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October 28, 2007

Comments

The issue in question is whether or not he lied about the specifics of his story

no it isn't.

the issue is that you guys are obsessed and crazy. for some reason, CY decided this was the biggest story ever and has chased it around and around for months, while the rest of the world looked at y'all and wondered "WTF is wrong with those people?"

people aren't supporting Beauchamp. they're laughing at you.

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).
Presumably your area of expertise has nothing to do with politics or punditry, especially of the right-wing variety.

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.

Right, because Scott Beauchamp is an accomplished journalist like Stephen Glass or Judy Miller, and not, say, a full-time soldier who writes Baghdad Diaries (emphasis on Diaries) when he's not dodging IEDs.

So when do we start checking the inaccuracies in Richard Tregaskis and Robert Lee Scott Jr's works?

cleek is just as brilliant over at Yglesias as he is here.

thanks, you're too kind. :)

i'll be here all week.
and the next. and the next.

You people go on believing anything anyone tells you, as long as it squares with your preconceived notions. Whatever you do, don't expect the author (journalist or not) of a piece in TNR (or his editors) to provide any evidence that his assertions are true. Can't have that. And when people think you're crackpots, don't wonder why. Just keep insisting that anyone (whether believable or not) who asserts something (whether believable or not) should be assumed to be telling the truth until proven a liar.

You people go on believing anything anyone tells you, as long as it squares with your preconceived notions.

'Soldiers behaving badly' is a preconceived notion?

people aren't supporting Beauchamp. they're laughing at you.

So true. It's an anecdote, a war story. No one cared whether or not the anecdotes were true when they were published and they don't care now. It takes a strange person indeed to flip out and start obsessing over the kerning.

You people go on believing anything anyone tells you, as long as it squares with your preconceived notions.

Such as, say, the MSM is full of libtards who hate America and are actively hoping we lose in Iraq?

Crimso: "You people...."

... are individuals in an open forum. Which is to say, anyone and everyone who chooses to read, and/or who chooses to respond, including yourself.

Why are you lecturing yourself?

If you have issues with anyone's comments, the relevant style is to quote enough of that comment so we know what you're referring to, and to respond to that comment.

Addressing "you people" makes you sound like a lunatic, on the other hand, no different from anyone else walking down a sidewalk shouting at everyone who passes by.

people aren't supporting Beauchamp. they're laughing at you.

And we're laughing especially hard because all this noise is being devoted to trashing a pro-war publication that's certainly no favorite of the left wing.

Crimso: "Whatever you do, don't expect the author (journalist or not) of a piece in TNR (or his editors) to provide any evidence that his assertions are true."

Obviously Beauchamp is in no position to defend his assertions in the face of his employer's apparent determination to shut him up. But of course TNR should be asked to defend the articles - and mirabile dictu they have, by finding corroborating evidence, and by trying to get the documents the army based their claim on.

" TNR: So, the BFV - is it good for running down dogs?"

That was marvelous, rilkefan.

I have it on good authority that Rilkefan's transcript was fabricated, and I, for one, will never believe another word he writes. And I'm pretty sure his kitchen counters are granite.

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

I'm having a helluva a time remembering the proper endings, and it's next to impossible to translate it without making it correct. Anyway, didn't look anything up, so it's a rough stab. As it were.

Die Messeren, dass auf dem Ruecke[n?] unsere[m?] Soldaten geswungen geworden sind, kommen von dem Hand Franklin Foers.

"And I'm pretty sure his kitchen counters are granite."

I think we are taking rilkefan's contributions to this thread for granite.

Right, because Scott Beauchamp is an accomplished journalist like Stephen Glass or Judy Miller...

No but Franklin Foer, J. Peter Scoblic, and Jason Zengerle presumably are, and they are the people who were in charge of making sure his stories were accurate before they were published, and they are the people we are focusing on.

It is these journalists, not Beauchamp, that have continued to purposefully mislead their readers, and who refuse to retract stories for which they have provided no support.

It is these men that did not report that they had a conversation with Beauchamp (and if they are now to be believed, as many as three) while claiming that the Army was preventing them from speaking to him.

It was these accomplished journalists that attempted to hide the fact Beauchamp was married to a TNR staffer, who just happened to be a TNR fact-checker.

It was these men who incompetently sent a FOAI request to the wrong part of the Army, and then blamed Central Command for not acting quickly upon a request they did not have.

It was and is these "accomplished" journalists that claim the articles were fact-checked prior to publication, only to be forced into admitting that one of the anecdotes happened at another time, in another country, and that they could not, in fact, provide any facts or named witnesses to support any of the three anecdotes at all.

Get that, rilkefan? No facts at all. None.

Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Nada.

I'm glad you are amused at my grammatical blunder (we all have bad days), but far more amused that you cannot rebut any of the substantive elements of my arguments, and don't even try.

indeed, rilkefan's contributions are typically rock-solid. i'm sure his counters are quite gneiss.

It was and is these "accomplished" journalists that claim the articles were fact-checked prior to publication, only to be forced into admitting that one of the anecdotes happened at another time, in another country, and that they could not, in fact, provide any facts or named witnesses to support any of the three anecdotes at all. Get that, rilkefan? No facts at all. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Wow, if you repeat yourself enough, maybe you'll get someone to buy the argument that a magazine is required to name its sources whenever the right-wing blogosphere demands it.

Confederate Yankee: It was these accomplished journalists that attempted to hide the fact Beauchamp was married to a TNR staffer, who just happened to be a TNR fact-checker.

Or did the wife send him on a junket [to Iraq]?

Well there you go, Steve.

You don't think they should have to cite sources, and Doug H doesn't believe that he should have to prove his claims, even though a formal investigation considers all three claims in "Shock Troops" to be fiction.

If you are bound and determined to swallow whatever they would feed you despite all the evidence to the contrary, I don't think there is a lot we can do to keep you from it.

Enjoy.

I really wish typepad would quit eating my comments.

CY, This is the masthead of TNR.

As you'll note, the man in charge, the man who until February was the owner of TNR since 1975, and who was the utterly hands-on owner all that time (see Shattered Glass for an example of him dictating mandates on commas to the staff), the man who is today still editor-in-chief, the man absolutely in charge of The New Republic, for some peculiar reason, you do not mention, although he, of course, bears all ultimate responsibility.

Setting that aside, however: why do you and your fellows think anyone of a left, liberal, or anti-war persuasion would have the faintest desire to defend TNR, or any of these people, given that Marty Peretz, and the general editorial line of TNR, have long famously been neo-conservative; Peretz, and the general editorial line of TNR, have never wavered from agitating first in favor of the war in Iraq, then on the importance of maintaining it, and have subsequently not stopped warning of the dangers of Iran.

This is the magazine whose latest staff graduate is James Kirchuk.

Why do you expect anyone who is anti-war to do other than cheer at y'all questioning the credibility of this pro-war magazine and its staff editors?

Please don't throw us in that briar patch.

But, seriously, what's your goal or point here? I genuinely don't grasp what you think it is.

But, seriously, what's your goal or point here? I genuinely don't grasp what you think it is.

That Frank Foer and his wobbly ilk at TNR are dolschstossing our troops in the back, and should be replaced by more (politically) reliable staff. I hear Ben Domenech is available.

"Confederate Yankee": "I'm glad you are amused at my grammatical blunder"

Apologies, I didn't realize you're "Bob Owens". Never mind about the grammar - why in the world would you pick this deeply unfortunate metaphor?


"It was these men who incompetently sent a FOAI request to the wrong part of the Army, and then blamed Central Command for not acting quickly upon a request they did not have."

I take it CC will be releasing the data to TNR pronto now that that issue is cleared up?


