens' burial place from which a skull was stolen? On what date did Thomas visit this burial place. A possible weak point in Thomas's story is that so far nobody else has said that there even was such a children's burial place.

The charges are being officially investigated by the military and unofficially by lots of individuals. I expect we will soon know the facts, one way or the other.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 26, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Just laughing out loud at that first comment.

Posted by: alan on July 26, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

actually, we pulled the last of our troops out of iraq two years ago, having established a stable, western-style democracy. the kurds, the sunnis and the shiites are living in perfect harmony, generally speaking. there have been no deaths in iraq in years — we pulled out largely because our troops had nothing to do and were bored. but left-liberal conspirators (i love redundancies) are hiding the facts because they hate america. and in afghanistan, the taliban is barely a memory, having been wiped out years ago. osama actually is in custody and scheduled to go on trial at the hague next month. and the msm, well, they've covered all of this up because they hate america too! everybody hates america except us true patriotic wingnuts. there, al, egbert, i've saved you the bother of posting!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on July 26, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kevin, you can do a better hatchet job on our real positions than that -- no right winger like myself doubts that out of 160,000 troops we're going to have a few Jerry Springer Show rejects - abu Graib demonstrated that. Put aside the fact that Michelle Malkin has already marshalled enough evidence against this twit to make Nifong and his Duke lacrosse case look solid, [why don't you ever provide links to inconvenient evidence?] The real issue is why The New Republic was so enthusiastic about running it before basic fact checking. Even after the Stephen Glass fiasco they still figured Fake But Accurate was worth the risk if it gave them a chance to disparage our troops. Maybe Dan Rather replaced Marty Peretz.

Posted by: minion on July 26, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

The charges are being officially investigated by the military and unofficially by lots of individuals. I expect we will soon know the facts, one way or the other.
Posted by: ex-liberal on July 26, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm glad that the sleuths that brought us Mai Lai, Pat Tillman, Haditha, and Abu Ghraib are on the case. I'm so relieved.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 26, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, ex-lib, the army did confirm that there was a graveyard there, although they said it was a normal graveyard not a Saddam dumping ground.

I do think TNR does bare the blame for this in some part. They had to know that the story was going to be a hot one. They presented it from an anonymous source with no evidence that they confirmed it at all. They could have saved themselves a great deal of trouble simply by saying that the writer was stationed in Iraq and what branch of the service he was in while still keeping his ID secret.

Plus, the overwrought prose was a bit much.

The scary part is that the wingers are now claiming that his fiancee works at TNR and they are going after her. Even J-pod had the sense to say that it was ridiculous to target this poor woman. Maybe because so many people at the Corner owe their own positions to social connections.

Posted by: Teresa on July 26, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

What's important to remember here is that there's a accuracy beneath the fakery. Make sure the correct narrative is stressed.

Posted by: Social Justice on July 26, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Let's not focus on how war affects the warfighter. It could be much worse for them. They could get killed. Let's focus on how we can stop falling for the bullshit con-jobs of the war profiteers. The Cheneys, the Bush Crime Family. etc."

OBF: I would agree with you entirely on this point if it weren't for one thing : those "who pull the strings" to enrich themselves via the depradations of war make an obscene habit of casting ALL troops as "Our Glorious Heroes", in order to stifle thoroughly deserved criticism. (I think we both know that ALL generalizations regarding soldiers are inherently false.)

Nevertheless, I concur with your emphsis on the supreme culpability of the latter group -- without the conniving war profiteers and their cheerleading propagandists, the commission of such atrocities would never have been facilitated. It is they who bear the ultimate responsibility for the savagery invariably resulting from their toxic schemes.

Posted by: Poilu on July 26, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Diarist "Shock Troops' written by Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/the_plank?pid=128957

Posted by: swa on July 26, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

--so far nobody has any evidence that he's made anything up.--

Interesting that disproving a negative is now tatamount to "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" amongst the left. That aside, sorry, but coming from the guy who gave us Bob Burkett.....well, you're not the go-to person to ask when deciding on some story's plausibility and substance.

You did get points for falling on your sword when it became clear that the guy you interviewed had taken you for a ride & played you for a fool, though. That was pretty good as far as gestures go. But, seriously, that had to have been embarrassing on your part....to go down in history as the guy who interviewed a fraud and swallowed the story whole until someone decided to make a gif of a MS Word version (who'da thunk it?)

Posted by: RW on July 26, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

"emphsis"

"Emphasis", that is!

("Alright, who stole my 'a'?? Don't nobody leave till I get it back!!") ;-)

Posted by: Poilu on July 26, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, RW, but no one left of center (except the not-even-liberal New Republic) vouched for this story. The only positive claims were made by wingnuts: that "Scott Thomas" wasn't really a soldier, and that the incidents in his story could not possibly have happened. Both claims have been blown completely to bits.

Posted by: kth on July 26, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

("Alright, who stole my 'a'?? Don't nobody leave till I get it back!!") ;-)

The same person who stole your L key and space bar?

I'm sorry! I couldn't resist!

Posted by: shortstop on July 26, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

As Kevin points out, the conservatives have gone crazy over this story. The reason, I believe, is the unbalanced selection of examples. E.g., from what I know, most parents of KIAs support the war in Iraq. By focusing on Cindy Sheehan, the media gave the opposite impression.

I believe the overwhelming majority of our soldiers in Iraq have behaved very well. Few of their praiseworthy actions have been reported. If the media now focuses on a few bad apples, they will have provided an unbalanced picture of our fighting men and women. It's not (necessarily) lying, but it has the same effect.

Thus, one gets comments like osama_been_forgotten 6:19, which implicitly denigrates the entire military based on four bad things done by military people during the last 40 years. If obf included the many, many good things they've done, the picture would be more balanced.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 26, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

SnarkyShark >"...Look for Mr Scott Thomas to get assigned lead humvee on the next patrol up IED blvd. however."

The name Pat Tillman comes to mind...

"Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it." - JG Ballard

Posted by: daCascadian on July 26, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

This story makes me ill especially about the dogs being run over (can't help it, I'm a pathetic animal lover). But I've read stories like this before, and long long ago. It's funny how details that come out about this war keep disappearing off the web. Like soldiers own personal blogs that have disappeared. Those who told us, the public, that absolutely the US broke the laws of the Geneva Convention because (several of them did say online), that we (they) were in Iraq 2 months before Bush announced it publically and told the American people we were going.

Oddly, all their personal blogs have disappeared from the net with these details.

America the free!

cough cough

Posted by: BJ on July 26, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib;
I wasn't implying that everyone in the military is bad, or commits attrocities.

I was implying that the structure of investigative authority of these incidents has an inherent conflict of interest, and has produced consistently dishonest results, in several high-profile cases.

What blows my mind is - in all of these cases, the truth eventually gets out anyway, and these guys just look worse trying to cover it up. Yet they never seem to learn. . .

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 26, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

"That aside, sorry, but coming from the guy who gave us Bob Burkett.....well, you're not the go-to person to ask when deciding on some story's plausibility and substance.

You did get points for falling on your sword when it became clear that the guy you interviewed had taken you for a ride & played you for a fool, though. That was pretty good as far as gestures go. But, seriously, that had to have been embarrassing on your part....to go down in history as the guy who interviewed a fraud and swallowed the story whole until someone decided to make a gif of a MS Word version (who'da thunk it?)"

Well, its not really as embarassing as spending $500 Billion and several thousand American lives and 100K + Iraqi lives because of forged Uranium memos. The fact that wingnuts chose to ignore that, and the fact that many, like the true demented individuals they are still continute to insist that there were WMDs in Iraq reveals how pathetic they are.

and you are a liar. Kevin was one of the first to say that the memos were dubious.

Wingnuts of course know no remorse. The only way they could make up for the harm their pathetic lies have cost the country is to give up all their money (although it won't make a dent in that half trillion) and go to Iraq and put their own lives on the line. But they won't do that, of course.

Posted by: erg on July 26, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

---but no one left of center (except the not-even-liberal New Republic) vouched for this story---

You might want to ask the author of this: "The whole thing has been kind of weird. Needless to say, Thomas does exist (he went public this morning on TNR's blog) and so far nobody has any evidence that he's made anything up." - Kevin Drum

Check around, most of the lefty sites are playing the "those righties are sure going bezerk over this and claiming that it's false. Why, I don't see anything false!" game. Just like Rathergate.

Posted by: RW on July 26, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

obf, you may be right that the investigations of these four events involved cover-ups. However, I'm not so sure that the cover-up was always formally established.

E.g., Andrew Sullivan says our soldiers murdered people at Abu Graib. If so, then I agree there was a cover-up. But, AFAIK there's no official confirmation of such murder or murders. There's a Catch-22 here. Sullivan might say that the lack of official confirmation just shows that the cover-up worked.

Editor and Publisher just today has an article admitting that the media coverage of Hatitha was unfair. See http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/shoptalk_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003617320

Sometimes when the military fails to find the worst, it's not a cover-up; it's because the worst wasn't accurate.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 26, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

no right winger like myself doubts that out of 160,000 troops we're going to have a few Jerry Springer Show rejects - abu Graib demonstrated that.
--Minion

Abu Graib was policy, not a fluke. The evidence is overwhelming. Moral cowardice has many forms; one of the worst is refusal to see what's right in front of your eyes.

Posted by: DrBB on July 26, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK


---and you are a liar. Kevin was one of the first to say that the memos were dubious.---

Heh, that was Charles Johnson & the Freeper guy. Drum came on board after anyone to the right of Castro could see that it was a MSWord fake. After all, who was it again that interviewed Burkett? (hint: look at the URL of this site).

Look, if I want to chat with Kossack losers, I'll go to the source. Piss off, loser.

Posted by: RW on July 26, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Heh, that was Charles Johnson & the Freeper guy. Drum came on board after anyone to the right of Castro could see that it was a MSWord fake. After all, who was it again that interviewed Burkett?"

I said one of the first, you pathetic liar. As soon as information came out that indicated that they were a fake, he said so. He interviewed Burkett well before the memos were published, so yoru insinuation is a lie.

But do tell me why pathetic chickenhawk cowards like you aren't bothered about memos that cost us half a trillion and led to 100K plus deaths ? Says a lot about you pathetic loser's priorities.

"Look, if I want to chat with Kossack losers, I'll go to the source. Piss off, loser."

Yup, thats easier than answering why you aren't bothered by memos and lies that cost us half a trillion deaths. It must be pathetic to be such a chickenhawk and to have such a selective lying memory. If you guys had any sense of honor -- well, the Japanese called it Seppuku ...

Posted by: erg on July 26, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Yup, thats easier than answering why you aren't bothered by memos and lies that cost us half a trillion deaths."

I meant half a trillion dollars and thousands of deaths.
Unlike pathetic wingnuts, I correct typos. They still cling to the delusions of WMDs in Iraq.

Posted by: erg on July 26, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't know how the chickenhawks will be able to prove diddly. Unlike typewriter kerning, they aint gonna get ready made evidence from Karl, and they would have to actually (gulp), go to Iraq to find out."
___________________________

The very inability to disprove the Scott Thomas allegations is what makes them so infuriating. Contrary to the comments above, the people most upset with the stories are deployed soldiers and the near concensus opinion among them is that they know of nobody who has acted or was likely to act in the manner described by Scott Thomas.

The individual events don't ring true to people in a position to know. Wearing a skull all day? Why and what's more, how did he keep it on? Did he strap it to his helmet or did he go around in a combat environment all day with his helmet off? Real "Apocalypse Now" stuff, which, since it seems the standard vision of some of how soldiers act, is perhaps the reason he used it.

Run over dogs with a Bradley? Anyone who's ever sat in the driver's seat of a Bradley knows you can't see the ground close enough to the vehicle to run over a dog unless he's already dead. And if he's dead, he might hold an IED. Besides which, any driver goofing around like that would get the track commander's boot up his ass.

Lastly, the story of mocking a person wounded by an IED is just so out of character that almost no one believes it. Soldiers don't mock comrades who have suffered wounds, especially those caused by IEDs. Then, there's the little detail that nobody else stationed at Thomas' FOB remembers anyone with such wounds. Perhaps he had his own mess hall - the one at his FOB isn't big enough for such a person to go unnoticed.

Nope, the events cannot be disproved. But the people who are really pissed aren't chickenhawks.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

The relationship between the wingnutosphere and evidence never ceases to amaze me.

A few weeks ago, a man shot an airman in a parking lot outside an apartment building in New Jersey. The shooter then committed suicide by shooting himself w/ his own gun. He left two notes saying that he "hated the government" and "wanted to make a statement".

Malkin and the LGF cretins went nuts over this incident, claiming that the airman was shot by an anti-military leftist. The prosecutor did not release the notes, but he did say that they indicated that the shooter was severely disturbed. This statement was not compelling to Malkin et al., who continued to insist that the prosecutor did not release the notes because they "probably" contained anti-military hate speech.

All this despite having no knowledge of whether the shooter had expressed any such sentiments either in the note or in the past. It was subsequently revealed that the airman was not in uniform; thus it's unlikely the shooter even knew the victim was an airman.

At the time, my sense of the situation was that it was more likely that the shooter was mentally ill than that the shooting occurred because of his political leanings, but anyone who knows anything about mental illness knows that a first psychotic break typically occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood. And the "reasons" given for acts that occur in such situation often involve demonization of some "other", i.e., the FBI, the CIA, foreigners, the government. And, of course, there was the prosecutor's statement.

I was so annoyed by this nonsense that I actually called the prosecutor's office and spoke to their public information officer, who said explicitly that there were no references to the military in the notes and that they were rambling and barely coherent. He also said that it was a matter of policy not to release such notes.

As far as I know, neither Malkin nor any of her pals made any effort to check out the validity of their assumptions, and I haven't seen any updates, corrections, or apologies indicating that those assumptions were incorrect. After all, there are other left-wing atrocities to attack . . . on the basis of similarly convincing enemies.

Here's a link to an editorial that sums up the facts.

Posted by: THS on July 26, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

SnarkyShark >"...Look for Mr Scott Thomas to get assigned lead humvee on the next patrol up IED blvd. however."

