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October 28, 2007

Comments

someone forward this to ConYank so he can get those guys disciplined!

You're not an objective reporter, G'Kar. You just want to be the next J. Michael Straczynski.

Beauchamp wasn't attacked for saying something that couldn't have been true, he was attacked for saying something that obviously *could* have been true but which would have reflected badly on the war effort. The *exact same people* who attacked and vilified him and his wife, who went out of their way to make sure he was punished, and who publicly wished for his fragging and death would have cheerfully backed him to the hilt if he had told the exact same stories but with a different valence. If he had published his stories as a macho inducement to other men to join the army and see the world, if he had promoted his experiences as "hardening" him and making him a better fighter for America. The *same people* would have feted him and kissed his ring if he had presented those stories as "soldiers run amuck and fight islamofascist menace by running over dogs or making fun of cripples."

Isn't that, in fact, what underlies the continuing myth that "we coulda won vietnam if the civilians had only let us do it our way" which is, not surprisingly, the same myth now being propagated about Iraq? The story that "we could win if we took the gloves off" is already making the rounds. I believe Glenn Greenwald had a fantastic article up at Salon a few months ago about vague phrasing like this that stands in for something so ugly that even its partisans won't speak it directly.

Beauchamps error wasn't in writing something demonstrably false, but in writing something true or false that failed to glorify war and the warrior enough to satisfy the immense egos and the immense needs of the right wing supporters of the war. A little reworking of the overall meaning of the stories and he would have been a celebrated hero of the right.


And all my best wishes and thoughts and prayers for you, g'kar.
aimai

Wow. I have to say that I’m surprised at the vehicle commander. At the whole crew but especially the vehicle commander with someone they don’t know on board.

As a dog lover I’m especially appalled.

"...whether or not his story was true, soldiers are people, and sometimes people do some pretty unpleasant things. And attacking people who point out that soldiers are people, however cathartic it may be for some, does nothing to change that fact."

Quite true, and the amount of energy expended by the rightwing blogosphere on the Scott Thomas/Beauchamp stories (mainly in vilifying him and TNR) is extraordinary. Aimai is on to something (@ 3:25), I think: the overheated-verging-on-hysterical reaction to what amounts, basically, to publishing a soldier's tall tales from a war zone has a lot more behind it than simply standing up for better editing standards.
Guilt, maybe? Embarrassment? Chagrin at their pet "splendid little war" turning out to be such a bloody mess?

Anyway, thanks for your input, G'Kar: and all the best for your safe return home.

Every memoir of war I've ever read has featured far worse acts of random cruelty than running over dogs, including those written by American soldiers from a variety of conflicts. As long as they're only running over dogs I'm not that alarmed. Take a bunch of very young men, put them in an environment that's 90% boredom and 10% mortal terror, you'll get games like running over stray dogs.

Anyone upset by the idea of American soldiers running over dogs has a ludicrously My Little Pony-esque idea of what armies at war are like, Americans no different.

Byrningman, are you sure you want to be saying that about G'Kar?

I am not byrningman, but I'd suggest the charitable interpretation: anyone upset by someone saying that American soldiers run over dogs is naive (since in any army, some soldiers will do stuff like that.)

since in any army, some soldiers will do stuff like that.

Which is what is so damned maddening about the milbloggers, of all people, freaking out on Beauchamp.

They know damned well stuff like Beauchamp described happens, and many of them chose to not only pretend otherwise, but to lead the lynch mob.

To put it more succintly, the Beauchamp business is about blackmailing active duty military into accepting the war and silencing their legitimate protests. The wingers have conflated "supporting the troops" with "supporting the war" even though the reality is the opposite - as in any war. War punishes and harms the troops, an evil we sometimes accept as a necessity for some greater good. Nobody knows this better than those who are getting targetted by snipers and IEDs. A great fear of the wingers is that the soldiers will start saying, honestly, "if you really care about *ME*, GET ME OUT OF HERE!!"

The response of a society in a just war to such accusations is "we know what we ask of you, but you must do it for the good of the country and those at home". When that's basically true the soldiers don't actually raise the complaint because they know the answer. But we are in a profoundly bad war - not just immoral, but not even in our self-interest if we were immoral. If the soldiers start to call for an end there will be no answer and the war will end - without any possibility of a "stabbed in the back" myth. So the wingers have to suppress soldier's complaints about the war. That's why they've censored all communications from soldiers and now are piling on to Beauchamp. The tens of thousands like him can shred the web of lies the wingers have woven in an instant and so the wingers are jumping fast to silence the threat.

Sorry, Byrningman, I wasn't meaning to suggest that you were saying G'Kar would run over dogs. What I meant was that you seemed to be accusing him of having "a ludicrously My Little Pony-esque idea of what armies at war are like", because he was upset at American soldiers running over dogs. I think you and Hilzoy have clarified your point now.