"while claiming that the Army was preventing them from speaking to him."

This still seems to be the case, in a Do-what-you-like-as-I-look-over-your-shoulder-glowering sense.


"they could not, in fact, provide any facts or named witnesses to support any of the three anecdotes at all"

This is plain false.

"This is the magazine whose latest staff graduate is James Kirchuk."

James Kirchick, rather; sorry.

Kissinger's wise comment about academia comes to mind here--the reason the fighting is so vicious is because the stakes are so small. Though actually, I think only one side is fighting like it really matters.

I'm enjoying this thread. It's like Gary said. I have no ideological dog in this fight--I'm far left, antiwar, despise TNR (as most lefties have since the early 80's and maybe before then) and all that's missing is some fresh popcorn. If TNR is humiliated that's fine with me--the fact that the far right thinks it's taking down a left-leaning antiwar magazine just makes it all the more fun.

It does matter for Beauchamp, of course--if he's honest then he's been slandered and if he's not then his journalistic career should be ended. But I've got no insight into that question, and no interest either.

If you are bound and determined to swallow whatever they would feed you despite all the evidence to the contrary, I don't think there is a lot we can do to keep you from it.

Just in case the 100th repetition of the point might suddenly get through to you, I note that no one I know is interested in "swallowing whatever TNR would feed us." We don't care one way or the other if Beauchamp's anecdotes are true because they are utterly trivial.

If Beauchamp had made factual claims that were actually material to our conduct of the war, then the fact-checking or lack thereof would be much more important. But somehow I never see you guys spend your time fact-checking anything that actually matters.

When's the last time anyone in the righty blogosphere looked behind a claim by CENTCOM to determine if it was actually truthful? A single example will do.

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

translates roughly to

"Die Messer, die auf den Rücken unserer Soldaten gerichtet sind, werden von Franklin Frost geschwungen."

Not quite literal, but that just would not work out.

Jackmormon, that just hurt. Corrected it's "Die Messer, die gegen die Rücken unserer Soldaten geschwungen werden, sind in der Hand Franklin Foers."

(time for bed. 23:13 here in Austria)

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

Wait a minute, "center-right?"

Okay, coming in late. Now that Beauchamp's dog of a story has been run over by the MilBlog Bradley Fighting Vehicle, there isn't much to say. Except most here keep saying it doesn't matter.

As Crismo said, this is just like the Rather/Mapes TNG memos. Everyone is burning up the electronic pages in a frenzy to keep saying: 1) it really doesn't matter; 2) we're laughing at the conservatives (look at those rabid republicans rant) 3) it was accurate anyway even if false . . .

The Baghdad Diaries were clearly meant to influence public opinion. They were false. Even if they may portray actions that soldiers MIGHT be doing elsewhere, they defamed Beauchamp's own unit. They allegedly were doing what may be not-so-rare elsewhere. That his own unit is apparently keeping him shows their true character.

G'Kar's comment implies that such action is not common in his experience (or is it?). And his own experience happened in a different unit.

G'Kar, you found the conduct appalling. I would assume that one of your fellow soldiers falsely accusing your unit of similar appalling conduct would bother you, especially if used to promote a particular view point, would you not?

Can't we all agree on this simple point, namely that lying about a particular unit's conduct for a political purpose is unseemly?
Why are many of you defending it as "inconsequential," "meaningless troll drivel" etc. etc. etc.?

And if many of you think TNR is centrist or center-right, then the majority of those posting comments here have no claim to the middle.

oops. sorry. Should have read: "Would [it] not?" Bad sentence anyway.

Beauchamp claimed this happened with a Bradley fighting vehicle , not a HMMWV.

The Baghdad Diaries were clearly meant to influence public opinion.
In what direction? Keep in mind the earlier story about the insurgents cutting out the tongue of a boy, which the various Conservapedia Browns somehow neglected to subject to the same level of analysis.

bc: As Crismo said, this is just like the Rather/Mapes TNG memos. Everyone is burning up the electronic pages in a frenzy to keep saying: 1) it really doesn't matter; 2) we're laughing at the conservatives (look at those rabid republicans rant) 3) it was accurate anyway even if false . . .

Well, yeah: it is. We know Bush went AWOL/deserted during the Vietnam war: we know roughly the period during which he went AWOL: the memos merely added a colorful picture of how Bush's CO reacted to one of his pilots going AWOL. And, despite all of the right-wing bloviating, no one has been able to prove they were faked: Rather was blogmobbed out, much as Eason Jordan was, because he was a convenient target to distract attention from the real story: Bush's desertion and lies about it.

Likewise with the Scott Beauchamp anecdotes: as has been noted already, none of them are unbelievable, all of them could have had details changed to protect the identities of the people Beauchamp was writing about, and if they'd been written with just a slightly different spin, the 101st Fighting Keyboarders would have lapped them up and loved Beauchamp lots.

Can't we all agree on this simple point, namely that lying about a particular unit's conduct for a political purpose is unseemly?

We can, but I think you'd find that most people agree that lying about torture, murder, and rape for a political purpose is even more unseemly: and that for the Pentagon to lie about a unit's conduct for a political purpose is far more unseemly than for a low-ranking soldier to tell anecdotes about his comrades behavior - even if the soldier can't prove the truth of his anecdotes.

Sorry otmar. I knew someone would have my head for that.

No but Franklin Foer, J. Peter Scoblic, and Jason Zengerle presumably are, and they are the people who were in charge of making sure his stories were accurate before they were published, and they are the people we are focusing on.

Let's nip this shit in the bud before it gets any dumber, because it is one of the things that is driving me CRAZY. Scott Beauchamp was not an investigative reporter doing hard-hitting pieces on very important issues, writing articles after weeks and months of research and interviews. He was not Woodward and Bernstein, he was not "reporting" on issues of grave importance, and as such, the fact-checking process for his diaries was not something you would dedicate a legion of fact-checkers to deal with.

It is quite possible for TNR to be working in COMPLETELY good faith by doing cursory checks on his stories, and from what I have seen they went through, they went above and beyond the call of duty checking his information. Especially when you consider they were little more than personal dispatches from a combat zone, and what the right wing is freaking out about is COMPLETELY and totally inconsequential. Beauchamp wasn't leveling allegations about traitors, or people sneaking nuclear secrets, or corrupt political processes within the baghdad government. He was talking about things he had seen- people making fun of a woman and some jackasses running over dogs. WHOOP-DE-F**KING-DO. TNR did nothing wrong, and even more, I am not even remotely convinced that Beauchamp was lying.

Not that any of these idiots cared about fact-checking when it came to Judy Miller or any of the coterie of idiots who routinely shit the administration line into our public discourse.

otmar, thanks, but I was just joking. I thought "Dolchschleudernlegende" or whatever was too harsh.

The discovery phase of the Rather lawsuit is something very much to look forward to.

Thinking about it makes me do an inward Montgomery Burns: "Eeeehxcellent! Release the hounds..."

Even in its current early stages, it's revealed quite a bit about the regime's efforts to get the network to kill the Abu Ghraib and torture story.

Hey John, the Kitten doesn't like four-letter-words because of work filters etc. We try to keep this site as staid as possible - part of the reason a lot of us read your blog, probably...

And one more thing- the absurdity of all of this is compounded by the notion that at best, 50,000 people saw these stories before the freak out(and that is assuming everyone with a web and print subscription).

Anyone who thinks Beauchamp's stories meant anything to anyone other than a shrug is a complete and total idiot, and as such, I will not treat seriously for a LONG, LONG time.

My apologies, Rilkefan. If someone with the power to edit can replace those words with other words, it would be appreciated.

