Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
"Scott Thomas" reveals his identity
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, July 26, 2007

From TNR's "The Plank":
My Diarist, "Shock Troops," and the two other pieces I wrote for the New Republic have stirred more controversy than I could ever have anticipated. They were written under a pseudonym, because I wanted to write honestly about my experiences, without fear of reprisal. Unfortunately, my pseudonym has caused confusion. And there seems to be one major way in which I can clarify the debate over my pieces: I'm willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name.

I am Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division.

My pieces were always intended to provide my discreet view of the war; they were never intended as a reflection of the entire U.S. Military. I wanted Americans to have one soldier's view of events in Iraq.

It's been maddening, to say the least, to see the plausibility of events that I witnessed questioned by people who have never served in Iraq. I was initially reluctant to take the time out of my already insane schedule fighting an actual war in order to play some role in an ideological battle that I never wanted to join. That being said, my character, my experiences, and those of my comrades in arms have been called into question, and I believe that it is important to stand by my writing under my real name.
I'm headed out on the road as I type this or I'd spend some time with it. One point to make clear:
It's been maddening, to say the least, to see the plausibility of events that I witnessed questioned by people who have never served in Iraq.
The plausibility isn't being questioned just by people who haven't served in Iraq. Much of it has come from people serving on the same FOB as Beauchamp.

So now we can get somewhere on this. Kudoes to Beauchamp for stepping forward and claiming his work. Let the investigation begin.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Let the Courtmartial begin.
Fixed that for you.

Private? Yeah, he knows all SORTS of sekrit stuff, don’t he.

Home he likes Kansas. Something tells me he’s going to end up spending some time there...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
t’s been maddening, to say the least, to see the plausibility of events that I witnessed questioned by people who have never served in Iraq.
Huh!!! They’re not actual events but "plausible" events. It they didn’t happen, well, they could’ve.
Via Michell Malkin check out his blog entries. I’d have to say the guy from Amazon was pretty close in figuring this out.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
... and my comrades in arms have been called into question ...
I’d say that some of his comrades are now .. in big trouble.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Interesting May 2006 he’s in Germany. Sept 2007 he goes to Kuwait. May 2007 he’s back in Germany for some reason.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Every morning I get up and say I’m Scott Beauchamp, in the army, living in Germany, and this is my life, and I’m going to be treated like sh*t today and do landscaping and janitorial work and practice killing people and there could be no other way to appreciate what I had or what I’m going to have once I get out other than enduring this now when all I really want to do is teach history and lay around and read and hustle around and repair the world (tikkun olam) and sift through knowledge and improve culture and learn how to sail and work in soup kitchens and start a family and really, I mean REALLY study the best the western civilization has to offer and facilitiate the mystery and power through everything I do, but I cant do it without getting through this army experience first, which will add a legitimacy to EVERYTHING i do afterwards, and totally bolster my opinions on defense, etc,
Now who does this remind you of ??

Did you know that John Kerry won medals in Viet Nam ?
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Now who does this remind you of ??
Reminds me of the Swift Boat Liars for Bush. Military service is apparently only honorable if you are ideologically conservative, otherwise, it’s okay to spit upon them.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Reminds me of the Swift Boat Liars ..
You need better memories.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Another narcissistic putz. Poor baby has to do actual manual labor. A tragic and useless waste of a towering intellect by a crude and insensitive establishment. Surely the Army can see he belongs in a nice Pentagon office, giving advice to the Generals. "repair the world". Sheesh.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Another narcissistic putz.
Military service is apparently only honorable if you are ideologically conservative, otherwise, it’s okay to spit upon them.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Reminds me of the Swift Boat Liars for Bush
Wow Cap - you need to get out more...

I really want to do is teach history and lay around and read and hustle around and repair the world (tikkun olam) and sift through knowledge and improve culture and learn how to sail and work in soup kitchens and start a family and really, I mean REALLY study the best the western civilization has to offer and facilitiate the mystery and power through everything I do
Quite honestly this reminded me of Scott.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
AHEM!
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Well there is a Scott Beauchamp in 1/18th. At least according to AKO.

scott.beauchamp@us.army.mil


Full name Scott Thomas Beauchamp.

Although I think his next email address will have @leavenworth.army.prison.gov

or something like that.






 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Badger6 commented that he didn’t think anything here was leavenworth-worthy...

I’m not entirely sure I agree, but he’ll be sitting somewhere for a while, I wager...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
So far the first response to his stories was "this can’t happen," and I was criticized for even suggesting I wanted to wait and see what comes from the investigation. Now people want to courtmartial him for, what, writing about his experiences? Sharing the reality of what war was for him? Or do you believe he was making this stuff up and he should be punished for lying? When a soldier writes about the reality of his experience stressing the good (help at reconstruction, dealing with Iraqis in a way that earns their respect, etc.) that is praised — are we allowed to hear only the "good" stuff, and not the bad? To me the key is I want to know the truth. We get enough "war myths" out there, the reality is what matters. Was he publishing the reality as he experienced or making things up? To me that’s what matters. I suspect he’ll probably write a book, parlay this media exposure into something that benefits himself.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Note that we’re still saying "this can happen".

He didn’t write about his experiances. He wrote falsehoods. He was (according to a blog of his) in GERMANY during the time of one of these events.

We’ll ignore his blog posts about a girlfriend exhibiting "recial purity" and calling NYNY "Jew York City".

Write about the crap times, sure, but you damn sure better not LIE about the horrible crap. He outright lied, Scott.

But I now see why you want to hold out some hope.

This guy is 100% JUST LIKE YOU.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Wow, Captin.

I actually have no trouble at all with someone who joins the military in order to have the experience even if they don’t much care for the military, or to experience the war in order to know first hand. It would be a good thing if more liberals joined and found out the reality of it instead of their preconceptions, misconceptions and prejudices.

I do have trouble with someone who goes into it for moral authority who doesn’t care much about truth or the consequences of his or her actions on others.

People explain that soldiers fight for the fellow standing to their left and to their right. I think that some of the "values clarification" I had at basic was lame in the extreme and remembering trying really *really* hard to be invisible so I wouldn’t get called on to answer if I trusted my flight mates since I’d have to be honest and say no, she can’t even follow a simple rule about food in the dorm and I’m supposed to trust her? That’d have gone over like a dream I’m sure. But not everyone is trustworthy, are they. And following some little rule about food is just going to get cockroaches, not get anyone killed.

But there is always someone who really doesn’t care about the rest of the group, doesn’t see him or herself as part of the whole.

Has nothing to do with politics.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
While it may not have happened in the past, I bet that there is a good chance that all that talk about how nobody could have done some of the things in the TNR stories, becuase soembody would have jumped up and beat the sh*t out of them, may still come true.

Unless, it’s all fiction.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Scott, when people said "this can’t happen" it was about the *way* of it.