What happened to Byrningman's 05:27?

I was just asking myself the same question. I have no idea what the answer is.

Yes that's what I meant, I just mean that in the grand spectrum of things soldiers have historically done in war, running over dogs is pretty mild. I don't think running over dogs is nice, I'm pro-dog, and I don't think all or even most American soldiers do things like running over dogs, or worse, I'm just saying, every other war ever suggests we should expect certain unpleasantness.

Nor did I mean to suggest G'Kar likes My Little Pony, but I would think no less of him if he does... let's not have overly-gendered expectations of the fighting troops' playtime preferences.

Thanks to you and Hilzoy for clarifying.

Oh. My. God.

It's the worst music video ever.

(Pam at Atlas Shrigs sings "My Sharia". This does not seem to be a joke, more's the pity.)

Just to follow up, while I had no illusions that all U.S. troops were saints, there is a world of difference between knowing that there are some people doing that kind of thing and actually being in the vehicle while it happens.

The cooperation between ObWi and Balloon Juice to undermine the troops and sap our precious bodily fluids continues.

And I'm not saying a word about overly-gendered expectations one way or the other...

The fainting spells on the right over Beauchamp's anecdotes were always obviously of a piece with all the other theatrical mass-outrage productions.

What's far more disturbing is the way in which Army leadership is working closely with the right's propaganda outlets, and not even making an effort to pretend to be a professional information operation.

Vividly demonstrated today by Petraeus' PR guy in his emails to Glenn Greenwald (even, as John Cole points out, if you accept that the first one wasn't written by him).

btw Ponies, have a look at Apocalypse Pony.

That is more suiting to the Iraq war than the normal little pony stuff.

I have to say I have been utterly flummoxed by this entire Beauchamp narrative. The very idea that soldiers at war do not commit brutal acts is naive beyond any comprehension of mine. The dissonance makes my ears ring.

Fer cryin out loud, even if you haven't been to war, haven't you at least seen movies? How is it hard to understand what combat does to your humanity? You send these young people off to fight and kill, and profess shock when they become the brutal, dehumanized "warrior" you asked them to be?

One horrific night thirty seven years ago I was forced to kill a man with my bare hands in the wire of a company perimeter. Lots of people died that night, that week, and some of them died at my hands. But that one guy, hand to hand under the illum rounds in the drizzling rain, something inside me snapped.

If you think after that I had a problem killing Buffs, burning hooches and rice caches, calling air and arty onto villes full of old people and children, you're lying to yourself. The important thing to remember is all the bad, evil shit I've done here since I came home. You don't survive combat and come home a paragon of love and virtue.

And it really pisses me off that people who know better pretend to profess shock at Beauchamp's narrative, simply because they feel it advances a political agenda.

If you don't like the thought of what combat does to young men, here's a suggestion. Don't send young men to war.

Charlie Mike, G'Kar...

mikey

"Fer cryin out loud, even if you haven't been to war, haven't you at least seen movies?"

ah, but the all-knowing peggy noonan in the wsj explained to us just the other day that this is *exactly* how she knew that beauchamp must be a fake: because it's too much like what's in the movies.

ergo, it couldn't have happened in real life.
ergo, beauchamp's a liar.

thank you, peggy, and thanks for all of those great speeches you wrote for ronald reagan, too.

We're painting schoolhouses with DOG BLOOD!

Stay safe, G'Kar. Yeah, I know you can't, but I don't know what the hell else to say.

It's wrong that this post completely cracked me up. It's just the Iraq War version of the Marshall McLuhan moment that happens so often on the Internet: "Funny you should ask: I happen to be an active duty soldier who was just in a vehicle when the driver, apparently intentionally, ran over a dog." But I'm glad to hear you're still okay.

(I really, really hate to bring this up. But you're in very much the same position Beauchamp was, blogging anonymously, and my impression was that he got in trouble with the Army for saying this sort of thing. You're not putting yourself at risk of discipline if you get outed, are you? Because that would really stink if it happened.) (I mean, presumably the discipline probably wouldn't have happened if the worst thing Beauchamp had reported was the dog story. But your position is still uncomfortably parallel.)

lb--
no, the marshall mcluhan moment would have arrived if we'd gotten a post from the *dog* that was hit by beauchamp's buddies.

"funny you should mention this; i was out the other night scrounging for trash, when this big-ass bradley comes barrelling down, swerves, and knocks me right into the ditch. man, it hurt! luckily, my pal got the serial number from the bradley, which was...."

on the internet, no one can tell you're a hit-and-run victim.

Does anyone else here the echo in here? Just wondering.

