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Tilting at Windmills

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August 2, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SCOTT THOMAS FOLLOWUP....Remember Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the soldier in Iraq who wrote a piece last month for the New Republic in which he recounted stories of (a) mocking a disfigured woman, (b) a fellow soldier who wore a piece of a child's skull he had found, and (c) another fellow soldier who ran over dogs with his Bradley fighting vehicle? Well, TNR has just put up their investigation into Beauchamp's piece, which included talking with "current and former soldiers, forensic experts, and other journalists who have covered the war extensively, [and] five other members of Beauchamp's company."

The result? They "all corroborated Beauchamp's anecdotes, which they witnessed or, in the case of one solider, heard about contemporaneously." The only error they uncovered was that one of the incidents apparently took place at an Army base in Kuwait, not Iraq.

Reaction from the right, which has been loudly insisting for a couple of weeks that the whole thing was a fake? Stay tuned. I expect that they'll find reasons to hold both Beauchamp and TNR to blame for the whole thing anyway.

UPDATE: Here's my prediction from a week ago:

Like a Kabuki story, though, you can already see how this is going to play out....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!

Rarely does a prediction turn out to be quite so completely on the money.

Kevin Drum 4:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (191)

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Comments

Kuwait = Whether or not Kerry was in Cambodia on or around Christmas = "Beauchamp can't be trusted"

Posted by: anonymous on August 2, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

OK, sure Beauchamp was truthful. But was the truthy? That's the real question. We shouldn't ask what's true, we should ask what we know in our gut to be true....

Posted by: Stefan on August 2, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Reaction from the "used to being called a troop-hater" left?:

Yawn.

Reaction from a realist:
These are normal human reactions to being in a horrible, brutal, nasty, lawless environment. Unfortunately, when these guys rotate back to the states, they'll be filling out job applications to be the guy who's responsible for pulling your teenage daughter and her stoner girlfriends over in your H2 doing 90 on the way back from the mall. Good luck with that.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 2, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Steering Yoke Bitches!

Posted by: elmo on August 2, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Who the @#$@#$ cares? This was a big Right Wing Scandal anyway. The only people who gave a rip about this were the Hannity crowd. Why do we go back and forth with the false moral superiority battles? Let it go. Let Hannity's People Go.

Posted by: CT on August 2, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

These guys live to kill the messenger, frst and foremost. They know that truth, or reality, or whatever you want to call the empirical world, is their enemy, so they will always shoot it down, often before even (barely) discerning what the message is.

As with Al-bot etc hereabouts, the important thing is to keep asserting what tribe you belong to, and that it is the most powerful. That warlord mentality has taken over the United States, and it will take some hella DDT to drive it out again.

Posted by: Kenji on August 2, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

More violence means the war is going well. As does less. Those telling the truth about the war are traitors. Those telling lies about the war are traitors. Being a wingnut means never having to say you're sorry. Or wrong about the war, or wrong about labeling someone a liar and a traitor.

Posted by: steve duncan on August 2, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

TNR has just put up their investigation into Beauchamp's piece

Which doesn't prove anything AT ALL. TNR's statement boils down to "a bunch of anonymous people say it's true, so therefore it's true". No, that doesn't cut it either. Where is the confirmation of his unit ON THE RECORD agreeing with him? Nowhere to be found. After all these years of saying "Bush lied", "Gonzales lied", "Cheney lied", TNR deserves to have the same question asked on whether they're lying.

Posted by: Al on August 2, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

So what's TNRs rationale for running this story, I wonder?

Are they trying to ingratiate themselves to the "left" again, after alienating them by cheerleading "wars against Arabs" for so many years?

Posted by: luci on August 2, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Right on time, Al! You're really a kind of genius as making a fool of yourself, aren't you?

As usual, we will take your flummoxed silence as assent that you are hopeless, laughable tool of criminals who don't give two shits about you.

Posted by: Kenji on August 2, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

. . .Where is the confirmation of his unit ON THE RECORD agreeing with him? Nowhere to be found. After all these years of saying "Bush lied", "Gonzales lied", "Cheney lied", TNR deserves to have the same question asked on whether they're lying.
Posted by: Al on August 2, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, since the President is the Commander-in-chief, that means the military is part of the Executive Branch, so these guys all get Executive Privilege, and they don't need to go "on the record".

Asshole.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 2, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I have not yet received my personal phone call from Beauchamp and his fellow soldiers in which they swear upon a stack of Bibles that they are telling the truth. Until I receive that phone call, I know that Beauchamp is a lying lefty swine, and TNR hates the troops.

Posted by: Al on August 2, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Which right-wingers have mentioned the Nation article in which vets, instead of speaking anonymously or pseudonymously, actually give their names and tell their stories ON THE RECORD? Which right-wingers have mentioned that article and said, thoughtfully, hmm, maybe there's something to this? Shall we count them?

Posted by: thersites on August 2, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Reaction from the right? One order of "bad apples" coming up!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on August 2, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

This Al is a self-satisfied parody-troll havin' a larf (and probably a wank as well)!

Posted by: blowback on August 2, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

The result? They "all corroborated Beauchamp's anecdotes, which they witnessed or, in the case of one solider, heard about contemporaneously."

Whoops.

I guess all those commenters who have been draggin Kevin over the coals over this one have been pretty full of shit.

The only error they uncovered was that one of the incidents apparently took place at an Army base in Kuwait, not Iraq.

I guess he just forgot where he was when it happened.

Posted by: Swan on August 2, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah Al, the sky is not actually blue until it swears on a stack of bibles.

Posted by: elmo on August 2, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

What about the story doesn't seem plausible. It sounds just about right for troops stuck in a shooting occupation. "War is Hell" isn't hyperbole. It is the truth. Only people who have never experienced war would think twice about Buauchamp's stories.

I know men who lived their entire lives suffering nightmares about WWII. My father wouldn't talk about his experiences until he was well past 75. There are still men who haven't gotten over Vietnam.

When those guys come home they are going to need all of our support, and they are going to need it for years. Like I said "war is hell." Nobody ever really comes all the way back from hell.

Posted by: corpus juris on August 2, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Corpus juris;
my wife's great-uncle died three years ago. He had been an Austrian farmboy, who was drafted into Hitler's army.

In fact, he had hidden from the troops who came around to round them up, and got caught. The punishment for that was summary execution by firing squad. But they were nice, and let him get inducted instead. He lucked out, and got stationed in France. (his brother went to the Eastern front, and was never heard from again - MIA). When he was captured, he was sent to prison, and served a horrific four years in a french coal mine.

He was always happy to talk about his years as a POW. Starving, working 18-hours a day, no days off, being underground 6 weeks at a time, with no breaks, having dysentry, etc.

He never talked much about the time he served, until after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He didn't see much actual combat, because his time was mostly sitting on an antiaircraft battery until the allies invaded and captured them (they didn't fight, they happily surrendered). But in the time he was shooting down British bombing missions, the terrible things his fellow soldiers did to the survivors, and to the French civilians, were pretty horrifying. He had a shoebox full of photos he had kept hidden, with some pictures of posed, dead British airmen.(nothing Abu Ghraib-ish) (no idea how the pictures survived the POW experience - the family gave them to an historian).

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 2, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

>>Let Hannity's People Go

Didn't Moses say that?

Posted by: Orson on August 2, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Ever since the 2004 election, which featured OFFICIAL mocking of the Purple Heart award by the official nominee of the Repukeliscum Party, we know that the Repukeliscum Party HATES the enlisted man, and HATES all heroic accomplishments.

Posted by: POed Lib on August 2, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Anon at the top got it in one.

The idiot "media" guy at the Corner (not linking even if I owed you money) said that his conflation of Kuwait with Iraq regards to the deformed woman made Beauchamp a liar in regards to the "war is hell" motif of his piece because they weren't yet in the Iraq theater. So, the "logic" goes, how could he be so cruel if his morality hasn't even been worn down by war yet?

Right. Because how could basic training ever strive dehumanize anyone enough to fight a war?

Its as if people have been walking around with a Kick Me sign on them for years, yet still wondering why strangers come up to boot 'em on the ass.

Posted by: Jay B. on August 2, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "After all these years of saying 'Bush lied', 'Gonzales lied', 'Cheney lied', TNR deserves to have the same question asked on whether they're lying."

And after all these years of listening to you and your fellow GOP apologists egbert / forsythe, ex-liberal and the now-banned American Hawk re-write history by dissembling on long-established matters of fact and public record, you deserve to know that nobody here really gives a rat's ass anymore what self-deluding bullshit artists like you think about these issues.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 2, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

>Reaction from the right? One order of "bad apples" coming up!

Few, many, or all soldiers are responsible? Pick one, genius.

Posted by: VRWC on August 2, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Few, many, or all soldiers are responsible? Pick one, genius.

Do you fucking moronic assholes have your Purple Heart bandages ready again? Not only are Repukeliscum conservaboobs physical cowards, but they hate and despise all actual heroes.

Posted by: POed Lib on August 2, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I said that the thing that really didn't ring true with me was the Bradley/dog thing. Now that it's been explained, I can see it. It wasn't a matter of chasing the dog, so much as faking it out so that it ran into street.

He's still a dick for the incident with the wounded woman, but it being in Kuwait even explains that a bit. Nobody at Falcon saw her because it didn't happen there and since I take it this was his first deployment, he hadn't seen any IED wounds yet.

I don't know what to say about the skull/bone thing. I originally pictured a complete skull or at least a large part of one. Then again, I had a loadmaster once joke about how many human remains we were carrying in the aircraft. He didn't know I was listening and I let it go without comment, since he changed the subject right away.

Posted by: trashhauler on August 2, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

The issue has been whether the very liberal Howard Dean supporting Beauchamp was: (1) a jerk who thought it was funny to mock a disfigured female IED victim but who told the truth about others in his diary; (2) a jerk who thought it was funny to mock a disfigured female IED victim but who lied about others; or (3) a liar about everything, including his own horrendous and disgusting conduct.

You guys now rejoice about the fact that 3 apparently has been eliminated as a possiblity?

Everyone should call the guy a jerk. The TNR report seems to be a little bit less than solid confirmation of his stories, but the only remaining question is to what extent, if any, this highly offensive jerk is a liar.

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

A PFC, possibly scared shitless over what he has gotten himself into, mocking a disfigured woman is pretty disgusting. But it doesn't hold a candle to a governor mocking a woman whose death warrant he has signed. I have never seen you condemn that action by aWol, brian, so your protestations ring rather hollow.

Just sayin.'

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 2, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Actually brian,

The issue in the jingosphere has been:(1) that since a solider would never do the things he said and TNR had plagiarists in the past he doesn't exist(2)If he does exist and is a solider, he's lying because there's no way a tank could split a dog in half (3) If he does exist and is a solider and isn't lying...Actually, it wasn't until your post when I saw what the right now has to fall back on. Nothing, basically.

EXTRA NOTE: No one. And I mean NO ONE, 'supports' what the guy did. The difference between your obtuseness and reality is the gulf we're trying to bridge. Soldiers do fucked up things in war. This is a particularly fucked up war. What do you find so difficult to get?

Posted by: Jay B. on August 2, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Few, many, or all soldiers are responsible? Pick one, genius.

Since I'm predicting the "bad apples" defense, I'll go with "few." The bad apples defense is always associated with the behavior of a few.

Genius.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on August 2, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Pick one, genius.
Posted by: VRWC on August 2, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

The one in charge of all the rest.

And the 60 million bad apples who put him in charge.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 2, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

blue girl,

Thanks for the honesty about the disgusting nature of Beauchamp, even if you felt the need to partially exonerate him as being scared. (Remember, he wrote about it as seeing her every day in Iraq at war and attributed it to the effect of war. when in fact it was while he still was in Kuwait before he went to war -- so he seemed to lie about the context of it perhaps because it wanted to portray it as a consequence of war.)

I only vaguely remember the story about President Bush allegedley mocking the murderer on death row. If he did it, I think it was offensive. I don't know about your comparison though. Mocking a disfigured IED victimm seems worse to me than mocking a convicted murderer.

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

So can I say I'm still confused what the big scandal was about. I mean, these soldiers are described as behaving in disgusting and irresponsible ways, but none of this is War Crime /Abu Ghraib level stuff. I never found it horribly surprising that soldiers were behaving this way. Not because they're bad people, mind you, just, people start acting really weird when they're being shot at regularly.

For instance: the guy wearing the skull on his head, I had read several times that playing around with body-parts of dead people was a fairly typical response to combat stress. Not that everyone does it or anything, but it's listed as one of the typical symptoms of someone who's seen a lot of violence and been forced to shoot at people.

That's not meant to excuse the behavior or anything either. Obviously the superior officers should be trying to prevent it. But could someone please explain to me why reports of this are making the right livid? Is it the revelation that warfare doesn't involve chivalric heroes meeting each other on the field of honor?

Posted by: DBake on August 2, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Barlett leads the "critique" of TNR and Beachamp at TownHall. Some of it is persuasive, particularly on fact details. Other parts are overstated. It is true the TNR report on its investigation is pretty vague and not worthy of the somewhat triumphant tone. They ought to admit it was a mistake to give a partisan like Beauchamp such free reign in providing a perspective of the troops.

The Kuwait location of the disgusting mocking is somewhat significant in terms of the dishonesty of Beachamp -- he charactered the situation as one where he saw her every day in Iraq and implied his inhumanity was the result of the pressure of war. It also seems like TNR has transformed a pattern of Bradley vehicle conduct into "one incident." It seems pretty clear Beachamp is to some extent a liar. So at this point, he seems to be both an admitted highly offensive jerk and a likely liar.

http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/g/07095fb7-061f-4949-889a-59fd547d2153

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

But could someone please explain to me why reports of this are making the right livid?

Because outrage is their addiction and they'll do anything for a fix.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on August 2, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

But could someone please explain to me why reports of this are making the right livid?

Because they are chickenhawk dicks.

This stuff is all par for the course, as anyone who has been in battle or has ever bothered talking to someone who has been in battle will tell you.

Posted by: Disputo on August 2, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

DBake: But could someone please explain to me why reports of this are making the right livid? Is it the revelation that warfare doesn't involve chivalric heroes meeting each other on the field of honor?

Reports like this make me livid because our soldiers are something like "chivalric heroes." They're volunteers, risking their lives and well-being, fighting in uncomfortable conditions for low pay. They're fighting with effectiveness and discipline. They're fighting groups who we all despise, primitives who rejoice at slicing the head off an innocent reporter. And, they're fighting to protect you and me, DBake.

The conduct selected for report by this author unfairly belittle the entire group of heroes. If the items are inaccurate, that's worse yet. But, even for the items that might be accurate, these stories are selected to present an unfair, slanderous picture of our heroic fighting men and women, for whom we shoould all be hugely grateful.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 2, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

brian, my stance hasn't really changed. Here is what I said in the initial thread on this topic. (Here and here.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 2, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if the right is "livid" but it seems logical that the right would criticize a liberal magazine for printing an annonmous "diarist" writing bad things about troops. It turned out the right's suspicions were justified in terms of the guy's very liberal politics and at least some inaccuries in his story. He does seem like one very odd and disgusting fellow, so in that sense TNR in hindsight at least should not have hired him. When TNR saw his story about mocking the disfigured woman, shouldn't it had said "no thanks" to the guy?