The name Pat Tillman comes to mind...
_________________________

Oh, great, now Sergeant Tillman wasn't simply killed by accident, he was assassinated. No doubt because he had discovered we weren't really looking for Osama bin Laden.

What's most likely to happen to Private Beauchamp is that he'll be treated with kid gloves to prevent anyone from physically registering their objection to his stories. His battalion commander will tell the company commander to get him out of there before anything happens to him. Then the lawyers will get involved and recommend he be given an early honorable discharge. After which, he'll be welcomed into the bosom of the Left. After that, who knows, maybe Hollywood will beckon.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 26, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Nope, the events cannot be disproved. But the people who are really pissed aren't chickenhawks.

Are they the same people who threatened to kill Joseph Darby and forced him out of the Army for telling the truth about Abu Ghraib?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 26, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's post is weak and, I guess, trying to preemptively set up a defense for a liberal guy who already has shown himself to be a total jerk and who probably will look much worse before this is over.

Why can't everone agree at this point the principal issue is whether he was telling the truth?

Kevin states he is afraid that Thomas' character will be dragged through the mud. This is a guy who already wrote about how he made hideous fun of a woman whose face was scarred in an IED attack. Can't we agree he is offensive jerk based on his own conduct?

He gets no points for "going public." The brilliant pseudonym he came up with was his first and middle name and his wife/fiance worked for TNR - he obviously was not going to stay unknown for long.

He also has been disclosed as a very liberal democrat, supporter of Howard Dean. I guess the liberals are bracing for his disgrace, but what you should be doing is attacking him for his admitted grossly offensive conduct and finding out if he is telling the truth about others.

By the way, I don't think many "conservative sites" said he did not exist. I'm afraid Kevin may be making that up, or at least exaggerating. Truth is the anecdote for all this.

Posted by: brian on July 26, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, the troll droppings are thick on the ground tonight. Looks like this one is cutting too close to the bone.

"Truth is the anecdote for all this."

Heh. Just like a wingnut--to them, all truth is merely an anecdote.

Posted by: Joel on July 26, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Joel,

That is not what I said. If you are interested in being serious about it, why don't you agree that we should focus on whether the guy was telling the truth? It seems like a simple proposition.

Posted by: brian on July 26, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

"'But the people who are really pissed aren't chickenhawks.'

Are they the same people who threatened to kill Joseph Darby and forced him out of the Army for telling the truth about Abu Ghraib?"
_______________________

Since the perps at Abu Ghraib were mostly Reservists and Beauchamp is in the 1st ID, no, they aren't. Or was it your point to suggest that one can't expect anything but lies from those who might feel they've been defamed? Some sort of universally nefarious military mind, perhaps?

Posted by: trashhauler on July 26, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Brian, it's exactly what you said:

"Truth is the anecdote for all this."

To you, by your own testimony, truth is merely an "anecdote." Some of us place a higher value on truth than on anecdodes. Clearly, by your own admission, you don't.

Smarter trolls, please.

Posted by: Joel on July 26, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

The claim that he didn't exist and that his stories were fabricated was hilarious coming from the Right which has repeatedly mass e-mailed false stories by soldiers or about soldiers, about Democratic politicians, about outrageous lawsuits, etc.

Even more funny coming from right-wing blogs who seem to specialize in lying and passing around the same or similar false stories.

Yeah, I'm talking about you Drudge and you Instahack.

Posted by: anonymous on July 26, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, "the perps at Abu Ghraib were mostly Reservists." Right, the Bush administration fully evaluated the issue and all they could find were a few reservists causing trouble.

Maybe in a world where the sky is green and there is serious discussion of the aerodynamic properties of porcine mammals. Here in the real world where Rumsfeld made every effort to keep the evidence from coming out there is no reason to believe the results of an investigation by people who stand to gain from a cover-up.

Posted by: heavy on July 26, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

focuses on a few bad apples...? I don't agree.

It sounds like rather standard behaviors of personnel experiencing symptoms of detachment and/or buried emotions stemming from battle conditions. How can a human be asked to shoot to kill in one situation and then re-engage compassion and sympathy the next? Sure, some can probably do that, but wouldn't it be less agonizing for personnel on missions to simply put emotions into neutral and get the job done? Running over dogs does not seem strange when viewed from the angle of what these folks enforced mental state must be.

That the dogs died needlessly is not to be made light of and that the soldier will carry the memories for life is equally serious. But time and again these stories come out and I believe them. Killing or battle conditions is not the natural state of being for these kids, no matter how good the training or how noble the purpose for war is made out to be for them. The conditions these soldiers work in surely demand that emotions or feelings be put aside in whatever way a soldier can. For many that detachment must take a toll, exacting some kind of mental price which has to be paid, if not at the moment then later in life.

I don't feel these soldiers are bad apples at all, I imagine they are coping with war.

Posted by: Zit on July 26, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK
….now Sergeant Tillman wasn't simply killed by accident… trashhauler at 8:32 PM
He was killed by three closely spaced shots to the forehead.

However, the medical examiner said Tillman had been killed by "three head shots to the forehead in a pattern about the size of a half dollar". That doesn't sound like the chaotic and confused firing described by the investigators. In fact, it sounds like an expert sniper's shooting. And if the shooter could do that, it's obvious they saw who they were killing….

Details of Tillman's death do not match scenario described.

…"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.
The doctors whose names were blacked out said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away….

On the basis of factual statements, you're hitting less than zero. There is no doubt, none, that Abu Ghraib was instigated not by reservists but by experienced higher ups. Reservists would not invent those tortures on their own nor would they commit them without approval of senior officers.

Posted by: Mike on July 26, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio....

Posted by: Luther on July 26, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Tillman had been killed by "three head shots to the forehead in a pattern about the size of a half dollar". That doesn't sound like the chaotic and confused firing described by the investigators. In fact, it sounds like an expert sniper's shooting. And if the shooter could do that, it's obvious they saw who they were killing. The whole thing stinks."
_____________________

In fact, snipers do not fire in bursts of three. They fire one shot at a time. It is common, however, for a soldier to have his rifle on the three round burst setting. Even so, shooting for the head is a pretty chancy thing. Center of mass is the way to go. Three rounds fired high, catching someone in the head. It sounds exactly what might happen in a chaotic firefight. Tillman was tragically unlucky.

I'm not questioning your right to believe all sorts of conspiracy theories, Mike. But they aren't all necessarily true, just because somebody wrote them up in conspiratorial tones.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 26, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Holy Toledo, Milo. You mean this guy is not an anti-American, anti-troops sort of guy? We DO support the troops, right? I mean, we really should....

Posted by: nikkolai on July 26, 2007 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

When you ask us to support the troops, do you mean the troops who are alive or the troops who are dead or wounded?

Posted by: aliveordead on July 26, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Where is Tillman's journal? If that wasn't missing, I might not have nearly so many questions. But at this point so many lies have been told, I am accepting nothing just because they say it. That the ME's tried to get an investigation going to determine if a crime had been committed and were rebuffed, makes me have thoughts I would rather not have.

Maybe some are a tad to given to conspiracies. But then again, maybe others are not given enough to them.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on July 26, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK
… But they aren't all necessarily true, just because somebody wrote them up in conspiratorial tones. trashhauler at 10:20 PM
I'm not questioning your right and desire to spin b/s for the Bush administration, but merely pointing out that, since the full report hasn't been released, many questions remain and should be addressed. So far, the Bush administration is claiming executive privilege and refusing to release the information despite the desires of the Tillman family.

If you want to address the case, make the facts public instead of your usual speculation, spin and smear. That should not be too much to ask of what is supposedly a democratic, not despotic, government.


Posted by: Mike on July 26, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Joel,

It is not "smart" for you to twist "Truth is the anecdote for all this" to "all truth is merely an anecdote." You are twisting what I said into something I did not say. I assume most readers here can see that.

And why have you not answered my question of "why don't you agree that we should focus on whether the guy was telling the truth?"

Or why you don't agree that the guy is a offensive jerk, since he admittedto mocking a disfigured IED victim, regardless of whether he is liberal, conservative or something else.

I never understand why partisans like Joel are unwilling to engage in serious and respectful dialogue.

Posted by: brian on July 26, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

brian, aside from your general ignorance about military matters both at the tactical and strategic levels, you are having trouble because you are being mocked for your inability to understand the difference between two words that sound similar, but not alike: anecdote and antidote. It makes you sound even more foolish than you already do when talking out of your depth. It even makes you sound more foolish than when you accuse others of "partisanship."

Posted by: heavy on July 26, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the armed services are not exactly attracting the cream of the crop, if you know what I mean.

Posted by: notsogood on July 26, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK
….how the soldiers feel about being slimed by "Scott Thomas"?….Took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights at 10:36 PM
Perhaps you were unable to click the link listed upthread: Confessions from U.S. Soldiers in Iraq on the Brutal Treatment of Civilians

…Their stories, recorded and typed into thousands of pages of transcripts, reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops in Iraq. Dozens of those interviewed witnessed Iraqi civilians, including children, dying from American firepower. Some participated in such killings; others treated or investigated civilian casualties after the fact. Many also heard such stories, in detail, from members of their unit. The soldiers, sailors and marines emphasized that not all troops took part in indiscriminate killings. Many said that these acts were perpetrated by a minority. But they nevertheless described such acts as common and said they often go unreported -- and almost always go unpunished…..

If you don't want to read about atrocities, don't commit atrocities.

This is the same as the Tiger Force in Vietnam. The fact is war is savage and dehumanizing.

Posted by: Mike on July 26, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

heavy,

thanks for the correction of anecdote (although the rest of your post is harsh and unsubstantiated and supports my observation about a lack of serious and respectful dialogue)

embarassing as my error is, and as much as I hate to acknowledge "victory" by Joel, my other points stand with the substitution of antidote for anecdote. cheers.

Posted by: brian on July 26, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: "I wasn't implying that everyone in the military is bad, or commits attrocities."

Why should you apologize to ex-liberal, who purposely misconstrued what you originally said? Bad things can and do happen in war. Period.

I have in my possession three different photos of my father's activities in the Vietnam War, and I'd like to tell you about them. He was a senior USMC advisor to MACV, well prior to the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

First up is a photo that appeared in the January 1964 Marine Corps Gazette, which shows him passing out CARE packages to Vietnamese children living in hamlets along the Mekong Delta.

The second is a 2 Nov 1963 photo of him in the process of personally positioning his 4th Vietnamese Marine Brigade around the Presidential Palace in Saigon, in preparation for the imminent military coup d'etat against President Diem. After my father was finished with his deployments, he withdrew to the U.S. embassy to avoid official culpability, the coup began, and President Diem was subsequently killed.

The third photo shows the aftermath of the 16 Feb 1964 Viet Cong bombing of the Capital Kinh Do Theater in the American compound in downtown Saigon, in which my father was killed while saving the lives of hundreds of American civilian and military personnel attending a showing of a then-popular movie, The List of Adrian Messenger (for which he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross).

Now, you can either ask yourself or tell me and everyone here -- which of those photos would you consider best representative of my father's activities in Vietnam, or even of our nation's collective Vietnam experience?

And then ask yourself, are there truly any right or wrong answers to that particular question?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 26, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

focuses on a few bad apples...? I don't agree.

It sounds like rather standard behaviors of personnel experiencing symptoms of detachment and/or buried emotions stemming from battle conditions.

An important point: the two positions above, like the "Americans would never do that!" and "Of course they would, they're imperialist thugs!" positions is that they propose essentially either/or answers to questions that can only be answered statistically. You cannot say what a soldier will do in a war zone, you can only estimate what he might do as an individual or give a likely percentage of deployed soldiers who might commit callous acts or atrocities over a period in country.

Given that the American army is composed of human beings, a certain number of them will commit, witness, ignore, or cover for heinous acts. If you were part of the Japanese army that sacked Nanking in 1938, the atrocity rate might be near 100%. If you were with the American 9th Army in Germany in 1945, the atrocity rate would be be closer to 1%.

You need studied evidence, not anecdotes, to judge the severity of the problem in the US army in Iraq. The troops there are stuck in a losing war with an enemy who deliberately tries to wear down their discipline and alienate them from the population. Many are on their third and fourth tours, being recycled until dead or crippled by a cowardly adminstration that has never even attempted any national mobilization that might offer them relief from the kill zone.

Nothing that appeared in the New Republic can tell us just how cruelly our army treats the Iraqis. The only thing we know is that it is a problem and people who serve there are risking their careers to warn us of its severity.

Addenda, assuming this sentence means what it says . . .

It sounds like rather standard behaviors of personnel experiencing symptoms of detachment and/or buried emotions stemming from battle conditions. How can a human be asked to shoot to kill in one situation and then re-engage compassion and sympathy the next?

Asking soldiers to do just this has been the policy of the US army since George Washington's day. Training the soldiers to handle the killing part of their job without going crazy is hard, but it is something warriors, soldiers, and police have been doing throughout human history. I don't buy the notion that modern Americans are too emotionally fragile, ill-disciplined, and self-centered to be trained as the soldiers of a civilized nation.

Literally millions of their cultural ancestors learned these essential coping mechanisms in the Civil War, the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, often after only a few months of military training. Given that the soldiers in Iraq, have, at least in the regulars, years of training and indoctrination in military discipline and conduct, they should be able to keep war crimes and destruction and cruel conduct to a minimum.

If the situation is getting worse, it can only be because our military in Iraq is over-committed, incompetently led, and stupidly deployed.

But, we already knew that, didn't we?

Posted by: Berken on July 26, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Life Magazine May 22, 1944

PHOTO CAPTION: “When he said goodbye two years ago to Natalie Nickerson, 20, a war worker of Phoenix, Ariz., a big, handsome Navy lieutenant promised her a Jap. Last week Natalie received a human skull, autographed by her lieutenant and 13 friends, and inscribed: '‘This is a good Jap, –a dead one picked up on the New Guinea beach,'’ Natalie, surprised at the gift, named it Tojo. The armed forces disapprove strongly of this sort of thing.”

Posted by: DB on July 26, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK


why isn't GOP Spooge-Mouth Malkin serving her country as a soldier? Seriously -- she's good at trash talking, let's see her walk the walk.