I'm pretty sure the milbloggers jumped on Beauchamp for the lieing and exaggeration.

Not that soldiers can do harsh things during a time of war.

I thought John Cole had put the whole idea of what can and can't be done/seen by the driver of a Bradley to rest.

And yes, the wingnuts made a big deal of the lying and exaggerating but at heart, they claimed that American soldiers were incapable of anything like those actions. Anyone who knows young men of that age knows that they are capable of all kinds of stupid actions, even in civilian life: given the mixture of boredom and terror in a combat zone, and I expect the wingers would be clutching their pearls, grasping for smelling salts, and generally feeling discomfited.

I'm pretty sure the milbloggers jumped on Beauchamp for the lieing and exaggeration.

Not that soldiers can do harsh things during a time of war.

Hm. I didn't get that impression. Some support for that?

"And yes, the wingnuts made a big deal of the lying and exaggerating"

The only lying and exaggerating I'm aware of having seen demonstrated was on the part of Beauchamp's critics.

Not all that long ago I was in my early twenties and a member of a military unit training in the Wild Wild West. There were jackrabbits everywhere. Some friends and I purchased rifles to go jackrabbit hunting in our off-time. It wasn’t really ethical since we didn’t intend to eat the meat and the 30-06s didn’t give us the option in any case. But we didn’t hit much, and it was good marksmanship practice. We also drank lots of alcohol on occasion and sometimes ended up eating bugs. It was fun at the time. Lots more stories.

There was another unit out there that handled freeze isolation seals for steam piping. Liquid nitrogen was used to create the seals. This unit had fun with rabbits too; they would flash-freeze them in nitrogen and then throw the frozen bunnies against a concrete wall. The furry little bodies shattered cleanly. Potentially a great way for biology students to study animal cross-sections. Maybe a patent in there somewhere.

Question:

What do bunny busting, throwing sub-zero rabbits against concrete walls, and running over Iraqi dogs have in common?

Answer:

(1) They are stupid things that young men do for a number of reasons; and

(2) The fact that any of them are a part of the national dialogue as we debate policy positions to counter the ideology of Islamic supremacy is scary.

4:89 Have no unbelieving friends. Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.

The fact that any of them are a part of the national dialogue as we debate policy positions to counter the ideology of Islamic supremacy is scary.

Could you explain why, Bill, from your particular perspective? I don't want to put words in your mouth or ascribe you opinions without some clarification.

What's scary is that the proponents of the policy are still acting like they care a whole lot more about what people of Alabama think about the conduct of operations than the people of Al Anbar.

None of the latter of whom are in any doubt, by the way, as to whether or not bored/scared young men sometimes do stupid things.

“Could you explain why, Bill, from your particular perspective?”

9:29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

That, and modern world events.

One of my students had an older brother who went to Iraq early in the war. He (gleefully) described and incident wherein his brother and the others of his unit shot some kind of weapon repeatedly over an Iraq town, soley for the purpose of making a lot of noise and scaring the hell out of everyone. I got the impression that the weapon made a fireworks-like display in the night sky. It was not a planned military operation. It was harassment, dreamed up by the rank and file. Nobody got disciplined for it.

THe ROTC group at my high school invited a group of Iraq vets to come to the Rotcie class and speak. The vets entertained the students with stories about shooting cows and running over dogs.

No I don't think all soldiers behave like assholes. I have no idea what porportion has behaved badly. But it doesn't matter because the reporting of assholish behavior isn't why Beauchamp got attacked anyway.

He was attacked because he violated the rule laid down by the rightwing: soldiers are supposed to belong to THEM and soldiers are supposed to support THEM. Soldiers who don't toe their party line are betraying the rightwing. Beauchamp, like Hackett, Fawcett, Winter, Duckworth, Murphy, Cleland, Kerry, Webb, the interrogator who publishhed his remorse in a Times Op ed, the captains, who wrote that we either need a draft or get out, and others violated the rule: they failed to stay within the boundaries of the right wing party line. The rightwing can't tolerate that.

The political right doesn't support soldiers. Their belief is that soldies are supposed to support them.

There was another unit out there that handled freeze isolation seals for steam piping. Liquid nitrogen was used to create the seals. This unit had fun with rabbits too; they would flash-freeze them in nitrogen and then throw the frozen bunnies against a concrete wall. The furry little bodies shattered cleanly.

Having been, not even a soldier, but a college student, I'd expect the mean time for a group of young men between speculating about the result and performing the experiment to be about 30 minutes cold sober, decreasing with each beer consumed.

So, Bill, how do you feel about these passages?

Exodus 21:7: "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do."

Leviticus 25:44-46: "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly."

Are you Christian or Jewish? Why do you believing in selling daughters, and owning slaves?

If you're Christian: 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16: "...ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.""

