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July 26, 2007

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Just a bit of historic trivia: In WW2 it was observed that drivers had a predilection to drive over roadkill etc. (and trying to run over geese/ducks trying to escape from narrow roads). This behaviour was considered so common that Britain invested a few pounds in developing explosive dung to get some German vehicles with it (preferably cars with high officers in them). Plans to disperse the explosive s##t by air was, eh, dropped because someone could get suspicious, if he found cowdung on the roof.

I doubt that drivers now are that different from then or that an officer present would do more than reprove the behaviour personally without any consequences (and if it was after a stressful day maybe not even that).

I would guess OCSteve picked the cemetery example because it seems to be a pretty obvious case of embellishment.

OCSteve: see, when I read it, I took the 'Saddam-era dumping ground' to be a guess on his part, and not a nutty one, when you find a bunch of children's bones in Iraq. But he doesn't present it as fact, just as what he figures is the case. Likewise, when I read about the dogs, I didn't think: they are going out joy-riding for the exclusive purpose of killing dogs; it was more like: when this guy is driving a Bradley for other reasons, he tries to kill dogs en route. That would be a lot harder to check for: I mean, if he were taking the Bradley out specially, it would be obvious that he shouldn't do it, and easy to nail him, but if the commander/NCO/whoever instead has to ask something like: did you make every effort to avoid that dog? Are you killing those dogs on purpose, or are dog just unlucky around you? etc., I was thinking that would be harder to nail down, and a commander might just not bother, if the guy was getting where he needed to go.

As I said, the bit about insulting the woman struck me as dodgier.

I would guess OCSteve picked the cemetery example because it seems to be a pretty obvious case of embellishment.

But it's not who buried the children's bodies there that's the point of the story (and, what Hilzoy said): it's - did one of the soldiers take part of a child's skull as a trophy/souvenir?

Actually, I tend to think the uproar about Beauchamp is more because of his tone than anything else.

Iraq is full of stray dogs that are kind of feral. At various times and places it's been official US policy to kill them. Individual soldiers have had problems when they adopted dogs and then hoped to take them home rather than see them abandoned and shot.

The issue isn't shooting dogs. The issue is talking like you think it's wrong but you do it anyway.

Beauchamp writes like there's something wrong with some of the soldiers. Like they're teenagers or something, people who do stupid things for the fun of it. So we get a whole lot of outrage. They talk about having him tried under UCMJ. For joshing with a woman? For killing dogs? For playing with bones? Hardly. His big crime is visibly having a bad attitude.

But the issue at hand is the veracity of Beauchamp's claims. So critics are naturally going to focus on a discrepancy like that, particularly since Beauchamp stated in the article that it was "clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground of some sort".

But the issue at hand is the veracity of Beauchamp's claims.

So, as that's the issue at hand, why pick on a part of the story that would be very difficult to prove false, and that is inherently plausible? No one has tried to show that the soldiers digging up the bones didn't assume spontaneously that this was "clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground of some sort", and the only soldiers who could say that it's definitely true or untrue would be the ones who were there at the time doing the digging. None have come forward. So it's not a useful point to focus on if you're trying to prove that any part of his story is untrue.

discrepancy?

"it was clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground of some sort".

what has caused people to lose the ability to understand simple English ?

given that he didn't know what it was at the time, what is inaccurate about that sentence ?

The part about running over the dog struck me as a little dodgy...armored vehicles are not very agile, and it's tough to see anything that gets really close. It probably could be done, and it may well have been done (although certainly were I that driver's commander I would have been quite annoyed by him swerving about the road, let alone the idea he was doing so to kill animals).

So that is what got things going IMO. That if these accounts were true it represented a grave failure in leadership that had to be set right. That is a perfectly fair position IMO.

Surely you don't believe Michelle Malkin and her ilk got all exercised over this story because they wanted to get to the bottom of whether some Bradley commander might be guilty of negligent supervision.

Beauchamp probably didn't know exactly what the grave site was at the time. But I'm assuming that his article was written more recently. The issue is what he should have known about the site at the time he wrote the article.

Graeme has a post which is the closest approximation to my view of this whole thing: this particular account has some odd characteristics which make it seem unreliable. That doesn't say anything about the fact that war deadens morals and can produce some nasty characters who very well might not have been as nasty without their exposure to the war.

Beauchamp probably didn't know exactly what the grave site was at the time. But I'm assuming that his article was written more recently. The issue is what he should have known about the site at the time he wrote the article.