But no, she has too much spooge to swill here... and then vomit it out as "truth."

Sigh.

Posted by: dejah thoris on July 26, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

According to the reverse threaded wingers the troops are all volunteer conservatives.

Welcome to Orwellia.

Posted by: Mr PretzleDent on July 26, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

All Democrats are Godless, are communists, and hate America.

Yet 65% to 70% of Americans tire of this war. Odd how America went from being 90% Conservative to 70% Liberal in just a few short years.

Anne Coulter can't even explain that one. Of course they don't deal in reality but projectionism. If they think your a Lefty, then by God, by the power of hypocrisy and projectionism your a Lefty! Don't even try to deny it!!!

They see themselves as psychic judges. Really weird. Tin foil hat weird. Truth detector in the head weird. More lame blamegame BS. Fingerpointers all the way!!! YAY Fingerpointers!!!

Posted by: Mr. PretzleDent on July 26, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

It is common, however, for a soldier to have his rifle on the three round burst setting.

Three rounds fired high, catching someone in the head.

Tillman had been killed by "three head shots to the forehead in a pattern about the size of a half dollar

It sounds exactly what might happen in a chaotic firefight

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: elmo on July 26, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Take off the tinfoil hat Drum, it's not a good look for you.

A lefty publication writes horrible things about soldiers, various soldiers point out the stories seem unlikely where not physically impossible, and the resultant crisis of journalist credibility strikes you as some kind of weird, pathetic right wing conspiracy to distract the world from the war (which still seems to show up in the headlines)? Ooookay.

Yeah yeah, I'm sure those 1971 memos weren't really typed on Word either.

Enjoy "reality."

Posted by: TallDave on July 26, 2007 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

>Even more funny coming from right-wing blogs who seem to specialize in lying and passing around the same or similar false stories.

It isn't a specialty of either the left or right or any other region of a political spectrum or map. Foaming rage or celebratory crowing on the basis of insufficient and/or questionable information is highly fashionable these days.

So, the usual suspects on the right look stupid for unwarranted suppositions, as do some on the left, and as will all again in future.

Now the question is the truth of the stories. There must be investigations. If there was misconduct, there should be accountability. If there was not, the "troops" (whom almost everyone supports, remember?) have the right to fight defamation and demand apologies as strongly as any other minority group. In that case, the earlier comments are correct: the righteous squealing of chickenhawks will be (rightly) irrelevant noise for the most part, but the anger of the "troops" will not.

Posted by: VRWC on July 26, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Don't take the word of some wingers on the general character of American troops - ask someone who's been in Iraq a long time like John Burns of the NYT. Trying to portray this jackass and his vignettes as typical of American soldiers is like saying Yoko Ono is a typical Japanese housewife, or Cindy Sheehan represents Gold Star mothers... only the pretentious twits at TNR could be that obnoxious.
I'd like to ask Kevin to comment on just one "coincidence" that Michelle Malkin noted - don't you think it's strange that Beauchamp's unit was stationed in Germany while the German media were having a saturnalia about their troops defiling graves and playing with bones in Afghanistan - and then he reports US troops doing essentially the same thing at his own base? I really think you [Kevin] owe Michelle Malkin a clarification of your statements about her.

Posted by: minion on July 26, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and TNR already fired someone over this grand illusion intended only to distract you from more important matters (which are still in the headlines every day).

No, not because Scott Thomas appears to have gotten a little too creative in ascribing various misdeeds to his comrades and self. No, the employee was fired for leaking to those crazy right-wingers the very embarassing-to-TNR fact that Scott is married to a TNR employee, and probably got the job that way.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: TallDave on July 26, 2007 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Donald,

It's late in time to say that I'm sorry to hear about your father. But your post eloquently illustrates a point that needed making. Thank you.

Posted by: thersites on July 26, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to ask Kevin to comment on just one "coincidence" that Michelle Malkin.

Michelle Malkin lost all credibility when the AP handed her her ass. She is not a credible journalist and plays loosely with words and facts. Much like Judith Miller. A partisan hack in my book.

Posted by: Anne Coldter on July 26, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Berken: If the situation is getting worse, it can only be because our military in Iraq is over-committed, incompetently led, and stupidly deployed.

Leave out the over-committed part and you describe the Vietnam experience, as well. With an ill-defined mission, and an enemy indistinguishable from the "friendlies," atrocities are going to happen more often. This doesn't excuse any individual from responsibility from his or her actions, but the leadership is responsible as well, for putting them in that situation.

An analogy; when unemployment rises, domestic violence increases. We don't excuse wife-beaters for any reason, but we should try to keep the unemployment rate down.

Posted by: thersites on July 26, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

various soldiers point out the stories seem unlikely where not physically impossible, and the resultant crisis of journalist credibility

There is no "crisis of journalist credibility." There are a bunch of right-wing bloggers, vets and chickenhawks alike, picking at minute details of the stories to argue why nothing could have possibly happened the way the Pvt said it did, because that's all they have to pick at. Now that the Pvt has revealed himself to stand by his claims, demonstrating moral as well as physical courage, they have nothing to say except to call him a "dung beetle" and deliberately mis-read his use of the word "character" to yet again twist his argument back on him.

It's pathetic, and it changes nothing. You may disagree with me, but that does not change how pathetic the right-wing is at this point. It is rightly enraging when someone like Kurtz bothers to pay attention to this kind of bloviating. The right-wing has gotten quite used to being able to throw its weight around on these matters. Well, the left has begun to throw its weight back, and the "mainstream" media has begun to listen. The influence of these right-wing blogs on reality is zero, and their influence on the media is now also waning accordingly. There will never be a time when war-mongering idiots don't have access to the internet, but there may come a time when their influence accurately mirrors their honesty and integrity.

Posted by: Xanthippas on July 26, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Contrary to the comments above, the people most upset with the stories are deployed soldiers and the near concensus opinion among them is that they know of nobody who has acted or was likely to act in the manner described by Scott Thomas.


Posted by: trashhauler on July 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM
--------------------

It's been 30 years since I was in the Army, but the things he details sound an awful lot like the guys I knew. We were a bunch of kids goofing around most of the time. Maybe today's Army is different, but I doubt it.

Posted by: Nick on July 26, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Over the past several months The Nation has interviewed fifty combat veterans of the Iraq War from around the United States in an effort to investigate the effects of the four-year-old occupation on average Iraqi civilians. These combat veterans, some of whom bear deep emotional and physical scars, and many of whom have come to oppose the occupation, gave vivid, on-the-record accounts. They described a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts.

Their stories, recorded and typed into thousands of pages of transcripts, reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops in Iraq. Dozens of those interviewed witnessed Iraqi civilians, including children, dying from American firepower. Some participated in such killings; others treated or investigated civilian casualties after the fact. Many also heard such stories, in detail, from members of their unit. The soldiers, sailors and marines emphasized that not all troops took part in indiscriminate killings. Many said that these acts were perpetrated by a minority. But they nevertheless described such acts as common and said they often go unreported--and almost always go unpunished.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070730/hedges

None of Scott Thomas's stuff is new or surprising.

Our nation has a policy of torturing people. With that standard set, why should other outrages surprise people?

Posted by: Nick on July 26, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

TallDave, dry your pussy. Stop trying to prove Bradleys can't run over dogs with tanka toys. It's all about the steering yoke bitch!

Posted by: elmo on July 27, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Folks, we had been in Iraq for about a year, and Nate Sassaman himself pissed all over the Honor Code and ended his career. The first QB to secure a bowl championship for the Point, a battle tested officer on track for stars. And one incident in Samarra ended it all.

And Odierno, by the way, has been fanning the flames since the beginning.

Google "Lion of Samarra"

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

TallDave, dry your pussy. Stop trying to prove Bradleys can't run over dogs with tanka toys. It's all about the steering yoke bitch!

Posted by: elmo on July 27, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

brian, you have a history of making idiotic attacks on our host's military posts. They reflect poorly on you and your ability to understand the military especially in the big picture. Of course my post was harsh. You aren't interested in "truth." Like all water carriers for the Republican Party you are interested in discrediting those whose information might damage the partisans with which you align yourself.

The people demanding a full scale accounting of all the details in this issue are the same ones who insist that there is nothing to the USA scandal - in spite of the mountain of evidence that indicates the Executive Branch has politicized every office it could.

The people, like you, who are demanding that we know everything are the same ones who looked at the investigation into Bush's failure to serve and found a single (though large) error and concluded that there was nothing there - in spite of, once again, a mountain of evidence showing that Bush was derelict.

If you are really interested in the truth, I would be surprised. It hasn't ever shown before on this board.

Posted by: heavy on July 27, 2007 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

What's most hilarious in all this is that lefties are determined to concoct weird, pathetic conspiracy theories, instead of making the common-sense assumption that people on the right are just mad that TNR appears to be smearing our troops with vicious lies in the middle of a war, just like John "Jenjiss Khan" Kerry did thirty-some years ago.

Fortunately for America, none of you are in touch with reality enough to figure any of this out, and you'll probably be running Senator Beauchamp for President in 2038.

Posted by: TallDave on July 27, 2007 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

If some American troops dont engage in such contemptible, inexcusable activities, then maybe American exceptionalism is true. The manichean perspective can not admit that good people(our side) do bad things, especially in war. Which raises the question, 'why would a manichean buy a color TV?'.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on July 27, 2007 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

This guy's not playing with Tonkas:


I served 4 years in the Army, including service in Desert Storm, and was in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle battalion, the 1/9 Cav Regiment out of Ft. Hood.

As with most things written by the the traitorous media, the Shock Troop story is a collection of lies, complied by sissy leftist who don't even do enough research to make their lies believable. Sort of like the story of flushing a Koran down a toilet.

I've been in the drivers seat of a Bradley, and as Stuart Koehl says, you have terrible visibility on the right hand side. The engine is over there, and it's like trying to put a Ford Excursion in a parking space for a compact car.

The closest you can see on the right side is probably 15 feet away, and that would be with the seat all the way up, and the hatch fully opened back. No trooper is going to ride down a road in Iraq sitting that high, he'd be a sitting duck for a sniper. They either roll with the hatch fully shut, looking through the periscopes for visibility (think driving a sub down the street), or at most, with the hatch at half-cock, where you look though a slit (think sitting in a trash can with the lid on your head).

You're not going to be able to see a dog over there, so that's one lie.

Another lie is running things over with the Bradley. Take a look at the front it. The first thing that sticks out is the tracks, which are also the most vulnerable part of it. If you went around running into buildings or concrete barriers with your Bradley, you'd throw a track, and after your BC (Bradley commander) put his boot up your ass for being a dumb-ass, you'd spend the rest of your tour demoted down to sitting in the dreaded side turret jump seat between the driver and the rest of the crew, breathing diesels fumes, mixed in with BO and MRE gas from the dismount team.

Other lies - how does a dog sit in the road and get run over by an armored vehicle? How many dogs have you ever seen run over like this? Dogs aren't dumb, they get out of the way of a 23 ton armoured vehicle. The Bradley is not a Formula 1 race car either - the usual rolling speed is about 20-30 MPH. The article makes it sound like the BFV (Bradley Fighting Vehicle) is some sort of Klingon warship with a clocking device and a sound silencer, capbale of sneaking up on sleeping dogs and running them over before they can get up and move the 2 feet they'd have to get out of the way.

Then there's the story of a dog getting run over, with the two sections twitching around. Notice how it's written for shock value, with some lie about the head just staying there. The tracks of a Bradley are pretty wide - it's not a tire, it's a track. That would have to be one damn big stray dog to be cut in two by a Bradley, and still have identifiable parts on either side. Besides, how did he know what happended after he had run it over? Did he stop, get out of his vehicle, and walk over to it to take a look? You don't have real view mirror on a BFV.

Ian Kress
US Army, 1989-1993
MOS 11H (Infantry - Anti-Armor)
1/9th Cav Regiment, 1st Cav Division, Ft Hood.

Posted by: TallDave on July 27, 2007 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Vick and others kill dogs for sport. Why does anyone find it shocking that troops occupying Iraq would do the same thing?

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Good post, TallDave. Thanks for the info. It does give one pause....

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on July 27, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

I'm withholding judgment for now, on both PVT. Beauchamps and the war stories he relayed. But yeah, they do read like war stories. And that is not meant to be complimentary.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

"The very inability to disprove the Scott Thomas allegations is what makes them so infuriating."

Perhaps. I have yet to see anyone making that point, though.

"Contrary to the comments above, the people most upset with the stories are deployed soldiers"

Sorry, but that is demonstrably false. Case in point: Michelle Malkin who, the last time I checked, is not a soldier. There are a myriad of right wing pundits and bloggers who are frothing at the mouth over this, not one of whom is a soldier.

"and the near concensus opinion among them is that they know of nobody who has acted or was likely to act in the manner described by Scott Thomas."

Anecdotal evidence that is absolutely worthless. To the contrary, if you look at actual evidence from a variety of sources in a variety of wars, behavior of this type is not even remotely beyond the pale.

"Run over dogs with a Bradley? Anyone who's ever sat in the driver's seat of a Bradley knows you can't see the ground close enough to the vehicle to run over a dog unless he's already dead."

John Cole, a conservative blogger at Ballon-Juice.com has, in fact, driven a Bradley, and he strongly disagrees with you:

Not to get facts in the way of your spin, but I actually have driven a Bradley, and probably have a thousand hours in the driver’s seat of an M1 A1 Abrams.
In the M1, you sit in a reclined position in the center of the hull of the tank, equi-distant between both tracks, neither of which you can see. Additionally, most of the time driving, my hatch was closed, and I was navigating using a series of thick glass periscopes that were about 9-10” wide and 2-3” tall.
And guess what- I could run over a dog.
Please STFU about things you don’t have any experience with and do not understand.

"Besides which, any driver goofing around like that would get the track commander's boot up his ass."