My point still stands, though.

"My apologies, Rilkefan. If someone with the power to edit can replace those words with other words, it would be appreciated."

I don't think the Kitten cares that much. For that matter She's probably a fan of Tunch so you can do no wrong here.

Especially when you consider they were little more than personal dispatches from a combat zone, and what the right wing is freaking out about is COMPLETELY and totally inconsequential. Beauchamp wasn't leveling allegations about traitors, or people sneaking nuclear secrets, or corrupt political processes within the baghdad government. He was talking about things he had seen- people making fun of a woman and some jackasses running over dogs.

But John, you must have missed the comment where it was asserted that "the Baghdad Diaries were clearly meant to influence public opinion." I mean, do you not get how they were part and parcel of an insidious left-wing campaign to discredit the war effort? Really, your naivete is appalling.

I wonder what it would be like if the lefty blogs were more like their counterparts. I mean, imagine if every time Michelle Malkin shared a heartwarming story of a US soldier helping some Iraqi kid get his kitten out of a tree, or whatever, dozens of left-wing factcheckers leaped to the forefront, demanding to see pawprints.

Jesurgislac:

I give you credit for not side-stepping the issue completely. The gratuitous comments on other lying aside, at least we can agree that what Beauchamp allegedly did was unseemly. (what he is doing now is a different story).

But I'm not sure how anyone can argue "it just might be true, it just might!!" under the facts.

I won't even step into the "no one has been able to prove they were faked" (the Rather memos) other than to simply say I now understand you better.

And Steve, although I give you a hat tip for your excellent sarcasm, the problem is we don't hear those kitten stories very often in the MSM. What we hear is doom and gloom. Even the NY Times had to be "coaxed" into carrying a story on a Medal of Honor recipient (Lt. Michael Murphy)!

But, if you must, Steve, go ahead and prove some of the kitten stories wrong. A complete red herring IMHO to the issue at hand.

And John, I'll truly miss your good opinion of me (as I take it that comment was aimed my way) even though I agree they probably wouldn't have had much influence. My point was they were intended to have such. But, then again, we didn't give the Gray Lady enough time. I'm sure she would have rather reprinted the Baghdad Diaries than anything to honor Lt. Murphy.

But I'm not sure how anyone can argue "it just might be true, it just might!!" under the facts.

A nominal effort might help.

And John, I'll truly miss your good opinion of me (as I take it that comment was aimed my way) even though I agree they probably wouldn't have had much influence. My point was they were intended to have such.

You are truly magnificent at divining intent. How about an easy test? Right now I am holding up my middle finger. What am I thinking?

"What we hear is doom and gloom."

Imagine that. Iraq loses somewhere between 100,000 and 1 million people, millions are driven from their homes, and any drop in violence in Baghdad might well be due to successful ethnic cleansing and all we get is doom and gloom. Weird, I call it.

Little wonder so much effort must be expended on shooting down some possibly false and basically trivial stories about young men behaving like assholes.


BTW, bc, the reason the New Republic isn't regarded as leftwing by lefties is because of the positions they've taken over the years. Pro-contra, for instance. Pro Iraq war. The phrase "even the liberal New Republic" started out as an argument and ended up as a joke.

I think what bugs me the most about this story is the thuggery of it all. At the risk of psychoanalyzing, it's as if the folks beating this drum have been so humiliated by the disaster their heroes have wreaked on this nation and on the world that they have to somehow prove their righteous potency and, realizing they don't have the intellectual fortitude or moral standing to take on targets of any real consequence, they decide to pick on some soldier writing slice-of-life essays from the theater of combat. It's like the blogosphere's version of the Ledeen Doctrine, and it's a pathetic and repulsive display that debases those on the giving end as much as those on the receiving end.

Bc, again, can you expand on exactly what the intended effect on public opinion was, and how the earlier insurgent atrocity story fits into the dastardly conspiracy (by a pro-war publication) to smear our troops?

I may be a little slow here, so let me see if I can summarize the situation as I understand it. In the worst case, in which Scott Beauchamp deliberately manufactured all his most exciting stories and the editorial chain of command at The New Republic completely ignored all basics of professional and honorable fact-checking, then...

A magazine known for its vociferous support of the war and occupation of Iraq (and for other military action throughout the Middle East, against essentially every nation there but Israel), blew past all canons of responsible journalism for the sake of cheap thrills.

To which absolutely every anti-Iraq-war-and-occupation blogger says, well, duh.

A complete conviction of Beauchamp and his enablers would not mean that Bush, Cheney, or their administration told the truth about the reasons for war, nor their decision-making about how to conduct it. It wouldn't mean that there were no crimes of the sort we'd punish as war crimes if others committed them against our soldiers, at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Airbase, and many other locales. It wouldn't mean that the administration has been responsible with money, lives, and resources. It wouldn't mean that we have regained the sympathy of the world we had on 9/11/2001 and then forfeited. it wouldn't mean that the administration has been vigorous in understanding the costs to Iraq and Iraqis of the war and occupation, or that independent efforts to uncover those costs have received cooperation and support rather than campaigns of vilification. It wouldn't mean...

Well, honestly, I can see that it would mean anything at all about the large issues of the war. At all. It would just mean that a magazine popular among supporters of the war was careless and/or dishonest, and that's no surprise, like I said.

there's a reason Atrios calls TNR "Joe Lieberman Weekly"... it's roughly the same reason Joe's not well-liked by his former party these days.

Beauchamp was targetted for three major things:

1) Claiming that his supposed crazy antics were widely supported and liked. That made all of the troops look like thugs, not just a few individuals. The IED victim story was particularly unbelievable in that regard. Two guys telling jokes to each other is one thing. Doing it in front of your entire unit and your NCO? That's something else entirely.

2) Telling a hollywood-esque extravagant story, which was patently false and contradicted past experience. This was not as big as the first one.

3) Overflow from the anger at TNR and Foer. Unfair, but it did occur.

Beauchamp got busted. He chose to stay in Iraq rather than go home, and the Drudge transcripts show him to be more of a decent guy who seriously screwed up than a jerk. He's no longer the real focus of the story. Personally, I just hope he comes home in one piece. The new issue is TNR still backing his story.

It really doesn't matter on the whole matter of Iraq. Just about everyone has already decided their position on Iraq, and the news no longer matters. This is mostly a matter of journalism.

Hmm, I guess the people asserting that Beauchamp has been shown to be lying are going to just stick with that position absent anything solid or even a fair hearing of his side. So this discussion is basically stymied and we should all go on to better things. At least John Cole got a lot of excellent snark out of it.

"But, then again, we didn't give the Gray Lady enough time. I'm sure she would have rather reprinted the Baghdad Diaries than anything to honor Lt. Murphy."

As I endlessly point out, the NY Times isn't a unitary being, and has no consciousness; which individuals are you specifically accusing of desiring of being unenthusiastic about printing a story on a Medal of Honor winner, and what evidence do you offer to support your charge against the individuals you have in mind?

Of TNR:

[...] And John, I'll truly miss your good opinion of me (as I take it that comment was aimed my way) even though I agree they probably wouldn't have had much influence. My point was they were intended to have such.
You're accusing Marty Peretz and TNR, a somewhat neo-conservative, pro-war magazine, of conspiring to publish anti-war material? What would their motivation be? To contradict the magazine's editorial support of the war?

Let's go to actual history:

Ever since the New Republic broke with liberal orthodoxy by strongly supporting President Bush's war with Iraq, the magazine has been getting a steady stream of e-mails from readers demanding an apology.

[...]

The New Republic's issue next week features reappraisals (with varying conclusions) by owner Martin Peretz and literary editor Leon Wieseltier, Beinart, Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum and Sens. Joe Biden and John McCain, among others.