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

brian wrote: "They ought to admit it was a mistake to give a partisan like Beauchamp such free reign in providing a perspective of the troops."

Yeah, it is just crazy to allow an individual to provide a personal account and express opinions in an opinion magazine.

Posted by: Jim E. on August 2, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

DBake asked:

"But could someone please explain to me why reports of this are making the right livid? Is it the revelation that warfare doesn't involve chivalric heroes meeting each other on the field of honor?"
_____________________

I can only speak for myself, but I saw it as just another plank in the look-what-we're-doing-to-these-kids, they're-all-gonna-be-psycho anti-war platform. Even minor stuff like this swirls around and stains all soldiers, not just some rookies on their first deployment. That's particularly unfair today, as our men and women are much more disciplined than any army we've ever had. Very much more caring and as humane as anyone can expect in combat, as well

I know people do weird things in war. Hell, they do weird things on Mainstreet, USA. I think that all the military people commenting on the blogs wanted it known that it didn't sound like common behavior to them, because Beauchamp's hijinks or something similar were all too likely to be attributed to them and their troops in general. Guilt by association. Nobody likes the thought of that happening - again.

Posted by: trashhauler on August 2, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ex is right, to a point -- but only to a point.

Beauchamp is an asshole -- anybody dispute that? So stop acting like it's insignificant.

We owe the women and men of our military our gratitude, our support (and a shitload of money for their health care unto the generations).

But we do NOT owe them a suspension of our judgment, neither of the stupidity of the war we (yeah, "we") require them to fight, nor of the morality of the way they (yeah, "they") fight it.

Rumsfeld is far more culpable than Beauchamp -- but that doesn't let him off the hook, much less the guys at TNR who enabled Rumsfeld.

A good friend of mine served 18 months in Vietnam, mostly in the Ashau Valley. He got decked in a bar one night in 1972, I think it was, after he had been back long enough for his hair to grow long, when he told some guys who had NOT been to Vietnam, that they should have brought Calley back to the village -- and hanged him.

I dunno that I would have wanted Calley hanged (nor Beauchamp humiliated), but I know whose side I'm on in that barfight.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 2, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

It appears more than one person here thinks the TNR is a reliable antiwar publication. Odd.

Posted by: Jim E. on August 2, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the honesty about the disgusting nature of Beauchamp, even if you felt the need to partially exonerate him as being scared.

I didn't. I said A PFC, possibly scared shitless over what he has gotten himself into, mocking a disfigured woman is pretty disgusting. But it doesn't hold a candle to a governor mocking a woman whose death warrant he has signed.

That is not a "partial exoneration" and I have never flocked to either side on this. I have, from day one, taken a "lets wait and see how this plays out" position.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 2, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

These people are maddening, and I HATE them. They are such a bunch of clowns.

*headdesk*

Posted by: Caitlin on August 2, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

brian, the truth is that the right-wingers were worked up into an emotional frenzy claiming that TNR was perpetrating and fraud and that Scott Thomas was lying and/or non-existent. Quite honestly, I really couldn't care less what anyone on the right thinks of the issue. Furthermore, as Bush supporters, none of you are actually in any position to make moral judgments about the misdeeds of others.

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Guess you kinda missed that whole part where Scottie Beauchamp made an "error" in claiming a warzone encounter with a burned woman in Iraq was actually a not-yet-deployed encounter in Kuwait.

Reads so much better, you know, when he can claim his viciousness was due to Bush's war instead, you know, being bored hanging around on peaceful base, training, eating chow.

Posted by: ace on August 2, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

never a liberal: But, even for the items that might be accurate, these stories are selected to present an unfair, slanderous picture of our heroic fighting men and women, for whom we shoould all be hugely grateful.

And the difference between you and us is that we can see them behaving inhumanely, even monstrously, and still be grateful to them because we strive to be clear-eyed and honest about what war does to people.

You, on the other hand, can only "support" troops as part of your sanitized, tidy vision of war and soldiering. You don't respect their sacrifice because you've stuck your fingers in your ears and your hands over your eyes so that you won't have to have any fucking idea what that sacrifice really is.

You goddamned tool.

Posted by: shortstop on August 2, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

I can only speak for myself, but I saw it as just another plank in the look-what-we're-doing-to-these-kids, they're-all-gonna-be-psycho anti-war platform.

Ah, those crazy libs, always making shit up:

"Prolonged periods of deployment among Britain’s armed forces is associated with mental health problems, finds a study published on bmj.com [British Medical Journal] today."
Posted by: Disputo on August 2, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

I know people do weird things in war. Hell, they do weird things on Mainstreet, USA.

What the fuck kind of town does he live in where people wear body parts on their head on Main Street? Well, wherever it is, I sure don't want to live there...

Posted by: Stefan on August 2, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, you're right, ace. Hanging around a base waiting to be deployed is all fun and games. No anxiety involved whatsoever! No psyching yourself up or divorcing yourself from seeing people as people.

Posted by: Whatever. on August 2, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Is it the revelation that warfare doesn't involve chivalric heroes meeting each other on the field of honor?
Posted by: DBake on August 2, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

The correct answer is:

These valiant young heroes are professional soldiers. They represent America to the rest of the world. They represent Western values. They represent civilization. They symbolize why we are fighting. We expect that for the obnoxious amounts of money we're paying for this enterprise, that each and every one of them, no matter where they came from, no matter what their education background, is trained to be an effective killer, an effective defender of Liberty, and a kind, adult, just, professional, example of why Iraqis should want their country to be more like ours and less like theirs.

If our soldiers step out of line in that situation - then they are only human.

And also, if our soldiers step out of line in that situation, their superiors FAILED them - they failed to train them properly, and they failed to set the proper standards, and they failed to set a good example.

And also, if our soldiers step out of line in that situation, then the very highest ranks, especially including the civilian planners and advisors, and the commander in chief failed them AND FAILED US - THE TAXPAYERS, because they failed to make sure that our military was properly organized, funded, and informed, to professionally conduct its mission.

To say that a soldier's job is to be an armed thug - and nothing more, is sheer stupidity. A soldier must be much more than that. You either believe that the mission was about "Democracy Promotion" - or "killing and oil". Since BushCo failed so miserably at this, and I mean - they failed so bad, in almost every way you could imagine, and in ways even my sick mind couldn't imagine before the war (and trust me, we haven't even heard a fraction of everything that's going on there) - that one needs a very active imagination to accept that incompetence, rather than systematic malice was to blame.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 2, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

"we strive to be clear-eyed and honest about what war does to people."

What war does to people?

Which war?

Scottie was in Germany before he viciously attacked a disfigured woman. he was NOT in Iraq when this happened, but Kuwait.

Is there a war in Germany that so dehumanized him?

Oh, I'm sorry, that's right-- Kevin Drum "forgot" to mention a major correction/retreaction by TNR.

It just slipped right past him.

Never mind -- you're getting all the important information -- or at least what he figures you can handle.

Posted by: ace on August 2, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

blue girl,

I don't want to be too critical of you because your response was much more honest and respectful that what I normally receive here, but you did for some reason throw in the qualification that Beachamp was "possibly scared shitless" before agreeing he was disgusting. I think this has "played out" enough so everyone can call Beachamp a jerk without qualification.

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

And the difference between you and us is that we can see them behaving inhumanely, even monstrously, and still be grateful to them because we strive to be clear-eyed and honest about what war does to people.

It's more subtle than that. He believes that all publishing about the war should and must be in support of The Party. Republicans are congenitally attached to the concept that all art and journalism must serve as a conduit for propaganda in support of the glorious party mission.

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

After all these years of saying "Bush lied", "Gonzales lied", "Cheney lied", TNR deserves to have the same question asked on whether they're lying.

What a perfect, telling remark. In Wingnut World, a magazine "lying" about some insignificant detail is equivalent to the president of the United States lying his way into war.

Posted by: JG on August 2, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

It turned out the right's suspicions were justified in terms of the guy's very liberal politics and at least some inaccuries in his story.

I find that passage highly offensive brian. My husband and i are both liberals. He is retired Air Force, and I am retired from the GSA after reserves duty. Is our service somehow less because we are liberals? Should we forgo our monthly retirement since our politics differs from yours? Just say the word, because I don't want something you think I don't deserve since I'm a loathsome liberal.

For the record, I never took an oath to a person or a party in my life, and never would. I did take one to the Constitution though. Watching it's abrogation apologized for and excused makes me a hell of a lot more livid than some scared kid telling war stories.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 2, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

What’s really fascinating about this whole case (as numerous people besides me have pointed out -- including, if I remember correctly, Kevin -- is its Tempest In A Teacup nature. It really is true that not one word in Beauchamp’s story does anything whatsoever to hint that this war isn’t completely justified. Such incidents have surely also taken place in every single war the US (or any other nation) has ever been involved in, including WW II and the Civil War.

So: just because the 101st Fighting Keyboarders decided to act like a bunch of Victorian maiden aunts confronted with a mouse at the Very Idea that any of Our Boys could EVER do such disreputable things (see: Abu Ghraib…), the whole affair has gotten tremendously more coverage than it otherwise would have. (Granted that this also leaves the question of why TNR thought the story was worth publishing in the first place—but then, as Matt Yglesias has pointed out, TNR’s status as an “anti-Iraq War” publication is, er, somewhat questionable.)

Posted by: BruceMoomaw on August 2, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

trashhauler:

While I can't speak for liberals as a group (liberal is a political position, not a personality type), I can say that reading about incidents like those Beauchamp described don't make me think less of troops. It's like hearing about high divorce rates among cops or high smoking rates among air traffic controllers. I assume these are really stressful jobs, and people probably freak out as a result of performing them. The soldiers Beauchamp describes probably need a break from combat and some time talking to a therapist.

OBF:

I have not seen combat but I've read a few books on psychological effects of it. I'm not sure it's possible to raise an army that doesn't occasionally behave as these troops are reported to have done. That might be an argument against democratizing nations with the army. I don't know. I wouldn't assume that any of these guys are thugs though, just because they behave badly after having seen combat.

Posted by: DBake on August 2, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, are you kidding? Do you really fully accept TNR's "investigation." Are you really going to label anyone who isn't buying it as some right wing nut? Seriously, all politics aside, this guy's "Iraq diary" is a fabulist handbook, TNR's anonymous sources and "oops, it was Kuwait, not Iraq" doesn't wash, and anyone who argues otherwise just really, really wants it to be true, but knows in that tiny part of rational mind he has left that it's total nonsense. Come on. Get real.

Posted by: Call Me Skeptical on August 2, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

It turned out the right's suspicions were justified in terms of the guy's very liberal politics

The "right" was correct to suspect that a truth-teller about the war would be possessed of liberal values, since the knee-jerk reactionaries and self-described conservatives have been lying about it to themselves and others all along.

Posted by: trex on August 2, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Do you really fully accept TNR's "investigation."

Pretty much.

Are you really going to label anyone who isn't buying it as some right wing nut?

Yup. They're the only ones worked into a froth over it.

Seriously, all politics aside

Don't make me laugh.

Look, a right-wing blogstorm was cooked up by a bunch of right-wing fanatics. They got duped into following the lead of Michelle Malkin and ended up with egg on their face. The lesson: don't get caught up joining right-wing lynch mobs.

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

What's revealing about this incident is that rightwingers share the same mentality as regular terrorists: The rightwingers' reaction to an otherwise inconsequential diary by an obscure writer in an ideologically confused magazine was to try as hard as they can to terrorize everybody associated with it.
___________________________

Posted by: Aris on August 2, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin...
The result? They "all corroborated Beauchamp's anecdotes, which they witnessed or, in the case of one soldier, heard about contemporaneously."

Nothing to celebrate here on either side. It smears all military, liberal or conservative, no matter. And I agree with Osama Been Forgotten that it represents a failure in leadership. It will be interesting to see the results of the investigation. I'd have preferred Scott had acted like the soldier in Abu Ghraib and reported the incidents correctly, but there it is.

When I read the story I am reminded of the quote, "Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it."

Posted by: RSM on August 2, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

blue girl,

I'm sorry you found my statement offensive but I don't really undertand why. I said, "It turned out the right's suspicions were justified in terms of the guy's very liberal politics and at least some inaccuries in his story."

I don't see how my statement has anything to do with you and your husband. Its not like I said liberals are jerks like this guy or liberals lie (neither of which I think is generally true). I thought I was stating a fact. The "right" thought "Scott Thomas" was an anti war liberal and, unfortunately for liberals, that turned out to be very true. As to Beauchamp, as far as I know, neither he nor TNR are claiming he was scared or traumatized into his horrendous behavior or his writings; he apparently joined the Army for the purpose of enhancing his writing credentials (that didn't turn out too well). TNR is still essentially vouching for his writing, when they should be expressing regret they ever published him.

It seems to me that this whole episode is bad for liberals because, whether you agree or not, Beauchamp will be remembered as the liberal guy show slimed the military. I think liberals should cut their losses on Beachamp and declare that regardless of whether what he wrote about others was true or not, his own conduct was highly offensive and you want no part of him. All these liberals defending him seems to be another example of how parisanship clouds judgment.

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

The "right" thought "Scott Thomas" was an anti war liberal

The "right" thought "Scott Thomas" didn't exist.

TNR is still essentially vouching for his writing, when they should be expressing regret they ever published him.

Why?

It seems to me that this whole episode is bad for liberals because, whether you agree or not, Beauchamp will be remembered as the liberal guy show slimed the military.

How?

All these liberals defending him seems to be another example of how parisanship clouds judgment.

They've been defending his existence and the veracity of TNR's accounts. The "right" has argued the opposite and proven to be wrong.

If the right is so concerned about the morality of what is published in TNR, how come they haven't been raising a stink about Marty Peretz?

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

We've seen this script before:
Capt. Jamil Hussein doesn't exist.
Capt. Jamil Hussein is lying.
Capt. Jamil Hussein is despicable for telling the truth.

We're at Stage Three. Again.

It's the mirror image of:
We're winning the war.
We're losing the war because the liberals are lying.
We're losing the war becausse the liberals are telling the truth.

Posted by: pbg on August 2, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

tyro,

you can't just say the right said he didn't exist. very few made that assertion.

it seems to be denial to think that having beauchamp disclosed as a howard dean liberal does not hurt liberals. the guy mocked a disfigured woman and laughed about it. he laughed about a guy wearing the skull of a dead child and claimed everyone in his unit was laughing about it. he slimed his entire unit. things probably certainnly will get worse for him as more information comes out.

you think it is wise to be vouching for his veracity. what does a liberal anti war guy have to do before you will abandon him.