If you're Christian, do you believe that the Jews "please not God, and are contrary to all men"?

"And a man will choose...any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman...Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die" Ecclesiasticus, 25:18, 19 & 33.

"And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her." Ecclesiastes 7:26

Do you hate women?

Deuteronomy, chapter 12: "When you are living in the towns that the Lord your God gives you, you may hear 13 that some worthless people of your nation have misled the people of their town to worship gods that you have never worshiped before. 14 If you hear such a rumor, investigate it thoroughly; and if it is true that this evil thing did happen, 15 then kill all the people in that town and all their livestock too. Destroy that town completely. 16 Bring together all the possessions of the people who live there and pile them up in the town square. Then burn the town and everything in it as an offering to the Lord your God. It must be left in ruins forever and never again be rebuilt."

Do you believe in slaughter?

Etc., etc., etc. Is there some reason to believe that we should take one set of outrageous holy words as more alarming than another?

Because the Old and New Testaments are no less full of horrific crap than the Koran is.

And as complement to Gary's questions (quite legitimate, IMHO), let me ask you, from a wholly different perspective: how much time have you spent in a majority Muslim country? (Especially one not in the Middle East, e.g., Malaysia or Indonesia)?

Did you feel constantly threatened there?

If not, why not?

If so . . . I pity you.

Hi Gary. The Red Socks won tonight. I’ve had a couple of beers to celebrate. Regardless:

(1) There is no doctrine for Jews or Christians to either kill, subjugate, or convert non-believers.
(2) The Inquisition ended in the 1200s.
(3) Let’s compare statistics from Saturday:
10/27/2007 (Swat, Pakistan) - Islamic militants behead two captured soldiers and five civilians.
10/27/2007 (Yala, Thailand) - Muslim radicals gun down a 68-year-old man riding home from a tea shop. 10/27/2007 (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - Two local police are killed in an ambush by religious extremists.
10/27/2007 (Baqubah, Iraq) - Seventeen victims of a sectarian milita are found executed in a field.
10/27/2007 (Baghdad, Iraq) - Freedom Fighters kill thirty-four innocent Iraqis in various attacks.
10/27/2007 (Pattani, Thailand) - A 50-year-old plantation worker is beheaded by Islamic militants.

Now how about them Lutherans?

You asked a personal question and I’ll state that I’m spiritual, haven’t been to a religious structure in years, spend some time reading texts, but more time trying to make a living.

p.s. Spent time in Bahrain, Egypt, UAE, and good old Saudi Arabia. Got to watch local security forces take away a drummer in mid-set in the UAE (he reportedly would have been in trouble in his native Ireland, but I remain skeptical). Passed on an invitation to witness beheadings in Saudi.

dr ngo, Is Thailand in the Middle East?

Bill, professed Christians are represented in the upper echelons of the civilian and military government of the nation responsible for the first major completely unjustified invasion of this century, with a death toll including a million dead and two to five million refugees, a campaign justified by ongoing lies and criminal conspiracy, including what are almost certainly war crimes by the standards set up by (among others) that country's own previous administrations. Leaders speak openly of forcible conversion, of the victims' religion as the devil's creed, of mounting holy crusade against their beliefs and way and life, and tie it all to interpretations of their own faith that have them eager to help advance the approaching apocalypse.

A million dead Iraqis say that Christians can be as good murdering scum as anyone, and just as full of the fervent conviction that God loves them for it.

I worked as a civilian in Vietnam for 18 months between 1969 and 1971, and was told a number of stories by GIs about their own and their buddies' callousness toward the Vietnamese.

I had no way of verifying the stories, but the fact that they bragged in that way told me a lot about the mentality of the young men fighting that war. How can you go around killing people without dissociating yourself from the humanity of those who are being killed, or going crazy?

There were many examples of both, but I think the military culture encourages the dissociation route, so as not to lose any more fighting power than necessary.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Beauchamp has already admitted, and TNR acknowledged, that his story about the mocking of a IED-disfigured woman was inaccurate regarding a crucial detail: It took place in Kuwait, before the mocking soldiers engaged in combat, and not in Iraq.

Because it's hard to believe that one could innocently:

1 - Get the country wrong, and

2 - Get the crucial distinction of before v. after hostilities wrong,

the only reasonable conclusion is that Beauchamp was lying, in order to create a "horrors of war" narrative (and that's assuming the incident took place at all, when there's no independent evidence.)

And if Beauchamp was willing to lie regarding his signature story about the brutalizing psychic consequences of war, why should be believe his other stories?

BTW, G'Kar, Beauchamp's narrative was not that soldiers, being people, are capable of bad behavior. His narrative was that the Iraq was turning them into monsters. And that narrative was posted on MySpace, before Beauchamp ever served in Iraq.