The magazine's editorial dances up to the line of saying it was a mistake to support the war, but doesn't quite cross it.

"The central assumption underlying this magazine's strategic rationale for war now appears to have been wrong," it says. Even without nuclear or biological weapons, Hussein may have still been a threat, "but saying he was a threat does not mean he was a threat urgent enough to require war."

In fact, "waiting to confront Iraq would have allowed the United States to confront more immediate dangers. . . . Because our military is stretched so thin in Iraq, we cannot threaten military action in Iran or North Korea."

There were indications early on that some of the administration's evidence was shaky, says the editorial, and "in retrospect we should have paid more attention to these warning signs."

The New Republic then retreats to its second argument, the "moral rationale" for war against one of the "ghastliest regimes of our time." But even on this more favorable turf, the administration's mistakes, including having "winked at torture," means that "this war's moral costs have been higher than we foresaw."

John Judis, a New Republic senior editor, disagreed with the editorial and felt it should have gone further. He had argued before the war that there was insufficient evidence that Hussein posed a nuclear threat. In light of subsequent events, he says, "I feel vindication."

As for the moral case for war, Judis says, "I found Saddam Hussein's regime as abhorrent as anyone. But I thought there were a lot of historical reasons to doubt that the U.S. going it alone, or with Britain, could create a regime in the Middle East in our own image. I don't see any reason for believing that things will get better."

The battle lines for the internal debate were drawn. Beinart is a charter member of the liberal hawks club, but much of the staff is more dovish. At one point, participants say, one staffer declared that the war effort had been a total disaster, prompting an impassioned plea from others, including hawkish foreign-affairs writer Lawrence Kaplan, that they shouldn't give up hope.

Peretz, who may be the magazine's strongest supporter of the war, argued against going too far.

"I don't think the New Republic owes anybody an apology," Peretz says. "There were some things we were mistaken about, like believing there were WMDs, but my piece lays out an argument for the war independent of that mistake. These apologies are silly." But he welcomes the editorial, adding: "I would have written it slightly differently."

Among the other contributors, some, like Zakaria, admit error: "The biggest mistake I made on Iraq was to believe that the Bush administration would want to get Iraq right more than it wanted to prove that its own prejudices were right."

Wieseltier goes further than the editorial, saying flatly: "If I had known that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I would not have supported this war." He says he has "come to despise" some of the officials running the war.

Others, like McCain, stand their ground: "Even if Saddam had forever abandoned his WMD ambitions, it was still right to topple the dictator."

Beinart, who in a signed column rips the conservatives who promoted the war, now contends he was misled by the administration. "I feel furious," he says. "If the administration had been less duplicitous, we and others might have recognized that Saddam didn't have nuclear weapons. . . . Maybe we were naive, but I didn't think they would lie to that extent."

Beinart still believes that things may turn out all right in Iraq. But, he concedes, "we may have to go back and do another editorial a year from now."

TNR in general.

"Left-wing" thirty-years-plus owner and publisher, and still editor-in-chief of TNR, Marty Peretz, a sample. Marty Peretz in more depth.

TNR:

[...] Martin Peretz, the magazine’s editor in chief, known for his neo-conservative bent and support for Israel, will retain his quarter interest in the company.

[...]

The magazine’s editorial voice has tended to veer between liberal and neo-conservative — something that Franklin Foer, the magazine’s editor for a year, said was irritating to many on the political left. The magazine is now cementing what Mr. Foer calls its “center-left” philosophy, although he said its reported articles would “transcend ideology.”

[...]

But some critics have attributed the weakening sales to a murky and sometimes conservative editorial voice, as progressive causes have intensified, particularly in the blogosphere and particularly over the war in Iraq. The New Republic initially supported the war but has since apologized for that support. It also backed Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who lost the Democratic primary in 2006 but retained his seat as an independent during the election.

While the circulation of other liberal magazines, including The Nation and The Progressive, increased after President Bush’s re-election in 2004, that of The New Republic did not.

Etc. HTH.

The more I think about this, the more it keeps looking to me like this:

Granting the premise that Beauchamp and his editors are as culpible as their critics say - a premise that I don't really feel informed about or concerned about - then the major lesson is that supporters of war and occupation have once again been the targets of an effort at deception. I guess I can see why that would make them angry.

It still seems disproportionate to me, but then I'm not the one dealing with a legacy of having been used and lied to about the alleged national interest since sometime in the '90s. I don't have a stance that requires me to think each night, "Hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent people are being killed, injured, and scattered to the winds because I swallowed a pack of lies." I understand the values of symbols and foci, too, having myself sometimes unleashed disproportionate fury on minor targets when big ones seemed out of reach.

The one part I continue to not get is why there are so few on the war side asking anything like, "How did we let ourselves be suckered into trusting these guys in the first place?", let alone "How can we avoid doing it again in the future?" That's the part that seems missing, whether it's an analysis of how Peretz et al have been able to feed bogosities to a willing war-favoring audience in one magazine, or a look at the administration's favorite rhetorical tricks (used repeatedly - there is a structure there) beef up imaginary or minor threats in public statements, or the warning signs of incompetent people appointed to critical offices, or, well, anything much.

It seems like anyone who actually starts asking serious questions of that personal sort - the ones that run like "how did I...?", rather than trying to blame others - ends up leaving the war party. To me that means something, but again, it's not my cause, so maybe there's something I'm missing.

Gary:

"As I endlessly point out, the NY Times isn't a unitary being, and has no consciousness;"

Is this a liberal version of the Nicene Creed? :).

Your post disproves your own point, I think. That TNR is a left-leaning periodical (as the materials you quote state) is grounds enough for motive.

For further grounds for motive you need look no further than their editorial intent to distance themselves from their earlier stance or to appeal to their readers. TNR took a lot of flack for its pro-war stance. How better to seek forgiveness for their conservative sins and be rebaptized in the waters of liberalism than to run the Baghadad Diaries?

So what do you think, they ran in it SUPPORT of the war?

Bruce - I think the short answer to your question is that belief systems tend to be more social than rational.

John Cole:

"You are truly magnificent at divining intent. How about an easy test? Right now I am holding up my middle finger. What am I thinking?"

I dunno. Are you really still in high school?

Bill: dr ngo, Is Thailand in the Middle East?

No.

Have you spent time there? (Which was my earlier question.) If not, what is the point here?

Do you merely wish to inject the fact that Muslims have committed atrocities there?

Well, so have Christians in Indonesia, FWIW.

Come to think of it, I don't recall that Timothy McVeigh was Muslim, but I seem to remember he killed a lot of people in the USA, which some consider a Christian nation.

I trust you are sufficiently consistent (paranoid?) to be equally suspicious and contemptuous of all Christians everywhere.

If not, you're simply a bigot. (Cf. also Bruce Baugh's comments, immediately below yours.)

KCinDC:

"again, can you expand on exactly what the intended effect on public opinion was, and how the earlier insurgent atrocity story fits into the dastardly conspiracy (by a pro-war publication) to smear our troops?"

I'm not sure how you got the impression that i thought it was a "dastardly conspiracy." But the earlier alleged story did not malign the troops. It did not warrant investigation for that reason alone. I must be missing something because it seems obvious to me. I guess if we had not had all the televised decapitations, etc. it would have stood out more and been subject to investigation.

But soldiers playing with the skulls of Iraqi children? Whole different category. I do acknowledge that there is a tendency to not investigate claims of atrocities by the insurgents by bloggers of the right. I also think, however, the insurgents have earned a right to not be investigated every time they allegedly commit an atrocity.