John Cole, oddly enough, has an answer to that, as well:

Additionally, vehicles are moved ALL THE FUCKING TIME without an NCO or officer as the “track commander.” What they mean by track commander is that there is never just a driver in the vehicle- there must be a driver and one other body up top to watch for blind spots. The “track commander” in that case can be a PV2 fresh from Ft. Knox. Ideally, you would want an NCO, but let’s face it- you idiots do not understand what SOP means- standard operating procedure. Yes, you try to adhere to it, and yes, if something goes wrong and you are violating SOP there will be hell to pay, but does that mean SOP is always followed? Of course not.
You fucking idiots sound dumber and dumber the more you plumb the depths of topics you have no fucking experience with.

This is precisely why the left side of the blogosphere is watching the right side with much bemusement. We neither know, nor care much, whether Beauchamp is telling the truth. What we do know is that the objections being raised are mostly silly ones from people who have no idea what they are talking about.

The upshot of this story is that bad things happen in a war zone, particularly a prolonged war in a hostile country where everyone around you can be an enemy. This is news? I'm supposed to be surprised by this? Or concerned that of all the bad things that are happening in Iraq, maybe these didn't happen or are exaggerated? Why?

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

"The closest you can see on the right side is probably 15 feet away, and that would be with the seat all the way up, and the hatch fully opened back. No trooper is going to ride down a road in Iraq sitting that high"

Oh, good grief. Nor would they need to. Jeez, people, get a grip. When you've spent enough time in a vehicle, you know where the flipping right tire/track/whatever is, certainly within a few inches. You see a dog ahead of you, you aim for it, and maybe you hit it and maybe you don't. It ain't rocket science and it's definitely not impossible.

As for the bit about the width of the track, that's silly, as well. The track just isn't that wide -- roughly half a meter, I believe. It just wouldn't take that big a dog.

I have no idea whether these stories are true or not, nor do I much care, but can we please stop with the egregiously silly attempts to debunk it?

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

The upshot of this story is that bad things happen in a war zone, particularly a prolonged war in a hostile country where everyone around you can be an enemy. This is news? I'm supposed to be surprised by this?

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 12:26 AM |
----------------

But our troops are good CHRISTIAN soldiers, bestowed by God with virtue.

They've changed a lot since my brothers and I were enlisted men. That's all.

They don't drink, they don't fuck, and they damned sure don't run over poor little dogs in third world shitholes.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

"What's most hilarious in all this is that lefties are determined to concoct weird, pathetic conspiracy theories"

Dear heart, I'm not seeing a whole lot of "conspiracy theories" from anyone on the left. Just mild bemusement and speculation as to why people on the right are overreacting and frothing at the mouth so viciously, well beyond what the situation warrants.

"instead of making the common-sense assumption that people on the right are just mad that TNR appears to be smearing our troops with vicious lies in the middle of a war, just like John 'Jenjiss Khan' Kerry did thirty-some years ago."

Dear heart, since Kerry did no such thing, forgive us if we don't take this rant any more seriously than anything else you write.

"Fortunately for America, none of you are in touch with reality enough to figure any of this out, and you'll probably be running Senator Beauchamp for President in 2038."

ROFL.... Dear heart, if anyone is "out of touch with reality" in America today, it ain't the left. See you in 2008, dear.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Nice try TallDave. I was once a Bradley driver too. I could make it dance a jig. 90-94 DS vet. 2/5 cav. My credentials...

Posted by: elmo on July 27, 2007 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

I was an MP from 75-78, most of it at a secure site a few miles from Camp David. One of my brothers was a forward artillery observer in Germany in the 80's, and our youngest brother was a ground pounder with the 82nd Airborne.

One of the great things about being a veteran is we not only belong to the nation's largest fraternity, but we also have stories about goofy shit we did or saw done while in the Army.

My outfit had a bunch of drunk kids with security clearances. We had a handful of born again Christians, but at that time they were outcasts, weirdos. Maybe things have changed. Maybe our troops today really are a bunch of skirted Christian Warriors who never fuck around. But I doubt it.

One of the sad things about this war is that I never used to raise the issue of my being a veteran except to swap stories with other vets when I ran across them, and to enjoy a bit of bonhommie. Since we've invaded Iraq, I've had to use my veteran status as a shield against right wing shitheads.

Disgusting.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Shouldn't that tell you something?"

Nope. Not only is it not true that they are "the most upset," but it's not at all surprising that they would be. The military and civilian police forces are alike in that respect. Beauchamp broke the first law.

Personally, I have no idea whether Beauchamp is telling the truth or not. Nor do I much care. I don't read TNR and couldn't care less whether that magazine propagated a false story. The truth or falseness of the story changes nothing with respect to the situation in Iraq.

Our troops are being asked to occupy a hostile country, where millions of people are okay with them getting shot at and blown up, where quite literally anyone they meet, including their supposed Iraqi allies, could be an enemy, where temperatures and work conditions are horrible, where they have inadequate armor and inadequate manpower, where they are serving extended tours of duty, and so on.

Is anyone even remotely surprised that under those conditions bad things can happen? Our soldiers aren't saints. They're human beings placed in a horrible situation and doing their damnedest to make it all work. I respect them, I salute them, I'm proud of them, but that doesn't mean that I close my eyes to reality. Human beings make mistakes, sometimes dreadful ones. And human beings placed in inhuman conditions are even more likely to make dreadful mistakes.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't read Thomas' stuff either. If you want to read something really disheartening, read the Nation article where they interviewed 50 combat vets from Iraq and told their stories. Some real sad shit.

It's like Andrew Sullivan wrote--the right wing has had its ass handed to them on one thing after another. They just can't stomach the idea that our soldiers aren't all acting like Knights of the Round Table.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Must be past TallDave's bedtime.... Thanks for the rebuttal guys.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on July 27, 2007 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

heavy,

You think Kevin is good on military issues; I respectfully disagree.

But you raise issues unrelated to Scott Thomas. You (and most others here) refuse to address the real issues: (1) Scott Thomas obviously is a jerk for grossly mocking a woman disfigured by an IED (he would be a jerk even if he was not a liberal democrat); and (2) why shouldn't the focus be on whether Thomas told the truth?

Posted by: brian on July 27, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

One soldier dug up a skull and wore it on his head. Another one amused himself by running over dogs in his Bradley. Thomas himself mocked a woman who had been disfigured by an IED.

They're just wimps and cowards trying to deal with a horrible situation, and trying to make up for inadequacies- the weakness they feel in the face of it all. If they were real men, they would suck it up and deal with it like men instead of acting like morons like this. But apparently we don't have anyone who will tell guys how to act like real men anymore- no one's got the balls to do it.

In a more primitive society, stuff like this might be normal for soldiers, but in our society, we've developed respect for human dignity to a really beautiful degree, and when members of our society act like this, it's just a symptom of weakness and arrogance, nothing else.

Posted by: Swan on July 27, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

War is hell, Swan.

Posted by: elmo on July 27, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

In a more primitive society, stuff like this might be normal for soldiers, but in our society, we've developed respect for human dignity to a really beautiful degree...

Bullshit.

Where the hell do you live?

We are all one fucking catastrophe away from barbarism. And if you don't come to grips with that; if it ever happens, you won't fare well. The Social Contract depends on a degree of comfort and affluence.

You interupt the cable and the power and the other opiates of the masses and you just watch how fast it all turns to Bedlam.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Well said, Blue Girl. Now where's my damn grog?

Posted by: Kenji on July 27, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Out of grog. How about some mead? Or perhaps mulled wine?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

The people most upset about the slimey attacks coming from "Scott Thomas" are the soldiers actually serving in Iraq. Check the Mil Blogs.

Shouldn't that tell you something?

Posted by: Took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights on July 27, 2007 at 12:41 AM
--------------------------------

It tells me we have wingnuts in the military too, and that they share the wingnut sensitivities of their chickenhawk bretheren.

No surprise there. They're the same tribe that smeared Kerry. That tells you how deep that brothers in arm stuff goes with them--only for so long as you agree with their worldview.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

First, you've demonstrated that you know nothing of military issues time and again with your laughable attacks on Kevin.

Second, you will note that I've said nothing about the charges. That's because my credibility has nothing to do with this article. But what I can't stand is a bunch of know nothing hypocrites who were wrong on Bush's TANG service (though right about a bit of trivia), were wrong about the AP using a fake source, and were wrong about the existence of "Scott Thomas."

Now that the wingnuts have been exposed as a pack of credulous idiots they come screaming for "the truth." But all they are interested in, like you, is discrediting this person who undermines their nonsensical soldier sainthood.

What's interesting to me is that you have chosen to believe the author on only a single point - that he mocked an IED victim. Why? Because it allows you to attack him as a person. See, what a piece of shit. He must be lying about everything. Wait, no, he must be lying about everything except the things that allow me to imagine he's lying about everything else.

At best, brian, you are exactly what you claim to be fighting here. A mindless partisan interested only in advancing a storyline to make your side look good.


Let us imagine that there are IED victims. Let us imagine further that a few of them are women. Let us go still further and imagine that the military contains a large number of men in their early 20s. Finally, let us imagine that these men are far from home, in a macho profession, and under considerable stress. Does it seem far fetched to imagine that one of them might say something impolite? Or does it seem unreasonable to imagine that only one bad seed would ever do such a thing?

One of the problems you have, brian, is that the moment you allow that this individual has done this you open the door for the possibility that he is not, in fact, a singular aberration.

His stories may not be true. Again, I don't care. I have no investment in them. If they aren't true it brings eternal shame of him and those who published him. If they are true with trivially modified details and the "truth" seekers do as they have done before and bury the truth in slag about the trivia then they will once again bring shame on themselves as they did in Bush's TANG story.

None of that means that there aren't horror stories coming out of Iraq. Tens of thousands of soldiers making tens of thousands of dead bodies means that there are. That's not slander, it's just statistics. If I spin a roulette wheel 10,000 times I will hit that 00 at least once.

It doesn't say that every soldier is a monster to recognize that monstrous things happen in war. You send kids to murder and maim for you and they will be fucked up by it. Some of them will even start to show it before they leave the grinder.

Posted by: heavy on July 27, 2007 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

"And we were approaching this one house," he said. "In this farming area, they're, like, built up into little courtyards. So they have, like, the main house, common area. They have, like, a kitchen and then they have a storage shed-type deal. And we're approaching, and they had a family dog. And it was barking ferociously, 'cause it's doing its job.

And my squad leader, just out of nowhere, just shoots it. And he didn't--mother­fucker--he shot it and it went in the jaw and exited out. So I see this dog--I'm a huge animal lover; I love animals--and this dog has, like, these eyes on it and he's running around spraying blood all over the place.

And like, you know, What the hell is going on? The family is sitting right there, with three little children and a mom and a dad, horrified. And I'm at a loss for words. And so, I yell at him. I'm, like, What the fuck are you doing? And so the dog's yelping.

It's crying out without a jaw.

And I'm looking at the family, and they're just, you know, dead scared. And so I told them, I was like, Fucking shoot it, you know? At least kill it, because that can't be fixed....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2125142,00.html

This is a story from the Nation article. I couldn't read more than a bit of the article.

I don't know much about what Thomas wrote, but this anecdote is about the saddest thing I've read in a long time. And I have a degree in History.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Other lies - how does a dog sit in the road and get run over by an armored vehicle? How many dogs have you ever seen run over like this? Dogs aren't dumb, they get out of the way of a 23 ton armoured vehicle. The Bradley is not a Formula 1 race car either - the usual rolling speed is about 20-30 MPH. The article makes it sound like the BFV (Bradley Fighting Vehicle) is some sort of Klingon warship with a clocking device and a sound silencer, capbale of sneaking up on sleeping dogs and running them over before they can get up and move the 2 feet they'd have to get out of the way.

I dunno about driving Bradleys, but it's not exactly news that dogs get by moving vehicles. Practically every episode of Emergency Vets has one such incident. Why would an armored vehicle be any different?

Many of these incidents occur because dogs chase cars. Most drivers try to swerve to avoid them, but someone playing a "notches on my belt" game might not.

Posted by: THS on July 27, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

I joined in 1975, and the E-4's at the time enjoyed telling stories of the Vietnam draftees and their total FTA (Fuck The Army) attitudes, and how they'd just tell the cadre to go fuck themselves. They were finishing out their tours and weren't taking any shit from any fucking LIFER (Low Ignorant Fucker Evading Reality).

This thread reminds me of that tanker in Moore's Fahrenheit 911, the one who was singing 'The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. Burn motherfucker, burn."

You can't tell me Moore found the only wacked out 19 year old in Iraq who had control of way more firepower than any 19 year old should have.

So some guy ran over a dog with a Bradley. The real surprise would be in NO dogs in Iraq got run over by our troops.

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Nick wrote:

"It's been 30 years since I was in the Army, but the things he details sound an awful lot like the guys I knew. We were a bunch of kids goofing around most of the time. Maybe today's Army is different, but I doubt it."
_________________

I was in the Air Force thirty years ago and I can tell you that today's Air Force is very different from its 1970s predecessor. Deliberately so. As is the Army.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 27, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

But what I can't stand is a bunch of know nothing hypocrites who were wrong on Bush's TANG service (though right about a bit of trivia), were wrong about the AP using a fake source, and were wrong about the existence of "Scott Thomas."

Ah, so now Bush moving himself to Alabama without permission is a "bit of trivia."

And I'm trying to figure out how we were wrong about "the AP using a fake source" since THEY FOUND THE GUY. He exists. He is the one who spoke to the AP. Even Michelle Malkin was forced to admit he exists.

You should probably pull your head out of your ass every once in a while to see how things are here in reality.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 27, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

brian, just so you know - when you criticize anyone on military matters, everyone who even knows what the fuck a DD-214 is gets a real good chuckle.

Trashhauler is right, by the way - it is a different military than it was 30 years ago.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne, you misread heavy. Check again. S/he agrees w/ you.

Posted by: THS on July 27, 2007 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm out for the night. See y'all later.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

"...but eventually some small part of Thomas's account will turn out to be slightly exaggerated and the right will erupt in righteous fervor." -- Kevin Drum

'Small part'? 'Slightly exaggerated'? Are you really so foolish as to credit STB with such credibility? It's entirely likely that STB is a faker as huge as Glass or Bellesiles. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to withhold judgement until all the facts shake out?