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

brian: you can't just say the right said he didn't exist. very few made that assertion.

As I pointed out the other day, you are LYING THROUGH YOUR TEETH.

In five minutes I found 7 links to seven different right-wing blogs or similar forums calling him a fake.

That is not very few and if you need dozens then you are setting the goal posts deliberately higher than you would for saying that very few left-wing posts made this or that claim.

The fact that you think his liberal beliefs are something suspicious is further proof of your intellectual dishonesty and bias, particularly in light of the rampant serial lying by the WSJ, the NRO, Drudge, Instahack, and the Bush administration that's been going on for the last 6 -7 years.

Posted by: anonymous on August 2, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

you can't just say the right said he didn't exist. very few made that assertion.

Plenty made that assertion. Then they said he was lying. Then they said he was a bad guy. Some are saying merely that he's not a good writer. Until his identity was revealed, no one was complaining about his character; they were complaining that TNR was publishing something they thought was fraudulent. The goal posts kept moving and moving and moving. It's cute and sweet that you have finally managed to settle on a set of talking points after being wildly all over the place. It wasn't longer than a week ago the stupids on the right were trying to argue in minute detail how a dog couldn't possibly have been run over by a Bradley. It would have been embarassing how stupid they were acting were it not for the fact that such stupidity is expected of the Malkin-reading Bush-voters on the right.

Interestingly, the right was not howling about Abu Ghraib (fraternity pranks, they said). Nor were they howling about Marty Peretz. They howl about this guy because he didn't paint a pretty picture.

It's kind of funny that you can think that the right-wing blogstorming lynch mob let by lunatics like Michelle Malkin have any expectation of being listened to, given how blindingly wrong they turned out to be about Beauchamp. Maybe you're angry that he opened a window into a world of the military that you would rather the world not see.

You didn't answer my questions though: why should TNR regreet publishing him? Because theyv should be afraid about the hostile, angry right-wing hordes? Or should they be embarassed that they were correct about the accuracy? SHouldn't you regret being associated with the right-wing lunatics who got proven so unbelieveably wrong about their assertions? Are you that shameless?

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think that all the military people commenting on the blogs wanted it known that it didn't sound like common behavior to them.

Nice try trashballer. The honest military
"people" called bullshit on you bullshiters from the start. Punk.

Posted by: elmo on August 2, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

brian: it seems to be denial to think that having beauchamp disclosed as a howard dean liberal does not hurt liberals.

According to your logic, Beauchamp having been disclosed as a soldier must hurt soldiers and the military as a whole.

Thanks for dissing the entire military, brian.

Pretty par for the course from the Right, which has abandoned our military by supporting cuts in their medical benefits and hazard pay, the failure of the Bush administration to provide timely armor, and the failure of the Bush administration to train our soldiers, put enough in the field from the start, and to have a post-invasion plan in place to protect them from the predicted violence and chaos that Bush ignored.

The fact that you are willing to use logic that condemns our entire military just to get a jibe in at liberals makes you a pathetic partisan lying assh*le.

But we knew that already.

Thanks for the confirmation, though.

Posted by: anonymous on August 2, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Orwell: Brian the answer to your question about what a liberal guy has to do before the left abandons him is...

Well, let's see, Ann Coulter has called for the death of numerous liberal politicians and judges on numerous occasions and the right hasn't abandoned her.

Bush has utterly gutted military medical care and abandoned the troops, held up armor shipments in order to save money, tried to cut their hazard pay, ignored advice (that turned out to be entirely accurate) about post-war planning, denying the troops proper training or guidance, made the troops accessories to torture and human rights violations, hid their bodies when they return to their country in caskets manufactured by Bush policies, took back their signing bonuses when they had to retire early from service because of body mutilations, sent bill collectors after their bonuses when they didn't pay them back figuring their country owed them for the limbs Bush made them give up, and so on and on and on, but the Right still hasn't abandoned Bush.

You are the bowl calling the basin white, a hypocrite of extraordinary dishonesty, and a lying piece of excrement.

Posted by: anonymous on August 2, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

brian, your typical ignorance is showing. Thomas isn't "Howard Dean" he's a fucking soldier. He's a real person and, it appears, that the stories he told were true. Finding fault with trivial details doesn't make your whining any more valid.

The truth is that getting people to murder other human beings does bad things to them. Hell, we have a guy on this board who is so bloodthirsty that he thinks a woman and her child are valid targets if they are too near someone he imagines needs killing. That's far more loathsome than mocking a disfigured woman. That's a disregard for human life that is beneath contempt. And this moron thinks that his attitude is, and should be, shared by those still serving. Of course, that idiot is a disgrace to the uniform he once wore.

So, stop whining about how this soldier is some kind of blight on the left. The truth is no one on the left (okay, I haven't seen every single person, maybe there was someone who did - but if they did it was unsupportable) said he was a blight on the military and you don't have the credibility to pin his behavior on your political enemies.

The only thing revealed here is that the right, demonstrated by people like you, hates the troops and the truth.

Posted by: heavy on August 2, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

If I thought the right-wingers were that smart (which they aren't), I'd have speculated that they started the whole "Scott Thomas doesn't exist/Scott THomas is lying" claims to get everyone else (sane people) to defend the veracity of TNR's journalism so that when it was shown that his accounts were true all along, they could smear TNR's defenders with, "see how sleazy they are! they're defending messed up guy like Beauchamp who does awful things in the military!" The right wingers are not, however, that smart, and they merely grafted themselves into the "liberals love military-smearing sociopaths like Beauchamp" because it was the only place left they could move the goalposts to.

The right wing in this sense is very similar to the million monkeys on typewriters. In the set of all possible assertions, we can expect them to inevitably make all the remaining insulting ones that are left after their other ones become unavailable.

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

RSM at 9:55 PM: ... It smears all military....
No, it doesn't and it is not a smear. If they didn't commit the acts, there would be nothing to tell.


brian at 10:02 PM: ....this whole episode is bad for liberals because....
What a pantload, the Republicans run the biggest smear&lie campaign in politics. Beauchamp not more slimed the military than Kerry did. It is the continued McCarthyism of the right that whines victimhood in one moment and slimes the veracious in the next. You are a perfect example. When someone blows the whistle on improper behavior, you first reaction is to slime him and defend the improper behavior instead of condemning it as well. This is typical of Republicans who always put party over country and invent any rationale to excuse their fellow partisans no matter what the offense.

ex-lax at 8:09 PM ...Reports like this make me livid .........
What should make you livid are the actions of the American president that kills innocent civilians, destroys their infrastructure, and ruins their county. Everyone knows that some people abuse their position of power when they have the power of life and death over the public.
No one is served by a knee jerk defense of wrongdoing. It only encourages more of the same.

The US is not fighting the murders of Danny Pearl, they are fighting Iraq insurgents. You are committing the worst offense of all: dehumanizing Iraqis. That is racist and disgusting. The people fighting and defeating the US are people fighting an illegal occupation and war. They did not ask nor deserve to be invaded by Bush, who told every lie he thought he could get away with to justify his actions to the American people.

This war is not to protect you, me or any American. It is an illegal, immoral, unjustified war that endangers all Americans because it is wrong: the wrong war in the wrong country for the wrong reason. It is the shame of American that crackheads like you support the destruction of Iraq, Iraq society, and the Iraqi people.


brian at 8:15 PM ... least some inaccuries in his story....
The only inaccuracy was disremembering an incident as happening in Iraq when it happened in Kuwait. That is trivial when it shows the contempt that some soldiers show for civilians.

trashhauler at 8:17 PM: ...they're-all-gonna-be-psycho anti-war platform....
Plenty of soldiers return with problems. It doesn't do anyone any good to go into denial about the actions that occur during wars. If you haven't the guts to confront and deal with them, then stuff a sock in it.

Posted by: Mike on August 2, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

mike,

you are just seeing it your way. the iraq/kuwait "inaccuracy" is not trivial and it shows the contempt of BEAUCHAMP and his buddy, not the contempt of the miliary. the reason it is not trivial is that Beachamp claimed he saw her every day in Iraq after he was placed in the war zone and it showed the effect of being at war on military people. "disremembering?"

also, the worst of the reported conduct was Beauchamp's conduct. he is sliming himself with respect to his conduct.

tyro
I said from the outset that Beauchamp and the liberals defending him were both in a lose lose situation. he is a jerk and, at least to some extent, the author of inaccurate information.

heavy,
sorry, but I think most people believe Beauchamp's mocking of the disfigured woman is a blight on the military and, since he is a lefty, I suppose he could be viewed is a blight on liberals (although that is going far) -- I just think liberals should state their disgust with his conduct, as blue girl did earlier.

Posted by: brian on August 2, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

brian, fascinating that you don't see any losing consequence to making false claims. You're only saying that this "smears liberals" because that is the only defense you have left after every other assertion the right has made proved wrong. And that assertion of yours isn't even correct.

If you're claiming that liberals are smeared because, once again, they were right about something (previously, we were right that invading iraq was a bad idea, and you were wrong), well, that once again demonstrates that right-wingers like yourself are stupid.

Though, nice setup you have in your mind where if right-wingers attack anything that says stuff they don't like to hear, they "win," even when they are wrong in their assertions. Like ex-liberal, you live in a warped fantasy world.

Posted by: Tyro on August 2, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: And the difference between you and us is that we can see them behaving inhumanely, even monstrously, and still be grateful to them because we strive to be clear-eyed and honest about what war does to people.

It didn't work that way in Vietnam, shortstop. The troops were vilified, sometimes accurately, sometimes not. Their valor and bravery was not always reported. The net impact of this tuype of coverage was that the American populace as a whole was not grateful to the troops coming home. In fact, a few people even spat on the troops.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 2, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:,/b> "Reports like this make me livid ..."

Oh, puh-LEESE.

You're always livid, because someone like you lives to be angry. And if you're not provided with an excuse to denounce something or someone, then you'll simply make up a rationale.

I'm feeling sorry for you right now, because that's really a damned pathetic existence.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 2, 2007 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

No brian, we aren't puppets to have our opinions handed to us by dimwitted supporters of the mass slaughter of Iraqi people (that last phrase would be you). If we are talking need to apologize then the supporters of this unprovoked assault on the people of Iraq must be first in line.

Get it brian?

Dead is worse than disfigured.

Creating dead people is worse than denigrating the survivors.

Creating hundreds of thousands of dead people in an optional war is a war crime.

Supporting those who commit war crimes is far worse than anything Thomas wrote about.

Want to apologize for your part in making Thomas' story true?

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, like many conservatives, you think that the only purpose of art and journalism is to serve as propaganda for The Party. The diary from this soldier made you livid because you're like a toddler screaming "no! it's not true! it's not true!" when you hear something that makes you uncomfortable. That you want the troops to be depicted as "chivalric heroes" at all times only shows that you're really still an immature juvenile.

You're more upset that the media told phony stories about Jessica Lynch fed to it by the government than you are that TNR printed the diary of someone who told things that were true.

Posted by: Tyro on August 3, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

I said from the outset that Beauchamp and the liberals defending him were both in a lose lose situation.

They were defending TNR. Funny that you don't think that the unhinged Malking-lead brigades of morons musing on tread lengths and how none of the events could have possibly happened have "lost." But then, right-wingers were never known about being concerned about accuracy or being correct-- only about their propaganda positioning. And even here, we have another situation in which the republicans raised hue and cry over something that they turned out to be totally incorrect about. So where's the "lose" for the people who looked those lunatics on the right and told them they were full of crap? Or are you just going to move on to your next outrage of the day (I already forgot-- you did-- I tihnk it had something to do with Obama's speech that you were wetting your pants over).

It's funny how you're not really ashamed about hanging around with such a manifestly stupid and uninformed group of political cohorts and how you get so angry and unhinged with TNR commits brazen acts of journalism.

Posted by: Tyro on August 3, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin's update on his prediction is interesting, but accurate only if alls we have is a "slight exaggeration." Also, in view of Beauchamp's admitted conduct, it is hard to make much the prediction/accusation that the right is dragging his character through the mud. He was pretty muddy already. I also don't think Kevin predicted he was the editor of a very liberal student newspaper and big Howard Dean supporter. I know you folks want to stay away from his politics, but it seems to be part of the story.

Posted by: brian on August 3, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

The net impact of this tuype of coverage was that the American populace as a whole was not grateful to the troops coming home. In fact, a few people even spat on the troops.

You intellectually dishonest, loathsome neocon toad. The only documented cases of spitting were American Legion members spitting on their "less successful" brothers. The right turned their back then, and they are honing the stab-in-the-back meme already.

You are a sad, pathetic, withered little man, you really, really are. You make me sick.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on August 3, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

tyro: ex-liberal, like many conservatives, you think that the only purpose of art and journalism is to serve as propaganda for The Party.

Not that it matters, by FYI I'm a member of SFMOMA. I've been on the Board of Directors of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. I'm a fan of the legitimate theatre.

I don't want to see art used for propaganda. I dislike the TNR articles, because I think they were designed to be propaganda. I think they were designed to show the American soldiers in a bad light.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 3, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

brian,

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

Why don't you agree that we should focus on whether the guy was telling the truth? It seems like a simple proposition.

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?


And never forget: "Truth is the anecdote(sic) for all this."

Posted by: Moving Goalposts on August 3, 2007 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

tyro,
I don't think all the facts are in yet about the accuracy of his stories. We'll see. But it seems either he is a bad guy and reported other bad guys, or he is a bad guy and lied about other good guys. Hard to see how it is not lose lose for him and his supporters.

Posted by: brian on August 3, 2007 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

he is a jerk and, at least to some extent, the author of inaccurate information.

Clearly you're talking about George Bush or Dick Cheney here. Or is it Donald Rumsfeld?

Scott Beauchamp may have misrepresented an immaterial fact. If so, it hurt no one, and the kernal of the story is reflective of the inarguable truth that many soldiers have come to see Iraqis as inhuman due to the stress of a situation where they don't know who the enemy is.

OTOH, Bush and Cheney have engaged in a full-on deception and coverup that has resulted in tens of thousands dead, more wounded, even more displaced, has created jihadis, and has cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

And yet you can't seem to wrap your head around the fact that the latter behavior is a million times worse than the former. Tell me, have you been to any Republican hypnotists lately?

Posted by: trex on August 3, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

I dislike the TNR articles, because I think they were designed to be propaganda. I think they were designed to show the American soldiers in a bad light.

Funny, I dislike your posts because I think they are designed to be propaganda. They are wildly innacurate, ignore the hard truths about this war, and are practically rabid to show any poor decision by Bush in a good light.

Posted by: trex on August 3, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

I dislike the TNR articles, because I think they were designed to be propaganda. I think they were designed to show the American soldiers in a bad light.