What's amazing to me, KCinDC, is that so many poster here (you are excluded from this group) lump me in with the right wing bloggers even though I do not see things that black and white. John's middle finger is a point in fact. I hadn't thought through the "James Bond" incident. You made me do that. Although it doesn't completely change my opinion, it does a little. Thanks.

KCinDC:

"again, can you expand on exactly what the intended effect on public opinion was, and how the earlier insurgent atrocity story fits into the dastardly conspiracy (by a pro-war publication) to smear our troops?"

I'm not sure how you got the impression that i thought it was a "dastardly conspiracy." But the earlier alleged story did not malign the troops. It did not warrant investigation for that reason alone. I must be missing something because it seems obvious to me. I guess if we had not had all the televised decapitations, etc. it would have stood out more and been subject to investigation.

But soldiers playing with the skulls of Iraqi children? Whole different category. I do acknowledge that there is a tendency to not investigate claims of atrocities by the insurgents by bloggers of the right. I also think, however, the insurgents have earned a right to not be investigated every time they allegedly commit an atrocity.

What's amazing to me, KCinDC, is that so many poster here (you are excluded from this group) lump me in with the right wing bloggers even though I do not see things that black and white. John's middle finger is a point in fact. I hadn't thought through the "James Bond" incident. You made me do that. Although it doesn't completely change my opinion, it does a little. Thanks.

But, if you must, Steve, go ahead and prove some of the kitten stories wrong. A complete red herring IMHO to the issue at hand.

But I have absolutely no interest in disproving any such story, which was the entire point of my comment. I don't flip out and man the battle stations because some random fluff story might be an insidious work of fiction designed to advance a pro-war agenda. And I don't know any bloggers on the left who are interested in debunking kitten stories.

My point, bc, is that you seem to be saying the Baghdad Diaries were designed to influence public opinion to oppose the troops and the war, but the earlier story doesn't fit with that motive -- if anything, it works against it. Painting Beauchamp as some sort of anti-troop propagandist doesn't fit the facts.

I'm glad to have helped you, even though I don't know what the "James Bond" incident is.

"So what do you think, they ran in it SUPPORT of the war?"

I'm inclined to guess that they ran it at least largely for the usual reasons: because they thought it was interesting. In the specific case of this stuff, because it seemed to be interesting color. That Beauchamp's wife was a TNR fact-checker/employee almost certainly was also a factor.

However accurate or inaccurate -- and at least a couple of inaccuracies seem to have occurred -- I'm at a loss as to how anything Beauchamp wrote, that has been brought to my attention, reflected particularly on the Army in general, or this war in general. At worst, as others here have pointed out, if taken as accurate, it was reflective of the simple fact that young people in war sometimes engage in black humor, do brutal things, use harsh language, and so on. It's not exactly an accusation of My Lai. The goings on about what a grave insult it is to every soldier, etc., is just silly huffing and puffing.

The fact is, even occasional atrocities in a war are or would prove nothing particular, absent a specific pattern of larger implication, save that in every war that goes on for a while, statistically there are going to be some atrocities. It's only if they start to seem systematic, or indicative of larger policies at fault, or the like, that they become meaningfully suggestive of something more than that.

But Beauchamp didn't even allege some atrocities, even minor or trivial ones. No one died in his stories. No one was even seriously injured.

It's just allegations of dog-killing and, omg, rudeness, and bad taste.

I feel a faint coming on at the news that anyone in any military might be guilty of such unprecedented, utterly shocking, behavior.

Beauchamp's stuff was trivia, unnoticed by anyone until your camp did its usual job of unearthing someone no one has heard of to fuel the weekly Two-Minute Hate.

But if you like to imagine hordes of leftist anti-war folks saying "oh, noes, it's possible that Scott Beauchamp and Franklin Foer may have misled us about whether an anecdote took place in Iraq or Kuwait, and been inaccurate in other details! I must reconsider whether political progress is being made by the Iraqi government!," then, hey, enjoy.

bc: "I hadn't thought through the 'James Bond' incident."

What are you referring to there?

Steve:

"I don't flip out and man the battle stations because some random fluff story might be an insidious work of fiction designed to advance a pro-war agenda."

Just as I would not flip out and man the battle stations if there were some human interest story on, say, Cindy Sheehan.

"And I don't know any bloggers on the left who are interested in debunking kitten stories"

But this was no kitten story and the subject being denigrated was the men and women in uniform in a time of war. It had a real impact on those men and women in terms of morale. I would mostly agree with you if this were a post on a different subject having no bearing on those men and women. It crossed the line.

While the frenzy was perhaps overwrought and continues to be, that is an assessment that can be pointed at both sides. While Milblogs and Malkin went to DefCon one, Lady Liberal protesteth too much.

bc, note that John Cole is a well-known conservative blogger (and former soldier), notwithstanding his current mission of tearing down the Bushian elements of his party. And a very infrequent commenter here.

KCinDC:

Didn't the kid say he was called "James Bond?" Other than there was a Beauchamp post about a kid getting his tongue cut off by insurgents, that was the only thing I could remember off the top of my head. Maybe I'm getting that mixed up.

But that incident wasn't so pro-military as to take any of the sting from his later posts, especially the "children's skulls" post. Again, I'm not saying conspiracy. But publishing unverified (or not well verified) anti-military drivel is a problem.

"It had a real impact on those men and women in terms of morale."

Umm, what?

And compared to the impact of Abu Ghraib? The body armor and armored vehicle revelations? The slow-motion Blackwater catastrophe? The claims that Baghdad is as safe as Indiana? The argument by some conservatives that the troops have failed Bush?

And for that matter, what about the effect of the above post on morale?

"It had a real impact on those men and women in terms of morale."

Your evidence for this remarkable assertion is?

"But this was no kitten story and the subject being denigrated was the men and women in uniform in a time of war."

Just out of curiosity, which years since 1941 would you say were years that were not a "time of war" for "the men and women in uniform" of the United States armed forces?

"It crossed the line."

For the sake of clarity, could you please state and define the line, and its source, so we can discuss the specifics of this line?

"Lady Liberal protesteth too much"

Who is "Lady Liberal"?

And, tell me, if people didn't disagree over the grave threat to America's military effort Scott Beauchamp has been, would you have not said that it proves that the charges are unanswerable, too shameful to be denied, etc.?

Rilkefan:

Thanks for the info. I generally give former soldiers at least two opportunities to call me a complete and utter idiot and give me the finger before responding.

John: I retract my earlier comment. Seriously. I thought I was in part defending the honor of those that serve and have served. Give me the other finger so I can talk at you again. :)

Gary:

Lady Liberal: Just a bad Shakespeare-sort-of-quote. Hamlet. I should have added the "methinks."

Times of War: You keep bringing this up. I don't consider the all of the years between 1941 and today to be "years of war" in this sense. I mean men and women posted overseas in danger.

The line: It is Johnny Cash's line that he walks while dressed in black. It's just my opinion. What am i supposed to say? It's the Rose Line meridian? The steel metre bar in France?

rilkefan:

I'm too new here to take a swing at the above post itself and I really don't have an inclination to. Dogs and children's skulls are two different things in my book (only my opinion-please no one ask me for empirical evidence!)Abu Ghraib is a point well taken. The armor and other points are apples and oranges but certainly impacted morale.

G'Kar says that he found the actions patently offensive. So I would assume that accusations against his unit would offend him at least. Which goes to the morale point questioned by Gary.

Whenever someone utters the banal phrase "in a time of war," it's a good bet they are about to argue that an utterly trivial matter must be treated with the Utmost Solemnity.

Apparently, you would not believe the delicate flowers we send off to defend our freedoms "in a time of war." Oh, the flagging morale!