"Should have known" and "definitely knew": and also, what he should have put into the article.

In order to claim that this detail shows he's not truthful, you have to show: (1) that Scott knew, or at least that it's extremely likely that he knew, when he wrote the article, that the site they'd speculated was a Saddam-era dumping ground was in fact a species of local graveyard; and (2) that it constitutes a deliberate untruth that Scott did not add, after noting their original speculations, that "Later, we found it was a local unofficial graveyard".

Supposing for the sake of argument that (1) has been proven (which it hasn't) so that we can discuss (2): why do you feel it's ultra-important that a soldier, writing about what was done that day, should clarify that unimportant detail with later information not connected or relevant to what he was writing about?

If you consider that whether the bones they found were a dumping ground or a graveyard to be important in a story about US atrocities in Iraq, please explain why, showing your reasoning. If you agree it's not relevant, odds are your thinking mirrors Scott's.

That if these accounts were true it represented a grave failure in leadership that had to be set right.

I am amazed at how Abu Ghraib was dismissed at the time by so many opinion-mongers on right as nothing more than pranks and hijinks, the razing of Fallujah was actually cheered on by some of the same, but that now, rather ordinary examples of the every day coarseness of war are suddenly regarded as a "grave failure in leadership."

Two things:

Everyone hear should rush out and read Goodbye To All That, The poet and writer Robert Graves' autobiography of his life through World War I and after. He served as an officer in some of the worst battles that the British fought on the Western Front. Some of his memories were definitely embellished, but no one who reads it will doubt its general veracity; or treat it as anything other than a masterpiece of reportage of combat and its psychological aftermath.

Second. Does anyone think that in a country where feral dogs are routinely killed, an NCO is going to give a rat's ass over whether or not someone under his supervision is trying to run over dogs?

"If you consider that whether the bones they found were a dumping ground or a graveyard to be important in a story about US atrocities in Iraq, please explain why, showing your reasoning."

The writer described it as a dumping ground. If you have reason to think that he should have known that it was not a dumping ground, then you have reason to think he is making stuff up.

Hilzoy: see, when I read it, I took the 'Saddam-era dumping ground' to be a guess on his part, and not a nutty one, when you find a bunch of children's bones in Iraq. But he doesn't present it as fact, just as what he figures is the case.

But if he was there he knows it was a children’s cemetery because the troops involved relocated it. It got reported up the chain as a cemetery. The troops involved would certainly know at that point that it was a cemetery.


Jes: did one of the soldiers take part of a child's skull as a trophy/souvenir

Quite possible. Did he put a part of a skull, even a small piece, between his head and his helmet for any length of time? No way. That brain-bucket is already one of the most uncomfortable contraptions to have to wear around. A piece of strap or webbing out of place gets painful fast. So I can see a soldier taking a piece of a child’s skull as a trophy, as sick as that is. But the rest is clear embellishment. And anyone who has ever worn one of those things for any length of time instantly says BS upon reading that.


Steve: Surely you don't believe Michelle Malkin and her ilk got all exercised over this story because they wanted to get to the bottom of whether some Bradley commander might be guilty of negligent supervision.

I was talking about what I had been reading on the milblogs specifically. MM falls into the category Hilzoy is discussing here.


Jes: In order to claim that this detail shows he's not truthful, you have to show: (1) that Scott knew, or at least that it's extremely likely that he knew, when he wrote the article, that the site they'd speculated was a Saddam-era dumping ground was in fact a species of local graveyard;


Again, you would not be involved in this and not fully understand it was a cemetery by the end of that same day.

There was a children's cemetery unearthed while constructing a Combat Outpost (COP) in the farm land south of Baghdad International Airport. It was not a mass grave. It was not the result of some inhumane genocide. It was an unmarked cometary where the locals had buried children some years back. There are many such unmarked cemeteries in and around Baghdad. The remains unearthed that day were transported to another location and reburied.

Good heavens, the effort and speculation that continue to be expended on this story.

Look, everyone agrees that there are likely incidents like this going on. No matter how well soldiers are trained, there are going to be some that that respond to the stress by doing exactly the kind of odd and nasty things described in the article, which is actually the point of the article. There are probably much worse things going on than the three relatively minor incidents discussed.

So why the fuss and bother about this?