(1) There is no doctrine for Jews or Christians to either kill, subjugate, or convert non-believers.

There is no doctrine for Christians to convert non-believers? Are you effing kidding me?

As to Bill's claim that the Inquisition ended in the 1200s: Either you mistyped or you should check a history book. The most notorious, the Spanish Inquisition (that nobody expects ;-) ), ended when Napoleon conquered Spain and there were attempts even in the 20th century to reintroduce it. It would be less wrong to say that the thing started about the 12th century in earnest.
I could also quote some sources from the 1930ies where Roman Catholic authors (with imprimatur) fantasized about drowning all protestants in their own blood or refer to the Polish Radio Marya of today that (with backing of parts of the church hierarchy) spreads anti-semitism of the worst kind.
Do I have even to mention demands by influential American Christians to wipe out the holy cities of Islam with nuclear fire (provocation would be nice but is not really necessary).
Sorry, where I am I fear other fanatics more than the ME beheaders. My estimate is also that a Jew in parts of Poland has more to fear for his life than in Iran (I wouldn't say the same about other ME countries though).
---
mikey said:


Fer cryin out loud, even if you haven't been to war, haven't you at least seen movies?

In the right (in several meanings of the word) movies only the evil gooks/commies/enemy du jour kill dogs (usually belonging to the child* in distress the heros have to rescue). Bad behaviour by 'us' (at least unjustified bad behaviour) is only in those movies that attempt to undermine the image and will to fight of Teh Troops and Teh Amurkan People. ;-)
Do I have to say that I prefer British war movies? :-)

*damsels prefer other pets ;-)

Fake but accurate again. Look, even if they could be right, it does kinda matter if the media are feeding us lies in any particular instance...

The real problem with this story is that so many are wiling to buy the fake, but accurate scenario.

He admitted to lieing but look how many people here still want to believe he told the truth.

It's dangerous when people are so gullible that even an admitted liar is believed to have told the "real" story.

Fake but accurate again.

at least nobody started a fifty-thousand dead, trillion dollar war over this one.

Remember, kids: If you're not getting the story details precisely right, you don't have a hazy memory - you're obviously lying!

This friendly message was brought to you by your regional Dolschstoss Center: "We would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those angry liberals and their meddling media!"

For,
Good point, so given the number of lies the Bush Administration has been caught telling I assume that you believe nothing anyone in the administration says. It amazes me the number of people who fail to greet every Bush pronouncement with incredulity, given his and his administration's record.

For,
Good point, so given the number of lies the Bush Administration has been caught telling I assume that you believe nothing anyone in the administration says. It amazes me the number of people who fail to greet every Bush pronouncement with incredulity, given his and his administration's record.

Are you conceding that the stories are accurate, Brett?

Only in this current political climate could so much virtual ink be spilled regarding the entirely unsurprising notion that soldiers do bad things in war.

wait, did i say "trillion" ?

i meant to say $2,400,000,000,000.

my first number was, umm, wildly off the mark. don't believe anything i say, ever again.

Scott Beauchamp = Graeme Frost.

i've heard that Scott Beauchamp, Graeme Frost, and Jamil Hussein have never been seen in the same room together. can anyone honestly believe that's just a coincidence ?

As one of the primary bloggers covering this story from the center-right, I strongly object to the strawmen being flailed to death by quite a few commenters and even the author here.

For those of you who claim that the criticism of Beauchamp and The New Republic is an attempt by leading conservative blogs to deny some soldiers commit depraved acts, GIVE ME PROOF. Provide links to prominent conservative blogs that state soldiers never commit atrocities, are never cruel, and are never scarred by war.

Good luck, for I've not been able to find any blogs making those claims, just left-of-center blogs claiming that milbloggers are making those claims. You're creating your own strawmen, to avoid the fact that Beauchamp is a serial liar, and TNR is acting unethically.

What we are clearly challenging are the stories written by Scott Beauchamp, and The New Republic's continued lying to their readers and critics, their attempted whitewash of an investigation that was blown away by one of their own civilian experts who had been misled by the magazine, and their continued stonewalling, which continues well beyond the point an ethical group of editors would have printed a retraction.

There is significant evidence that TNR utterly failed to fact-check any of Beauchamp's three articles prior to publication. There is significant reason to retract all three of his articles, not just "Shock Troops."

We NEVER attacked TNR for posting about real acts of depravity; we have gone after them for made-up claims so bad that even civilians could read them and spot them as obvious fakes.

G'Kar's story of a Humvee driver attempting to hit a dog rings true; it was a small unit (1 Humvee) with a small number of soldiers inside. It is a much faster, quieter, and more agile vehicle than a 25-ton tracked personnel carrier, with much better vision for the driver. In comparison, a spokesmen for the company that manufactures the Bradley IFV states that Beauchamp's dog-killing stories are crap, and further, TNR kept him in the dark about what Beauchamp claimed.