They were designed to relate a soldier's diary, actually. Simply because you are a very, very sensitive person who can't handle reading it without throwing a fit over how this "smears the troops" is hardly my problem. I can't be responsible for your emotional and maturational deficiencies. The immediate assumption from the right wing was that he didn't exist or he was lying. It's hard to tell-- the goalposts kept getting moved. I can hardly keep track of what the right-wing hate brigade is upset about on any given day. I have an understanding now of why parents spank toddlers-- you can't reason with the irrational tantrum throwers.

But to claim that a notoriously pro-iraq-war publication was publishing propaganda to smear the troops is a much, much worse smear. You got very morally offended by the diary, and you let loose with some very inane juvenalities about war itself... yet not once have you ever condemned the morally egregious rantings of Marty Peretz that appear in TNR. The same group that was saying Abu Ghraib was no big deal is all outraged now. So spare us your pearl-clutching. It reflects quite badly on you.

brain,
I don't think all the facts are in yet about the accuracy of his stories.

The right-wing fanatics have been pretty much wrong so far. But I'm sure if you keep moving the goalposts somewhere, you'll hit on something. Maybe you guys should go back to breathless speculation about Bradley vehicle tread lengths and maneuverability. Or find something else to get outraged about. But the well is dry on this one, for all of the fanatical blogstorms whipped up by the right wing loons.

Posted by: Tyro on August 3, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

brian: "I know you folks want to stay away from his politics, but it seems to be part of the story."

No. You want to make it part of the story. First, your ilk was saying that it never happened. That didn't work, so now you're saying that even if that happened, it was exaggerated. Since that isn't going anywhere, you're hanging for dear life on an irrelevant point about geography. And just in case, you're saying that none of it matters anyway because the guy's a Democrat. You're flailing.

ex-liberal: "I dislike the TNR articles, because I think they were designed to be propaganda. I think they were designed to show the American soldiers in a bad light."

Right. Never mind that this stuff actually happened. You much prefer the propaganda that shows the soldiers in a good light.

Posted by: junebug on August 3, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

It doesn't do anyone any good to go into denial about the actions that occur during wars. If you haven't the guts to confront and deal with them, then stuff a sock in it.
_____________________

It doesn't do anyone any good to play them up for more than they are, either. Of course, you know that, too, but you're not about to say it.

Posted by: trashhauler on August 3, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "It didn't work that way in Vietnam, shortstop."

Yeah, well, very little worked in Vietnam. That's what almost always happens whenever your ostensible rationale for taking military action is based upon inaccuracy, untruth, or delusion -- or any combination thereof. Maybe, one of these light years, you'll understand that concept.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 3, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

junebug, you talk about covering stuff that really happened. Here's a story about something that really happened in Iraq. Does anyone think Beauchamp covered this one?

CBS/AP) At a moving ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President Bush on Thursday made a posthumous presentation of the nation's highest award for valor to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham. The 24-year-old lost his life two years ago in Iraq during hand-to-hand combat with an insurgent who released a hand grenade.

"Corporal Dunham did not hesitate. He jumped on the grenade, using his helmet and body to absorb the blast," Mr. Bush said.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/01/11/iraq/main2351853.shtml

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 3, 2007 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

brian: "

"I don't think all the facts are in yet about the accuracy of his stories."

What you think is irrelevant. His story has been verified. Give it up already.

"But it seems either he is a bad guy and reported other bad guys, or he is a bad guy and lied about other good guys. Hard to see how it is not lose lose for him and his supporters."

The point of the piece is that war has a dehumanizing effect on soldiers. For whatever bizarre reason, you & the loony right feel the need to disparage that notion. Go right ahead. But at least offer some facts on your behalf. Nobody here has disputed the fact that the guy did reprehensible things. And nobody -- not you, not your heroes who make up the right wing noise machine -- has been able to point to where he lied about anything.

Posted by: junebug on August 3, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

brian: "I don't think all the facts are in yet about the accuracy of his stories."

Facts and accuracy never stopped you from teisting the truth before. Why should now be any different?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 3, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a story about something that really happened in Iraq. Does anyone think Beauchamp covered this one?

Well no, because his story was a diary of his own experiences as a soldier. He's not a reporter, you flipping idiot.

The fact that the medal story made CBS news and the Beauchamp story did not further undermines your own argument that "good news" isn't being reported.

Posted by: trex on August 3, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "junebug, you talk about covering stuff that really happened. Here's a story about something that really happened in Iraq. Does anyone think Beauchamp covered this one?"

Sheesh, you guys are unbelievable. You don't believe him when he relates his own experiences on the battlefield, and now you're criticizing him because he's not reporting on something he never even fucking saw. But you'd believe him if he reported that, because it confirms your naïve worldview.

You're growing stupider by the minute.

Posted by: junebug on August 3, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone think Beauchamp covered this one?

Well, CBS News and the Associated Press obviously covered it (which seems to counter your constant harping about the media not telling us the whole story in Iraq).

Beauchamp covered what he, himself, witnessed.

Posted by: Moving Goalposts on August 3, 2007 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ, I want this whole fucking issue to go away. Nobody is coming out of this in any danger of looking too good, that is for damned sure.

Since nobody else is saying it, I will, and I hope Trashhauler will back me up on this...pretty much the only people who get off on war stories don't have any of their own to tell. People who can truly relate die a little inside when these tales are trotted out.

By the way - anyone who has ever given or transmitted an order would like to put a boot in his ass. It's just bad form to take to the pages of a national magazine before you talk to your top kick about the issues you might be having.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

trex, you claim "his story was a diary of his own experiences as a soldier." Yet, Beauchamp included rumors he hadn't experienced, rumors that put soldiers in a bad light.

E.g., Beauchamp reported, “I know another private who really only enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs… (The dog’s) front half was completely severed from its rear, which was twitching wildly, and its head was still raised and smiling at the sun as if nothing had happened at all.”

So this was not Beauchamp's experience. It allegedly happened to someone he knows.

Incidentally, although TNR claimed to have verified what they call "this incident", they only verified a single case of a driver running over a dog, not multiple dogs, as alleged by Beauchamp. Nor did they verify his claim that this driver intentionally took out "curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market"

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 3, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan:

“No one doubts that most of the troops are doing an amazing job in near-impossible conditions. Describing some bad apples and occasional crudeness – especially when you are criticizing yourself as well – is utterly banal…

“I truly have no explanation why the rightwing blogosphere has managed to largely ignore and deny actual claims and cases of torture and abuse by US soldiers, but have gone batshit over some trivial, unshocking, now-verified soldier stories by a man who, unlike Barnett and Malkin, is actually serving his country. But this is my best shot: Their president and their Congress and their movement have lost a war, wounded America’s moral standing in the world and caused tens of thousands of deaths and a greater risk of terrorism across the globe.

“After four and a half years of this nightmare, who are you going to blame but The New Republic? ”


Posted by: BruceMoomaw on August 3, 2007 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, did I miss your apology brian? I'm sure you must have given it, since those of you who cheered the invasion of Iraq are the ones who unleashed the butchery we are now seeing. How about you trashhauler? Did you too cheer the unprovoked assault on the Iraqi people? Do you think that it reflects well on you that hundreds of thousands of human beings have died because you couldn't control your appetite for carnage?

The only ones the Thomas story reflects poorly on are the ones who ensured that he would have stories to tell.

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

ex_lib: "they only verified a single case of a driver running over a dog, not multiple dogs, as alleged by Beauchamp."

Say what? TNR's corroborating witness stated that he saw it happen more than once.

Posted by: Dwight on August 3, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Dwight, you need to learn to parse Ex-lax correctly.

He is asserting that there is only one case of a driver running over *a* dog. That does not exclude the possibility of one or more cases of drivers running over multiple dogs.

Posted by: Disputo on August 3, 2007 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is all getting a little silly on the detail. TNR's corroboration is mediocre, Beauchamp remains a jerk, ex lib is correct that TNR offers no corroboraton of non-dog bradley vehicle recklessness, but Dwight also is correct that the email witness said he saw it more than once.

Blue girl is correct that Beauchamp and TNR have no chance of coming out of this looking good (I take it she would also say right wing critics and left wing supporters as well have no chance). Also, she is right that it would be better for it all to go away, but that is not going to happen -- other than I assume Beauchamp goes away as a writer for TNR and perhaps to the brig.

Heavy wants me to apologize for sending the troops to Iraq, which I realy did not do.

Andrew Sullivan remains the the most hysterical and self absorbed man on political blogs (although sometimes funny).

Goodnight. Here's hoping for peace someday in Iraq.

Posted by: brian on August 3, 2007 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Good point, Disputo. I've been meaning to pick up a copy of Understanding Ex-Liberal for Dummies for a while now.

It's also possible that he thinks it's the same dog that keeps running in front of different Bradley vehicles over and over again, (like that dog in the Tour de France), which would obviously prove that Beauchamp is a liar.

Posted by: Dwight on August 3, 2007 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal -- Maybe you never were an adolescent. Or if you were, maybe you never owned a fast set of wheels and pulled some stupid stunts. Or never gave in to peer pressure. Or never took a dare. Or never flushed a cherry bomb down a toilet for the fun of it. Or blew the annoying neighbor's trash can to hell and gone with an M-80.

Or never got a rush out of any number of other unspeakably stupid or destructive acts, just to show you could and would. Just to show that you could get away with it and you weren't afraid--whether to yourself or your peers. Or simply because you were bored out of your skull, you'd been on an adrenaline-pumped rollercoster, and nothing, but nothing, would fix it but to do it again and go kick the shit out of something or someone. Or never ran with a shady crowd. Or never disobeyed--or felt the need to rebel against--your parents, teachers, and "them".

Now amplify that a thousand-fold--a high-stress combat combat environment with access to machinery with awesome destructive capabilities. That we don't hear more about the types of acts Beauchamp described is a testament to the military's training and discipline. But there is a breaking point.

Posted by: has407 on August 3, 2007 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

No, he isn't going to the brig. He is going to be babysat the rest of his tour. And for the record, I did not single out Beauchamp. I said no one comes out of this looking good - I implicate right wing bloggers there. Consider it overt.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

brian, don't be dumber than being a right-wing nut job requires. I didn't say you sent people to Iraq, I said you share the blame. Without idiots like you to cheer on the Republican war machine there would never have been any troops in Iraq. They remain there because there is a significant number of crazy people like you who think that mockery is a greater sin than ripping people limb from limb. You have it wrong. Did you miss that day in church?

Give it up. The right wing noise machine, who started with "there is no Thomas" and is now reduced to "well one trivial detail was changed and so we must assume that he is a greater liar than the guy that gave us mushroom clouds over the United States," is revealed (once again) to be a pack of idiots.

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 3:29 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum-- your triumphalism is premature, as this TNR/Beachamp controversy could turn south in a hurry.

So far all that TNR has offered for evidence are anonymous witnesses who are willing to back up any part of Beauchamp's accusations, and possibly only one single eyewitness. That isn't much to base a final verdict on. I have a feeling that as more information that comes out, the worse TNR, Beachamp and all of their defenders are going to look.

Posted by: Brad on August 3, 2007 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, TNR says that all six of its military witnesses are eyewitnesses (with one of them saying he actually joined Beauchamp in mocking the burned woman), and it doesn't say that any of them were anonymous from TNR -- just that they wanted to stay anonymous from the brass. (Given the consistent fair-mindedness and tolerance of whistleblowers that the Pentagon has shown during this war, I can't imagine why...)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 3, 2007 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

So remember folks, the next time you see an article or a news broadcast where the administration sources are not identified by name, treat the story like the lie it surely is.

Posted by: a White House insider on August 3, 2007 at 4:36 AM | PERMALINK

The Christopher Hedges series in The Nation is even more damning than the Beauchamp stories. Read it!

War is a direct repudiation of God's admonition to love each other as he has loved us. It is wrong in every circumstance and is never, ever justified, despite all the self-serving rationalizations to the contrary. War de-humanizes everyone and makes us all accomplices to mass murder.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on August 3, 2007 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

YeeeeHa, this is a hot one boys. Must be striking right to the core of the base. This has become my new past time. Scanning the WaMo comments seeing what subjects get the paid trolls out.

They start right out of the box with Al. A good choice, he usually leads off. Then they come in with Trashy, oh he is so sensible, intelligent and caring for a concern toll, a good #2 hitter. But then they follow Trashy with Bri, who is definitely not #3 hitter material. They try to spif him up a little in this thread, to make him come off as not so idiotic, but he reads so stiff and robotic, you would have sworn it was Al Gore instead of a paid RNC troll. They come in quickly with Ex-Lax, thats when you know its a crucial talking point.

The stuff is pretty thin, so they bring in new blood, "Ace", whew, what a name. Bri, Trashy and Exlax have a fourth hand, which they really need because the talking points are extroidinarily weak.

Getting pummeled, they have to invent a new brand to take up the slack, Call Me Skeptical. Does his gig just to throw them off, followed quickly by RSM, this time being all wise and practical. A new take on RSM, but it looks to be working.

Bad news, Tyro is coming right at Bri, who has been carrying more of the load than he should, and Bri has no where to go but throw up more smoke. Which isn't a problem, because it is what the character Brian is paid to do.

ExLax steps in to side track the discussion to Vietnam. Doesn't phase the good guys, though. Tyro and Heavy are hitting on all cylinders.

ExLax has to resort to some silliness about being a band direction, to try and slow down the machine, but DFW and Trex join Tyro, so the effort is wasted.

Junebug chimes in to put on the finishing touchs, and Team Troll is in its last throes.

BGRS, Disputo, TCD and has407, carried their usual weight, didn't mean to slight you. Thanks also to non-regulars Bruce Moomaw and Moving Goalposts. The latter a special creation for this thread that we really appreciated.

The thread isn't going so well. Bri is having to stave off the obvious

Posted by: wapo lurker on August 3, 2007 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Come on censors, you cut off some of my best stuff.

Could you at least repost the end as a continued thread? I forgot to make a copy.

Posted by: wapo lurker on August 3, 2007 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, I had brain fade and couldn't think of the correct term. You guys are mods, not censors. Please accept my apology.

Posted by: wapo lurker on August 3, 2007 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

Since nobody else is saying it, I will, and I hope Trashhauler will back me up on this...pretty much the only people who get off on war stories don't have any of their own to tell. People who can truly relate die a little inside when these tales are trotted out.

Ditto

Posted by: RSM on August 3, 2007 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Since nobody else is saying it, I will, and I hope Trashhauler will back me up on this...pretty much the only people who get off on war stories don't have any of their own to tell. People who can truly relate die a little inside when these tales are trotted out.

I'm going to take my good friend the lady from Missouri to task on this one. I'm not about to deny that non-combatants can get way too involved in this stuff in a way that's insulting and annoying to the people who've been there. But the fact is that you guys can't pick and choose what information you want us to have about other troops' experiences in the line of duty, any more than you want us to pick and choose which stories we listen to.

Those of us not in the military or no longer in the military have to take everything we hear--from the generals on down to the lowest ranks, and quite obviously from the DOD and any member of the Bush administration--with a grain of salt and process the information from the perspective of an outsider, trying to discern where the truth and the significance may lie.