The troops involved would certainly know at that point that it was a cemetery.

a) would everyone there know that?

b) would they know it's a "cemetery" in the sense that it's some kind of sacred ground; or could they assume it's a "cemetery" in the sense of "mass grave" ? in other words: did they know the children were buried there for normal reasons, or could they assume "cemetery" was a euphemism for something more sinister ?

c) maybe it didn't look like any kind of cemetery a young kid from America had ever seen. if your boss said "clear that cemetery" and you came across a pile of children's bones in a vacant lot - no markers that you could see or understand - would you assume you were in a "cemetery" or "human dumping ground" ?

d) if you were told it really was an 'official' cemetery but were a little disgusted at the fact that children's bones were just scattered around this place, might you not refer to it in less-than-respectful terms? might you even call it a "dumping ground" in disgust at what you perceive is a lack of respect for the dead by the living ?

"d) if you were told it really was an 'official' cemetery but were a little disgusted at the fact that children's bones were just scattered around this place, might you not refer to it in less-than-respectful terms? might you even call it a "dumping ground" in disgust at what you perceive is a lack of respect for the dead by the living ?"

Maybe, but probably not if you aren't disgusted by someone wearing the remains like a crown.

From photographies and documentaries I know that Arabian cemeteries can look more like a disorderly "dumping ground" than what we would consider a graveyard (orderly headstones and the like). It being an unmarked unofficial one in our case would make it even more likely to make that mistake. Not having seen this one I can of course not comment with authority.

Maybe, but probably not if you aren't disgusted by someone wearing the remains like a crown.

i could imagine being disgusted at both.

there's also the possibility that this guy's just not a great writer, and that trying to parse him like this simply isn't going to work out.

You're probably right about the parsing issue. However in his article he explicitly states that he wasn't disgusted by the soldier wearing the skull, so I really doubt the grave disgusted him.

I think hilzoy is right about the IED victim story though. If anything in the article turns out to be a deal breaker, it will be probably be that story.

There are probably much worse things going on than the three relatively minor incidents discussed.

So why the fuss and bother about this?

I think it's that they didn't like his tone. The guy writes like a liberal. He writes like people were doing things they shouldn't.

If he'd written that an insurgent was running up to the Bradley with a satchel charge and the driver couldn't think of anything better to do than swerve and run over him before he could trigger it, and they both felt kind of sick about it but there wasn't any choice, that would have been fine.

Say he'd written about how they absolutely had to swerve to avoid an IED and he had to speed up so the guys with the RPGs would miss him, and the result was he ran over a station wagon with a woman and her 4 beautiful children in it, and they all felt *horrible* about it but there was nothing else he could do. That would have been excellent. It's war. Tragedy, that civilians get in the way and there's nothing you can do. If they'd run over the IED that would likely have killed the civilians anyway.

But when it's a peaceful area and there aren't any IEDs and the driver is just practicing his evasive maneuvers by running over dogs, and the narrator thinks he ought to think it's horrible but he doesn't really care -- that isn't the kind of soldiers we have in iraq. All of our soldiers are superior moral people, they are faced with tragic moral choices sometimes where doing the right thing gets civilians killed, and they feel just as bad about it as they ought to, and they do the right thing regardless. Our soldiers all know that they are doing the most important work in theworld and they will persevere as long as it takes, until the final victory, because it's what matters most in the world. Everything they do in iraq is directed toward victory, they never do any horsing around and they never pick on anybody who doesn't deserve it. So if this guy writes that some of them are kind of morally burned out, that they spend some of their time playing games that don't help the victory, if they do something mean that isn't necessary, then he must be a fake soldier. And if it turns out that he's a real soldier, still he's really a fake soldier or he wouldn't think that way. If he was a real soldier he'd be completely a good guy like all the others.

He has a bad attitude and they can't stand that.

[email protected]:04: I can see your (d) best. But there really is structure and organization for almost everything you encounter. If there is any suspicion it is a mass grave, there are procedures, and likely the first one at the line level is “back off and leave it alone”. There are still tens of thousands of Iraqi’s who don’t know what happened to certain family members. I’m guessing here, but I would say that the ranking individual on site spoke to the locals. Once it was ascertained that it had been used as a cemetery they made the decision to relocate it. That in itself may have been offensive. Did the locals agree to that? What does Islam say about it? I don’t know.
But the NCOs share as much information as they can within mission limits with the troops. It is only natural that people want to know why they are doing what they are doing. If it is not “need to know” the NCO is going to keep their troops informed of what is what. No NCO is going to let his troops think they are defiling an uninvestigated mass grave vs. moving a cemetery. It just does not work that way.
Again – something like that will trigger the BS radar of anyone who knows this stuff firsthand (not saying me – the milbloggers).