Oops.

In addition, ALL THREE of Beauchamp's stories involve units of at least platoon strength; the verbal assault on the burned woman in the dining facility took place in front of dozens of soldiers.

There is simply no truth in Beauchamp's statements, just sick fantasy. Franklin Foer has not been able to bring forth one witness, or fact to support these stories.

Bad things happen in war. But THESE things did not happen, and The New Republic's ethical bankruptcy in supporting this proven-false fictions is the entire focus of our ire.

"Are you conceding that the stories are accurate, Brett?"

The phrase, "fake but accurate" no more implies that the story really IS accurate, than "poisoning the well" implies somebody is dumping rat poison in a well. It's just a short hand description of the tactic of defending fraud on the basis that the underlying story the fraud is meant to advance is none the less true, and so the fraud is inconsequential.

For the record, though, I agree that war is Hell.

G'Kar's story of a Humvee driver attempting to hit a dog rings true

how it "rings" is irrelevant. you haven't verified it. now get on the phone and start verifying! lives hang in the balance!

Well it appears TDOS has wrapped this all up for us.

Shouldn't he also have quoted an email from a certain PAO in Iraq as icing on the cake?

"In comparison, a spokesmen for the company that manufactures the Bradley IFV states that Beauchamp's dog-killing stories are crap, and further, TNR kept him in the dark about what Beauchamp claimed"

TNR: Hi, we'd like to talk to you about your product.
Bradley press contact: Sure, we're always happy to talk to the media about our fine vehicles.
TNR: So, the BFV - is it good for running down dogs?
Bpc: Excuse me, sir?
TNR: I'm wondering about the dog-running-down capabilities of the BFV. Say I was driving down the street and saw a poodle in the opposite lane - could I swerve over and hit it?
Bpc: Could you please show me your credentials again? [Phone call to boss] I have to ask, why do you want to know?
TNR: We want you to make a statement for the record about whether your product is good at running over dogs in the street.
BPC: [Phone call] No, it's not, anybody who tells you so is lying.

Wow, look at all the trolls who came by.

I am astonished, even boggled, by how passionate they are about blackening Beauchamp over and over and over again.

This constant pounding on one soldier - accused of neither war crimes nor treason - reminds me, for some reason, of L'Affaire Dreyfuss.

By the way, I think it's probably misleading to call them stray dogs. In Iraq there is no Animal Control that will take a dog to the shelter if it's on the street at night. I would guess that many people don't keep their dogs indoors or gated. So many of these dogs probably do have owners.

The reason that so much virtual ink is being spilled 'proving' the stories untrue is comparable to what happened in the UK after the publication of the faked photos of the British Army beating up Iraqi civilians. Because the photos were easily, obviously, demonstrably fake, it took the media a very long time to get its collective head around the idea that some members of the Army really were beating up Iraqi civilians ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/10/umartial.xml ).

No-one, it seemed, could easily reconcile the two ideas 'this bad thing is taking place/these aren't the photos of it'. In the minds of some, if Beauchamp's stories aren't true, then these things aren't really happening, and so they don't need to adjust or, worse still, question their worldview.

The reason that so much virtual ink is being spilled 'proving' the stories untrue is comparable to what happened in the UK after the publication of the faked photos of the British Army beating up Iraqi civilians.

Nah, it has everything to do with reinforcing the "Stabbed In The Back" narrative. Just read TIDOS Yankee's reply up above.

I just don't like the idea that we shouldn't care when the media feed us fraudulent stories. That we EVER shouldn't care.

Really, if they get into the habit of doing that, what makes you think they'll only do it when the underlying story is true?

This article, and particularly the comments, seems to point up one obvious distinction betwixt left and right in this (and most) matters: Left/Demos are totally comfortible with fact-void narrative. Look at how they mock and ridicule the work Righties have done on Beauchamp. There is no fog here: ConfedYank et al have done a superior job proving and confirming the facts of the lies of Beauchamp and a superior job of proving the obfuscations of the TNR "editors." There is no wiggle room here, it is beyond second guessing. And yet the Left/Demo sect continues to strain the neather regions of credulity in order to maintain their worldview. Ridiculous.
In the many debates I have had with Left/Demo types I have found one constant: They will fight a lost battle straight into the ground because they seem to intuit that to give one inch on any topic will eventually lead to the unravelling of their entire concept of "truth" or "relity." The Beauchamp affair is a prime example. Were I of Left/Demo worldview I would walk away from this losing battle as it is, clearly, demonstrably, o-v-e-r. And yet they continue to froth, trot out old, beat "zillion trillion $ war/zillion trillion dead, bush lied, bu$hcheneyhalliburtothugnazi" claptrap and STILL get some sort of odd, 4th grade smug satisfaction from it! As if they were making real, mature, valid or rational points.
No doubt, were Beauchamp himself to step forward and say "I made it all up, I lied" on the pages of the New York Times we would still be subject to the spectacle of these folks continuing to support if not him, at least the narrative.
Once again I wish that I got to debate grown-ups. So sad.