When we're sifting through this information, we don't do it with the hierarchical mindset that goes with military service; we just don't care as much as you guys do whether someone cleared this with his CO. After four years of a war predicated on and protracted by lies, deceit, spin and cherrypicking, we want information wherever we can get it, and we know that whatever the potential weaknesses or agendas of a particular soldier's story, it sure as hell isn't going to resemble anything like candor once it's passed through the chain of command. (It's interesting to me that the many non-career military people I know have a very different perspective on the dissemination of these stories than you career folks seem to have.)

I do have every sympathy for what you guys feel when you hear people of various political stripes using war stories as backup for their own opinions. But the circle-the-wagons-no-matter-what mentality that pervades the military, that's such an inextricable part of military tradition, hasn't done such a good job for the troops these last few years, has it? It's been patently helpful in advancing Bushco's continued lies about Iraq, and measurably useful in extending a clusterfuck of a war and the needless deaths, injuries and psychological maimings of our troops.

And like all attempts at keeping information strictly inside the family, it's doomed to fail--stuff always gets out--and it doesn't do much for the way that family is perceived by outsiders in the long term. So any attempt to protect the troops at large by discouraging this sort of thing ironically has, at least in some quarters, the exact opposite effect.

Posted by: shortstop on August 3, 2007 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going to take my good friend the lady from Missouri to task on this one.

Shortstop, how many stories have you read about members of the military who have been recognized for valor? Can you rattle off any Navy Cross recipients? MOH recipients? Doubtful. But you'll remember Beauchamp long after the war is done.

You're right. We can't control the message about the military. It is doomed to fail. Stories such as these never see the light while the Beauchamps of the world get published. It makes you cringe.

Posted by: RSM on August 3, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Mike, I'd argue that had the wingers not gone ballistic over this story and made damned fools of themselves with their gymnastic goalposts, none of us would remember this one, either.

As for Navy Cross and MOH recipients, no, I can't rattle a single one off. However, the great majority of available literature, from historical accounts to contemporary news coverage, supports the notion of a heroic military. It's foolish to argue that this doesn't have an immense role in forming public impressions of the troops. Even more importantly, we are strongly affected by the acquaintance or close relationships most of us have with former and/or current soldiers.

In other words, we don't have as much trouble as you think we do putting the humanity of other people into context. But it's pretty clear that for some military people, any suggestion at all that war creates reprehensible savagery as well as great instances of selflessness and valor is equivalent to a wholesale smear of the troops. And it's completely obvious from your own history of posts on this subject that you continually fall prey to this distorted perspective.

Posted by: shortstop on August 3, 2007 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I know people do weird things in war. Hell, they do weird things on Mainstreet, USA.

No. When people do weird things in war, it's normal because war is terrible. Horrific violence, degradation, rape, torture, murder, massacre, etc. are par for the course. When these acts happen they do not stand out because they are not unusual. They're not a bug, they're a feature.

On Main Street, however, horrific violence, degradation, rape, torture, murder, massacre, etc. are not normal. When they happen they stand out precisely because they are so unusual. They're not a feature, they're a bug.

It's dishonest in the extreme, therefore, to attempt to gloss over this behavior by claiming that, well, things like this happen all the time. They happen all the time only when you create the environment -- an illegal, aggressive attack and invasion of a sovereign nation and the brutalization of its civilian population -- that allows them to happen.

Posted by: Stefan on August 3, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

This fracas has convinced me that supporters of the Iraq war are deeply, deeply stupid people. I mean, I was aware of it in the abstract, but now we have strong evidence of it here on display for everyone to see.

All this crying and screaming over a soldier who, contrary to claims, turned out to exist and be telling the truth, while Not. One. Peep. out of the right-wing nutcases about the use of torture, the lies of Alberto Gonzales or the huge avalnche of BS that was promoted to get us into the war in the first place. What was the difference? They were specifically TOLD to get outraged about the TNR article, which they knew nothing about.

MattY's blog comments are particularly hilarious for the commenters who repeatedly claim that TNR was publishing Scott Thomas to promote the magazine's anti-war, anti-military liberal agenda. As I said, these right-wingers are deeply, deeply stupid people.

Posted by: Tyro on August 3, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

the iraq/kuwait "inaccuracy" is not trivial

How about the "Saddam has nuclear weapons! Saddam is in league with al Qaeda! Saddam and his army of robot planes are coming to kill us all!" innacuracies? Were they trivial?

Posted by: Stefan on August 3, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

brian: I just think liberals should state their disgust with his conduct, as blue girl did earlier.

Liar.

You and your ilk have proven on many occasions that if the Left states their disgust with any individual soldier, you will claim that they are making a statement about the entire military and that they are criticizing the military in a time of war.

ex-liberal: Their valor and bravery was not always reported.

Their villany was also not always reported and their valor and bravery were the subject of ubiquitous media coverage.

Once again, you are also a liar who ignores historical fact in order to reach inane conclusions.

brian: I know you folks want to stay away from his politics, but it seems to be part of the story.

And when positive stories from Iraq or negative comments about opposition to the war surface, do you ask whether the tellers are Bush supporters or former GOP precinct chairmen or former members of the College Republicans, and make that part of the story?

No, you do not, you hypocritical shill.

trashhauler: It doesn't do anyone any good to play them up for more than they are, either.

Funny, though, how you are perfectly willing to play Saddam's obstinacy up for more than it was, to play up the level of terrorist support in the Muslim world for more than it is, play up the acts of a few terrorists who cut off heads amidst the overwhelming number that do not, etc, etc, etc.

Your credibility is shot, trashhauler, as the result of previous posts in which you apply much, much different standards to matters and incidents that you believe work in your favor.

Posted by: anonymous on August 3, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

brian: I don't think all the facts are in yet about the accuracy of his stories.

When it's Gonzales or another administration figure being investigated and the investigation isn't complete, brian is all about the facts are already in and no wrongdoing has been found so let's move on.

When it's a "liberal" figure, brian continually insists that no matter how much its investigated, the facts aren't all yet in and we must wait (apparently forever) before making a judgment and moving on.

Just like a number of people on the Right, probably brian himself, continues to insist to this day that all the facts aren't in on Saddam's WMDs and that we need to wait (again, apparently forever) before we make the judgment that Bush lied and there were no massive stockpiles of WMDs or active WMD programs in Iraq at the time of the invasion in 2003.

Typical winger double-standards have found their home in brian and ex-liberal.

Posted by: anonymous on August 3, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

I'll bet brian, ex-liberal, and trashhauler think Gonzales's misleading statements are trivial!

Posted by: anonymous on August 3, 2007 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Tyro quotes, and asks: "TNR is still essentially vouching for his writing, when they should be expressing regret they ever published him.

Why?"

Cuz he's a worthless piece of shit whose core point was wrong?

It isn't the experience of combat that made him an asshole: the point of his piece. He was an asshole before he saw combat. Then he misrepresented his experiences (which he went there to get, mind) to make a preconceived point.

How come so few folks notice that this is an excellent example of why so much journalism is shitty?

If I was in the editorial meetings about this piece and the correction, THAT's the point to make. (Somebody should tape it on the wall at the Monthly.)

Remember, when a story is 'too good to check', it's because the editors WANT the story to be true; that's why they think it's so good. Obviously TNR is trying to find some way to climb down from their mistakes on the war.

So when Beauchamp pitched his story about how THIS war made HIS comrades and HIM into brutal assholes, well: that's war, isn't it? You can see the TNR guys congratulating themselves for their editorial.

Except the story's central theme was wrong.

Note I'm not disputing the dog, or the body parts. I'm reminding y'all that the central theme of Beauchamp's writing is that COMBAT made him (and his comrades) like this -- and that's simply not true.

One other thing: I'd be surprised if I'm the only writer/editor posting here who has been in a similar situation, but nobody else has raised any. So FWIW --

A long time ago, a newspaper chain I worked for printed an interview with a Central American activist who denounced US policy toward the region, etc. (Having worked for many years for the chief critic of Reagan's approach, I felt no need to defer.)

And when I read her interview, I went ballistic -- because she blithely charged that American soldiers stationed in her country routinely raped local women and got away with it. The reporter simply asked the next question.

I didn't particularly mind that we printed her charge -- but I was furious that the reporter who interviewed her didn't immediately demand details: where? When? Which units?

She was genuinely surprised that I wanted to know why she didn't ask for details -- 'soldiers rape' is how she started to respond, why even question it?

She was even more surprised when I snapped: "Cuz I'm an American, dammit."

AMERICAN soldiers don't rape -- that is, not as a matter of AMERICAN policy. (Which means, when they do, they are criminals and are prosecuted. Look it up.) History is full of examples of armies that are turned loose on populations, and no crimes are ever prosecuted.

That's not us. If you don't know that, you're as worthless as Beauchamp. When the TNR guys read his piece, with the body parts and mocking a wounded comrade, no patriotic skepticism kicked in: they're all too smart and kewl for that. 'Soldiers do this sort of thing...'

In the end, this flap is just one more wedge between all those college kids at TNR and so many other places who think so thinkistically, and the highly educated, highly trained and extremely intelligent folks who DO things in the military.

It's revealing about what folks really think of our military, sorta the TNR equivalent of the way folks reacted to the story that Keith Richards had snorted his old man's ashes. In the end, it doesn't matter that Keith denied it -- the point is that, cuz it was HIM, we believed it.

Cuz it was TNR -- they believed it.

This really is a story that a better set of editors would have recognized is ALL about the messenger: he's an asshole, and whatever he saw, he clearly and admittedly wrote it up wrong.

Why try so hard to avoid the obvious?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 3, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Since nobody else is saying it, I will, and I hope Trashhauler will back me up on this...pretty much the only people who get off on war stories don't have any of their own to tell. People who can truly relate die a little inside when these tales are trotted out.

Smedley Butler? Total fake. Who else is there who made a lot of noise about the horrors of their military experience? That pseud Siegfried Sassoon? Please. He never really won any medals, you know. Robert Graves (you know, I hear he actually shot himself through the lung)? Tim O'Brien wasn't really in Vietnam very much. I understand he was actually out of the country that Christmas. Oliver Stone had some cushy job behind the lines - LRRP, wasn't it? Leonard Cheshire - well, he just flew fifty low-altitude precision bombing raids in Germany with 617 Squadron. What a pansy!

Posted by: ajay on August 3, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

"I just think liberals should state their disgust with his conduct,"

Jesus, you guys really don't get it. Beauchamp *himself* was digusted with his conduct. That's *the frickin' point* of his article: that one can easily become callous when in a dangerous, stressful position.

"That pseud Siegfried Sassoon? Please. He never really won any medals, you know."

Wilfred Owen? Total liar. When he said that a comrade suffering from a mustard gas attack had a "hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin", or and his "froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer". Now, I've looked up the effects of mustard gas, and it doesn't cause you to grow horns like a devil, nor does it cause cancer. Obviously Owen was lying to advantage a pro-Kaiser agenda. Advantage: blogosphere!

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on August 3, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

the central theme of Beauchamp's writing is that COMBAT made him (and his comrades) like this -- and that's simply not true.

You are probably correct. It was probably their military training, their abusive parents and violent American culture that created the potential for them to act out these behaviors. Afterall, these types of abuse take place on a daily basis in the US.

Posted by: Brojo on August 3, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Ajay:

Your comment about Oliver Stone ("some cushy job behind the lines, LRRP") made me laugh so hard that I spilled my coffee on the keyboard.

Posted by: Tom S on August 3, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Along time ago, a newspaper chain I worked for printed an interview with a Central American activist who denounced US policy toward the region, etc. (Having worked for many years for the chief critic of Reagan's approach, I felt no need to defer.) And when I read her interview, I went ballistic -- because she blithely charged that American soldiers stationed in her country routinely raped local women and got away with it. The reporter simply asked the next question. I didn't particularly mind that we printed her charge -- but I was furious that the reporter who interviewed her didn't immediately demand details: where? When? Which units? She was genuinely surprised that I wanted to know why she didn't ask for details -- 'soldiers rape' is how she started to respond, why even question it? She was even more surprised when I snapped: "Cuz I'm an American, dammit." AMERICAN soldiers don't rape -- that is, not as a matter of AMERICAN policy.

The activist was right. She never claimed that American soldiers raped as a matter of "policy" -- she claimed that they raped, period, which they probably did. It may not have been due to policy, but "merely" to the fact that they were young, aggressive men, well-armed and placed among a fairly defenseless and cowed civilian population whose language and culture was foreign to them. That happens every single time young soldiers are put in that position, and if you doubt it, well, you're simply kidding yourself.

There's nothing magical about "an American, damnit" that makes American men less likely to rape -- just ask American women.

Posted by: Stefan on August 3, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

AMERICAN soldiers don't rape -- that is, not as a matter of AMERICAN policy.

American soldiers don't breath and shit as a matter of policy neither.

Posted by: Disputo on August 3, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, you're a dope.

It isn't that men don't rape, it's that AMERICAN SOLDIERS DO NOT RAPE AS A MATTER OF POLICY and get away with it.

As somebody pointed out up thread, when a unit has individuals who act like this asshole, the NCOs and officers failed to train 'em properly and didn't set the right example.

I wouldn't even go further up the chain: I don't care who the President or SecDef is, I want to be able to COUNT on American NCOs and junior officers.

Don't we all?

That's why a good journalist would have IMMEDIATELY demanded to know where these incidents happened, when, what units, who were the victims?

If you don't have those answers, you don't know. If a reporter doesn't even ask -- well, that tells ya something, doesn't it?

For one thing, your dumbass reply tells us what YOU expect of our military, Stefan. Aren't you ashamed of yourself?

I have higher standards -- which happen to be more like the military's own.

Remember, we're not talking about blanket 'war is hell' stuff, yanno. There are differences between guys bombing from great heights, or shelling from great distances, or even driving through crowds in an emergency -- much less the kind of systematic horrors of the Red Army's invasion of Prussia.

The worst war crime (so, sue us) committed by American soldiers was after the liberation of Dachau, IIRC. The GIs found 3,000 Holocaust victims in cattle cars where they had simply been left to die by the SS when they ran away as the Americans approached. There was another SS unit nearby, which had surrendered while on leave from the Eastern Front. The Americans came back from the train full of dead, lined something like 562 SS men who happened to be handy up against a wall, and machine gunned 'em down.

A war crime? Sure. An atrocity? If ya like. An example of how nice kids from Iowa and Kansas could do something unspeakably brutal? Of course*.

But not like putting a piece of a kid's skull on your head. Not like insulting a disfigured woman.

And not like the breakdown in military discipline that allows a guy like Beauchamp to do these things, NOR the breach of editorial standards that publishes it.

If you can't make distinctions, you won't make sense.

*And in that case, it led right to the top. There's a famous story of a lieutenant on Eisenhower's staff who had a sympathetic look when saw Germans suffering as the war wound down. Ike asked wghat he was thinking, and the kid said, "Well, General, I'm just having a hard time hating 'em."