But that indeed is the larger point. That rush to judgement, that credulity of leftwingers who champion the most ridiculous nonsense because that nonsense supports the champions favorite narratives. That's why the left keeps getting tripped up in such scandals as the faked Texas Air National Guard documents.

Posted by: Brad on July 27, 2007 at 5:34 AM | PERMALINK

John Cole, a conservative blogger at Ballon-Juice.com


BWAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAA!
You guys have no shame, do you? "Conservative".....AHAHAHHAHAHAHAA!

Part of the "conservatives for Byrd" brigade, to be sure. Lies are like M&M's to you.

Posted by: RW on July 27, 2007 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

Raimondo's take at antiwar.com is brilliant

http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=11356

Posted by: Mark Zimmerman on July 27, 2007 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

brian: If you are interested in being serious about it, why don't you agree that we should focus on whether the guy was telling the truth?

You mean like you focused on Libby telling the truth, not whether Wilson was a likeable guy or not or whether his wife was covert or not or whether there was any underlying crime or not?

You are a flaming hypocrite.

Posted by: anonymous on July 27, 2007 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

My guess is that most of the conservative troll pussies have never served in combat and could hardly believe that our good little boys would be capable of such behavior. Grow up. Men in combat are one step away from insanity 90% of the time. I believe that every one of the incidents that Thomas describes took place. In a battle your political leanings become meaningless and survival and savagery come to the forefront of your existence.

Posted by: Gandalf on July 27, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

brian: By the way, I don't think many "conservative sites" said he did not exist.

How many is "many," brian?

You seem to have a very convenient definition of many or you are simply a liar yourself.

Here are "many" links to right-wing blogs calling Scott Thomas a fake soldier and this was just a 5-minute google search.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

In addition to being a hypocrite, it is you who is a lying sack of sh*t, not Kevin.

Posted by: anonymous on July 27, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Conservative".....AHAHAHHAHAHAHAA!

Yes, RW, Cole is a conservative -- a real one, the kind that have been abandoning the modern Republican Party in disgust -- not the authoritarian personality cultists like you. brian, "ex-liberal" and the rest of the 28% dead-enders that have co-opted the brand.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

TallDave: What's most hilarious in all this is that lefties are determined to concoct weird, pathetic conspiracy theories, instead of making the common-sense assumption that people on the right are just mad that TNR appears to be smearing our troops with vicious lies in the middle of a war, just like John "Jenjiss Khan" Kerry did thirty-some years ago.

Kerry didn't smear out troops with lies.

Kerry reported the stories of other soldiers, some of which turned out to be false, some of which turned out to be true, and he made it clear that he had not verified the stories, but was merely reporting what he had been told.

And you continue to lie about this by claiming that it was Kerry who was making these stories up.

So, who is the vicious liar here?

It is TallDave.

The Right got mad at the reporting of Mi Lai, even though it was true.

The Right always gets mad when true stories about the military are published because just like Mi Lai they want it covered up and so they lie about it until it becomes undeniable as the truth sifts out and then they make excuses for the lying or accuse those who have revealed the truth of hurting out troops, instead of focusing on those soldiers who committed atrocities as the betrayers of their fellow soldiers and their country.

Posted by: anonymous on July 27, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

The comments on this thread prove the thesis of the Weekly Standard. The left considers soldiers to be stupid sociopaths and capable of the sort of behavior described not only in the "Scott Thomas" diaries published by TNR but the fantasies he published on his blog before he ever went to Iraq. The guy is a weirdo and was before he joined the army. The "diary" of running over stray dogs with a Bradley has already been shown to be false by others due to the design of the Bradley. The issue is not the exaggerations of a juvenile pissant but why TNR thought they were deserving of publication in a formerly serious journal.

Posted by: Mike K on July 27, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Etc. etc. It's almost like we don't even have to bother with real life anymore.

—Kevin Drum 5:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (128)

Kevin,
That is the essense of conservative propaganda practice. Control the publics undertanding of reality to meet the movements needs. Why do you think the AEI exists?

Posted by: Northern Observer on July 27, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: The "diary" of running over stray dogs with a Bradley has already been shown to be false by others due to the design of the Bradley.

Uh, no it hasn't, but thanks for playing.

The left considers [some] soldiers to be stupid sociopaths and capable of the sort of behavior described . . . in the "Scott Thomas" diaries published by TNR . . .

Yeah, Mi Lai never happened!

Abu Ghraib never happened!

That soldier in Japan never committed rape; his conviction was a farce!

Keep telling yourself that, but please spare us your deranged delusion that no American soldier has every committed an atrocity.

Posted by: anonymous on July 27, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

If I had witnessed the cafeteria incident or overheard some guy bragging about running over dogs when I was in High School it wouldn't have surprised me all that much. I *do* distinctly remember at least two people that *did* brag about going out of their way to hit cats, squirrels, etc. when I was in High School. When these people turn 18 do you really think they are going to poof! change into a completely different person?

"High school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of."
"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." - Kurt Vonnegut

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 27, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Mike K on July 27, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

1. I beleive TNR over the Weekly lying Standard every day of the week. It's the home of Billy (I'm a philospher king) Kristol; the man who believes in the necessity of 'nobel' lies. And TNR is not even reliably liberal in perspective. If the Nation or Harpers was running this you might have an ideological claim to a good hard second look, but your cries of liberal bias, liberal bias, don't work on a centrist outfit like TNR. It's the home of Marty (Pro-War) Peretz fer crying out loud.

2. Soldiers do freaky amoral and antisocial things in a combat zone. Anyone with any honesty and who has looked into it knows it. It's not good or bad, it just is. Thomas' claims are unexceptional. The Bradley rationalization bu the right is hillarious. Yes you can get objects under the treds if you catch it between the front bumper and the hard ground first. As long as you are at 10 Mhph when you make contact it will work.


Posted by: Northern Observer on July 27, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

"The comments on this thread prove the thesis of the Weekly Standard. (UNSUPPORTED ASSERTION) The left considers soldiers to be stupid sociopaths (CONTROVERTED ASSERTION; CONFUSION OF THE SPECIFIC WITH THE GENERAL) and capable of the sort of behavior described (DEMONSTRABLY TRUE IN SPECIFIC CASES) not only in the "Scott Thomas" diaries published by TNR but the fantasies he published on his blog before he ever went to Iraq.(UNSUPPORTED ASSERTION) The guy is a weirdo and was before he joined the army. (PERHAPS BUT AD HOMENEM AND IRRELEVENT) The "diary" of running over stray dogs with a Bradley has already been shown to be false by others due to the design of the Bradley.(CONTROVERTED ASSERTION; ATTEMPT TO PRESENT DISPROVED OPINION AS FACT) The issue is not the exaggerations (UNSUPPORTED ASSERTION) of a juvenile pissant (AD HOMINEM) but why TNR thought they were deserving of publication in a formerly serious (AD HOMINEM) journal.

Posted by: What an emotional ninny! on July 27, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

stuff deleted
Posted by: What an emotional ninny!

I like your fisking style.

Posted by: RSM on July 27, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I finally read "Shock Troops" and it sounds exactly like the goofy crap we would pull when I was in the Army.

Upthread it was noted that today's Army is different. Okay, even if they have a higher percentage of right wing tightasses in today's Army, they are still going to have some kids that are goofing off when they have the chance.

What we have playing out here is the same sort of high minded morality from right wingers that we see from cats like Vitter--they talk a big moral game but when the rubber meets the road (the tracked vehicle meets the dog), the fact is they're hypocrites.

This is mere hero glorification by the right wing.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

You can be a pretty mean guy when you have to without ever wearing someone's skull as a hat or pushing around an innocent person.

Posted by: Swan on July 27, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

"The comments on this thread prove the thesis of the Weekly Standard."

Well, sure if you're a mindless partisan incapable of independent thought.

"The left considers soldiers to be stupid sociopaths"

No, dear, we don't. We simply acknowledge that soldiers are, in fact, human, and that some of them do stupid things, particularly when placed in horrible situations. That you find this controversial says a lot about you, dear, but nothing about us.

"and capable of the sort of behavior"

Of course some of them are, dear. Is this coming as a surprise to you? Are you really so ignorant of history?

"The guy is a weirdo and was before he joined the army."

Dear heart, are you only capable of ad hominem attacks?

"The 'diary' of running over stray dogs with a Bradley has already been shown to be false by others due to the design of the Bradley."

No, dear, it hasn't, since there have been Bradley drives who have asserted that it is indeed possible. Have you really not read the comments above, dear?

"The issue is not the exaggerations of a juvenile pissant but why TNR thought they were deserving of publication in a formerly serious journal."

No, dear, the issue is why people like you are foaming at the mouth over what this guy has written.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that young men sometimes behave badly--sometimes very badly--especially when they are in the company of other young men is not exactly news. Ask any woman on the planet. I definitely don't want to make a "women are superior" argument, but the idea that men would make fun of an unattractive woman--especially if their pals are there to tell them how amusing they are--is not at all surprising to me.

And that same idea--being funny for one's friends--runs through the other incidents. Ho, ho. Look at me. I can put a piece of this baby's head on top of mine. Ho, ho. Look at me. If I'm quick, I can clip that dog.

It's not that U.S. soldiers are, generally speaking, mean or evil or even mindlessly cruel in the name of entertainment. In fact, I'm sure they aren't. But we all have it in us to be mean and evil and to lose track of the norms that usually govern our behavior. I can't imagine a situation more likely to produce the kind of needless cruelty Beauchamp described than the situation these guys are in.

American soldiers are human. Like the rest of us, they are capable of good, evil, and stupid.

[Previously posted at Matt Yglesias.]

Posted by: THS on July 27, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

War crimes, things like the My Lai massacre, are wrong. Allowing stuff like what this article describes creates the culture for stuff like this to happen. This isn't discipline, it's borderline-mutiny.

When we have such great material advantages, our troops shouldn't have to go out of their way like this to threaten anybody. The things they are doing are counter-productive wheel-spinning. Among other things, it's a symptom U.S. occupation as a recourse against the militias is futile, or at least the war is not being fought well and the troops aren't being used well.

Posted by: Swan on July 27, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK


It's so refreshing to come here and read right-wing trolls hacking up hairballs of GOP and Administration slime in response to something that one of their own magazines did, and then trying to blame liberals for it.

Don't you rightwingers have anything better to do, like, say, volunteering for the war effort that you "support"?

Hmmm???

if not, then I suggest you 'support the troops but don't ask me to serve" types should just STFU until you actually know what you're talking about.

Radical idea that -- a winger actually bothering to find out what he's talking about, as opposed to vomiting ill-thought-out BushCo talking points...

oh, and don't bother slagging me. I have family members actually serving their country, as opposed to those of you whining about 'Murca and "supportin' the troops" all the while spooging up the screen in momma's basement using a cheetos-covered meat whistle.


Posted by: dejah thoris on July 27, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Not warriors," I'll say that much. But as far as human-- only all too human. But humans can be a lot better than that, too. That's the whole point: to live up to the greatest potential of human nature, and not live down to the lowest capacity while using that nature as an excuse.

This war is just a practical, problem-solving exercise like everything else. People have to get their heads out of it.

Posted by: Swan on July 27, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Part of the "conservatives for Byrd" brigade, to be sure. Lies are like M&M's to you."

ROFL... Dear heart, is reality too tough for you to handle? John Cole is indeed a conservative blogger, having voted for Bush in 2000 and in 2004, as well as voting for Republicans for most of his life. That he has since come to regret his 2004 vote does not make him any less a conservative.

I will note, by the way, that you had nothing to say about the actual content of John's post, preferring instead to issue a bunch of mindless partisan drivel and ad hominem attacks. Typical.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I keep seeing Kevin and others making the claim that conservative bloggers claimed that Scott Thomas (and now we know, Scott Thomas Beauchamp) "didn't really exist."

Kevin, as one of those bloggers writing about this developing story and following it closely, can you please tell me which conservative blogs stated such a thing? Frankly, I've seen no evidence of such claims being made, by any blog, but I'm sure your intrepid readers can probably dig up a handful of such claims by less credible bloggers, if they really try.

But if you are trying to imply that that was a consensus or even a majority opinion, or even a popular theory on the center right or among active-duty and veteran military bloggers, you are at least simply wrong, or at the worst, purposefully deceptive.

I'd like you to either retract your claim, or support it, please.

As for the claims made by Beauchamp, I find it unconscionable that you refuse to discuss the obvious truth that Beauchamp's work was not closely or carefully edited prior to publication, on at least two of his three stories.

If Foer and TNR's other editors had done their jobs, that Beauchamp might have been shut down prior to his infamous third dispatch, "Shock Troops," even being published.

In his second dispatch, "Dead of Night," Beauchamp wrote: "Someone reached down and picked a shell casing up off the ground. It was 9mm with a square back. Everything suddenly became clear. The only shell casings that look like that belongs to Glocks. And the only people who use Glocks are the Iraqi police."

Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of modern firearms knows that no pistol, rifle, submachine gun, or machine gun deployed in the world today uses ammunition "with a square back," in 9mm Parabellum, or in any other caliber. For feeding reliability, all currently used ammunition has tubular cases with a round rim. But past this wildly inaccurate of description of the recovered casing , Thomas went on to defame the Iraqi police, inaccurately stating as fact that, "the only people who use Glocks are the Iraqi police."

That statement is so astoundingly incorrect as to be laughable. While Glocks are carried by many Iraqi police officers, Glocks are among the most common handguns in Iraq, easily found and purchased, and carried by those on each side of the conflict and Iraqi civilians alike.

Even without a military background, I'd expect for most editors to recognize the red flag present in his second post--when he makes the claim of a "square back" cartridge casing--just from watching the occasional episode of CSI. I'd also expect them to make at least a cursory attempt to check Thomas' inflammatory claim only the Iraqi police carry Glocks, and recognize all the political undertones that such a loaded charge implies.

It would have taken very little effort--no more than several minutes on Google with any variation of "iraq" and "glock" as the search terms--to note that these pistols are very popular and quite common in Iraq, being coveted by soldiers, police, militiamen, insurgents, criminal gangs, contractors, and civilians alike. These few brief moments un-taken would have shown Thomas' claim and implication to be flatly wrong.