Go on over to Blackfive some time. People there, like Jimbo in particular, were clear on the fact and up-front about the fact that scum-buckets exist in the military. (I could tell stories, too, and all I ever did was spend a couple years in the Philippines printing pay statements in a frigid computer center.) It was never that some idiot might not do what this guy said happened, it was that it either couldn’t happen the way he said it happened, or that it couldn’t have happened the way he said it happened without *consequences*.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Military service is apparently only honorable if you are ideologically conservative, otherwise, it’s okay to spit upon them.
I would think it’s OK to look down on a serviceman if his own claims make him out to be a complete ass. Military service is honorable when you act in an honorable fashion. I wouldn’t think that would be a hard concept to understand. I’m sorry it’s too complicated for you, Captin.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
It might also be interesting to find out why he went from a PFC (E-3) to a PV2 (E-2). It’s probably because he’s not "ideologically conservative", right Captin?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
You know what I’m taking from this (given that it’s now about 95% clear that "Shock Troops" is a complete fabrication) ?

From Dan Rather and his bogus Texas ANG memos to the photoshopped Reuters "news" photos to THIS nonsense (and going all the way back to Kerry’s BS testimony) it has become crystal clear that the left in this country is well aware that the TRUTH cannot be relied upon to make the case for their political aspirations. The only way to really push through the Democratic agenda has to involve dishonesty and deceit and flat out lies.

That there are disgusting slime that would actually attempt to defend this scumbag is pathetic. Yeah I’m looking at you Captain Sarcastic and Scott Erb. At LEAST you could walk back from supporting a lying opportunist scumbag and demonstrate a modicum of integrity. I guess even that is too much to expect.
 
Written By: deadrody
URL: http://
Military service is honorable when you act in an honorable fashion.
By honorable, you mean Republican of course.
That there are disgusting slime that would actually attempt to defend this scumbag is pathetic.
He volunteered to put on the uniform, I’ll support him to use the rights he is clearly willing to sacrifice his life to defend.

You may think that this case is closed, and he is guilty, I’ll reserve judgement. It’s the least I can do.

It’s what Murtha should have done.

It’s what you people thought Murtha should have done.

It’s not what you are doing in this case, and the big difference I see is that now he is saying something that you don’t want to hear, something you don’t want to be true.

But are you really, unequivocally, empirically sure that he is not stating what he believes to be the truth?
it’s now about 95% clear
Obviously not, but you are willing to spit on this soldier anyway.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Obviously not, but you are willing to spit on this soldier anyway.
Well, Cap, you and your kind would know all about it....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Synova, why should I believe bloggers really have the definitive word on this, especially when they come from a particular perspective. I’ll consider their statements, but I won’t blindly trust their take on the matter. Deadrody, I’m not defending anyone, I’ve just not jumped to a conclusion one way or another. I’ve learned in cases like this, you can’t trust the partisans on either side of an issue to really focus on truth. It isn’t clear its a complete fabrication, and your emotion is evident — perhaps that’s preventing you from being objective. So I’ll wait and see what comes out. If it turns out that, yes, this was a fabrication, I’ll join you in condemning it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
By honorable, you mean Republican of course.
No, by honorable we mean "honorable". I realize the word is strange and confusing for you. We’ll wait while you look it up.
I’ll support him to use the rights he is clearly willing to sacrifice his life to defend.
Sadly, that isn’t how it works. You give up certain amounts of free speech when you join. What he’s done here, see, is lie and violate at least 3 different regulations.

And that’s the good news for him if he lied. If he is - by some cosmic chance - telling the truth, he’s still broken about 4 different rules, any of which would get him courtmartialed, and combined should land him in Leavenworth.
It’s not what you are doing in this case, and the big difference I see is that now he is saying something that you don’t want to hear, something you don’t want to be true.
The difference being that in this case is that there is a slew of facts that upon first examination show it to be fabrication. Add to that his entries into personal blogs about being in Germany during at least one of the incidences he tells us about, and you have some fine evidence, unlike Murtha’s automatic assumption of guilt.

Beauchamp gave self-incriminating testimony. You can bet your behind we’ll use it.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Cap’n:
Military service is honorable when you act in an honorable fashion.
By honorable, you mean Republican of course.
Feel free to step and explain how Beauchamp’s actions were honorable, Cap’n.

First consider, though, that if his stories are true, then he did not act honorably per his own words (e.g. re-read the story about how he treated the burn victim in the DFAC). If instead he lied, then that was not honorable either, and it sure as heck didn’t do any of his fellow soldiers any favors casting them in such a bad light.

But perhaps you can dig up something honorable in his storytelling. I won’t hold my breath.

Erb:
It isn’t clear its a complete fabrication, and your emotion is evident — perhaps that’s preventing you from being objective. So I’ll wait and see what comes out. If it turns out that, yes, this was a fabrication, I’ll join you in condemning it.
See above. It doesn’t matter whether its true or not. Either way, Beauchamp acted dishonorably.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"Military service is apparently only honorable if you are ideologically conservative, otherwise, it’s okay to spit upon them."

Since when does military service confer sainthood on anybody, conservative or otherwise? There are plenty of putzes in the world, in and out of uniform.


" Or do you believe he was making this stuff up"

I think that has already been stated, repeatedly, by various people.

"When a soldier writes about the reality of his experience stressing the good (help at reconstruction, dealing with Iraqis in a way that earns their respect, etc.) that is praised — are we allowed to hear only the "good" stuff, and not the bad?"

Library and book store shelves are full of books relating both good and bad stuff. That is not the issue.

"By honorable, you mean Republican of course."

You really are being a jerk about this, and I am starting to take it personally. I knew some dead guys who may or may not have been Republicans, but they did serve honorably. One or two af them were also putzes. To paraphrase, "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Whose Party Affiliation Is Known But To God". Read a few tombstones, tell me where political affiliation is listed.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Few people have said it is a complete fabrication. Very few said anything like that at all.

Don’t move goalposts and then act like we’re being unreasonable.

Certain parts are factually untrue because they can’t *be* true. Other parts probably are true in some sense but not in others. Something doesn’t need to be a *complete* fabrication in order to be a fabrication.

They’re talking about doing something nice for the unit this scumbucket is assigned to over at Blackfive, an e-mail campaign maybe.




 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
as commented on MM’s blog (by someone who isn’t me), the Grave desicration incident sounds a lot like this story.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Honor or dishonor is irrelevant and a matter of opinion. All I care about is finding out the truth. There is a debate in this country about Iraq. The more information about the reality of the situation, the better. At this point, I’m going to wait and see what comes out — there are a lot of allegations and assertions, but I’m pretty certain that in time things will become clear either way. I’m patient enough to wait for that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Honor and dishonor are not irrelevant to the reality of the situation.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
There is a debate in this country about Iraq. The more information about the reality of the situation, the better.
I don’t understand what bearing you think this anecdotal "information" should have on the strategic Iraq policy.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Honor or dishonor is irrelevant and a matter of opinion.
No. NO it is not. That you can even make such a claim just shows that you don’t understand what honor is, which probably means that you have none.