Then they found Dachau, and Ike ordered the local gentry to help bury the bodies -- and he made sure that lieutenant was part of the detail. On the way past, Ike snapped at the kid: "Still having trouble hating 'em?"

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 3, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't that men don't rape, it's that AMERICAN SOLDIERS DO NOT RAPE AS A MATTER OF POLICY and get away with it.

You had previously said "when I read her interview, I went ballistic -- because she blithely charged that American soldiers stationed in her country routinely raped local women and got away with it." Nowhere in there does she claim that American soldiers raped "as a matter of policy," so you're simply creating a strawman. American soldiers may not rape under official orders, but they do rape local women, simply because they're young, aggressive men. If you're the woman raped, however, it hardly matters to you whether the soldier who assaulted you did so under orders or on his own initiative.

Posted by: Stefan on August 3, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

[tit-for-tat can be played all day. When it takes on trolling qualities, I will delete it. Feel free to comment if you have anything substantive to offer, something to say that has not already been refuted, or if you have something to say that goes beyond "he said, he said." But if I think you are just trolling for the sake of trolling, I will delete the comments. --Mod]

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 3, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ajay, your comment had me laughing, but maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. When I said pretty much the only people who get off on war stories don't have any of their own to tell I was not talking about people who have stepped up. I was talking about the frothing fools like populate the Corner and Powerline and Gateway Pund-idiot. (Smedley Butler is a personal hero of mine, actually.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Any man who can go through life with the first name Smedley is a personal hero of mine, too.

Posted by: Stefan on August 3, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

There is something special about the lackwits complaining that we don't hear about the military giving away jewelry and that this is why they are so upset that someone has reported on some of the horrific actions that routinely take place in a war zone.

I will be mostly alone here, but giving out medals for valor during a war crime degrades the notion of valor. It's like handing a purple heart to someone shot while robbing a liquor store.

Iraq was not a threat to our national security. When they used radar against our planes who were committing acts of war - that's called self-defense. They did not have a substantial WMD program and they did not have a nuclear weapons program (which they couldn't have delivered in any case). After a decade of barbaric sanctions the nation was a basket case.

It is against this backdrop that our "professional military" assaulted the people of Iraq. These facts weren't hard to come by, you just had to look at the evidence. Today only those who love death (like the cowards who kill from relative safety) and those who love the Republican Party more than America still believe there was anything resembling a just cause for this slaughter of Iraqi people.

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, I can give you three more examples of war crimes committed in WWII by American soldiers:

Dresden
Hiroshima
Nagasaki

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist, you're the dumbass. And obviously was never a grunt. We make fun of everything, including your fucking mother. Putz.

Posted by: elmo on August 3, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK
.... Matt Sanchez... reports that the military's investigation of Beauchamp is concluded and Beauchamp has been refuted.....ex-lax at 12:29 PM
Sanchez, like you, is a professional stooge

...Sanchez is reportedly under investigation by the military for fraud. According to an April 1 Marine Corps Times article, Sanchez was informed in a March 22 email from Reserve Col. Charles Jones, a staff judge advocate, that he was under investigation for lying "'to various people, including but not limited to, representatives of the New York City United War Veterans Council [UWVC] and U-Haul Corporation' about deploying to Iraq at the commandant's request."...

Posted by: Mike on August 3, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

It sounds like I misunderstood at least part of what my colleague the gentlewoman from Missouri was saying, for which I apologize.

Posted by: shortstop on August 3, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

elmo - imagine the gallows humor in a military blood bank and you have my experience.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

No problem Shortstop - I figured the godess of the reread would clear it up.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: I cannot vouch for blogger Matt Sanchez, but he reports that the military's investigation of Beauchamp is concluded and Beauchamp has been refuted.

you mean THIS Matt Sanchez?

Adult entertainer

Sanchez lived in Quebec in the 1990s, working in the adult entertainment industry both there and in Los Angeles, after which he moved to Germany. Sanchez worked as a performer in adult films which were mainly targeted towards the gay market. Starring in videos for Catalina Video, Bijou Video, and Falcon Studios, Sanchez spoke several languages and appeared in Call of the Wild (1992) and Montreal Men (1992) as "Pierre LaBranche,"[6] and Idol Country (released in 1994), as "Rod Majors."[7] Other films included Man to Men and Jawbreaker.[1] Scenes from some films have been re-released as part of compilations which is common in the porn industry. The compilation Touched by an Anal was released in 1997; a more recent release was in 2006, Mansex Meltdown.


Marine Corps inquiry

On March 16, 2007, John Hoellwarth, a staff writer for Military Times Media Group, reported that Sanchez was the subject of a Marine Corps inquiry about his appearances in pornographic videos and related allegations.[1] In an article published April 1, 2007 by the Marine Corps Times, Hoellwarth wrote that the Marine Corps was also investigating reports that Sanchez had "wrongfully solicited funds to support your purported deployment to Iraq." According to the article, a Marine investigator accused Sanchez of "coordinating a $300 payment from the UWVC (United War Veterans Council) and $12,000 from U-Haul."[14]


"What is it with Republicans and weird sex? If it's not young boys, it's diapers, some other strange fetish. Why can't they just have sex under a desk with an intern like a normal person." --Jay Leno

Posted by: mr. irony on August 3, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ouch, I think blood bank humor would make even me blush...

Posted by: elmo on August 3, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Corpuscle comedy is not for the faint of heart...or artery...or vein...

Posted by: shortstop on August 3, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

That was the second half of my career. The first half was direct trauma response. I can totally kill a holiday mood and make members of the family go pale. teehee

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Grunts and the tankers had a special bond though. We called them DAT's(dumb as tankers), they called us...speed bumps.

Posted by: elmo on August 3, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

>Since I'm predicting the "bad apples" defense, I'll go with "few." The bad apples defense is always associated with the behavior of a few.

Nice circular reasoning. But the point should be simple enough for you to understand: if a few soldiers are responsible, then "bad apples" isn't a "defence"; it's a colloquial statement of fact that the "rightwing blogosphere" you despise should have realistically recognized from the outset instead of descending through various levels of unwarranted denial.

"bad apples" is the reality. Every barrel has them. "None" and "all" are ridiculous positions to adopt.

Posted by: VRWC on August 3, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

That's pretty funny, elmo.

In all seriousness, I have given three job references in the last six weeks to civilian hospitals for E-4's who used to work under my tech number. They ought to be staying in and getting Warrants, but when Petraeus took the Iraq billet, two specifically told me "with Dave Betray-us in charge, we'll be in that shithole for ten more years. I'm not reupping, because I'm not going back over there."

Blood banks are heavily involved in the post-war care of many of the wounded because plasma is used in treating burns, and burns are a signature injury of this war.

Wait 18 months, and you will see the splendor of this war in a check-out line near you.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 3, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

You know, if there’s a story about the conduct of Our Boys in Iraq whose veracity very badly needs to be checked, it’s Cpl. Saul Lopezromo’s testimony in the court-martial of Trent Thomas for the Hamdaniya murders.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/07/15/marines.iraq.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch :

______________________

CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP)—A corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to “crank up the violence level.”

Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.

“We were told to crank up the violence level,” said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense. When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: “We beat people, sir.”

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamdaniya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Lopezromo said the suspected insurgent was known to his neighbors as the “prince of jihad,” and had been arrested several times and later released by the Iraqi legal system. Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony.

Four Marines and the corpsman, initially charged with murder in the April 2006 killing, have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and been given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to eight years. Thomas, 25, from St. Louis, Missouri, pleaded guilty but withdrew his plea and is the first defendant to go to court-martial.

Lopezromo, who was not part of the squad on its late-night mission, said he saw nothing wrong with what Thomas did. “I don’t see it as an execution, sir,” he told the judge. “I see it as killing the enemy.” He said Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency.

Lopezromo and two other Marines were charged in August with assaulting an Iraqi two weeks before the killing that led to charges against Thomas and the others. Charges against all three were later dropped.

Thomas’ attorneys have said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury from his combat duty in Falluja in 2004. They have argued that Thomas believed he was following a lawful order to get tougher with suspected insurgents.

Prosecution witnesses testified that Thomas shot the 52 year-old man at point-blank range after he had already been shot by other Marines and was lying on the ground.

Lopezromo said a procedure called “dead-checking” was routine. If Marines entered a house where a man was wounded, instead of checking to see whether he needed medical aid, they shot him to make sure he was dead, he testified. “If somebody is worth shooting once, they’re worth shooting twice,” he said.

The jury is composed of three officers and six enlisted personnel, all of whom have served in Iraq. The trial was set to resume Monday.
_______________________

Intersting, no? Even more interesting is that 5 days later, Thomas was convicted of the murder, but given a—literal—slap on the wrist. http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/07/20/Iraq.Hamdaniya/index.html?iref=newssearch : “Cpl. Trent D. Thomas was found guilty Wednesday of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit several offenses --including murder, larceny, housebreaking, kidnapping, and making false official statements --for his involvement in the April 2006 death in Hamdaniya, Iraq. Thomas will be demoted to the rank of entry-level private and will receive a bad-conduct discharge.”

Combine this with those “reduced sentences” for all the other participants, and one does wonder whether he was let off lightly because he was in a position to help kick the lids off too many garbage cans.

I don’t believe that any of the Blogospheric Rightists currently frothing about Scott Beauchamp have uttered a peep about Lopezromo’s story, though. Once again, a little too hot for them to touch? (Kind of like the Americal Division’s conduct in Vietnam, of which --according to the decidedly non-hysterical Charles Lane in his story about Colin Powell in the 4-17-95 New Republic -- the My Lai massacre was only one part? Guerrilla warfare brings out the absolute worst in all armies, including America’s.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 3, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

There is some information out of Iraq that the Army has completed its investigation (http://www.matt-sanchez.com/2007/08/beachamp-invest.html). Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that that is correct, and let's further assume all of the following:

a) The Army's investigation has shown that all of the events Beauchamp reported actually occurred just as he reported them (with the first of them in Kuwait rather than in Iraq);

(b) The Army has publicly released a full report of its investigation, including the identities of others who participated in or witnessed the events; and

(c) Someone other than TNR -- let's say, hypothetically, the Weekly Standard -- has followed up with the other people identified in the Army's report, and has likewise found that those people verify Beauchamp's accounts.

Thought experiment: assuming that (a), (b) and (c) have occurred, what will your personal reaction be? Will those of you who disbelieve Beauchamp's accounts continue to deny the possibility that he has told the truth? If so, what will be the basis for that denial? Or will you shift to the position that even though Beauchamp's accounts are true, they are so anomalous as to be meaningless and can only be read as slandering the honorable men and women in the military" Or will there be some other, as-yet-unstated fallback position?

Remember, this is a thought experiment. Please think over the hypothetical facts carefully, assume them to be true, and respond with rigorous intellectual honesty.

Posted by: Bob on August 3, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

The only denial here has been on the part of the idiots of the right-wing noise machine who started from the position that there was no Thomas, moved to it's all invented, and finally are left pretending that this is nothing more than isolated incidents.

These things aren't some new discovery - young men in stressful situations act badly. This is just the way things are. Only the idiots who think our military is composed of angels think telling this denigrates our troops.

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

See, this is why I post here: idiots are endlessly entertaining when they take themselves SO seriously.

Stefan gladly obliges: " Nowhere in there does she claim that American soldiers raped "as a matter of policy," so you're simply creating a strawman. American soldiers may not rape under official orders, but they do rape local women..."

And when they get away with it, that becomes policy.

Going too fast for you, dude?

When somebody makes a charge like that, a GOOD reporter asks: Who? Where? When? That way, you get these things called "facts". If it turns out that there's a unit which has tolerated this kind of crime, you don't have just an enlisted man or two to go after -- you have NCOs, and first lieutenants, and guess what?

You have the AMERICAN military doing its job: which includes being US.

As noted, your standards ain't high enough for me.

LOL -- and Elmo, I didn't say that Beuchamp didn't make fun of a woman disfigured by an IED.

I pointed out that he claimed COMBAT made him an asshole. But he made fun of her before he'd served in combat, which I think would lead reasonable people -- including grunts who take a grimmer view and appreciate that ya gotta earn your right to make fun of wounds -- to conclude he was an asshole already.

Since the combat creates asshole was his theme, admitting this pretty much obliterates any value anybody can suck out of this boil.

And, geeze, heavy: Hiroshima? Nagasaki? Dresden?

Ever do any original thinking, dude?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 3, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Faulty memory, huh? Just like Scooter Libby, I guess.

Posted by: Brian on August 3, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Fascist, you claimed to have discovered the that "worst war crime...committed by American soldiers was after the liberation of Dachau." What you pointed out was, in fact, a war crime, but (as bad as it was) it is nothing when compared to the mass slaughter of civilians.

Am I the first one to point this out? Hardly. But I don't think I need a lecture on originality from someone blindly repeating laughable talking points from the idiots cheerleaders for war. All you are concerned with is that the American people don't have, yet another, reason to think that war should only be done when there are no other rational alternatives.

Oh, and even those war crimes pale when compared to the unleashing of war against the Iraqi people.

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

I like how theAmericanist wraps up a bunch of ad hominems in a veneer of detached cynicism and proffers it as acute analysis.

It makes him look so damn cool!

Posted by: Disputo on August 3, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

And when they get away with it, that becomes policy.

Actually, no, it doesn't. The main way they get away with it is that the women who have been raped are too scared and/or ashamed to report it. Imagine if you're a local peasant woman in Guatemala or El Salvador who's been raped by a U.S. Marine. What are you going to do about it? Report it to the nun-raping local death-squad allied police? Report it to the military dictatorship supported by those same Marines? Give me a fucking break.

Going too fast for you, dude?

No, but you seem a bit excited. Take a minute. Breathe.

When somebody makes a charge like that, a GOOD reporter asks: Who? Where? When? That way, you get these things called "facts". If it turns out that there's a unit which has tolerated this kind of crime, you don't have just an enlisted man or two to go after -- you have NCOs, and first lieutenants, and guess what?

I don't know. What?

Again, the main way these soldiers get away with it is that these crimes are never reported to the authorities in the first place. I'm sure if the military command did hear of it, they'd prosecute (unless it was too much of an embarrasment, in which case they'd cover it up. See, e.g., Pat Tillman). But the system in most of these countries is set up so they never hear of it in the first place.

Posted by: Stefan on August 3, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight, Americanist.

You believe combat creates assholes in general, just not when Beuchamp says it?

I would argue that just the training to be a grunt would make you that hard. Combat only compounds the problem.

Posted by: elmo on August 3, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Let's sort out the clumsy, from the stupid and the delusional.

Clumsy: Elmo, I'm just pointing that Beauchamp's article was a piece of shit, which is pretty much what you'd expect from an asshole.

His theme, remember, was that war (not training) makes people into beasts. He spent LOTS of words on the theme. So did TNR -- they said quite clearly this is why they published the damn thing.