The editors at The New Republic did not bother to take that time.

This incident, of course, came prior to Beauchamp's third story, "Shock Troops," which has received most of the attention.

After more than a week of investigating after the article was published and criticism began to rise, Foer and the New Republic have yet to provide corroboration for a single one of his accounts.

In opposition, active duty soldiers at FOB Falcon--where Beauchamp was writing from--flatly dispute that there ever was the burn victim that Beauchamp claims to have verbally assaulted among the dozen of so female contractors on base, that the children's cemetery discovered and relocated was anything like the "Saddam-era dumping ground" that Beauchamp used in his florid prose, or that any soldier at FOB Falcon would subject themselves to being thrown about and injured against the armored interior of a Bradley IFV, much less laugh as the driver went on some sort of canine killing spree with a 23-ton vehicle that isn't even as agile as the past generation's M113 APCs.

No, the story should be focusing on how personal relationships at TNR corroded to the breaking point good editorial practices.

If Franklin Foer has done his job as an editor, he would have attempted to vet for accuracy Beauchamp's stories prior to publication, at which point he would have realized that they were unsupportable.

Scott Thomas Beauchamp's dream of becoming a well known writer apparently caused him to greatly embellish stories or make them up out of the whole cloth (the current military investigation into his claims should determine precisely which occurred) , and that collided jarringly with Franklin Foer's all too human--and I would hasten to add, quite understandable--desire to trust those you know.

I can understand why Foer wanted to trust Beauchamp, as Foer this morning confirmed that Beauchamp is married to a TNR writer-researcher, but this does not excuse him from recognizing the inflammatory and defamatory nature of the charges leveled by Beauchamp that slurs ever soldier in his base, who he claims did nothing as they verbally abused a burn victim, laughed uncontrollably as a unit as a soldier desecrated the body of a child, and once again as a unit, laughed as a demented dog hater carried out canine murders.

Foer, failed TNR, as Beauchamp failed his fellow soldiers.

Sadly, Kevin, Matthew Yglesias, and Andrew Sullivan have also failed, and don't even make a passing attempt to deal with this story honestly.

Posted by: Bob Owens on July 27, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

On the macro level, these acts are just acts of frustration. Frustration occurs when what you're trying to do doesn't get done. Solve the task, eliminate the adverse symptoms.

This war is just a practical, problem-solving exercise

You just figure out what needs to be done, and figure out a way to do it. You don't try to stick square pegs in rounds holes.

You look at the history of what kinds of things led to intractable, generations-long conflicts in particular areas. If you're heading down that road, you stop.

Posted by: Swan on July 27, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

The number of wanna-be-eloquent defenses of acts like this by the troops are a shame, not something to live up to.

Posted by: Swan on July 27, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

The Attorney General has pretty clearly committed perjury, yet right wingers have their panties in a twist over possible editing or inaccuracies of a pedestrian set of anecdotes from an enlisted man in Iraq.

In their view it's honorable to invade a nation without cause, resulting in the deaths of two thirds of a million people. But man you better not run over a dog.

Posted by: Nick on July 27, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

From Howard Kurtz
The magazine's editor, Franklin Foer, disclosed in an interview that Beauchamp is married to a New Republic staffer, and that is "part of the reason why we found him to be a credible writer."

Too.damn.funny. I am sure if the Weekly Standard had published an anonymous article from a soldier saying we're winning the war, and it turned out he was married to a Weekly Standard editor, it would only serve to increase the credibility of the story. To use a double positive...yeah, right.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and yet we get the opposite. Geez. I look forward to the facts coming out one way or another, and someone will be eating crow.

Posted by: RSM on July 27, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Swan, I'm wagering that you have never smelled gunpowder. The academics of it all fly right out the window when the shit hits the fan.

Let me put it in terms an academic (that is not a slur, I used to be one) can grasp...When our etic crashes into their emic, the probability that the law of unintended consequences will be enforced approaches 1.

Personally, I am withholding judgment on this issue. I know that we have a shitload of hinky troops that five years ago wouldn't have gotten through the recruiters door. In FY 2007 fully 17% of all Army recruits were admitted on waivers.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that his war stories are just that. War Stories. (Ask anyone who ever donned the cloth - that is not a compliment.)

Were I a betting woman, I would bet that somewhere in the middle rests the truth.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Bob Owens wrote: If Franklin Foer has done his job as an editor, he would have attempted to vet for accuracy Beauchamp's stories prior to publication,

This point is irrefutable. ABC News quoted Foer on how he did his fact-checking:

As for the specific accounts in the stories, Foer said that the articles were rigorously fact-checked before they were published. "We showed the stories to people who'd been embedded in Iraq to make sure that it all smelled good. We talked to one of the members of his unit to confirm the woman, a female contractor. We talked to a medic who'd served in Iraq to make sure that a woman could be in an FOB. We spent a lot of time with him on the phone asking hard questions."

Good journalistic practice would allow those accused of misdeeds to respond, but Foer evidently didn't get the names of the alleged miscreants. Apparently he got no dates, no locations, and no supporting witness statements. Yet, Foer calls this process rigorous fact checking. He says it "smelled good".

Whether or not Beauchamp's articles prove to be accurate, Foer didn't do a proper job of editing.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

The NYT did not properly edit articles written by Judith Miller, who was pro-war. No pro-war articles written in the National Review or Weekly Standard were properly overseen by any editor either.

Those who fight in wars or occupations usually devolve into barbarians. It is what happens in such horrific circumstances, but it should not be overlooked that the American men and women who have committed such behaviors described were followers of W. Bush, Gen. Petraeus and Col. McMaster. These are the real war crime perpetrators.

Posted by: Brojo on July 27, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

No Red State Mike, you've never cared about the facts - otherwise you wouldn't have supported the Swift Boat Liars for Bush campaign, you wouldn't have repeatedly told lies about both Bush and Kerry's service, you wouldn't repeat lies about the Iraqi threat to our national security in 2003. In this case what you are looking for is the same thing that every mindless supporter of mass Iraqi murder is looking to find: some trivia that you can exploit to pretend that the whole thing was an invention.

But we know there are people who act like this - some people even cheer the deaths of women and children, even going so far as to claim that there are large numbers of military personnel who wish they could have been the ones to drop the bomb on this innocent pair (just because she was near a "bad guy"). Compared with that kind of bloodlust making fun of a woman's disfigurement is small potatoes.

Posted by: heavy on July 27, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

[Motive ascription deleted. Speak for yourself, no one else.]

Posted by: Mike K on July 27, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Have you read his blog, PaulB ?"

How is that relevant, dear heart? If you have a problem with what he wrote, then by all means quote it and cite your concerns. The post at that link you provided was not, in fact, from May 8th, 2006, nor did I see anything wrong with the September 8, 2006 post at the link.

"Is it clear now ?"

No, dear, it isn't, since you still haven't provided any real argument or data, just more ad hominem attacks.

"Because they hate the military like you do."

ROFL... And, as usual, dear heart, you are 100% wrong.

"The truth or fiction of these stories will come out but you won't believe it."

Dear heart, what part of "I have no idea whether these stories are true or not, nor do I much care, but can we please stop with the egregiously silly attempts to debunk it?" are you having trouble understanding?

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB - you can get to the May 8, 2006 entry via the archive. But, for your convenience, a direct link is http://ghostsonfilm.blogspot.com/2006_05_01_archive.html

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB my post was deleted so I guess you folks don't want any contrary opinions. Interesting that your reply is posted but my comment is gone with "[Motive ascription deleted. Speak for yourself, no one else.]" substituted. Cowards to the end.

Goodbye.

[Your post was deleted because you cast a broad net of scurrilous accusations. As to your departing in a huff...don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you.]

Posted by: Mike K on July 27, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a video where a dog gets accidentally shot in Iraq. You can see that many of the soldiers were visibly upset about it. They are just human like everybody else. If we were placed into that environment we would probably not act much different.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OasEHR5Ije0

You can imagine how the populace there might be tiring of our presence, however.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 27, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

"PaulB - you can get to the May 8, 2006 entry via the archive."

Dear heart, I'm not an idiot. I have, of course, browsed to and read that posting. I'm still waiting, though, for someone to explain just what in that posting debunks Beauchamp's later claims.

And since this seems to be a problem for the comprehension-challenged, let me reiterate that I am not pro-Beauchamp, I am not defending him, I am not claiming that what he wrote was accurate. I have no dog in this fight other than mild amusement at the raving lunacy I'm seeing from rightwing blogs.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

"PaulB my post was deleted so I guess you folks don't want any contrary opinions"

ROFL.... Dear heart, the moderators here are not anti-conservative, they're anti-stupid. If you don't want your posts deleted, don't write stupid posts.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Mike, dear? Writing, "Because they hate the military like you do" is not exactly a "contrary opinion," it's an ad hominem attack, and a fairly stupid and offensive one at that. If you don't want your posts deleted, don't write stupid and offenive ad hominem attacks.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

John Cole is indeed a conservative blogger, having voted for Bush in 2000 and in 2004, as well as voting for Republicans for most of his life. That he has since come to regret his 2004 vote does not make him any less a conservative.

Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman appreciate the stroll down memory lanes, when they weren't considered "conservative"....thus that means they're still left-of-center Dems, one supposes.

(maybe if I feel really brave I'll call someone "dear hear..." nah, I just can't conjur up the guts to....type....that. Ya have THAT much of a need to portray yourself as some sort of man?

Posted by: RW on July 27, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: I'm still waiting, though, for someone to explain just what in that posting debunks Beauchamp's later claims.

First of all, there's no way to debunk Beauchamp's claims, because he hasn't provided details. If he told us who was in the vehicles that allegedly ran over the dogs then one could ask those people whether or not Beauchamp's claim was accurate. If he told us who was with him when he allegedly insulted the woman in the mess hall, then one could interview those people. Without details, it's like an urban legend that cannot be proved false, because you don't know when or where it supposedly occurred. (See snopes.com for examples.)

So, we're talking about plausibility, not debunking. I think the fact that Beauchamp created well-written, literate fantasies about Iraq before he was there makes it more plausible that the similar stories he wrote for TNR may also have been fantasies.

However, we will need to wait for evidence to know one way or the other.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

my post was deleted so I guess you folks don't want any contrary opinions

It's amazing how purveyors of bullshit radical right talking points -- who do nothing but repeat those talking points no matter how many times they've been debunked -- whine about "not wanting contrary opinions" when the moderators finally get tired to them pissing all over the floor. If you've got a long records as an authoritarian cultist, lunatic and liar, Mike K, it's no one's fault but your own.

On a similar not, here's a free clue for "ex-liberal": No one believes a neocon propagandist and serial liar like you is even remotely interested in the truth. Your obvious interest in discrediting Beauchamp, though, does go to show how dangerous the likes of you and Treadon-in-defense-of-slavery-Yankee Bob Owens feel his stories are to disrupting your delusions over Iraq.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman appreciate the stroll down memory lanes, when they weren't considered "conservative"....

I think the word you're looking for is "Quisling," RightWing, if not "neocon" in Lieberman's case.

Irony alert: "ex-liberal" discussing "plausibility" -- ho ho!

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator overwrote...
[Motive ascription deleted. Speak for yourself, no one else.]
Posted by: Mike K

Hey moderator, heavy just posted saying that I wanted to kill women and children and was willing to use the fact that a "bad guy" was nearby as my excuse. Sure sounds like motive ascription to me, and a particularly foul one at that. Your action...

[I am running a comment search before I delete anything, because I seem to recall you saying something along those lines. By the way - I did delete a few attacks against you the other day.]

Posted by: RSM on July 27, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman appreciate the stroll down memory lanes, when they weren't considered "conservative"....thus that means they're still left-of-center Dems, one supposes."

ROFL... Dear heart, is this really the best you can do? Do feel free to tell me which of John Cole's positions on the major issues of the day disqualify his self-identification as a conservative.

Interesting that you still cannot bring yourself to address the substance of John Cole's remarks. Why is that, dear?

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

"First of all, there's no way to debunk Beauchamp's claims, because he hasn't provided details."

Really, dear? And yet we've been hearing from all of the usual suspects that Beauchamp has indeed been thoroughly debunked and discredited. Are you disagreeing with your fellow travelers, including several on this thread?

"Without details, it's like an urban legend that cannot be proved false"

You might want to talk to your chums then, dear, since that is precisely what they are claiming.

"I think the fact that Beauchamp created well-written, literate fantasies about Iraq before he was there makes it more plausible that the similar stories he wrote for TNR may also have been fantasies."

So you do not, in fact, have any particularly information that debunks Beauchamp in that May post. Thanks for confirming this, dear.

"However, we will need to wait for evidence to know one way or the other."

Again, you should have a chat with your chums, dear, since they don't seem to have gotten the message.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I appreciate Blue Girl's intellectual honesty as opposed to the party line response that usually occurs here. The issue isn't whether these incidents happened - even if they did not similar things have occurred elsewhere. The point is why did TNR, even after their recent failings, see fit to print this stuff without basic fact checking? If an ultra-right outfit printed a disproportionate amount of articles detailing civil rights leaders chasing white women, I think you'd agree it would say alot more about them than about their purported target. Yet when mainstream left publications trash every peccedillo and imperfection of our troops, while ignoring the tremendous good they do, I think it's worth noting.

For a different perspective here's John Burns of the NYT:

"But I can speak to you about how we correspondents at the New York Times feel about the American military in Iraq. We have covered the disasters. We’ve covered what happened at Abu Ghraib. We’ve covered what happened at Haditha. But I think I could say this on behalf of all of us who work at the New York Times, and who depends a great deal for our security on American forces, governments…there’s an old saying that countries get the kind of governments they deserve. Well, I would say that may be true also of the military. And the United States military that we encounter are wonderful. They’re magnificent. They’re extremely brave, that goes without saying. They make an enormous effort to perform a civic as well as military duty in Iraq. They are people of honor, and they’re people of whom America can be proud. And I say that without…in an unhyphenated, unqualified way, and I hope that that finds its way into the columns of the New York Times, in the way that we report on this war. America has a fine military, a fine Army, a fine Marine Corps and Navy, and whereas we experience, it, and they’re in an extremely difficult situation, what General Casey, the departing commander describes as a very convoluted situation from which there is no certain, safe, successful exit."