Honor isn’t about opinion. It isn’t about supporting someone’s narrative. It isn’t about speaking truth to power. It’s not about agreeing with someone or not. Honor is about honesty, responsibility, integrity and true compassion. I could go on explaining to you what honor is, Scott, but I don’t think you will get it.
All I care about is finding out the truth. There is a debate in this country about Iraq. The more information about the reality of the situation, the better.
The truth is that Beauchamp is a dishonorable person. His experiences are not going shed a great deal of light on what’s going on in Iraq.
At this point, I’m going to wait and see what comes out — there are a lot of allegations and assertions, but I’m pretty certain that in time things will become clear either way. I’m patient enough to wait for that.
Again, the "allegations and assertions" are from Beauchamp’s own words. Either he witnessed, participated in, and condoned the incidents that he wrote about (all dishonorable), or he lied about them, hurting his own troop-mates in the process (also dishonorable).

This isn’t difficult.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Military service is apparently only honorable if you are ideologically conservative, otherwise, it’s okay to spit upon them.
You mean like how YOU are doing here to every one of the men who served with Kerry and criticized him? Kerry opened himself up to the Swift Boats with his own poor behavior at the very least after Vietnam and certainly during the presidential campaign. The veracity of the charges and counterclaims made will probably always have some room for doubt and the campaign is over so its pretty moot now. Now as for the rest of your comment here, nope not at all. I’ll even give you an example of someone I consider to be one of the biggest ideological foes now: Rep. Charles Rangel. He served honorably in Korea and this service is a credit to his character. This does not make the man immune from criticism on every single thing when enters the public forum. Nobody, including conservative vets, get a free pass like that.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
I don’t see much honor in the way people on some of these posts like to hurl insults and personal attacks. To me it is also a sign of honor to treat others with respect and kindness, and not to jump to conclusions or question someone’s motives. In fact, I think that honor is best demonstrated in how one treats other people, especially those one might disagree with. After all, talking about honor is not the same as having honor.

My point, though, is that I don’t know enough to judge this person. If he wrote the truth, I am not going to condemn him outright; intense situations can cause people to horrible things, weakness is not dishonor. If he is ashamed or torn apart by all this and felt a need to communicate his experiences, then that could in fact be a very honorable thing. Loyalty to principle and to truth trumps loyality to a military or even a legal code. But all of this is too murky for me to make a conclusion. I’m not saying you can’t; you may indeed have more knowledge and thus feel that you can make a firm conclusion. I do not.

Aldo: I think people often support war because they mythologize it, they don’t see it’s dirty underside (this is an argument Chris Hedges makes forcefully in his book War is a Force that Gives us Meaning. One of the most powerful books about war was All’s Quiet on the Western Front because it went through the routine of one group of soldiers — fictionalized, but based on the author’s experience as a soldier — and described the reality of war, even the banality of much of the experience. Anything that can make war real and less a myth, that can bring home it’s human impact to people so they can take that into account in making a decision, is important. That said, if he did make a lot of this up — and that certainly seems plausible — that would be disgusting.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But are you really, unequivocally, empirically sure that he is not stating what he believes to be the truth?
Nope. Yet the fact that he violated the UCMJ by not reporting these alleged abuses, has offered no proof to validate the charges he’s made, has made controversial statements in other forums online and appears to be seeking to further a future career makes this all highly suspect. In fact, though the facts differ the whole mess reeks just like it did with Dan Rather, Jessie MacBeth, etc.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
For those that claim that Beauchamp cant go to jail for this they need to review Art 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You can and soldiers have been punished for far less than what Beauchamp has done, which is IMO (and I am sure others) bring discredit upon himself as a soldier and the US Army. That is providing everything he said is a lie. If it is true than he is guilty of far worse.














 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
To expand on my previous comment:

I’m not in a position to opine on whether the anecdotes are true or false. Based on his long experience in the military McQ is in a position to make educated commentary on that subject. If I had to hazard a guess I would say that the author probably took some actual incidents and wildly embellished them in order to create what he thought would be a better story, and he was caught off gaurd by the level of scrutiny that his storytelling received.

In any case, I question Erb’s assumption that anecdotes like this, even if true, are relevent to the debate over the strategic Iraq policy. I take it as a given that in any war, or any project involving hundreds of thousands of young people for that matter, there will be some bad behavior. Should we really conclude that the US should only use military force in situations where there is no chance that anyone will run over a dog or mock a burn victim?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
From his blog I see Pvt. Beauchamp like movies, so I think these lines from "Backdraft" might be approtiate....

"You see that flash of light in the corner of your eye? That’s your career dissipation light. It just went into high gear."
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Another that’s in the same vein as Rangle is John McCain. His actions while a POW are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

This last 8-10 years, however... That’s a different matter entirely.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"If he wrote the truth, I am not going to condemn him outright; intense situations can cause people to horrible things, weakness is not dishonor."

No, dammit. Honor is what keeps people in intense situations from doing horrible things.

Honor is not perfection. But it is the concept and the thing that stops the horrors, not something else separate that has to do with how you get along with your buddies. You can piss off your buddies by being honorable as much as by being dishonorable.

You sound like Murtha, soldiers are excused from their horrific actions because of the situation, poor things. No. No. NO.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
"I think that honor is best demonstrated in how one treats other people, especially those one might disagree with."

That’s *decency* which is something good but different from *honor*.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Been reading TNR comments to the statement, plus other websites mentioned above.

I see absolutely nothing conclusive. In fact, the attacks on him are based quite a bit on tactics we in social science teach students to avoid: false claims (saying something is ’impossible’ when it is merely ’implausible’), argument from authority, argument from false comparison (someone saying that they were in the army and they know that no one would have tolerated X or Y), argument ad hominem (his blog says he’s liberal, he may be majoring in creative writing, so therefore what he wrote might be false — and of course calling him dishonorable is argumentum ad hominem). The blackfive webset was pretty weak, one could hardly get passed the emotional name calling and insults. (Luckily I read down to articles on other issues and many were pretty good — but why do adults need to call names like ’dung beetle’ and other more vulgar terms over and over...when you call names and insult it makes it appear you can’t really prove your point so you just attack.). But there is not much at all in the way of real information. His own piece is his personal observations, which of course don’t prove it happened either.

Nope, no way can I make any definitive conclusions. I’m approaching this like any question I face in social science: don’t jump to conclusions, avoid logical fallacies, and wait for evidence that can allow definitive conclusions. If such evidence does not exist, gather as much as possible and then draw a contingent conclusion.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh wow... Check out MM’s site. He latest update links to Ace... STB’s wife...

...

Works for TNR. As a reporter-researcher.

Or used to. It’s being reported that TNR fired someone this morning. I wonder who it could have been...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Synova: Soldiers may not be excused of acts because of the situation, but any psychologist can attest to the fact that people in very stressful situations, or who suffer from PTSD and other mental consequences often associated with war, can lose their ability to make moral distinctions and especially very young men can do things they otherwise would not. I think that has to be taken into account. But I know from one of those personality tests that I’m way on the perception side in the continuum from judgemental to perceptive. I’m just not a judgmental person, I’d be prone to say "if this person cracked and needs help, let’s treat him with compassion."