I just don't like the idea that we shouldn't care when the media feed us fraudulent stories. That we EVER shouldn't care.

You're assuming that the Beauchamp stories are, in fact, 'fraudulent'.

No, I'm accepting the evidence that they're fraudulent. Not quite the same thing...

I'd debate the merits of said evidence, but that's a fair enough position.

I'm somewhat surprised that G'Kar doesn't care about the truth of Beauchamp's accounts, given that he is as much a victim of Beauchamp's libel as is any other U.S. soldier in Iraq.

No one who's been paying attention will deny that some U.S. soldiers in Iraq have done very bad things. Abu Ghraib and Mahmoudiya come to mind. In any large organization you will always find idiots and assholes. The important thing, however, is how much effort the organization puts forth to correct the problems.

The Hummer crew you rode with certainly falls into this category, for two reasons. One, if they're concentrating on finding dogs to hit, they're probably not doing a good job of watching for signs of IEDs in their path. Two, they have no way of knowing whether the dog in question has an owner who might realize a U.S. crew ran over his pet; if you run over the local sheikh's favorite mutt, then your unit has a problem.

So, what did you do about it, G'Kar? Did you tell your CO? Did you tell anyone else who might have been able to fix the problem?

In the many debates I have had with Left/Demo types I have found one constant: They will fight a lost battle straight into the ground because they seem to intuit that to give one inch on any topic will eventually lead to the unravelling of their entire concept of "truth" or "relity." The Beauchamp affair is a prime example. Were I of Left/Demo worldview I would walk away from this losing battle as it is, clearly, demonstrably, o-v-e-r.

How interesting. Do let me know when you find those WMDs, by the way.

A lot of us, vetter, don't care about Beauchamp one way or the other. I never heard of the guy until the controversy over his truthfulness started. The people bringing up the cost of the war do so because they suspect that the issue of Beauchamp's truthfulness has been elevated to something of major importance because it's the one issue where you rightwingers might be right. And it doesn't matter. If you succeed in destroying the credibility of TNR, very few of us will shed a tear. I've hated TNR for over twenty years and if they've screwed up in this case, it would hardly be the first time.

In the many debates I have had with Left/Demo types I have found one constant

they all take place in the comment sections on blogs ?

"You're assuming that the Beauchamp stories are, in fact, 'fraudulent'."

The burden is on him to prove his assertions. You're assuming that his stories are, in fact, true. This is similar to Rather and Mapes bleating that no one has proven the TNG memos "fraudulent." They apparently were out sick the day in journalism school where they were taught that the burden is on them to prove such documents are genuine.

The burden is on him to prove his assertions. You're assuming that his stories are, in fact, true.

Why? He was there, he was a witness. Why is the burden on him to prove his stories true? Or are we now supposed to take all war stories as false until proven otherwise by right-wing blogs?

The burden is on him to prove his assertions.

Says who? And how would he go about doing that?

Frankly, when it comes to spinning tall tales out of Iraq I'd say the right has been much more effective than the left.

Of course, the military itself beats them both, but as has been pointed out it's hard to distinguish them (the leadership at least) from "the right".

Re: Doug H 11.29 - apologies if being too elliptical, as we're both arguing the same thing. Disproving Beauchamp helps preserve the wingnut worldview AND helps the 'Stabbed-in-the-Back' meme as it keeps the wingnut argument within the two lines 'We would be winning if it weren't for (insert bogeyman here)' and 'We ARE winning but nobody's reporting that'

"In the many debates I have had with Left/Demo types I have found one constant

Do you know what allele that's on? Because I think GenWay might have something for that target.

I had a friend once who said, "Why do all my girlfriends end up being total b**ches?"

There was a constant in his case as well.

Frankly, when it comes to spinning tall tales out of Iraq I'd say the right has been much more effective than the left.

Most war stories will generally fall into the tall tale category. Human memories are fallible, and it doesn't help your memory skills when you're too busy dodging bullets or keeping an eye out for IEDs. Add in that the war is an almost instantly polarizing topic, and you've got a recipe for tall tales and hazy memories.

The thing is, though, there's a difference between having reasonable doubt about Beauchamp's stories and using said reasonable doubt to proclaim absolute guilt for him and TNR. The right blogosphere has turned this into a twisted version of the OJ trial with Uncle Jimbo and TIDOS Yankee in the roles of Robert Shapiro and Johnny Cochrane.