Posted by: minion on July 27, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK
….makes it more plausible that the similar stories he wrote for TNR may also have been fantasies. ex-lax at 1:19 PM
In Iraq ...He watched soldiers from his unit abuse the corpses of Iraqi dead. Mejia related how, in one incident, soldiers laughed as an Iraqi corpse fell from the back of a truck. "Take a picture of me and this motherfucker," one of the soldiers who had been in Mejia's squad in third platoon said, putting his arm around the corpse. The shroud fell away from the body revealing a young man wearing only his pants. There was a bullet hole in his chest. "Damn, they really fucked you up, didn't they!?" the soldier laughed.... 429 Iraqi civilians killed at checkpoints

The number of such stories is appalling. If only they were fantasies, one could take comfort in that it is only the twisted imaginations of some people.


Posted by: Mike on July 27, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey moderator, heavy just posted saying that I wanted to kill women and children and was willing to use the fact that a "bad guy" was nearby as my excuse."

Um, no, he didn't. Had you actually read his post instead of jerking your knee, you'd have seen that that particular comment was not, in fact, directed at you.

Heavy wrote: "But we know there are people who act like this..." That comment was that we know that there are soldiers who have been known to act like this and that it's foolish to pretend that such people do not exist.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Do feel free to tell me which of John Cole's positions on the major issues of the day disqualify his self-identification as a conservative.

Gay marriage.

Next time, make it difficult, okay?

Interesting that you still cannot bring yourself to address the substance of John Cole's remarks.

Who said I disagreed with the remarks? Er, go back and reread. Oops!

Why is that, dear?

You know, there are a lot of men out there whose physical presence strike fear in the 'average' person. Then, there are those with keen intellects who can verbally kneecap their ideological opponents. Neither set sit at keyboards and assume that addressing others as "dear" is anything but the act of a juvenile, small, female.

Filed under: not worth my time, lassie.

Posted by: RW on July 27, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said, no opinions but your own.

Don't be stupid, Mike -- oops, too late. Your error -- among your errors -- among your many errors -- is in imagining that true conservatives support your fellow travelers in the authoritarian cult of personality surrounding Bush, or indeed represent the traditional conservatism whose brand they've co-opted at all.

The key word is honesty, Mike K. You may not recognize it from hanging out with the likes of Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewett, Treason-in-defense-of-slavery Yankee, "ex-liberal," Red State Mike, brian and the rest of your stinking crew, but there are such thing as honest conservatives. It's just that your bunch are neither.

Like PaulB, I'm amused at how unhinged the Bush Cultists are at this episode -- so much so that neocon serial liar "ex-liberal" uses words like "plausibility" and "debunking fantasies" when he himself has no plausibility from all of his own fantasies that have been here debunked. Yes, he keeps posting them. Unfortunately, despite the Stalinist lessons the modern Republican Party has internalized, repeating a lie doesn't make it true.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Yet when mainstream left publications trash every peccedillo and imperfection of our troops, while ignoring the tremendous good they do, I think it's worth noting."

And if any mainstream publication, left or right, ever did anything like this, you might have a point. Since they don't, you don't.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Mike K had a snit and left. Was he lying about bing utterly offended and not willing to grace us with his digital countenance any longer?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Gay marriage."

LOL... Is this really the best you can do, dear? A free clue for you, dear: there are quite a few conservatives, particularly those from the libertarian wing of the party, who have no problem with gay marriage.

"Next time, make it difficult, okay?"

Since you haven't even handled this time, dear, I shudder to think what you'd do with a difficult assignment.

"Who said I disagreed with the remarks? Er, go back and reread. Oops!"

ROFL... Dear heart, who ever said that you disagreed with the remarks? Er, go back and reread my posts. Oops!

"You know, there are a lot of men out there whose physical presence strike fear in the 'average' person. Then, there are those with keen intellects who can verbally kneecap their ideological opponents. Neither set sit at keyboards and assume that addressing others as 'dear' is anything but the act of a juvenile, small, female."

ROFLMAO.... Dear heart, I'm afraid that you completely misunderstand my purpose in writing as I do. Not much of a surprise, given your track record. Thanks ever so for the analysis, though; I'm touched by your concern.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I thought Mike K had a snit and left."

He has those all the time. Like our dear friend, Chuckles, he's something of a drama queen.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

[I am running a comment search before I delete anything, because I seem to recall you saying something along those lines. By the way - I did delete a few attacks against you the other day.]

Yes you did, thank you. The thread and the post you're looking for is here. Read downward from there. I'm guessing heavy was previously RSM (spoofing me).

Posted by: RSM on July 27, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: So you do not, in fact, have any particularly information that debunks Beauchamp in that May post. Thanks for confirming this, dear.

How in the world could a post from May, 2006 disprove something that allegedly happened in 2007? It was always obvious that the May, 2006 post could only impact plausibility.

I think that post plus other items in Beauchamp's blog did just that. We know that
-- he has literary ambitions,
-- he wrote fantasies about warfare in Iraq when he was still in Germany
-- he's an anti-war liberal
-- he says he enlisted for the sake of his writing career

Also, according to one blogger, a blog entry of Beauchamp's violated Operational Security Regulations:

Another long day...cleaning an M16, landscaping, dipping Pro Masks (gas masks to civilians) into strange concotions, a little bit of office work...basically a hodpodge of menially tasks to keep me busy. We finally got official dates on Iraq deployment: May 15 - Our Bradleys get shipped to Kuwaite June 11- Advanced Units move in June 28 - Bravo Team, second squad, first platoon, Alpha Company, first battalion, 18th brigade, first infantry division (the breakdown of who I belong to) deploys. Were probably going to sit in Kuwaite for some unknown amount of time, and then move into Baghdad...

That post is over a year old and was obsoleted be a changed deployment schedule, but the facts are clear: Beauchamp clearly violated operational security regulations by posting the deployment schedule for his unit to his blog.

Major Kirk Luedeke, PAO for 4th IBCT, 1st ID at FOB Falcon, stated in response to my inquiry about this blog entry:

"It most certainly is an OPSEC violation."


Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"How in the world could a post from May, 2006 disprove something that allegedly happened in 2007?"

Dear heart, I wasn't the one who brought that post up!

"It was always obvious that the May, 2006 post could only impact plausibility."

Really? And yet you have not been able to make a case for that, either.

The rest of your post wasn't even worth the trouble to quote, much less respond to, since it's just more ad hominem attacks. Come back when you've got something real.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I come by to see what the left is thinking and occasionally post a rejoinder. I know that many of you don't like other opinions and your response to logic is abuse. No surprise there. I used be post a lot years ago when there was more information and less obscenity and juvenile food fight type behavior. Those days appear to be gone. Too bad. It's interesting that the comment deleted had the link to Beauchamp's blog. I guess hiding your eyes from the truth comes naturally to some. I did e-mail Kevin about the deletion because I had a better opinion of him. I teach young adults so I don't get too excited to see juvenile behavior. It doesn't help with learning, though.

Posted by: Mike K on July 27, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

RSM, see my post above. Heavy was not talking about you when he wrote the comment you're complaining about. The context is quite clear. In short, you've got nothing to complain about.

Heavy wrote: "But we know there are people who act like this..." That comment was that we know that there are soldiers who have been known to act like this and that it's foolish to pretend that such people do not exist.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"I know that many of you don't like other opinions and your response to logic is abuse."

ROFL.... Oh, the irony. Mike, given your abusive posts of late, including posts on this very thread, you have nothing to complain about in this regard.

"No surprise there."

You are quite right; we are not surprised.

"I used be post a lot years ago when there was more information and less obscenity and juvenile food fight type behavior."

Dear heart, given your posts, you are hardly one to complain about "juvenile" behavior.

"It's interesting that the comment deleted had the link to Beauchamp's blog."

A link that ex-liberal posted in a followup post that still remains intact. You still cannot get your head wrapped around the reason for your post's deletion, can you?

"I guess hiding your eyes from the truth comes naturally to some."

ROFL.... Yeah, that's why ex-liberal's post was deleted. Oh, wait, no it wasn't.... Um, did you have a point?

"I did e-mail Kevin about the deletion because I had a better opinion of him. I teach young adults so I don't get too excited to see juvenile behavior."

ROFLMAO... And again, oh, the irony... You have so much to learn, Mike.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why is this so hard for righties to believe? Or are they just being typically disingenuous? Gee, war tends to dehumanize soldiers, cheapens the value of life. Soldiers might respond with machismo or sick jokes as a coping mechanism. Shocking! [/sarcasm]. Has no one been in the corps or boot camp where during runs the squad chants sometimes incredibly harsh, violent, insensitive, macho songs? Hello. Some soldiers WILL and HAVE committed atrocities in every conflict from the dawn of time. Righties, stop lying to yourselves.

Posted by: ckelly on July 27, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

RSM, see my post above. Heavy was not talking about you when he wrote the comment you're complaining about. The context is quite clear. In short, you've got nothing to complain about.
PaulB

Go follow the thread I linked to, which sets up the real context, and you'll know it is exactly me he is talking about. And has been talking about since we dropped bombs on Zarqawi. He stalks me with regularity. Which is OK if it is OK, good for goose and gander, etc. But the moderator should be consistent.

Posted by: RSM on July 27, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite cadence chant was

Road Guards in, Road Guards out
Road Guards running all about
If I had a low I.Q.
I could be a Road Guard too.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, there's no way to debunk Beauchamp's claims, because he hasn't provided details.

Funny how ex-lib needs no details to swallow that the surge is working.

Posted by: ckelly on July 27, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Why is this so hard for righties to believe? Or are they just being typically disingenuous?"

That's what has us bemused. I've yet to see any liberal blogger doing something like, "See? We told you soldiers are inhuman animal scum! This story proves it!" For the most part, the reaction on the left has been something akin to my own: "Some soldiers placed in horrible situations occasionally do horrible things." This wholly uncontroversial truth does not require Beauchamp to support it; there is ample evidence from any number of wars and times.

Acknowledging this simple fact does not mean that I "hate the troops" or that I "don't support the troops." It simply means that I acknowledge the fact that "the troops" are made up of individual human beings, not saints. Nor does it make me a "peacenik" or someone who is opposed to all wars. And again, I don't need Beauchamp to recognize this fact.

What it does mean is that I want to make damn sure that we don't place our troops in horrible situations unless absolutely necessary (which was not the case in Iraq) and that when it is necessary, we do our damnedest to make sure that the bad apples are weeded out and the good ones supported to the best of our abilities. Again, not one whit of this depends on Beauchamp. To me, Beauchamp's story is a non-issue.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly, there are oodles of details that indicate positive results from the surge so far. I don't want to hijack this thread, but would appreciate it if Kevin started one on the results of the surge.

Incidentally, you asked why Beauchamp's story is so hard for righties to believe. In my opinion, anonymous accusations made by someone with an ax to grind and which omit any supporting details that could be checked are less credible than accusations openly made by an impartial person and which identify participants, witnesses, locations, dates, etc.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin made the point that conservative sites went crazy over these accusations. To understand the psychology, I recommend reading the short novel, The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Nobel-Prize winner Heinrich Böll.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

there are oodles of details that indicate positive results from the surge so far. I don't want to hijack this thread

Never stopped you before, so cite your damned sources!

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on July 27, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Isle of Lucy, here's one recent interview from All Things Considered on NPR

Petraeus: Increased U.S. Troops Yielding Results

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, says the "surge" in U.S. troops has achieved success, particularly against Al-Qaida-in-Iraq insurgents in Anbar province west of Baghdad. Petraeus says the military's most difficult challenge is dealing with sectarian conflicts in the neighborhoods of Baghdad. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12099511

I haven't read or listened to the whole thing, and I don't want to debate it here, but at least this can get you started.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

"ckelly, there are oodles of details that indicate positive results from the surge so far."

Just oodles and oodles of 'em! Wow! Incredible! Why if you don't look at violence, deaths, local politics, regional politics, milestones, Iraqi security, infrastructure, and the like, "the surge" is just an overwhelming success! Rah!

"Incidentally, you asked why Beauchamp's story is so hard for righties to believe. In my opinion, anonymous accusations made by someone with an ax to grind and which omit any supporting details that could be checked are less credible"

That doesn't answer the question. Why, specifically, did right-wing pundits and war supporters go apeshit over the story from the very beginning, before they knew anything at all about the author? Why have they been frothing at the mouth and grossly overreacting about such a very inconsequential matter?

Your "explanation" just serves to demonstrate why it is appropriate to withhold judgment and not immediately proclaim the story the truth, something few, if any, are doing. It does not serve to explain the outright rage and the eagerness to do everything in their power to deny the story and viciously attack the author. Even if he is proved to be lying or exaggerating, the response is wholly disproportional to the crime.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, says the "surge" in U.S. troops has achieved success, particularly against Al-Qaida-in-Iraq insurgents in Anbar province west of Baghdad. Petraeus says the military's most difficult challenge is dealing with sectarian conflicts in the neighborhoods of Baghdad"

This is your "oodles" of data?! LOL.... So let's see: General Petraeus has a three-year history of exaggeration when it comes to accomplishments in Iraq, his opinion on the overal success of "the surge" is not backed up by any reliable, independently confirmable data, he has a vested interest in the outcome of "the surge," his opinion is directly contradicted by the recent mandatory report to Congress as well as by numerous news stories, and successes in one area of Iraq have been offset by worsening conditions in other areas, precisely as we predicted.

Interesting that you don't view this report with the same skepticism that you view Beauchamp's.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read or listened to the whole thing, and I don't want to debate it here, but at least this can get you started.

My goodness but you are a condescending prick.

Petraeus is a water carrier and a waste of promotion. If there is any doubt of that, this should get you started.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on July 27, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: This is your "oodles" of data?! LOL

No, as I clearly said, this is NOT my oodles of data. It was just something to help respond to Isle of Lucy.