Moreover, given Rep. Murtha’s military career and honorable service, I don’t think you should dismiss his position out of hand. He may be wrong, but he knows what he’s talking about. As to honor: I think how one treats others is reflective of all the categories given by Michael for what honor is. A person shows who he or she is by how he or she treats others.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Funny how the lefties are in here defending the honorable service of someone who claims

a. that he mocked a woman that was scarred by IEDs (where are the women groups now)

b. that he ran over dogs (PETA anyone)

c. claims to have seen and at least tacitly participated in the descretation of children’s graves (so much for For The Children).

Damn the folks that compare this to John Kerry are right.

All we need are maurading raping hordes in the fashion of Geeeeenghis Khan.


 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Aldo: I think people often support war because they mythologize it, they don’t see it’s dirty underside
I doubt that is the case with McQ, or anyone else here for that matter.

Outside of academia, stories comparable to these are not uncommon even in civilian life. I’m sure we could get a long thread going in which we all recounted things we have personally witnessed that rival or exceed Beauchamp’s stories.

Once again you are trotting out your lecture about civility, but your own earlier insinuation upthread that these stories somehow hold important implications for the debate over Iraq seems like a passive-aggressive attempt to use them to score cheap propaganda points against the military or the current war, and contradict your purported open-minded stance.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
BTW lets follow the liberal model to its conclusion

1. Beauchamp will deny writing the material stating that someone else saw his website and used his name (or some such drivel). (support from the left follows)

2. Beauchamp will admit writing to TNR but state that his words were misquoted and misunderstood and that he is now being persecuted and is a victim. He will state he lied about number 1 because he was afraid of retaliation (ala victimhood).

3. Beauchamp will admit the stories are his and are fairly close to what he wrote and that he is being prosecuted for telling the truth. (still a victim)

4. Details about Beauchamp will come out and stories will abound about his being personally assasinated and then he will get dumped uncerimoniously by the media ala Cindy Sheehan.

Bets anyone?






1. Beauchamp will be portrayed now as a victim.





 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Aldo, you’re throwing insults, but you aren’t denying my two points:
1. I don’t know if his stories are true, I’m waiting for more evidence.
2. If true, it’s good for people to get a sense at what war is like in its reality, good and bad. People should know what war means if their country is going to be fighting. That avoids the tendency by some (I’m not including McQ here) to think of it as far more sanitary than it is. Claims about "cheap propaganda points" are wrong — I want to know truth, not propaganda.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, we were talking about Honor.

What you say about stress and other such things is true enough. What I said was that Honor was one of the anchors that stops the commissions of horrors. Other things do as well, all those pesky particular and sometimes harsh military virtues. Discipline and Duty.

You try to claim that it’s not *dishonorable* to mock badly scarred women, play with children’s corpses and kill animals for fun. So what *is* dishonorable then? Jimbo calling the fellow a dung beetle?

As several people have said, if he was telling the truth he is guilty of the actions he admitted to, and no dear sir, he is not excused because he’s subject to the stress of a war zone. If he was lying or embellishing for the sake of a good story he is not excused for the slander of the others he claimed did these things with him.

As for Murtha... no, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He might know about Vietnam. He seems determined to know nothing else.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Nope, no way can I make any definitive conclusions.
Careful Scott - you are on the slippery slope here and stand a lose a few free beers... the question was asked about honor. Answer the following ’can he be honorable if he allowed these actions to take place, or if he could not stop them, at least report them?’ OR ’can he be honorable if he lied about the events?’

This isn’t gray. It’s black or white.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
It is painful to watch Captin Saracastic embarrass himself like this. Here he is, defending the LN, which holds that, although every other culture in the world is the moral equivalent of America, and no cultural aspersions should ever be cast on them, even if they sponsor terrorism, there is one vile, evil culture that has no redeeming features – Republicanism – on which one may go ahead and fire away.

I (sincerely) commiserate with him on this one. Good old Beauchamp proclaims to the world that he is a proud liberal! Imagine if a similar turd proclaimed that he was proudly libertarian. Ouch!
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Scott, I’ve read accounts that were not at all sanitary. The people who know aren’t complaining that this isn’t sanitary enough. What it is, and what bothers me about it is that it does *not* reflect any moral ambiguity or even harshness or reality. Reality, no matter how terrible, humanizes, or makes the people and events more real.

Take what that John Barnes fellow said (linked elsewhere on this blog) about the indications he saw and analysis that he did that pointed at one of the signs as being this moral distance that is evident. It’s all shocking stories without moral context, not related to him and not related to the other people he was describing. I’ve read accounts (or at least one) where the guy explained that it bothered him not at all to kill a person. Does it get harsher? But that was in a moral context and evoked thoughts about how the human mind works to deal with war.

This doesn’t. Oh, haha, there was this woman with a melted face, har har har.

And you don’t see that he’s playing for an audience? Probably one who likes Murtha and has romantic notions about Vietnam and gets all shivery every time they hear of an atrocity?
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Scott Thomas Beauchamp was not chosen for this job because he had some terrific amount of experience or credentials or integrity. He was picked for Plame-type reasons: He’s married or engaged to someone at TNR.
Welcome to the latest edition of the "Plame Game"
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
John Barnes had him nailed.
The fellow apparently was at Univ of Missouri in Colombia’s creative writing program before he decided to run off and get "real" experience for his fictional writing.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Murtha served a very distiguished career. He also is very close to a lot of people in the Pentagon, and understands military affairs. Despite the concerted effort to destroy his reputation after he decided the war was a bad idea, he still has real experience.

Chris Hedges in his book gives personal accounts of how, as a war reporter, he at times acted in ways that were "dishonorable." Everyone does. I think that if he did something cruel, and then later reflected on it and tried to cope with why he did it and what it means, that’s an honorable way to try to overcome a dishonorable act.

Michael said it was honesty, integrity, compassion, and responsibility...clearly making fun of someone who is injured is not compassionate, but being honest about it (if that’s what he’s doing) and taking responsibility for the act shows some of what gets called "honor." I just find it hard to get my mind around this concept of "honor," it seems to be a conglomeration of a variety of traits that nobody has in full, but which people should aspire too.

In any event, I’ll try. If he’s lying that’s dishonorable and more. If he didn’t report or try to stop bad things, that’s a lack of courage, and that clearly isn’t honorable, though understandable. If he’s trying to cope with them and take responsibility, that’s honorable — or at least on the road to trying to build honor. If he’s making stories up about others that hurt their reputation, that’s dishonorable. Probably the way he copes with this — if he comes out truthfully and forthrightly, and takes responsibility for his acts and writings, will say a lot about the issue.

But my point was different: whether or not he is honorable didn’t matter to me so much as whether or not he was telling the truth.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
He also is very close to a lot of people in the Pentagon
Just before Murtha had a change of heart on Iraq, there were rumors that his brother, a lobbiest for some defense contractors, was under investigation for getting favors from a Rep with defense appropriations duties.