So it's not an insignificant detail that the incident with the wounded soldier happened BEFORE he saw combat. It obliterates the central theme of the article. (And that theme doesn't recover when other incidents, like the skull, turn out to have happened more or less as he wrote 'em up: cuz now we know his writing and perspective is for shit. Iraq didn't make him an asshole, he was off the shelf.)

Now -- if YOU wanted to write an article from personal experience that demonstrated how just training turned you into an asshole, feel free. But it wouldn't be like the article TNR published, cuz that was about war, not training.

And if you wrote about an EXAMPLE of how training made you an asshole, except it happened before you were trained -- that makes you a bullshitter. That WOULD be like the article TNR published.

Any questions? Doesn't seem complex to me.

And a good editor would have seen through you, and should have seen through this guy.

The stupid: Stefan, you're finally catching on (I know, you're a bit slow) to the point of my story in the first place, which (foolishly) I thought was self-evident: "the main way these soldiers get away with it is that these crimes are never reported to the authorities in the first place...the system in most of these countries is set up so they never hear of it in the first place."

Um, didja READ what I wrote?

I know a little about fucked up places like this; so I'm not deferential when an activist shows up and talks about how fucked up they are. (As noted, I have standards.) When she casually said that American soldiers rape in her country, I wanted to know why my colleague didn't call her on it: Who? When? Where?

Supposing she had solid answers for all those -- Miss X, who is too afraid to give her name, was attacked on this day, in thus and such a place. Maybe she didn't report it because she was afraid of her family. Maybe she was afraid of her government. Maybe she was afraid of American soldiers.

But the point is -- those would then be FACTS, or at least charges to deal with. Remember -- we're the good guys. Even if one of our guys raped her, we're on HER side.

Aren't we?

Supposing (as you evidently assume) the failure of frightened victims to report to THEIR government is related somehow to the presence of OUR soldiers, suppporting that government.

Get that in quotes from a rape victim: you have a helluva story AND you have an instance refuting my core contention in this, which is that the American military does not rape as policy.

But when you don't ask the questions, you don't get the story.

See how it works, Stefan? It just takes brains -- and balls. (Work on the first, and maybe you can try the latter one day.)

Finally, the delusional: Heavy, it might be therapeutic for you to try focusing exercises. Learn how to consider a single thought, then ever so carefully, connect it to another, distinct thought. It takes practice, I know: but you can START, can't you?

Consider: the Dachau SS executions were "in fact, a war crime, but (as bad as it was) it is nothing when compared to the mass slaughter of civilians."

My point was that there is a difference of KIND, not simply of degree. (This is why focus helps.)

Some general issues coordinates for a bombing raid, some colonel orders incendiaries into the bombers, a lieutenant steers a B-25 to the coordinates -- there's a whole welter of issues there, but whatever else it is, it's not the kind of crime of passion, so to speak, that machinegunning all those SS men was. The lieutenant with the Norden didn't just leave a cattle car full of dead kids, and he's not grabbing his victims by the shoulders and pushing 'em into line. He's just looking into a lens and reading a map -- and he didn't choose the map.

And neither of those dissimilar incidents are anything like what Beauchamp describes, although the asshole wants us to think hes like the GIs at Dachau, somehow: war changed him, he tells us.

That is why his character is so revealing, demonstrated by 1) mocking the disfigured woman, and 2) claiming falsely and deliberately, more than twice, that his cruelty was CAUSED by his experience of war -- which, in fact, he hadn't had yet.

I'm genuinely amazed that you guys can't see this; it's an impressive blind spot.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 3, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Have to say TNR doesn't look good in all of this. "The only error they uncovered was that one of the incidents apparently took place at an Army base in Kuwait, not Iraq." - that's not an error, dude. The whole point of that story (a pretty disgusting one) was that the horrors of the Iraq war had made this guy into something pretty close to a monster. Now, they tell us that it was the horrors of the flight from Germany to Kuwait that did it.

Pretty big error.

And they tell us now? Not weeks ago when this became an issue? When did they know?

Posted by: Simon on August 3, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Being an ex-elite all American gymnast, that's the first time I've ever been called clumsy. I've been called an asshole many times though.

Ok, he was already an asshole before combat, you happy? But just being a dick pales in comparison to the changes you go through after combat. And that's a fact, jack.

Posted by: elmo on August 3, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Elmo creeps ever closer to the point: "Ok, he was already an asshole before combat..."

But he wrote about AS IF it was combat that made him an asshole. You still have trouble getting this, Elmo? Didn't have one too many slips off the uneven bars onto the mat upside down, didja?

Hell, maybe the real story in this is how Bush's deployments have stretched the military so thin that an asshole like Beauchamp winds up in a unit that oughta be better qualified and trained.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 3, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Now you're being clumsy. Combat made him close to a monster, not an asshole.

Assholes make good grunts, douche...

Posted by: elmo on August 3, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Obliterates the point", Americanist? It does nothing at all to affect the story about the guy wearing the piece of skull on his head, or the guy who deliberately ran over dogs (and in both cases, TNR has independent witnesses).

Really, given such other fascinating tidbits from the front as Lopezromo's testimony, the current frantic obsession of the Right with straining instead to disprove Beauchamp's tales of vegetarian-level misconduct on the part of some US soldiers would be hilarious (if it wasn't appalling).

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 3, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

As for the fury at Beauchamp supposedly concocting such Outrageous and Unbelievable stories to Smear Our Troops, see the two YouTube entries that Sullivan refers to in http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/08/rebutting-tnr.html : "Here's a YouTube of some soldiers tormenting a wounded dog. Here's another of soldiers taunting thirsty Iraqi kids with water bottles. The incidents are gross, but in a war-zone, they're hardly something to be shocked, shocked at."

And now I intend to knock it off. The Kook Right's obsession with this affair has now gone way beyond intellectual error into the realm of flat-out psychopathology, and I'm not a nurse.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 3, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

theFascist shows he doesn't read what he writes.

The worst war crime (so, sue us) committed by American soldiers was after the liberation of Dachau, IIRC. The GIs found 3,000 Holocaust victims in cattle cars where they had simply been left to die by the SS when they ran away as the Americans approached. There was another SS unit nearby, which had surrendered while on leave from the Eastern Front. The Americans came back from the train full of dead, lined something like 562 SS men who happened to be handy up against a wall, and machine gunned 'em down.
He then idiotically berates me for correcting him and (what is it with right-wing nuts and this) moves the goalposts and starts talking about crimes of passion.

The fact is, a military that can gleefully assault a nation and setup chaos that kills hundreds of thousands is already committing war crimes in the large. You want to pretend this doesn't engender war crimes in the small. There's some delusion here, but it is quite clearly on your part.

The notion that Thomas is some kind of aberration is laughable. We have on this board at least one individual who cheers the death of women and children. This is someone who took part in bombing raids on Iraq and is likely to have in his body count an untold number of women and children. He has contended that he represents the military view. Of course, he also imagines that Thomas' stories cast the military in a bad light - so we aren't talking about someone with much of a moral compass. But that individual is not part of Bush's broken military. He's a Gulf War vet.

Posted by: heavy on August 3, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum --

The Army investigation is now complete and refutes rather than supports Beauchamp's tall tales. Didn't I warn you that you were too quick to judge? Now how are you going to explain your credulous acceptance of the TNR coverup?

Posted by: Brad on August 3, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

ROFL -- Heavy, you're pathological. Observe the difficulty you have with focus.

You quote my example of American soldiers at Dachau killing SS men, after finding yet another site of an atrocity committed BY SS men (just not the ones they proceeded to kill.)

Then you write: " a military that can gleefully assault a nation and setup chaos that kills hundreds of thousands is already committing war crimes in the large."

If you applied FOCUS, you'd realize that you'd just accused the American military that liberated Western Europe, including much of Germany itself (e.g., Dachau) from the Nazis, of 'gleefully assaulting a nation', 'setting up chaos', and 'committing war crimes in the large.' (That's the immediate antecedent to this, er, insight of yours.)

Like I said, if you won't make distinctions, you can't make sense.

Try again sometime. Start with one, clear, distinct thought -- and then, ever so carefully, try to connect it to another clear, distinct thought. You might start with "I am sleepy." Then consider "I would like coffee."

With patience and care, you might learn the baby steps: coffee might be just the thing for feeling sleepy. See how it works?

Here is another example, clearly beyond your ken: the kinds of "war crimes" you want to bitch about, are crimes of POLICY -- open fire zones and the like. They are not and should not be decisions made by grunts, NCOs and line officers.

Before you go off on another irrelevancy, I'm NOT talking about the established American military principle in law, that you must not obey an illegal order, that the CMJ will protect you if, f'r instance, a colonel orders you to shoot a kid.

I'm noting (though evidently the point is over his head, also) that Elmo is right: LOTS of folks who are otherwise seriously alarming make good grunts.

Ya know why? DISCIPLINE. (It's impressive that Elmo, who likes to brag, seems to have forgotten this.) It's the responsibility of NCOs and 2nd lieutenants, etc., to make certain that grunts don't act like assholes.

That's what is ultimately troubling about TNR's multiple failures in publishing this story.

It isn't simply that their skeptical alarms didn't go off when this guy (pretty obviously an asshole) pitched a story about how war made him an asshole, and then -- when did they learn this? -- a centerpiece of his narrative turned out to be deliberately misplaced. (Since he was arguing that Iraq made him an asshole, that the worst thing HE did -- to a comrade, not an Iraqi -- happened before he got to Iraq, causes the whole story to evaporate. Since the guy is obviously not just an asshole, but a liar: whether the other incidents happened no longer matters -- at least, not in THAT story.)

It's also that what this clearly unreliable (you can't confuse a central element of timing like that by accident, and still be considered reliable: anybody think he DIDN'T do it on purpose, to hide that he was always an asshole and try to make his point with false evidence?) witness is describing is a breakdown in discipline, NOT a 'to be expected' result of combat conditions.

You guys (Kevin, too) are off on this tangent about whether these things did, or did not happen: I'm not arguing that.

I'm noting that Beauchamp isn't reliable. He's not. Why argue as if that's debateable?

Misplacing how he taunted a wounded American (which he wrote about as if HE was the victim, remember) both in time and place, proves he's not reliable.

That's not even remotely like the kinds of policy decisions you want to bitch about, Heavy.

Put it this way: supposing Bush as commander in chief decides to send a battalion of Rangers into Ottowa to kidnap Margaret Trudeau. (Assuming she's still in Ottowa, but let's not get into intelligence failures here.)

From the point of view of the RANGERS, and their value to America, I'd want to be able to rely on their ability to get in, grab her, and bring her out, with minimal American loss. Sure, the war would be illegal, and unjustifiable: but that's not up to the Rangers.

If the Canadians objected (as I suspect they might), I'd want them overwhelmed, completely and decisively. If the tactical situation called for it, STRICTLY FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE RANGERS, it wouldn't bother me at all if lots of their guys died so that very few of ours did.

Nobody in their right mind EVER wants war to be a fair fight, Heavy. (This is why, from your lack of focus on Dachau incident, I doubt your head is plumb, square or level.)

I do NOT want the Rangers to be unreliable. I don't want anybody, least of all ordinary Americans, to expect these highly trained, testosterone-overloaded guys to rape and pillage Ottowa cuz 'these things happen in war.'

LOL -- I'm no right wing shill, asshole. I'm actually sorta proud, in a grim way, that what I said before the war stands up so well: in 2002, I was saying that once Bush had said Saddam had to go -- well, he had to go. I want the bad guys of the world to BELIEVE American presidents when they say things like that. (I also reminded the Nader guys that they're the ones who bet our national credibility on Bush.) Then I reminded everybody that wars are a lot easier to start, than to finish.

Nothing in that failed over time.

The reaction to this sad little story among progressives is ... well, sad. We seem comfortable with low standards for our military, and even lower ones for newsmagazines. No wonder we get it.

Some of us, like Elmo, can't seem to grasp the simplest fact of the story (that its central premise was at best unproven because the best evidence was deliberately falsified), because (in Elmo's case) he wants to brag about how he was an elite gymnast who served in the military.

BFD.

But more typical of progressives, Heavy thinks this is all about how the American military commits war crimes "in the large" --- hell, he tells us, look at WW2.

Do you realize what a fool you are, Heavy? Has no one ever SHOWN you before?

It's not your job to plan the strategy for Iraq, and you're obviously too stoopid and unAmerican (yeah, I said it) to grasp even a relatively simple story like the liberation of Europe.

So, try focus: one thought, then (ever so carefully) connect it to another.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 4, 2007 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

You can still have DISCIPLINE(a word you can only speak but know nothing about, chickenhawk)and be an asshole, asshole. It's only when ones "actions" cross the line that discipline is lost. You know, not doing what you are told, or in Iraq's case, doing what you are told. In Iraq, the actions on the despicable side were ordered from the top. Our leaders lost their discipline first. Shit rolls down hill.

And I don't brag...but I like to boast, so fuck off.

Posted by: elmo on August 4, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Look me up, Elmo. That's my real email address. I'm no chickenhawk.

If you are what you claim to be, you'd know that the acts Beauchamp talks about indicate real discipline and attitude problems.

Why deny it?

Ah... but you're NOT denying it. It's one of thoes things you... "boast" about.

Riiiight.

Put it this way: a better editor would have been looking for an eyewitness, first person account of what a shitty assignment Iraq is, the strain of multiple deployments, the difficulty of maintaining fire discipline, etc.

And they would have concluded that Beauchamp wasn't it, because they'd have read his blog.

Or, if they fucked up and published the piece, when it began to unravel, they'd have recognized the significance that he had said he'd seen a wounded soldier again and again when he had meals IN IRAQ.

Except it wasn't in Iraq. And had happened BEFORE he was in Iraq.

How many times we gotta go over this before it sinks in, Elmo?

Ya wanna continue this, email me. You wanna "boast" -- try to stick to the point.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 4, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Paul? Dude, are you saying every story he told happened in Kuwait? That he has no emotional issues from his time in IRAQ? Can you not see how a soldiers memories can get all scrambled? You are trying to discredit his experiences over one miss statement that isn't even relevant to the point. Your comments here are only to muddy the waters, period. So you ignore the true message. War is hell and should only be waged as a LAST RESORT. There is no honor in invading a country just because you can.

And I am everything I claim to be and more...

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2744/1334/1600/stud.0.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2744/1334/1600/7-21-2006-1.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2744/1334/1600/7-22-2006-bitch.jpg

I get 400 emails a day. If you want to talk we can do it on my blog...

http://blindintexas.blogspot.com

Posted by: elmo on August 4, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Fascist, you a complete fucking moron. Your willful misreading of my post demonstrates why you are a right wing asshole with no redeeming qualities. Your consistent goalpost moving, your inability to understand English, your bizarre notion that massive war crimes perpetuated by the entire chain of command don't qualify as war crimes - you've got it all.