Should General Petraeus get more credibility than Beauchamp? General Petraeus is the expert in this area. He made his evaluation openly. He provided many specific details, some good some bad. It seems clear to me that his evluations deserve a lot more credibility than an anonymous accusation with no checkable details.

By the way, even before we knew anything about Beauchamp, people guessed what kind of person he was. Some guessed pretty darn well. Here's a neat article, if you haven't seen it, and it's not written by a rightie. http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/post/PLNK1A3L4YEO74C19

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus is a water carrier and a waste of promotion. If there is any doubt of that, this should get you started.
Posted by: Isle of Lucy

Good read. This line was telling in the last paragraph...

Iraq's security forces are, however, developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition -- and now NATO -- support, this trend will continue.
Posted by: RSM on July 27, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Isle of Lucy: Petraeus is a water carrier and a waste of promotion. If there is any doubt of that, this should get you started.

IoL, evidently the Petraeus article you cited doesn't agree with your beliefs. However to prove that Petraeus is a "water carrier," you would need to provide evidence that the article isn't fair and accurate.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

RSM - Dave Betrayed-Us wrote that in 2004. It was wrong then, and it will still be wrong in September when he comes back to sling the same line of bullshit.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on July 27, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I guess "brian" got embarassed and left when it was proven that "many" right wing blogs claimed that the "Scott Thomas" comments were not written by a real soldier, contrary to his assertion Kevin was lying.

Posted by: anonymous on July 27, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

It was just something to help respond to Isle of Lucy.

You really do get a sick thrill out of posting the most disingenuous, bad-faith arguments you can, don't you, "ex-liberal"? Your citation of Betrayus, whose questional credibility has been pointed out to you time and again, is a deliberate insult.

As to your "oodles of data," as again has been pointed out to you, they're isolated data points in an ocean of failure, death, chaos and destruction -- but that's okay with you, because your neocon agenda benefits, and you don't have to pay the costs.

Finally, "ex-liberal," your pretense as an honest commentator has long ago been shattered. You have no credibility, and your assertins aren't worth a bucket of piss.

As for the increasingly deranged Mike K: I come by to see what the left is thinking and occasionally post a rejoinder. I know that many of you don't like other opinions and your response to logic is abuse.

Shorter Mike K: I post bullshit from the right-wing echo chamber -- which, by and large, doesn't permit dissent -- and am unprepared to have my wingnut derangement challenged with the scorn it deserves. Poor baby.

"Logic." Heh.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

evidently the Petraeus article you cited doesn't agree with your beliefs

"ex-libera," you disingenuous toad, Betrayus' article didn't agree wit hthe facts. It agrees with your deranged, loathsome neocon beliefs, which is why you cite it. No one else is fooled -- but then you don't expect your bullshit to fool anyone, do you? You make your mendacity as obvious as possible to be sure everyone knows it's an insult. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

anonymous, yes, some sites incorrectly predicted that Scott Thomas would turn out not to be a soldier. But, that's not what Brian wrote. On July 26, 9:15 PM Brian wrote,

By the way, I don't think many "conservative sites" said he did not exist. I'm afraid Kevin may be making that up, or at least exaggerating. Truth is the anecdote for all this.

I think Brian is right. I saw few, if any, conservative sites which claimed that Scott Thomas did not exist. Kevin was indeed writing loosely when he said, Conservative sites went crazy. Thomas didn't really exist.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

"No, as I clearly said, this is NOT my oodles of data. It was just something to help respond to Isle of Lucy."

Dear heart, you might as well just admit that you have no "oodles of data." It was silly of you to pretend that you did.

"Should General Petraeus get more credibility than Beauchamp?"

Nope. Beauchamp is a complete unknown. Petraeus, on the other hand, has a long history of either lying or being wrong about events in Iraq.

"General Petraeus is the expert in this area."

No, actually, he's not, as his past history clearly indicates. He has been wrong, repeatedly, for more than three years now.

"He made his evaluation openly."

No, he didn't, since a) his data is woefully incomplete, b) little of it could be independently verified, and c) some of it is directly contradicted by other sources.

"He provided many specific details, some good some bad."

Not really, there was little there other than feel-good "signs of progress" and anecdotal evidence. It's telling that you think he provided adequate details, though.

"It seems clear to me that his evluations deserve a lot more credibility than an anonymous accusation with no checkable details."

Given Petraeus' past history and the fact that much of what he has said in the past couple of months has been directly contradicted by actual events in Iraq, I beg to differ. Petraeus is a known quantity. As I said above:

So let's see: General Petraeus has a three-year history of exaggeration when it comes to accomplishments in Iraq, his opinion on the overal success of "the surge" is not backed up by any reliable, independently confirmable data, he has a vested interest in the outcome of "the surge," his opinion is directly contradicted by the recent mandatory report to Congress as well as by numerous news stories, and successes in one area of Iraq have been offset by worsening conditions in other areas, precisely as we predicted.

"By the way, even before we knew anything about Beauchamp, people guessed what kind of person he was."

LOL... Dear heart, considering how little information you have about Beauchamp, forgive me if I don't take anyone's completely unprofessional armchair analysis of him seriously.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

"This line was telling in the last paragraph..."

ROFL.... It's telling all right, but it says more about you than it does about Petraeus. Note, for example, the complete lack of any real data or detail in that statement. Here, let's run a couple more Petraeus statements by you:

Huge progress is being made in training Iraqi combat troops, and 24 homegrown battalions have now taken control of assigned territory.
there are now more than 170,000 trained and equipped Iraqi police and military personnel, and more than 105 police and army battalions are in the fight
The weight of Iraqi security forces is being felt
I think that we've turned the corner
there has been enormous progress ... recruiting, training, equipping and employing Iraqi security forces. Huge progress
But, in general terms the security situation in Baghdad is improving every day.

No problem with these, right? They are similar in tone to the quote you loved so much. They are all Petraeus' candid assessment of progress in Iraq.

Here's the kicker: these quotes are from 2005, 2004, and even 2003. Now tell me again why I should take that line you loved so much seriously? Why I should take Petraeus seriously?

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB, when I said Petraeus made his claim "openly", I meant he did so in his own name, not anonymously like Beauchamp. Not by using sock puppets, like Glenn Greenwald. The sock puppet episodes have reduced my trust in what Greenwald writes.

Regarding that semiotics article, I don't care whether you take it seriously. It's just a really neat article. I intended to do you a favor by linking to it.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, faux-liberal and RSM, the one thing most notable about that interview with Petraeus is the complete lack of support for anything he says! Contrary to what you report above, there was not one single specific detail in the entire interview. Not one.

That "oodles of data" you touted consisted entirely of unsupported assertions, guys. And you found this so convincing that you presented it as evidence that we should take you seriously? The mind boggles....

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

No one seems to have any problem trashing a dogface, but many seem unwilling to hold a four-star to any account at all.

I was on-duty at Munson Army Health Center when the word came down that he had accepted the billet (and the 4th star that came with it) and within the hour, I heard four different E-3's and and below morph his name into the version I read upthread.

Another E-5 medical type, who had been depployed to Iraq twice already said "That tears it. I'm not reupping now. Not with him in charge over there. We'll be in that shithole for ten more years."

He meant it, too. About six weeks ago, I got a call from a civilian hospital asking me for a reference. He is out and staying out.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"PaulB, when I said Petraeus made his claim 'openly', I meant he did so in his own name, not anonymously like Beauchamp."

ROFL... And this matters, why, exactly? Dear heart, Petraeus' comments were no more supported than were Beauchamp's, and yet you trusted, and still trust, the one, and distrust the other, despite Petraeus' long history of being completely wrong. Q.E.D.

"Not by using sock puppets, like Glenn Greenwald."

ROFL.... Nice ad hominem attack, dear. Can't deal with the substance, so you have to attack. Says a lot about you.

"The sock puppet episodes have reduced my trust in what Greenwald writes."

ROFL... He quotes Petraeus directly, dear, and links to articles that write about and quote Petraeus. All you're doing with these lame excuses is completely destroying any tiny bit of credibility you had left.

"Regarding that semiotics article, I don't care whether you take it seriously. It's just a really neat article. I intended to do you a favor by linking to it."

And the fact that it fit your preconceived notions had nothing to do with it. Right.... Man, I just love it when you guys play right into our hands.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

"IoL, evidently the Petraeus article you cited doesn't agree with your beliefs."

ROFL.... Oh, the irony....

"However to prove that Petraeus is a 'water carrier,' you would need to provide evidence that the article isn't fair and accurate."

No, dear, we don't. It's up to Petraeus, and you, to show that the data are complete and correct, something conspicuously absent from both of you, despite your claims of "oodles of data."

In any case, all we have to do is what we've already done -- demonstrate that Petraeus has given almost identical interviews several times over the past four years, all of which interviews have shown him to either willfully dishonest or hopelessly clueless about events in Iraq.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, faux-lib, that blog post you were so proud of was based solely on the writing of one single and quite short article, which meant that it was fundamentally flawed before it even began, and it reached the rather interesting conclusion that "Scott Thomas" was probably not a soldier.

So much for that....

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB, I would suggest that you write to Kevin and suggest he post something about whether or not the surge is working. If Kevin does so, I'll be happy to debate you there.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

So that article that you claimed "guessed pretty darn well" about Beauchamp was wrong about Beauchamp, wrong about Foer, and wrong about every verifiable detail. And you actually thought well enough of this to bring it to our attention? An article that is not only wildly inaccurate but that destroys your claim that nobody was claiming that "Scott Thomas" didn't exist? ROFL....

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

"PaulB, I would suggest that you write to Kevin and suggest he post something about whether or not the surge is working."

Oh, he will, when there's some actual data to report. Maybe you should tell him about all those "oodles of data" you know about since obviously we liberals are totally clueless.

"If Kevin does so, I'll be happy to debate you there."

Whatever, faux. Any time a thread gets this long, it degenerates into a free-for-all, anyway. I doubt that anyone would care what you posted about "the surge."

It doesn't really matter, though; you're going to lose the debate no matter when it happens because you really don't have oodles of data and you know it.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

I meant he did so in his own name, not anonymously like Beauchamp.

Golly, after the unhinged reaction of the right, I can't imagine why Beauchamp wrote anonymously!!
(Note to ex-lib: That was sarcasm)

Posted by: ckelly on July 27, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Bob Owens is a fucking idiot, if you haven't already guessed...

Frankly, I've seen no evidence of such claims being made, by any bog

Please, you fuckn' liar. I know damn well you read Power Line.

...with a 23-ton vehicle that isn't even as agile as the past generation's M113 Apes.

Get the fuck out! I challenge you to a multiple turn, obstacle course, cross country, whatever the fuck you want...RACE. Me in a Bradley, you in a M113. ROFLMAO!

Posted by: elmo on July 27, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Get the fuck out! I challenge you to a multiple turn, obstacle course, cross country, whatever the fuck you want...RACE. Me in a Bradley, you in a M113. ROFLMAO!"

I'll take that bet. The Bradley is faster on the road, but the M113 has a lower profile and center of gravity, weighs about half as much, and is several feet shorter, making it more nimble and quicker in tight turns (as opposed to neutral steering, which both vehicles can do). Faster is not always better. I've been in both and while the Bradley is a great vehicle, it's also big, noisy and more cramped than the M113 (the turret eliminates a lot of interior space).

My question is, if the driver that Beauchamp was talking about was doing all of these crazy maneuvers to run over dogs, what was the rest of his squad doing? After all, they were the ones getting bounced around in the back, and they were also the ones who'd have to get out of the protected compartment to fix the track after this idiot broke it by running over things that the Bradley was not meant to run over (Beachamp refers to him running over concrete barriers, corners of buildings and the like). For that matter, didn't the TC have something to say about it? I can't imagine him letting someone run over things that could easily be IEDs. And any vehicle that was abused in the way that Beauchamp describes would have stuck out like a sore thumb on the unit's Operation Readiness reports, as it would have been down constantly to replaced damaged track sections. I'd also think that the Battalion Maintenance Officer might have a problem with his recovery team having to go out (and get shot at) to tow a vehicle that sustained damage because the idiot driver liked to rearrange the landscape, and certainly the S4 would have complained about having to pay out the claims of Local Nationals who'd had their property damaged by him. It's one thing to cite an isolated incident, but a pattern like this would have been exposed and the culprit subjected to UCMJ, especially if he was bragging about killing dogs on the platoon net, which is monitored in the company TOC.

That's the thing that makes me question this guy's veracity, that there are never any repercussions for the conduct that he describes. These actions would have real consequences for Soldiers who participated in them, or even just let them happen.

Posted by: Odysseus on July 30, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

One has to have a really, really strong ego to defend someone like Scott Thomas and not expect to be compared to the village idiot so Mr. Drug thanks for demonstrating that your ego probably generates its own gravitational field.

Now we have grown used to the MSM fake but accurate standards which accounts for the esteem the MSM is held, below that of lawyers, politicans, judges, home invaders, and child molesters and the kind of thing you step into by accident on a hot summer's day, very sticky, very disagreeable and very smelly.

But hey what's the truth among progressives grounded in reality? I bet there have to be a great number of disgruntled leftwingnuts who responded to former government officials from Nigeria and got stiffed. But it does take a modicum of judgement and experience, things not highly valued by those who hailed Thomas Scott's work. Perhaps he has a future as a fact checker for CNN or the NY Times but other than that he requires a massive does of lithium.

Posted by: Thomas Jackson on August 4, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

If Beauchamp said and did the things he says he said and did, he's an SOB.

If he did NOT say or do those things, he is a liar AND and SOB.

Either way, he's an SOB. So why on earth is TNR publishing his crap?

Posted by: mamapajamas on August 5, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

By now, you will have heard of the Army's investigation and Beauchamp's refusal to talk to anybody.

You will have heard the mutilated woman incident happened in Kuwait,before he got into combat, meaning he was not dehumanized by combat. Either it didn't happen at all, or he was an asshole before he got to combat.

If the latter, the fact remains, as thorough as Army selection and training are, sometimes it's just impossible to correct the results of being raised by and among civilians.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey on August 15, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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