Connect the dots.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
It’s hard to connect the dots when it’s a solid line...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
He also is very close to a lot of people in the Pentagon, and understands military affairs
Redeploy to Okinawa?
Despite the concerted effort to destroy his reputation after he decided the war was a bad idea
He’s done that all by himself. He couldn’t even make it as Pelosi’s #2.


 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Murtha served a very distiguished career. He also is very close to a lot of people in the Pentagon, and understands military affairs. Despite the concerted effort to destroy his reputation after he decided the war was a bad idea, he still has real experience.
Erb, you don’t have any friends in the military do you? Because if Murtha is an example of someone you think "understands military affairs" then you do not understand much at all regarding the military. I will not comment on the military career of John Murtha. But I will share with you the opinion of many a Marine office and enlisted man of Murtha - "Semper One".

Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) has served as the motto of the Marine Corps since its inception. Notice it is "Always Faithful" and not "Some of the time’ or even "Most of the Time". That is an important distinction. Because the Marines believe in their heart and soul that once a Marine, always a Marine. I am not a Marine, but as a retire military man I greatly admire the espirit de corps and elan of the Marines, even after their service.

There is also a derogatory term - "Semper One" - that is devoted to the most abominable personages in history. And that is not Hitler, or Attilla the Hun, or Stalin or anyone so noteworthy. It is reserved for those few former Marines who trade their service in the Marines for their own glory and justification. Ask virtually any Marine about Murtha and he will respond - SEMPER ONE!

 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
As a complete aside to Scott Thomas, let me share that this John Barnes fellow just happens to be my favorite contemporary science fiction author. If you like contemporary sci-fi in the slightest, you really should read Million Open Doors or Orbital Resonance. If you are a tech-dork who loves pages and pages of specs and details in your fiction, he co-wrote two novels with Buzz Aldrin that are worth checking out.

And if you QandO readers have any interest in collectivism-vs-libertarianism (what are the odds?), I highly recommend Candle. The guy is really good. I’m just saying.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Boris Erb writes:
I want to know truth, not propaganda.
Ocassionally, Boris, you become interested in the facts. You’ve never been interested in the truth, and you wouldn’t know what the truth was if you did suddenly become interested in it. And in the present case you are interested in the facts only because they can be used for anti-war propaganda.

A good counter-example to your current "I want to know the truth" was when I and others presented you with the hard core Stalinist bona fides of the organizers of the big peace marches. When we showed you that the ANSWER Coalition was a front for the Workers World Party, and that the leaders and spokesmen for ANSWER were members of the Secretariat, of all things, of the WWP, you went into one of your patented pee-pee dances and ran around having a hissy fit, and like the little girl that you are started telling the messengers that they were "Gobbelsesque."

You are, first and foremost, Boris, a liar. When you can’t lie, you dissemble. When you can’t dissemble, you change the subject.

You’re a lemonade-stand Ward Chuchill without his high standards of integrity. It makes me want to puke, this sudden "interest" of yours in OUR soldiers and soldiering and military honor. Such pretense, when your only interest is finding an angle from which to discredit OUR soldiers WHILE they are in the field of battle.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Claims about "cheap propaganda points" are wrong — I want to know truth, not propaganda.
Scott:

These stories could be true in the sense that they are 100% accurate, and it wouldn’t change my point. IMO claiming that they are germane to the debate over the war in Iraq is a cheap attempt to exploit unrepresentative anecdotes to score propaganda points.

The anecdotes might be germane if they were representative of the behavior of the 200,000 men and women over there, or the mission itself, but they really offer no insight into the larger strategic or national security issues that the debate over Iraq ought to turn on.

Your later attempt to further rationalize the importance of these stories by claiming that those of us who support the Iraq mission "mythologize" war and naively fail to appreciate that it can have a "dirty underside" is incredibly condescending. Speaking for myself, I imagine that much worse things happen in war. The type of cruel mocking behavior that figures in these stories is not unique to American soldiers in Iraq. Unfortunately, comparable things happen in civilian life all the time, even on university campuses I would imagine. Do fraternity hazing rituals cause you to rethink the value of universities?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Aldo, the more truth we have about what goes on the better, IMO. I’m not saying these stories would be important if true, only that I want to have as much information as possible out there. I just like having information, and different perspectives. As for Murtha, he’s still closely connected to top Pentagon officials and speaks for a number of them. His record speaks for itself.

And SSHiell, you make it sound like he has to support the war to be faithful to the cause. He is in a position where he must argue for what he thinks is best for the country, and I think he’s doing what he thinks best.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
A simple question for those who support this guy:

If he was not in the military, but instead was your employee, would you support similar actions and attitude? Say he sees employees stealing from customers and laughs about it and never tells you. (But he’s willing to sell this story to the local paper saying how bad your company is.)

No you would not. The military is a job, just like any other, and you get paid to do your job correctly. I don’t care if you took the job to write an expose, you still need to tell management when your coworkers are peeing in the soup and giggling about it.

If this dude laughed at a disfigured woman in the faculty dining hall, would Erb be supportive. No. I don’t think so.

And, no, we do not need to "have this information out there" if this guy had told his superiors about the bad apples that were killing dogs or wearing skulls, it would have been taken care of internally.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Harun: I’m not sure if the guy’s story is true or not, so I don’t support him. But perhaps his actions, if true, are indicative of how bad the situation has gotten.

One reason I’m not willing to trust the blog attack on this guy is that it has become an MO of the "right" or pro-war crowd (and also increasingly from the left) to try to personally destroy those who oppose the war or say things negative about the military. Murtha is a prime example, a darling of the right until he opposes the war. Then things are put in blogs, repeated, over and over, and it becomes taken as true to the point that people start personally hating someone for an opinion. The attempt to destroy credibility, dig up embarrassing things, attack via innuendo, or even make stuff up has become so common that I just can’t believe it. It’s like the body politic has forgotten how to separate differences of opinion from personal animosity. So I will wait and see what comes of this.

I would be more forgiving of this guy not doing his job well — the stress of war is greater than normal jobs, and if the culture is that these things happen and aren’t getting reported (I’m not saying it is, but if in his group that was common) then while that doesn’t excuse his action, it makes it a lot easier to forgive. BTW, I feel the same way about those involved in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other similar situations.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ummm... If you’re a soldier, you pretty much HAVE to at least go through the motions of supporting the war, or you’re doing it wrong.

If I found out the guy next to me didn’t believe at all in what we were doing, I’d find another buddy to hunker down with at night, and make sure I was awake when disgruntled-boy was on watch.

I don’t need some moron who doesn’t believe in the mission watching my ass. What if he decides he doesn’t want to kill that 15 year old girl with the explosive vest coming towards camp?

Sorry, but it’s the f*cking military. You shut your damn trap, and do the damn job. Bitch when you get home.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Are you people who are "engaged" with Professor Erb cognizant of what you are doing? You are engaged in doing the equivalent of playing drunk against the house in Vegas!