"Times of War: You keep bringing this up. I don't consider the all of the years between 1941 and today to be 'years of war' in this sense. I mean men and women posted overseas in danger."

Yes. Which years, please, wasn't this the case?

It's not a complicated question.

"The line: It is Johnny Cash's line that he walks while dressed in black. It's just my opinion. What am i supposed to say? It's the Rose Line meridian? The steel metre bar in France?"

Ah. I took you to be referring to some sort of objective line, and to be making some sort of criticism beyond "I think that's wrong."

Naturally, what you think is or isn't wrong isn't arguable.

(Unlike, say, if you had made a factual assertion prefaced by "I think.")

"It had a real impact on those men and women in terms of morale."

Your evidence for this remarkable assertion is?

Does your silence indicate you have none? Is this, too, "just [your] opinion"?

Steve and Gary:

"Whenever someone utters the banal phrase "in a time of war," it's a good bet they are about to argue that an utterly trivial matter must be treated with the Utmost Solemnity."

I don't consider criticizing the troops in Iraq an utterly trivial matter.

"Which years, please, wasn't this the case?"

I simply think we should be careful how we criticize troops especially when they are in harm's way. Why is everyone picking this apart? Is it really too much to ask? And yes, Gary, without my ready reference guide to the U.S. at war since 1941, I recognize that there have always been troops posted overseas. I understand your point. I wouldn't have the same problem with criticizing troops stationed at Ft. Benning as I would troops stationed near the DMZ in Korea.

The line: O.K. Gary, I draw the line at alleging troops played soccer with the skull of a dead civilian when it is not true. I'm sure your line has a longitude and latitude.

In terms of morale, that's too obvious to bother to comment.

bc: I give you credit for not side-stepping the issue completely. The gratuitous comments on other lying aside

Gratuitous? You brought the subject of Bush's desertion and lies about it to the table.

at least we can agree that what Beauchamp allegedly did was unseemly

I suppose so, if your argument is that it's unseemly to permit soldiers to say anything while they're on active service. But the behavior Beauchamp described went far beyond unseemly.

bc: I simply think we should be careful how we criticize troops especially when they are in harm's way. Why is everyone picking this apart? Is it really too much to ask?

Well, from Rush Limbaugh it is: he thinks it's OK to call soldiers currently on active service "phony soldiers". I take it you've joined the campaign to have advertisers withdraw from Rush Limbaugh's show, and to have Limbaugh taken off the radio channel for the services, since that's a far more serious criticism, far more carelessly expressed?

On to serious matters:

The Republicans representing the party in the Houses think it's okay to keep soldiers in Iraq on active service without any real break: they voted down an Act that would have required National Guard soldiers to have at least a year's break if they were in Iraq for a year. This has many results, most of them IMO far more serious than the specific issue of "Is a soldier currently serving in Iraq allowed to criticize the behavior of other soldiers serving in Iraq?" but in the situation that the Republicans have set up, if it's argued that a soldier currently serving mustn't be publicly criticized (except, of course, by Rush Limbaugh) then when, exactly, can foul behavior of the kind Beauchamp describes be criticized?

"And yes, Gary, without my ready reference guide to the U.S. at war since 1941, I recognize that there have always been troops posted overseas. I understand your point."

No, you don't, since it's as regards our forces fighting overseas.

And are you seriously admitting that you have no idea which years since 1941 the U.S. has had significant forces fighting? It's elementary recent history. You can't say off the top of your head? But you feel "in a time of war" is a useful piece of information to emphasize? But you don't know when that time has and hasn't been in people's current lifetime?

Ok.

"I don't consider criticizing the troops in Iraq an utterly trivial matter."

Which piece of text "criticizing the troops" do you have in mind?

You previously wrote:

Incidentally: "Times of War: You keep bringing this up."
Now:
"Which years, please, wasn't this the case?"

I simply think we should be careful how we criticize troops especially when they are in harm's way. Why is everyone picking this apart? Is it really too much to ask?

I note the non-sequitur response to a perfectly simple question.

I "keep bringing this up "only in response to your repeatedly bringing it up by your repeatedly using the term, to explain this frighteningly complex and confusing mystery that so puzzles you.

That tends to be how conversation works, you know: one person says something, the other person asks about it.

Repetition is prevented by that person answering the question.

If, instead, they ignore the question, and repeat the phrase, yes, the question may be asked of them again.

As a rule, a response of "why do you keep asking me that?" isn't inappropriately answered with "because you keep not answering."

You'ld have been welcome to break this cyle by answering the question, but you seem to genuinely not know the answer, which does explain your emphasis on the point.

"The line: O.K. Gary, I draw the line at alleging troops played soccer with the skull of a dead civilian when it is not true."

You "draw the line," which you've now defined as "just [your] opinion," so, hey, since all you're saying is "I disaprove of alleging troops played soccer with the skull of a dead civilian when it is not true," and I'll go way out there and confess that, I too, disaprove of that. And of lying in general.

And if Beauchamp lied about that, well, shame on Beauchamp.

Controversial, that is not.

"In terms of morale, that's too obvious to bother to comment."

Ah, yes, you can't answer a simple question again, and can't support your simplest assertions, which is to say, "[Beauchamp] had a real impact on those men and women in terms of morale."

If it's true, you can give some, you know, evidence that it's true.

Maybe in your circles, an airy "that's too obvious to bother to comment" passes for support for an argument, but if that's what you want to leave as your support for your assertion, fine, let that speak for you.

could we shift the debate a bit here?

i want to ask: what so bad about the dolchstosslegende?

that it's hard to spell? nah--lots of hard words name good things.

that it's german? nah--oktoberfest! hefeweizen!

that the nazi's ran with it? nah--too much like "hitler was a vegetarian". after you show the nazis did something, you still have to show it was wrong, apart from that.

so what's wrong with it, in the end?

two things come to my mind,

but i'd really like hilz or pubs or someone to do a front-pager on it, because it is worth thinking about more generally. so this is just to get the ball rolling.

1) it furthers a destructive culture-war that is left over from the sixties and has little relevance to the problems america faces.
the sixties were a bad time, kiddies, and the misbehavior of some parts of the left were real, even if exaggerated in reports. there really were leftists back then who hated and despised american troops without thinking, who made no distinction between war crimes and honorable military conduct, who did not think that there was any role for a professional military in our country.
it's hard to believe, because seems so stoopid, but i was there, and i can vouch for it.
it's also hard to believe because nobody thinks that way anymore. no one on the left, certainly in left blogistan or the left wing of the democratic party, feels that way any longer. you'd have to travel to the left of the left of the wacked-out weirdistan to find that sort of reflex troop-hatred any longer.
and yet it is that caricature of leftists as troop-haters, left over from a time when most troops and most bloggers were not even alive, that is still corrupting this debate. time to get over it, folks, and the stab-in-the-back myth isn't helping.