All – maybe to rephrase a little – If you have been there for a tour or two (not me, the milbloggers), if you have worn one of those damned brain-buckets for days in 100+ heat, if you have ever been under the command of a few officers and a bunch of NCOs, if you have ever eaten in a field mess hall… Many of these things trigger your BS radar.

Not in a minor way – in a major way. When so many minor points don’t mesh you think that it is all BS, at least it is all suspect.

OCSteve: and that I can fully respect. It's why I held off on it: what do I know about helmets, or how tight the supervision is when you're doing something like digging, or how likely it is that the supervision is not what it's supposed to be? Way outside my comfort zone.

I'm just, as I said, baffled that the likes of Jonah Goldberg, who seems to know even less than I do which is saying a lot, didn't draw the same conclusion.

Mr. Grouchypants: The writer described it as a dumping ground. If you have reason to think that he should have known that it was not a dumping ground, then you have reason to think he is making stuff up.

No, you don't. As I have just explained. But if you're not going to pay attention, why bother?

OCSteve: Not in a minor way – in a major way. When so many minor points don’t mesh you think that it is all BS, at least it is all suspect.

The problem I have with that line of argument is that a few years ago, a female Reservist wrote a detailed account of a period of time she'd spent under fire in Iraq. She wrote it on her journal, really just venting about an experience she'd had.

That account got picked to pieces, too, by people who certainly seemed to know what they were talking about, and they came to the conclusion that this woman probably wasn't even in Iraq, let alone had any military experience, she was just making the whole thing up.

The only problem with that line of argument was: she wasn't. (Well, obviously, I wasn't there at the time: but I'd known her online for quite a while, I knew she was in Iraq, and I knew she wasn't the kind of person who makes stuff up.) So, regardless of what holes could be picked in her story by the language she'd used and the way she'd described things, I knew it had happened.

And it's given me a healthy sense of skepticism towards people who claim they can tell that someone is BSing by picking apart the details of the story and saying that so many details sound improbable, so the whole story is probably not true.

From Aristotle onwards, critics have noted that reality frequently presents us with incidents that sound far too improbable to be believable. When writing fiction, "better a probable impossible than a possible improbable." But when considering a narrative presented as factual, trying to debunk it by pointing out that this and that detail sound improbable just doesn't work.

Jes: was this Ginmar?

I would be more willing to give Beauchamp the benefit of the doubt on the dumping ground issue had he said that it looked like a dumping ground rather than declaring that it was "clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground".

Of course the graveyard would not be a major issue if someone could identify the injured contractor he verbally abused.

FWIW, I'd have sworn that "dumping ground" for human remains was a straightforward dictionary definition of "unmarked cemetery."

Over the last year or so there have been a whole series of Youtubes sent in by soldiers on duty in Iraq. The YouTube clips have shown soldiers stoning a paralyzed dog, mocking children by offering them water and then snatching the water back, driving fast down the wrong side of the street and laughing as people scrambled to get out of the way, and laughing while Iraqi soldiers, under their supervision during a training mission, grabbed some young men off the street for the crime of existing while Sunni and arrested them for nothing.

All submitted to YouTube by soldiers who apparently saw nothing wrong with their acts.

Where were the NCo's? Dunno. Same place the NCO's in Beauchamp's articles, I suppose.

The question that intrigues me is why is it so important to some people to doubt his account? No normal person thinks that soldiers are perfect. Why the ego-projection?

Another question: what happens to soldiers when they comme home and the "troop supporters" who greet them make it clear that they don't want to know what the war experience was really like?

Implict in the behavior of the doubters is the message that troops are only supported if they say what the rightwing wants them to say. Otherwise they are going to be metaphorically spat upon.

If Beauchamp made this stuff up or grotesquely exaggerated, does anyone think we would revel his real name? All of this stuff happened in front of witnesses who can all be tracked down. If he was deliberately lying or exaggerating seems to me that the last thing he would do is go public with hhis real name.

A tempest in a tea pot. If this generation were capable of producing A Rumor of War or another Dispatches, it wouldn't have even reached a simmer.

As an aside --- what's with all this anthropomorphizing baboons, Hilzoy? You can't mock a baboon.