His single skill is in jerking your chain.

 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
SShiell: From the reporting I’ve seen there are mixed views even in the military in Iraq about our policy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"But perhaps his actions, if true, are indicative of how bad the situation has gotten."

It’s got nothing to do with "the situation." How does insulting a disfigured woman play into whether or not we defeat an insurgency? Same with running down dogs or even macabre jokes. They only affect the "situation" when they get published and we lose in the PR front for some stunts you find in every war. Heck, rap music must prove to you that the USA is a goner then!

Pick a winning war - say WW II - and ask yourself if questionable actions by US troops reflected how bad "the situation" was. Taking photos with dead Japanese soldier (with obligatory cigarette in corpse mouth) is a reflection that we were losing that war, huh? I don’t buy it.

It’s simply prurient interest for people who want to believe our soldiers are rednecks from Texas who are nothing more than the hordes of Genghis Khan, etc.

And this assumes the stories are true!

Robert Fulton: Slow day at work for me.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
What gets me (yeah, lots of things) is that he went in to this, most certainly, from a certain perspective.

He wasn’t a redneck from Texas or an uneducated person who couldn’t get a job. (Not that those things are important but I bet he thought so simply because of his stated politics.) And he went into the military and, apparently knowing that these "shock troops" things were bad, or at least "shocking", refused to take responsibility for his own behavior.

He was slumming.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Scott Thomas is already down one strike, claiming a cemetery was a Saddam-era dumping ground.

And his stories have not just himself and a small group involved but dozens or scores of others involved. Yeah we have to wait for the final verdict but much of the defending of Thomas seems to ignore facts with more interest in rehashing lefty talking points and neocon bashing.
 
Written By: abw
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
Long post, so please bear with me....

Scott Erb: “…you make it sound like he has to support the war to be faithful to the cause. He is in a position where he must argue for what he thinks is best for the country, and I think he’s doing what he thinks best.”

No. He is not. He is a soldier. He is not in the position to argue for or against anything (a republic’s army is supposed to be apolitical by it’s very nature). In fact, for him to espouse a critical view, not just of the politics of the war, but of the soldiers waging this war, he is endangering his comrades and indeed all American soldiers by giving the enemy tacit support.

We are losing the Information Operations (IO) war soundly to the Islamists and a very small but shrill minority in the military and a left-wing defeatist press are a veritable fifth column in the enemy’s IO campaign. Call me a ‘wingnut’ or whatever in response to that assertion, but I can plainly see that it is true. The media played a large part in driving us to defeat in Vietnam, and it is leading us down the same garden path at this very moment. Then, it turned the Tet Offensive, which essentially should have and would have been the death knell for the communist intervention in the Republic of Vietnam into a strategic communist victory. Militarily, the NVA and NLF (VC) were so thoroughly annihilated that it was another four years before they could muster a field force of real significance—and it was nearly devoid of South Vietnamese communist sympathizers (VC). Politically, it turned the tide among the ‘cultured’ urban population of South Vietnam who now had witnessed firsthand the brutality of the communists.

The fact is the only reason this scumbag [pardon the ad hominem attack, but contrary to the defeat-hungry ’sons of Masoch’ this man is not a ‘hero’ or simply a ‘straight talker’—he is at best a liar and a slanderer, and at worst complicit in war crimes, and without a doubt a traitor to his “comrades in arms” he claims to love so dearly] is getting any attention at all is that he is critical—through what are clearly gross misrepresentations and exaggerations if not outright fabrications and lies—of the war. Most civilians at home are so out of touch with reality on the ground, and so clueless as to military matters as to be easily fooled by such obviously untrue statements.

It has been established that the ‘Scott Thomas’ stories, at the very least are the product of great embellishment, if not outright fabrication. At this point, I think this can be stated as evident by any reasonable person. Since this has been covered in great detail already, I’m not going to rehash the same arguments myself and many others including McQ have used to dismantle the veracity of the stories (the lack of any burned woman on FOB Falcon, the lack of any mass grave in the vicinity of Falcon, technical details, etc.).

It is clear to me that he is probably a sociopath, and certainly a ‘non-hacker’, an inept and worthless soldier, probably a serious discipline problem (as evidenced by his apparent reduction in rank), and possibly someone with serious mental health issues (if he in fact was returned to Germany from Iraq). I believe his real motivation for his writing (and poor writing at that) is a personal vendetta. He seems like the type of person who blames everyone else for his miserable failures at life. Of course, this is all conjecture based on personal feelings… I can’t speak with certainty in this case of this guy. But I know the type of person.

Scott, I’m sorry, no, he is not ‘honorable’. This man could in fact be the textbook example of ‘dishonorable’ (and hopefully that is the type of discharge he will be receiving after the maximum sentence from his Article 15). The Army has seven ‘values’ soldiers are supposed to live by (loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage); about ‘honor’ it says:
“Honor provides the “moral compass” for character and personal conduct in the Army.
“Though many people struggle to define the term, most recognize instinctively those with a keen sense of right and wrong, those who live such that their words and deeds are above reproach.
“Honor is demonstrating an understanding of what’s right and taking pride in that reputation means this: Live up to all the Army values. Implicitly, that’s what you promised when you took your oath of office or enlistment. You made this promise publicly, and the standards—Army values are also public. To be an honorable person, you must be true to your oath and live Army values in all you do.”
So, if honor is knowing right from wrong, and always striving to ‘do the right thing’, how exactly did this ‘man’ (loose interpretation of that word) conduct himself with honor? By standing idly by, in fact reveling, as a soldier *supposedly* desecrates a child’s remains. Or perhaps, by mocking a horribly injured woman to her face? Yes, indeed, this is a sure sign of a well-calibrated moral compass. Fine upstanding young chap, that one. A model for compassionate humanists everywhere. The calendar boy for liberal military service.

I will not say it is beyond question that things like this happen (though for technical and logical reasons already exhausted in great depth, not these events described as such). In the Army—at least in the infantry, where most of my experience lies—I’d say something like 70% of the people are about the best human beings the world has to offer. There is about 29% who are about equal or somewhat worse people than the average civilian. The remaining 1% or so consists of the real scum of the earth; socio-paths, people who somehow slipped through the cracks. These people do exist in the Army, as they do anywhere else, though in the service they are part of a far smaller minority than in the general population (due to, if nothing else, enlistment requisites). They can however do enormous damage greatly out of proportion to their tiny size. Especially, when they exhibit strong personalities around weaker individuals and cow others who should know better but are too timid to stand up. In a combat zone, when people are pushed to the limits due to stress, fatigue, fear, and anger, this can have disastrous results as I believe was the case in Haditha and elsewhere.

The fact that there are actually people who would not only stand up for this absolute waste of oxygen Beauchamp, but lionize him, is absolutely disgusting.