2) accountability.
the worst thing about the stab-in-the-back myth is that it blinds people to who caused what. it shifts responsibility from the real actors to a bunch of non-actors. and so it exculpates people who really are guilty, and should be held to account.

if you want to find sixties-era draft-dodgers at work betraying our troops, look no further than bush and cheney. they are the ones who ignored the advice of military experts--shinseki, for instance--and sent our troops overseas without enough manpower or equipment. they left vital ammunition dumps unguarded in the early months of the war so that the insurgent looters could get a near limitless supply of raw materials for ieds.

they controlled every phase of this war. they dreamed it up and planned it. they got a blank check from the american people, the left included. no one stood in their way, denied them anything they asked for, or made their jobs harder.

and they made a giant catastrophe out of it.

now, they would like to dodge the responsibility for the disaster they created. and back-stabbers like bob owens, yon, and bc are helping to grant amnesty to these people.

the stab-in-the-back myth is wrong because it places blame where blame should not go, and indeed cannot go: on people who had no control over the events, and no influence on them.

and it is wrong because it gives a free pass to the people who should be held accountable, and does the dirty political work of letting them off the hook.


could we shift the debate a bit here?

i want to ask: what so bad about the dolchstosslegende?

that it's hard to spell? nah--lots of hard words name good things.

that it's german? nah--oktoberfest! hefeweizen!

that the nazi's ran with it? nah--too much like "hitler was a vegetarian". after you show the nazis did something, you still have to show it was wrong, apart from that.

so what's wrong with it, in the end?

two things come to my mind,

but i'd really like hilz or pubs or someone to do a front-pager on it, because it is worth thinking about more generally. so this is just to get the ball rolling.

1) it furthers a destructive culture-war that is left over from the sixties and has little relevance to the problems america faces.
the sixties were a bad time, kiddies, and the misbehavior of some parts of the left were real, even if exaggerated in reports. there really were leftists back then who hated and despised american troops without thinking, who made no distinction between war crimes and honorable military conduct, who did not think that there was any role for a professional military in our country.
it's hard to believe, because seems so stoopid, but i was there, and i can vouch for it.
it's also hard to believe because nobody thinks that way anymore. no one on the left, certainly in left blogistan or the left wing of the democratic party, feels that way any longer. you'd have to travel to the left of the left of the wacked-out weirdistan to find that sort of reflex troop-hatred any longer.
and yet it is that caricature of leftists as troop-haters, left over from a time when most troops and most bloggers were not even alive, that is still corrupting this debate. time to get over it, folks, and the stab-in-the-back myth isn't helping.

2) accountability.
the worst thing about the stab-in-the-back myth is that it blinds people to who caused what. it shifts responsibility from the real actors to a bunch of non-actors. and so it exculpates people who really are guilty, and should be held to account.

if you want to find sixties-era draft-dodgers at work betraying our troops, look no further than bush and cheney. they are the ones who ignored the advice of military experts--shinseki, for instance--and sent our troops overseas without enough manpower or equipment. they left vital ammunition dumps unguarded in the early months of the war so that the insurgent looters could get a near limitless supply of raw materials for ieds.

they controlled every phase of this war. they dreamed it up and planned it. they got a blank check from the american people, the left included. no one stood in their way, denied them anything they asked for, or made their jobs harder.

and they made a giant catastrophe out of it.

now, they would like to dodge the responsibility for the disaster they created. and back-stabbers like bob owens, yon, and bc are helping to grant amnesty to these people.

the stab-in-the-back myth is wrong because it places blame where blame should not go, and indeed cannot go: on people who had no control over the events, and no influence on them.

and it is wrong because it gives a free pass to the people who should be held accountable, and does the dirty political work of letting them off the hook.


and if i don't see a good front-pager on this, i'll post it again, dammit!
(i.e., sorry for the double post, please delete one.)

kid: there really were leftists back then who hated and despised american troops without thinking, who made no distinction between war crimes and honorable military conduct, who did not think that there was any role for a professional military in our country.

Can you vouch for it because you were there, part of the anti-war movement, hearing your fellow anti-war protesters saying these things, or because you were there, reading in the papers that anti-war protesters ("leftists") were saying these things?

Donald Johnson,

"BTW, bc, the reason the New Republic isn't regarded as leftwing by lefties is because of the positions they've taken over the years. Pro-contra, for instance. Pro Iraq war. The phrase "even the liberal New Republic" started out as an argument and ended up as a joke."

I would add to that list Martin Peretz's choices of editors (Andrew Sullivan and Michael Kelly are few people's idea of left-wingers), as well as domestic positions they have taken (praising The Bell Curve, or doing a hit piece on the Clinton Health Plan, both under Sullivan).

Thanks dantheman. I actually thought of mentioning the same two examples--sympathetic treatment of the Bell Curve and the hit piece on the Clinton health plan--but my memory of the details is foggy. Gary also supplied a list of links that show why lefties don't consider TNR leftist, and bc's reaction didn't demonstrate that he'd paid any attention to the arguments.

DJ,

I know, but both you and Gary focused on foreign policy matters, especially Iran. If TNR were otherwise reliably liberal but supported the war, the "Even the liberal TNR" meme would have some merit. As the record shows, this meme is about as accurate as most conservative complaints about the SCLM -- not very.

"Can you vouch for it because you were there, part of the anti-war movement, hearing your fellow anti-war protesters saying these things, or because you were there, reading in the papers that anti-war protesters ("leftists") were saying these things?"

Please try to keep up. We established way up-thread that "journalists" (or authors of pieces in well-known magazines) have no responsibility to offer any evidence for their assertions. Certainly commenters can be held to the same (low) standard.

Of two options, Crimso, I wondered which. (Or a third option that hasn't occurred to me.) Kid themself claimed "i was there, and i can vouch for it": I would like to know which "I was there" they meant.

We established way up-thread that "journalists" (or authors of pieces in well-known magazines) have no responsibility to offer any evidence for their assertions.

what was established (asserted, rather) was that magazines don't have any obligation to give up their sources to whiny-ass rightwing bloggers just to prevent said bloggers from stomping their little feet and crying "Treason!" till they nearly burst their lungs.

"Scott Beauchamp was not an investigative reporter doing hard-hitting pieces on very important issues, writing articles after weeks and months of research and interviews. He was not Woodward and Bernstein, he was not "reporting" on issues of grave importance, and as such, the fact-checking process for his diaries was not something you would dedicate a legion of fact-checkers to deal with."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to think this is all no big deal. Tell me(or don't, because I won't be back for a good-faith response as I know now one will not be forthcoming; instead, just ask yourself quietly and honestly) what would you do if Beauchamp had written a "diary" wherein he accused you, John Cole, of child molestation, complete with graphic details of your alleged crime? Would you believe the burden is not on him to support his assertions? Or would you sue his ass off (along with his "editors") and demand in court he prove his assertions?

Feral dogs are not pets. Over reaction to these stories by all parties just floors me. Go out into the countryside anywhere in the world and pet some of these lovely little pups. enjoy the rabies rounds and stitches afterward.

The "realities" people express are incredible. The longer I surf this worl wide inner tube, the more I am resigned to the impending failure of the human race. specialization and continual living with blinders to the "realities" of nature are going to be the end of us. We do not control the forces of nature. They control us -eventually.

Tell me(or don't, because I won't be back for a good-faith response as I know now one will not be forthcoming; instead, just ask yourself quietly and honestly) what would you do if Beauchamp had written a "diary" wherein he accused you, John Cole, of child molestation, complete with graphic details of your alleged crime?

First we had soldiers behaving badly comparable to alien abductions, now its comparable to child molestation. Welcome to Crimso's world.

Crimso: what would you do if Beauchamp had written a "diary" wherein he accused you, John Cole, of child molestation, complete with graphic details of your alleged crime?

What would you do, Crimso, if Beauchamp had written a "diary" in which he alleged that there exist men living in the same city as you, who molest children, complete with graphic details of the crimes - but without naming a single person as definitively guilty, or even giving enough detail for people who didn't know who was meant already to be able to guess? Would you feel obliged to dedicate a legion of fact-checkers to deal with the allegation that some men in your city have done bad things to children? Somehow I think not.