Hilzoy: It's why I held off on it

And to your credit. I think you approached this thoughtfully, but maybe hammered on the MM types too much (they may deserve it) but discounted the milbloggers concerns a little too much. These are guys who have been here and done that.

I can only speak to my experience. I’ve worn a steel (Vietnam era) helmet in Georgia. It sucked. I’ve worn the Kevlar helmet in the Mohave Desert at 100 plus degrees. It sucked bad. Iraq gets 20 degrees beyond that. You can’t imagine how a pea would feel up there, much less a piece of bone, of any kind or shape. Not going to happen.

Jes: I think you have recounted this before, and I agree it is a powerful story in its own right. This woman was deeply wronged and I will make no single excuse for it. I won’t try to.

I’m a little surprised that folks don’t connect a possible breakdown in discipline like this with Abu Ghraib. These are not minor offenses you disregard because “war sucks”.

This is exactly how Abu Ghraib happens. This crap is the first step on the way to Abu Ghraib.

Once discipline collapses and these seemingly minor offensives are overlooked, it goes up a notch. And then another. Any officer or NCO that let this go unchallenged is complicit in the next Abu Ghraib, or worse.

Do you really think that is the case? At this time, with the current media scrutiny?

Exit question – Do you (anybody) really think that officers and NCOs would allow this crap to go on?

Again this is “you all”, and not Hilzoy in particular. (I love the hilzoy as always.)

"Do you (anybody) really think that officers and NCOs would allow this crap to go on?"

At the risk of stating the obvious? Yes.

Exit question – Do you (anybody) really think that officers and NCOs would allow this crap to go on?

Is that a trick question? Because I think the answer is "Yes".

OCSteve: I think that for most officers and NCOs, the answer is no. On the other hand, the people at Abu Ghraib and Haditha and wherever it was that they raped the girl and killed her and her family and so on presumably had officers and NCOs who apparently let some lousy things happen. (Though in the case of Abu Ghraib I think there's a real possibility that they were acting on orders in some ways, I would have thought that decent officers and NCOs would have kept people obeying orders to 'soften up' the detainees from doing a lot of the things they did.) So if the question means, 'do you think there are some officers and NCOs, presumably a small minority, who would?, then I would think the answer is probably: yes.

Yes, Wikipedia Brown was funny, but enough already with sending cleek mashie notes.

"Saddam-era dumping ground" also reads like a guess to me. I think a lot of us believe that Saddam was capable of murdering enough children to fill a graveyard, and that belief, if anything, supports the decision to overthrow him. This makes it an odd thing for Thomas's critics to attack, unless they're grasping at anything that looks like inaccuracy.

Exit question – Do you (anybody) really think that officers and NCOs would allow this crap to go on?

Being absolutely honest? The answer is "I'm not (thank God) there, and I don't know." That's really a question about the level of morale and discipline there, something of which there's no objective measure.

Catsy: yes.

OCSteve: Exit question – Do you (anybody) really think that officers and NCOs would allow this crap to go on?

Yes. We know already that officers and NCOs have allowed much worse crap to go on. We know the military has not reformed in any way since Abu Ghraib: perhaps the torture and murder of prisoners has stopped there, but there must be a lot of career officers and NCOs who were aware that prisoners were being tortured, or who took part in torture, and who did nothing. And have not been punished for it. (As noted before, an NCO who tortured a prisoner of war to death in Abu Graib was regarded as having committed so trivial a crime that he didn't even lose his pension over it.)

So, I ask you: what makes you think that the officers and NCOs wouldn't let this kind of crap go on, when you know that they let the torture and murder of prisoners go on and that they've been informally told that this wasn't a breach of discipline, or at least nothing deserving any great punishment?

Appears to be unanimous. OK, I give up.

OCS, I've no doubt that some NCOs and officers have let some things get out of hand. In any human system, you have to expect imperfection. That doesn't excuse anything. But a presumption of perfect discipline isn't usually warranted.

On a more general level, as recruiting standards have dropped, and the stress of a difficult and quite possibly pointless mission grows, you're going to have to expect there to be more disciplinary problems in the Army as time goes on. There was an excellent presentation at a House Armed Services hearing on recruiting and readiness yesterday.

On Abu G: in June 2005, I spent several hours with some mid-level Navy enlisted guys who were serving as guards etc at a different military prison. To a man, they insisted that the Army guys at AG had been following orders. Their certainty impressed me. They obviously weren't there, and may have an imperfect understanding about how the Army works (as opposed to the Navy). I did come away from this, though, concerned about the corrosive effect of what they saw as little guys taking the fall for the big guys' mistakes.