Why do they do so? It’s obvious: he’s in the Army (so it gives him a kind of credibility virtually no virulent leftists have), he’s liberal and he’s critical of the war. It’s the kind of person they’ve been so eager to find that they accept them whenever they surface, even when they are blatant frauds, like Jesse MacBeth, or this Beauchamp character.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
Erb, you don’t have a clue do you? Your lack of self awareness is patholigical. You have been contradicting yourself in this thread as you feign dispassionate interest in "just the facts".
First you say
I’m not saying these stories would be important if true, only that I want to have as much information as possible out there.
Then you say
I’m not sure if the guy’s story is true or not, so I don’t support him. But perhaps his actions, if true, are indicative of how bad the situation has gotten.
If you believe that his stories aren’t important then how are they indicative of "how bad the situation has gotten"? Even if true, however, you have no basis for believing that these anecdotes are indicative of anything. If they are in fact aberrations, then they are indicative of nothing. We now have input at Blackfive and other websites from people who are currently serving at the FOB where Scott Thomas is based and they have directly contradicted him regarding maimed female contractors etc. His own website contradicts his claim that he was in Iraq when one of the atrocities allegedly occurred. In addition, there are many active and former military commenters on this site and others who have found serious flaws in his stories. Unlike Murtha, many of them are speaking from a standpoint of current, personal knowledge of this conflict. They don’t claim that they know these things didn’t happen, they merely claim to know things that render them highly implausible. You again are inconsistent in your attempts to avoid the substance of Thomas’ critics’ arguments by saying that
In fact, the attacks on [Thomas] are based quite a bit on tactics we in social science teach students to avoid:.......argument from authority, argument from false comparison (someone saying that they were in the army and they know that no one would have tolerated X or Y)...
Yet, you proceed to do what you allegedly teach your students no to do by utilizing an "argument from authority"/"argument from false comparison" when you defend Murtha’s baseless accusations and stupid policy suggestions by claiming
Moreover, given Rep. Murtha’s military career and honorable service, I don’t think you should dismiss his position out of hand. He may be wrong, but he knows what he’s talking about.
So let me get this straight, when Thomas’ critics argue from a standpoint of personal knowledge of the FOB and operational area where his fables took place (i.e authority, they know what they are talking about because they are serving in the military in Iraq) it is a tactic you "teach students to avoid", but it’s okay for you to say that Murtha’s input should be given weight because he was in Viet Nam 40 years ago and knows people in the pentagon (i.e. he has authority because he served in Viet Nam 40 years ago).

Murtha and Thomas are scumbags irrespective of their decision to serve in the military. Murtha has been a disgrace in his congressional career (Abscam, corrupt earmarks, unethical threats, etc.) and Thomas has been a disgrace in his miltary career if his stories are true. Liberals want so badly to believe that Thomas is telling the truth because he is telling them what they want to hear.
 
Written By: Jt007
URL: http://
Jt007: I haven’t been talking about any accusations by Murtha; quite the contrary, it was concerning how we will treat soldiers who crack under pressure and do heinous things. Also, you seem to ignore the word "perhaps" in your misguided attempt to claim I’m contradicting myself. There is nothing contradictory there. You seem very eager to attack and insult, but to do so you have to ignore the content of what I posted. That is not very impressive, you’re letting emotion trump reason.

J: Your logic seems almost totalitarian — support the leader if he chooses war. No. The strength of democracy is that we have the right to oppose and correct a mistake, and Murtha’s responsibility is to do what he sees best for the country, including opposing a war if he thinks it misguided. I do not want a militarist authoritarian mindset in our government. But perhaps you thought I was talking about Thomas in the quote, in which case your argument makes a little more sense. Still, the truth is important. If he wrote the truth, then that matters to me — if that means he gets punished for misdeeds, well, that’s his problem. I also think that there is a real danger of falling into the trap described by Goering:
"Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of
the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to
drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a
parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can
always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have
to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for
lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."


We have to be able to get all the information and determine if this really is the kind of war you think it is (I disagree with your understanding of the situation), and have an open debate. The attempt to say "that helps the enemy" and to arouse fear, combined with ad hominem assaults on those who oppose the policy is a very dangerous road to travel, and something freedom loving Americans have to resist at every point. I also think those who oppose the war have to respect those who think military action is necessary: the key about democracy is to listen to the other side and take their arguments seriously. I dislike the demonization of President Bush as well.

That said, I repeat, I do not consider this guy a hero, I do not believe or disbelieve him at this point, I’m simply waiting for more evidence, and trying to avoid being in the situation where ones’ view of him depends on ones’ view of the war.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
In Order:
SSHiell, you make it sound like he has to support the war to be faithful to the cause. He is in a position where he must argue for what he thinks is best for the country, and I think he’s doing what he thinks best.
That’s Crap! You could say the same thing about Hitler - "He’s doing what he thinks best" - since when does this become the gold standard for a person’s integrity or honor?
SShiell: From the reporting I’ve seen there are mixed views even in the military in Iraq about our policy.
Which has nothing to do with my comments in this posting. You defended the honor of a bufoon like Murtha - a man with questionable honor at best. And I challenged you on your assertion. And your responses? Back pedalling and tap dancing around the issue which for you is standard fare when you are cornered.

Erb, there will be bad news coming from any conflict - even the popular ones. You do not have to search very hard to find mistreatment and horror. But look very closely at the stories emanating from this war compared to others. Putting some panies on the heads of inmates at Abu Ghraib, allegedly flushing a Koran down the toilet at Gitmo, and the dozens of accounts of massacres that have turned into Urban legend, as Hiditha is fast becoming. The Left has been desperate to provide the "folks" with the stink of My Lai in this war. They have marched out imposter after imposter - remember Jesse McBeth? - in an attempt to turn the American public’s support of the troops to more like the Viet Nam standard - Baby killers deserving only of spittle. And they have failed. The Draft ultimately made the military a complict partner with the Left during Viet Nam. But for the here and now they have failed to couple the military with their anti-war rhetoric. And their frustration is showing. Finally, they are showing their real attitudes about supporting the troops with their recent commentaries about serial killers, slackers, and the lowest rungs of society that inhabit the military.