A direct specific allegation of criminal behavior against a named person is potentially libellous, if it can't be proved, and may cause difficulties when the accused comes to trial, if it can. Scott Beauchamp's account of bad things he'd seen US soldiers do, and done himself, did not fall into that zone, and it's really stupid of you to claim that they did.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to think this is all no big deal. Tell me(or don't, because I won't be back for a good-faith response as I know now one will not be forthcoming; instead, just ask yourself quietly and honestly) what would you do if Beauchamp had written a "diary" wherein he accused you, John Cole, of child molestation, complete with graphic details of your alleged crime? Would you believe the burden is not on him to support his assertions? Or would you sue his ass off (along with his "editors") and demand in court he prove his assertions?

Sigh.

It seems to me that you're arguing from an arm-chair warrior's perspective, with not a lot of experience in the military. You're not very well informed, you're arguing with people who've been in the field in the military and you're arguing with people who've faced enemy fire.

Why should we take your comments seriously?

It also appears to me that Crimso isn't particuarly imaginative has a fairly impoverished ability to make reasonable projections.

Gary:

I'm not sure why you choose to engage in rhetoric against obvious opinion by pointing out it's opinion and then disparaging it for lack of "evidence." Do I really need evidence to show that criticizing the troops is bad for morale? If what you are saying is I don't have evidence that it had a huge impact, fine. I don't, other than the milbloggers took it seriously as did the military itself by going after Beauchamp. Isn't that evidence enough?

As for the date issue, I'm not sure why you are on this kick. I'll concede that there have been troops continuously deployed and at least a small number in harm's way.

Since you feel I have been avoiding the question, here is my off the top of my head response (since I am not a total historical illiterate and actually enjoy history) with the caveat that my two-year-old was up all night with the flu (meaning I was too):

Korean War: 1950-53 or 54
Vietnam: 1965-75 (I'm a little fuzzy on the beginning date because we had advisors there earlier, but I think that was when we starting sending large numbers of troops)
Grenada: 1983 or 4.
Panama: 1988?
Gulf I:1990 or 91, don't know how long we were actually there in large numbers but enforcing the no-fly zone went clear up to the present war.
Haiti: 94 or 95; lasted I think less than a year.
Bosnia/Kosovo: 1995-99 or so.
Gulf II: 2003- present

If you want all the interstitial stuff, like the troops posted in Lebanon, the operation to rescue the Iranian hostages, Somalia, the Libyan air strike (F-111 from Britain), etc. etc. etc. I would need more time.

You made your point, I conceded it and would now rephrase my original point to say that there have been times of relative peace and acknowledge that we have been continuously deployed. Point taken. Now can we get off this kick? Have I passed your test? Are you done demeaning my intelligence? It's not like I get WWI and II confused like most Americans under 30.

Jesurgislac:

I think our disagreement is over whether his claims are true. If true, Beauchamp should be able to criticize up his chain of command and further if need be. I don't think they are true. He isn't standing by them.

As for the bill, I agree the troops need more time at home if at all possible and that that issue is at least as important although i do not pretend to know the solution (or at least how to get there).

bc: Do I really need evidence to show that criticizing the troops is bad for morale?

You certainly need to show evidence that it is worse for morale to have soldiers in a war zone allowed to do vile things without discipline or criticism, than it is for a serving soldier to say publicly that he is ashamed of the vile things that he and other soldiers have been doing.

Not that I've ever been a soldier, but speaking from the point of view of a childminder, I'm rather familiar with the claim that it's really, really bad for a kid to be told s/he's doing bad things and has got to stop - and I come down squarely on the side of "Nope, you tell the kid in a loving but firm way that s/he's doing something hurtful and is stopping that now." Because frankly, you sound like the epitome of Worst Parent Ever, "Oh, little Bobbi is so sensitive, I hope you don't believe in discipline. We think children should be let to express themselves freely!"

bc: I think our disagreement is over whether his claims are true.

If your position is that his claims are not true, where is your evidence to show that none of the events he described could have happened? And if you have no such evidence, but are just claiming he's lying, where is your evidence to show he's a liar?

If true, Beauchamp should be able to criticize up his chain of command and further if need be.

Not according to everything I've ever heard about chain-of-command complaints, from both soldiers and ex-soldiers.

Besides, not relevant. The question is not whether or not Beauchamp should have reported up the chain of command that his comrades were using military vehicles to kill dogs in the road: the question is whether Beauchamp had the right to write about their doing this in the media.

As for the bill, I agree the troops need more time at home if at all possible and that that issue is at least as important although i do not pretend to know the solution (or at least how to get there).

Solution's obvious: begin to set up a timetable for withdrawal of the US occupation from Iraq. Everyone knows that.

Little Bobbi's just an excitable boy.

"I know, but both you and Gary focused on foreign policy matters, especially Iran."

Not in my links, no. I'll therefore again link to this and this, for instance, and encourage people to read them.

bc: "I'm not sure why you choose to engage in rhetoric against obvious opinion by pointing out it's opinion and then disparaging it for lack of 'evidence.'"

Because you weren't previously stating "obvious opinion," but were making claims of fact.

You're not shy about asking for proof, and pointing out distractions: "But, if you must, Steve, go ahead and prove some of the kitten stories wrong. A complete red herring IMHO to the issue at hand."

Facts, and that which is objectively provable, are worth debating, because questions can be easily settled, and which people are and aren't interested in finding truth, and which people are and aren't interested in honest debate, is made quickly clear.

Opinions, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen, unprovable, undebatable, and unconnected to facts, uninteresting.

"You made your point, I conceded it and would now rephrase my original point to say that there have been times of relative peace and acknowledge that we have been continuously deployed. Point taken. Now can we get off this kick?"

Sure, if this means that you acknowledge that using "in a time of war" to refer to our present time is pretty well meaningless, and you'll quit using it as thoughtless rhetoric to make a meaningless point, you betcha. Happy to help, now that we've cleared that up.

"It's not like I get WWI and II confused like most Americans under 30."

No, no, you're just so fuzzy on when we have and haven't been in war in current lifetimes that you have trouble naming the years, despite your contantly wanting to emphasize that this, unlike other times, is a time of war; if you wish to congratulate yourself on your wealth of knowledge in not confusing WWI and WWII, by all means, take as much comfort as you like in that.

"I don't think they are true."

And, yet, why should any of us care what the other person is imagining?

It can't be debated. Why is it of interest what you "think," or what anyone "thinks," which is to say, since you're not laying out any reasoning or evididence, what you imagine?

Either what he wrote is true, or isn't. It can be proven true, or it can't.

The facts would settle the facts. Until such time as the facts are known, the case can't be settled. End of story. Imagine all you like, and fantasize all you like. Why you'd expect that to convince anyone, or even remotely interest someone, I have absolutely no idea.

People who imagine that what they think is relevant to debate over facts would make me wonder why they imagine that, except that the question answers itself.

"He isn't standing by them."

And he isn't disavowing them. He said he wasn't talking about them. There are plenty of possible reasons for that, including possibilities where he was telling the truth about various details.

But what I, you, or anyone imagines might be the truth isn't relevant, isn't proof, and isn't even remotely interesting.

This is a point you seem confused about. Opinion and fantasy as regards fact is worthless. Evidence as regards fact is what's useful.

You're more than welcome to try using it.

bc: "He isn't standing by them."

That's incorrect.. TNR has the testimony of five members of his company confirming the incidents he relates. Unless the army has some super-convincing secret info they're hiding, this is in all likelihood a case of some pro-war bloggers badly fooling themselves.

Gary, from my above link:
"The next day, via his wife, we learned that Beauchamp did want to stand by his stories and wanted to communicate with us again. Two-and-a-half weeks later, Beauchamp telephoned Foer at home and, in an unmonitored conversation, told him that he continued to stand by every aspect of his story, except for the one inaccuracy he had previously admitted."

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