This is what is was.

Friday, July 27, 2007 – 9:30 am – 2118 Rayburn – Open

The full committee will meet to receive testimony on H.R. 3087, to require the President, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military leaders, to develop and transmit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for the redeployment of United States Armed Forces in Iraq, and H.R. 3159, the “Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act of 2007.”

Witnesses:

General John M. Keane, USA (ret.)
Former Vice Chief of Staff
Department of the Army

Mr. Lawrence J. Korb
Senior Fellow
Center for American Progress


You might look for a transcript, or a copy of Korb's opening statement. The statistics are mindblowing.

This is exactly how Abu Ghraib happens. This crap is the first step on the way to Abu Ghraib.

Yes, of course. And abu ghraib did happen. And many others. As morale goes down we can expect discipline to go bad too.

Why don't we hear more stories about discipline breaking down and soldiers doing things their officers would prefer they didn't? Clearly it's a combination of the inherent decency of most of our troops, combined with the natural tendency of everybody involved to do cover-ups.

I'm continually amazed at this argument I keep hearing that goes:

It would be very very bad if X happened. Therefore X did not happen.

OC Steve -- A bit more nuanced answer to your exit question: I think that the majority of officers and NCOs would challenge this sort of behavior, especially early in a (re)deployment or when they see it leading to a breakdown in discipline. I think that this same group might be more likely to let something like this go late in a deployment or after multiple tours have worn them down or if there were enough other big stresses on their troops that they thought being too heavy handed would damage discipline and morale worse than some abberant behavior.

I don't know what the conditions are where Beauchamp is stationed. I would imagine that most there would want to project a "can do" attitude if asked about morale and conditions.

As for the deeper issues of accuracy in reporting, I'm way too steeped in literary crtiticism to expect that any written account would be entirely factual and I think that something like The Things They Carried can fictionalize many details and still be "a true war story." But that's just me.

Bad tag...no donut.

Don't be so sure, nous. The donut can still be yours.

"So, I ask you: what makes you think that the officers and NCOs wouldn't let this kind of crap go on, when you know that they let the torture and murder of prisoners go on and that they've been informally told that this wasn't a breach of discipline, or at least nothing deserving any great punishment?"

That is easy, it could put them in personal danger.

Sebastian: That is easy, it could put them in personal danger.

Stopping it could, or letting it go on could?

Shorter warbloggers: We know that things like this happen in wartime, but we categorically refuse to believe that these things in particular happened, and we will go to any lengths to try to prove that they didn't.

To me this is something that even if it is true shouldnt be put out for all to see without names other then just his own and soldiers. I am a soldier. If you havent been deployed, dont write about it or what you think you know about it, you have no idea and you cant even think about what its like. He is wrong.

To me this is something that even if it is true shouldnt be put out for all to see without names other then just his own and soldiers. I am a soldier. If you havent been deployed, dont write about it or what you think you know about it, you have no idea and you cant even think about what its like. He is wrong.

Well, that may be, but I thought, like others, the interesting thing was the out of whack reaction of selected blogs. It reflected an ideological objection, not one based in reality, and a deep seated insecurity.

BTW, TNR fact checked the stories and the stories are true. There are witnesses for the skull incident, the rudeness, and the dog killing. Beachamp's memory got one location wrong, but the incidents themselves have been verified.

It amazes me that some commenters are so hysterical as to act like the events Beauchamp describes are "out of the norm" of human behavior and experience. I've known lots of people who would run over a dog just for fun. I didn't like them, but they went about in public just like you and me, and even had their admirers.
Ridiculing people with deformities is not uncommon, either.

Soldiers are human beings, and are quite capable of becoming desensitized to stress and cruelty and violence. It happens to good people all the time. It's a fact of life in war throughout history, and has nothing to do with ones political tilt.

But he lied, y'all:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2007/08/beauchamp_recants.asp

I will comment first on the original article.

there's a reason for the axiom "those who can't do, teach" You, sir show an astonishing (well perhaps not so much) lack of knowledge concerning the military forces, their discipline, and what actual combat stress does to a person.

now to those of you who believed that story.

the guy is a liar. he even said so. whats more, he better get his crap together because he might be a democrat and a liberal..but he's far short of being a soldier.
Get over it, we're going to win, Iraq will have it's own government and we'll all be better off without a bunch of al-queda scumbags walking around.

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