Yes, this is entirely a personal attack. The facts about Thomas' stories have been verified and you are still defending the notion that he's lying. There's nothing left to say but, "my god what a clueless idiot Fascist is. Too bad we have people like him who hate the truth and the troops."

Posted by: heavy on August 4, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

(patiently) No, I'm not saying that everything he said -- all THREE incidents, count 'em -- happened before he went to Iraq.

LOL -- Elmo, you're down to: "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?:"

I'm pointing out that of the three incidents Beauchamp cites, the one which is most revealing about his character, and most central to his theme, happened before he went to Iraq.

You guys having trouble with the whole before/after thing?

Hint: it is the premise of cause and effect. No effect happens BEFORE its cause. (Repeat as necessary.)

You guys don't seem to understand how reporting (or investigation) works. I do.

When somebody tells you a story, like "My experiences in the Salvation Army turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today", the veracity of the story depends on the sequence: if the guy was a lean mean fighting machine BEFORE he was in the Salvation Army, it cannot be the Salvation Army that made him that way.

When the claim is negative -- that his service in the Salvation Army turned him into a guy who sneers at kids and steals loose change from old ladies -- it is doubly important to KNOW the sequence, cuz it's the essence of his claim, and thus the sum of his credibility.

Beauchamp's claim was that IRAQ made him cruel enough to mock an injured soldier.

Bear in mind, guys, he didn't say this offhand. He based the whole story on it. So it's not a small detail, like Kerry and when he ws in Cambodia.

(I wrote at the time that was a controversy, btw, that Kerry was only off a few weeks. Kerry remembered some sorta celebration of Christmas in 1968, which weirded him out, and made folks scoff at his credibility since Christmas is not a big folk celebration in Vietnam. But oddly enough, Kerry's story made perfect sense for Tet '69 the year AFTER the offensive. That was only a few weeks after Christmas, when his recollection placed the event, which is when it almost certainly happened since that's when Vietnamese celebrate. Kerry misremembered the kind of detail that memory plays accidental tricks with. Beauchamp's error is not like that: it reads like a a deliberate, repeated lie, which just gets worse the more you know about it.)

So, Elmo, you're simply wrong -- and sorta confused. This isn't about YOU -- and, no shit, dude: you're not as impressive as ya think, but feel free to remind us how much you think of yourself at every opportunity.

This is about BEAUCHAMP. I'm taking him for what he said -- not for whether he helps you preen yourself physically, Elmo, or morally, Heavy.

Smarter folks would have caught on right away -- that THIS guy isn't credible, because he was caught in a significant lie.

Sure, folks who go through traumatic events often get stuff wrong. I've interviewed eyewitnesses, and I've been an eyewitness: the way people unconsciously editor what they see isn't exactly a new insight.

SO -- Beauchamp demonstrates exactly why professionalism in journalism counts. Like I said up high in the thread (lol -- the goalposts that Heavy thinks I keep moving: same place they've always been), this guy obviously came to the story with a point to make: 'Look at me, what a cruel badass victim I am cuz I've been in combat....'

Except his OWN STORY about his cruelty, the single most important evidence for his point, happened BEFORE he got to Iraq. He based the story on it. He even posed as the VICTIM, somehow -- 'oh, how I cling to a shred of humanity for realizing that mocking a woman with a melted face SO SHE FLED would only be funny to cruel badass victims of war like me...'

He didn't get that wrong cuz he remembered it from his second week in combat, instead of the first. It happened BEFORE he saw combat -- so there is no reasonable explanation for the way he misreported it except that it fit his preconception.

Well, Elmo? Got it NOW?

That's not what a reporter does, if he's honest. This guy's not. That's not what an editor lets slide -- if they're any good.

Smart folks understand that defending a liar isn't smart.

Note, too, that I'm not claiming that the dog and the skull thing didn't happen. I'm not saying that war isn't hell, it's just heck, either. I make no claim that combat doesn't change people -- hell, I noted that those kids from Iowa and Kansas who killed the SS guys had clearly been motivated by the dead folks in the cattle cars (which, thank God, doesn't happen in Iowa and Kansas, though if this goes on long enough, I'm sure Heavy will bring up Sand Creek.)

Focus, folks. Beauchamp is an asshole, and his article was a piece of shit. (It is astonishing to me that y'all resist the obvious.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 4, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

Where does Beauchamp say that his pre-deployment training did not change him (I'm looking at the 7/23/07 entry "Shock Troops"). I ask because it sounds like you have access to other writings of his where he specifies that his "Iraq War Experience" does not include his training to go to Iraq.

Obviously, one of the primary purposes of their stateside training is to change a soldier/marine's psyche, so that they aren't patrolling Baghdad with the same mindset they had when they were walking around their local shopping mall six month's earlier. I'm guessing that the military doesn't wait for a soldier to step on Iraqi soil before they start doing that.

Unfortunately, mental preparation isn't an exact science.

Posted by: Dwight on August 4, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

OhbyallthingsGodly: WHY do folks look at simple straightforward sentences stating that which is obviously true, and then ask hypotheticals about the opposite?

Dwight asks: "Where does Beauchamp say that his pre-deployment training did not change him..."?

I never claimed he DID say this. FOCUS, already.

How about we look at what TNR claimed, that Beauchamp's piece would show "the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war"?

How about we look at what Beauchamp claimed: "I saw her nearly every time I went to dinner in the chow hall at my base in Iraq... nearly half her face was severely scarred... more or less melted, along with all the hair on that side of her head. She was always alone, and I never saw her talk to anyone."

(Parenthetical aside: I have never known a vet who wasn't intensely solicitous of other combat-wounded vets. Other than Elmo, who I hear thinks quite highly of himself, I have never heard of a combat vet who wasn't reflexively ready to physically harm someone who disrespected someone combat wounded.)

Beauchamp again: "Members of my platoon had seen her before but had never really acknowledged her ... [until Beauchamp and his friends called this poor woman] '...that fucking freak behind us!” he exclaimed, loud enough for not only her to hear us, but everyone at the surrounding tables. I looked over at the woman, and she was intently staring into each forkful of food before it entered her half-melted mouth.
“Are you kidding? I think she’s fucking hot!” I blurted out.
“What?” said my friend, half-smiling. “Yeah man,” I continued. “I love chicks that have been intimate--with IEDs. It really turns me on--melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses . . . .”
“You’re crazy, man!” my friend said, doubling over with laughter. I took it as my cue to continue.
“In fact, I was thinking of getting some girls together and doing a photo shoot. Maybe for a calendar? ‘IED Babes.’ We could have them pose in thongs and bikinis on top of the hoods of their blown-up vehicles.”
My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing. The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall, her half-finished tray of food nearly falling to the ground."

I don't think there is any way a reasonable person can read that passage without concluding that, as TNR said, this is THE WAR IN IRAQ, not his training, which Beauchamp is claiming makes him a cruel badass victim.

Do tell us, Elmo: did YOUR training include a few sessions of How to Mock Wounded Vets?

Beauchamp himself revels in his moral superiority: "I was relieved to still be shocked by my own cruelty--to still be able to recognize that the things we soldiers found funny were not, in fact, funny."

('course, Elmo disagrees. He thinks that an REMF mocking someone injured in combat is fucking hysterical.)

So what does TNR say, when others prove less gullible? "...the conversation occurred at Camp Buehring, in Kuwait, prior to the unit's arrival in Iraq. When presented with this important discrepancy, Beauchamp acknowledged his error."

Read that carefully, folks: it's as close as TNR editors will get to admitting (again!) that they got conned.

It is a VERY FUCKING LONG WAY from granting a writer on active service anonymity so he can reveal "the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war", to "presented with this important discrepancy, Beauchamp acknowledged his error."

Look, guys: that's what 'God, we fucked up so bad we can't admit it, but we're embarrassed as all hell' LOOKS like. They screwed the pooch, and they know it.

The POINT of the piece, the REASON the TNR guys bought it, was that Beauchamp was supposed to be this badass combat vet who was going to show "the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war."

Then it turns out that the primary piece of his story was BEFORE he'd ever been there -- and he was already morally and emotionally distorted.

They didn't pay this asshole for a piece about training. It wasn't supposed to be a piece about turning ordinary people into killers -- for one thing, even the best trained soldiers are famously CHANGED by combat: isn't that what Elmo keeps telling us, like we'd never heard of it?

TNR bought a piece that was supposed to reveal something about IRAQ -- and they got one that revealed a lot more about the writer.

And his editors.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 4, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK
....Read that carefully, folks: it's as close as TNR editors will get to admitting (again!) that they got conned..... theAmericanist at 4:39 PM
Like all rightwing loons, you are hyperventilating over a minimal error. Over time, one base is much like another and in easy to misremember. The important thing is their abuse of a disfugured person which, while certainly not a crime, shows a personality unable to empathize with the suffering of others. It is funny to watch you and other nutty righties harp on that. It doesn't vitiate the other things the man said which have all proven to be accurate. You should investigate the possibility of getting a psychiatric evaluation because you have really gone off the deep end.

I doubt that any leftist would regard TNR as a simpatico publication. They have a large neo-con element which puts them in the Bush/Cheney/Lieberman camp.

Posted by: Mike on August 4, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

'course, Elmo disagrees. He thinks that an REMF mocking someone injured in combat is fucking hysterical.

Uh? I think a RIMF mocking a injured combat vet is a fucking chickenhawk. Are you a REMF? LOL!

Then it turns out that the primary piece of his story was BEFORE he'd ever been there

The primary part of his piece? 33%? You're a fucking dolt. And you probably work for Karl Rove, because all you are good at is character assassination.

you're not as impressive as ya think

No shit?

Posted by: elmo on August 4, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

No, Americanist, we refuse to FOCUS on your desperately absurd limits on what a soldier can properly include in an account of his Iraq War Experience.

And stop ranting about what TNR wanted from Beauchamp; your mind-reading skills are even worse than your analytical skills.

The moral and emotional effects of a particular war can be seen in a unit even before they arrive in-country, and anecdotes from a soldier's time preparing to go to Iraq, do, in fact, tell us something about Iraq.


Posted by: Dwight on August 4, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I am hugely amused at the most recent posters who seem fixated on the TNR information from Thursday, yet still seem unaware of the news from less than twelve hours later.

Hello? For those of you not paying attention it's all over. The Army has released the results of their investigation which finished by August 1st, and the news is not good for Beauchamp or TNR. Beauchamp lied about everything, so it turns out that TNR got suckered.

The most recent info... http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/

What I don't understand is why most of you people are still defending TNR. It makes you look like suckers too.

Posted by: Brad on August 4, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

You guys project a bit much.

For one thing, folks who know me realize I'm not a right winger: worked for a Democratic Senator throughout his first term (now running for President), for one of the most liberal Democratic members of the House, then for a Democratic icon who keynoted TWO Democratic conventions.

For another, Dwight, I wasn't attempting to mind-read TNR.

I read what they said -- and QUOTED it: they bought the piece cuz it would reveal "the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war."

Which the writer hadn't experienced when he mocked that woman. What part of this is unclear to you?

An honest writer would have SAID he hadn't seen the elephant when he mocked her. Did he say that?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 4, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Which the writer hadn't experienced when he mocked that woman. What part of this is unclear to you?

We can read english shithead. So, your point is that this guy is an asshole, but war is hell, and you are a Tory. Got it.

Posted by: elmo on August 4, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

And the "morally and emotionally distorting effects" of the Iraq War can begin to affect soldiers even before they set foot in Iraq.

What, you think they have no interaction state-side with colleagues who have already been in Iraq?

You can't conceive of the possibility that they may have a different, more intense reaction than we do to the daily counts of dead and wounded, knowing full well that they'll soon be targets themselves?

You don't see a need on their part to desensitize themselves to violence (with unfortunate side-effects) well before they get to Iraq?

Or maybe you do, but you're just not able or willing to consider any of these things to be examples of "the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war."

Those soldiers in the Kuwaiti mess hall knew, with almost absolute certainty, that they were days, if not hours, away from being at immediate risk of being torn apart by an IED or having to blow another human being's head off.

To say that they still hadn't begun to experience the effects of war at that point is absurd. The events that day were relevant to the purpose of the diary.

What part of this is unclear to YOU?

Posted by: Dwight on August 4, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

He's a chickenhawk, Dwieght...thinks he's fuckn' John Wayne and Clark Kent all rolled into one.

Posted by: elmo on August 4, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- so much for treating you guys like you're NOT idiots.

I can just see Elmo, editing his famous 'zine. A writer pitches him on an article about 'the morally and emotionally distorting' effects of working in Congress, how corrupting it is... but asks for anonymity cuz, yanno, he still works there. Lots of insidery stuff, very qt, on the downlow. Nothing shows guts like a fake name.

Then Elmo gets the article -- and oh, man, is it good, if a little thin. Just three examples -- one, about how the writer and his colleagues play a cruel game with some minor campaign contributor's pet because they can get away with it, another about a bizarre trophy that is evidence of how degraded Congress made 'em... but the centerpiece of the story, where the writer lays bare what the Congress did to his soul, how he took a bribe and mocked honesty yet clung to a shred of integrity because Congress has not yet stripped him of a sense that all is not right with such corruption...

Only it turns out that he took the bribe when he was still working for the City Council in Terre Haute.

Elmo, fearless editor that he is, realizes that this guy LIED to him -- first, when he pitched the piece ('working in Congress made me a crook..'), second when he wrote it ('here is the article about working in Congress...') and finally, when Elmo went to bat for the writer after he got challenged ('we checked out the article about Congress to see if it smelled right...')

So, naturally, being a man of integrity himself, Elmo writes to his readers: 'We bought this article because we thought an honest account of how Congress corrupts the people who work there would be important to publish, and (as I keep telling you), I, Elmo, am a brilliant and fearless editor. But it turns out this guy took a bribe when he was still working for the Terre Haute City Council, and just wrote it up AS IF he was in Congress when he took it. We published a piece claiming that as his principal evidence for the story's illustration of how Congress corrupted him. So we regret publishing this crap, and I personally apologize to our readers for being such a tool....'

Yeah, Elmo would do that, cuz, after all: anybody with as much self-esteem as this guy couldn't accept less, right?

BTW -- when did they cover Mocking Wounded Combat Vets in YOUR training, dude? I asked you -- and after the way you've responded, I know a lot of folks who'd like to know.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 5, 2007 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK
"Obliterates the point", Americanist? It does nothing at all to affect the story about the guy wearing the piece of skull on his head, or the guy who deliberately ran over dogs...

And the fact that Stephen Glass made up an entire software company did nothing at all to affect any of his other stories.

Posted by: Jim Treacher on August 5, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Nice hypo, REMF. You spin like a ballerina. Was his joking sick yes; was it understandable, yes; Could you ever relate...no, you're a chickenhawk.

Soldiers making fun of other dead soldiers? No, I wasn't trained to do that dickhead, but it happens all the time. You can chose not to believe it if you want, but it is true. Am I proud of this fact? No, but war is hell...

Posted by: elmo on August 6, 2007 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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