Gun Counter Bob Sez:

As one of the primary bloggers covering this story from the center-right

Sorry, I didn't get the rest of what you were saying, I was laughing too hard. Can you please repeat that, without the joke?

TIDOS?

"Treason in Defense of Slavery", I believe. Substituted for "Confederate". Probably an insult.

Why is the burden on him to prove his stories true?

Because he is the author! Every professional news organization puts the primary burden of proof on the author.

My God, man, what kind of bizzaro world do you inhabit?

I want to urge Confederate Yankee to ignore the comments here and keep up his crusade against Scott Beauchamp!

There is no greater cause in wingnuttia at this moment in time.

Besides, it provides great comedy.

Yes, "treason in defense of slavery" is his better known monicker, at least the publishable one. Its insulting, of course, but accurate. And I think John Cole at Baloon Juice has really had the last word on whether the aptly named hysteric above has anything useful to tell us about war or war stories.

aimai

Brett Bellmore: The phrase, "fake but accurate" no more implies that the story really IS accurate, than "poisoning the well" implies somebody is dumping rat poison in a well. It's just a short hand description of the tactic of defending fraud on the basis that the underlying story the fraud is meant to advance is none the less true, and so the fraud is inconsequential.

Oh, so, in using the "fake but accurate" label you were using a characterization that wasn't strictly true to convey a deeper truth?

[Gromit plays his hand deftly. may have just won the thread]

"Oh, so, in using the "fake but accurate" label you were using a characterization that wasn't strictly true to convey a deeper truth?"

I wasn't using a "characterization" at all, I was using the (ironic!) name of this tactic. If I refer to my old buddy Vic as "Victor", am I characterizing him as the winner in a conflict?

Bob Owens ups the ante on Gromit over at Matt Y's blog.

Brett - Saying it's a "name" is not strictly true, since the term is descriptive rather than simply ostensive. Perhaps you meant "name" in a way that wasn't strictly true but conveyed a deeper truth.

Late back to this, but I can now speak my mind about Bill's point:

The fact that any of them are a part of the national dialogue as we debate policy positions to counter the ideology of Islamic supremacy is scary.

And no, it's not. While Bill abstracts himself into the aether with his quotations, a small percentage of the US population is placed in a situation that brutalizes them, while a far larger percentage back home gets to ponder whether American exceptionalism extends to torture and extrajudicial incarceration.

(Also, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before all of G'Kar's military records curiously find their way into Gun Shop Gomer's inbox, courtesy of Col. Boylan's office.)

Re Confederate Yankee's revisionism:

I love this sanctimonious harrumphing from someone who's taken the word of Steve Boylan as dispositive of the matter.

"The knives are being swung at the back of our soldiers comes from the hand of Franklin Foer."

I'd translate that into German but I don't know how to preserve the grammar.

"Why? He was there, he was a witness. Why is the burden on him to prove his stories true?"

I take it you believe Whitley Strieber.

He corrected it. He meant "stabbed". So it's, "The knives are being stabbed at the back of our soldiers comes from the hand of Franklin Foer."

OT, but cleek is just as brilliant over at Yglesias as he is here.

The logic of you people is really quite amazing. Reminds of the Happy Days episode when the Fonz was dating a stripper, and he didn't know she was a stripper. He tried telling the guys that she was a virgin. One of them said that maybe she lied. Fonz responds with "Virgins don't lie."

"Of course it happened! He was a witness to it!"

I take it you believe Whitley Strieber.

Soldiers behaving badly or alien abductions, which is more fantastical. Hmmmm.

Crimso, who here is saying Beauchamp was telling the truth ?

"One of them said that maybe she lied."

Here's the source of your confusion. You're not saying "maybe". At the moment it's Beauchamp's word plus the corroborating evidence TNR found plus corroborating evidence from e.g. John Cole or this post vs the claim by deeply-invested parties that the articles are false. Maybe the deeply-invested parties are right - it would be nice if they showed us the data they're using. Maybe Beauchamp's account is generally or entirely (modulo the one inaccuracy he and TNR acknowledged) right. Note the "maybe"s.

Anyone here who says Beauchamp doesn't have to prove the veracity of his statements is implicitly believing what he says. And it has absolutely nothing to do with "It's believable that soldiers would act that way" vs. "It's reprehensible that anyone would assert that soldiers behave such a way." The issue in question is whether or not he lied about the specifics of his story (and if he did, then only a fool would put any stock in what he says from here on out). In my area of expertise, if you're caught fabricating (even once), you'll never be believed by your peers again (i.e., your career is over). Guess these high-falutin journalists have different standards.

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