Erb, the issue here is very simple. It is about the alleged author of some horrific anecdotes about troop conduct in an unpopular war. If true, it reflects poorly on the troops and the author for allowing that kind of conduct. If not true or embellished, it reflects poorly on the author. In any event, the author establishes his lack of honor and integrity with the writing. How hard is that to grasp?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
So you’re comparing Murtha with Hitler? Well, I guess that ends that argument.
Erb, the issue here is very simple. It is about the alleged author of some horrific anecdotes about troop conduct in an unpopular war. If true, it reflects poorly on the troops and the author for allowing that kind of conduct. If not true or embellished, it reflects poorly on the author. In any event, the author establishes his lack of honor and integrity with the writing. How hard is that to grasp?
I’m not arguing against that. I’m saying only: a) I want to know if it’s true, so I’ll await the investigation; and b) I hope the author handles this situation in a way that leads to his personal growth and, if you will, development of honor, by being honest, forthright, and self-critical. The author may have acted dishonorably, but he is young and can learn. I don’t see the point in all the insults and name calling. When I would envision an honorable person, I don’t see that person acting like this is playground with name calling and personal insults. That would, I think, be beneath an honorable person. Saying his actions lack honor is fine; going on a personal vendetta against him, like some are, seems obsessive.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Nope, no way can I make any definitive conclusions. I’m approaching this like any question I face in social science: don’t jump to conclusions, avoid logical fallacies, and wait for evidence that can allow definitive conclusions.
Also, you seem to ignore the word "perhaps" in your misguided attempt to claim I’m contradicting myself.
Your approach to this issue isn’t any more scientific than ours. You simply couch your claims and insults in passive-agressive language. Adding "perhaps" to a weak argument doesn’t make you more scientific.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Scott: Totalitarian? I suggested nothing of the sort. Support the leader? Where did I say anything about supporting ’the leader’?

I said soldiers are not allowed to speak their mind about some political matters. That is fact—it’s legally binding. Our military is a volunteer one, thus all soldiers enter freely into a contract that demands they give up certain rights, including the ability to say whatever they want about our government (Article 88, Uniform Code of Military Justice, prohibits ’contempt against officials’, i.e. the POTUS, VP, Congress, etc. for example).

In this case, with the limited knowledge I have of the situation, I do not believe Beauchamp was in violation of Article 88. Not from the ’Shock Troops’ article anyway.

Nor do I advocate a muzzling of the press. Can you point to where I did? I do not however kid myself about their loyalties or which side their dog in this fight is on. Nor do I look through such rosy-tinted glasses as to be blind to the aid they are giving our enemies.

I am not going to get into my thoughts and feelings on this war. I am certain though, now that we are in it, that the stakes are far too enormous to even contemplate capitulation and defeat thinly masqueraded as a ’strategic withdrawal’ or some such nonsense.

You disagree with my "understanding of the war"; I would love to hear you expound on that...


An aside: As for my earlier statements, I should have worded things differently: About the percentages of soldiers, what I was getting at is that it is my opinion, from firsthand experience, in the Army (especially the combat arms) there is a far lower percentage of troublemakers and nutcases than there would be in any random sample of the general population (though they are still present). As to actual numbers, I can’t make a guess.... I regret using the term ’scum of the earth’—it was actually a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Duke of Wellington saying his own soldiers were "the scum of the earth" and he had "no idea what effect they would have on the enemy, but, by God, they [terrified]" him. I missed the mark.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
J - I think you took a quote I had about Murtha and thought I was applying it to Beauchamp. If Murtha has to shut up because he was once in the military, that would seem totalitarian. Clearly, you were talking about Beauchamps.
You disagree with my "understanding of the war"; I would love to hear you expound on that...
I believe we are not really at war; rather, we need an effective counter-terrorism strategy to counter extremist groups which are a small minority in the Muslim world, but which, because of globalization and technology can launch real terror attacks. Moreover, these terror attacks are unlikely to truly threaten our society or culture (one can use the imagination to conjure ideas of multiple suitcase nukes, but I doubt that’s realistic at this point), and we shouldn’t think that our very civilization is at stake. Effective counter-terrorism means: a) combating these extremist groups; and b) helping create conditions that allow moderates in the Mideast set the agenda. Right now we work against both with policies like the Iraq war which not only drains resources, but loses us good will and gives al qaeda and others an emotional "outside enemy" who is coming to the Islamic world to try to enforce change. Anything to keep people from thinking seriously about what kind of world al qaeda wants (and since 2003 there has been a proliferation of similar groups) helps them.

The real threat to our economic future is oil. Production seems to be peaking or perhaps has peaked while world demand sours. If the region is in chaos, oil supplies to the world market would be threatened, and we could get a global depression.

I’ve written loads about this issue on my blog at various times the last couple months if you want more about where I come down on this issue. Today’s entry "Dangerous Games" talks about the threat of a regional war.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So you’re comparing Murtha with Hitler? Well, I guess that ends that argument.
For someone who compains of others taking you out of context, you have just jumped the shark on that one! It was you who stated:
And SSHiell, you make it sound like he has to support the war to be faithful to the cause. He is in a position where he must argue for what he thinks is best for the country, and I think he’s doing what he thinks best.
And my response was:
You could say the same thing about Hitler - "He’s doing what he thinks best" - since when does this become the gold standard for a person’s integrity or honor?
If yoiu think that comment was comparing Murtha to Hitler, then you have a twisted sense of reality. And that was a cowardly way to beg out of the discussion regarding your admiration of a man (Murtha) who by all accounts is only interested in feathering his own particular nest, even at the expense of his Marine "Comrades"!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
So you’re comparing Murtha with Hitler? Well, I guess that ends that argument.
For someone who complains of others taking you out of context, you have just jumped the shark on that one!
Actually it is a seriously desperate attempt to end a debate in which he’s being handed his a$$ on a platter. You’ll see it deployed often.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, you’re right and I should have realized it. Thanks for the comment, though.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Ah, my apologies if I misinterpreted what you said.

Interesting points. Some I feel have merit, others with which I would hotly contest.

Your first assertion, (I think you may have misspoken, and if so, I will give you the benefit of the doubt) is on its face plainly ridiculous. We are at war. To say we are not would come as a great surprise to the scores of thousands of soldiers and marines we have deployed in combat operations here in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and the SOF soldiers we have in the Philippines and elsewhere in low intensity conflict and counter-insurgency (COIN).

What we really have on our hands—outside of Iraq and Afghanistan—though is more properly termed a ’global insurgency’. I am a layman; I do not claim to be a counter terrorism expert or a master of geopolitics. Better informed men than I have talked to me of this global insurgency. Counter-terrorism is necessary, but takes a backseat to counter-insurgency. CT would go after actionable threats, COIN and foreign internal defense (FID) would help prevent or stop them being fostered in the first place.

I disagree with your assertion that Iraq is working against both CT and COIN goals. Certainly, in the short term it gives Muslims, particularly in outside nations, a common enemy of the United States. However, that simply means victory there is all the more important. Would you favor us withdrawing, defeated (whether we admit it or not, it will be defeat in the eyes of the Arab world—and Iran) with our tail between our legs? In that case we would be both an imperialist bogeyman and a paper tiger.

Not to mention, defeat in Iraq would embolden Iran and take a serious bargaining chip off the table: not only would they no longer be geographically contained, but we would have shown ourselves too weak-kneed to see the Iraq adventure through, and lose all credibility with respect to any threatened punitive ground expedition against them. Nations potentially inclined to aid us in this ’global counter-insurgency’ would become ambivalent to American intervention or assistance, and understandably so.

And this is all strictly from an American national interest perspective, without even taking into consideration the grave humanitarian consequences of a premature withdrawal.

There are real, palpable victories being achieved in Iraq. Al Qaeda is on the defensive and losing ground. Iraqis, Sunnis, are fed up with their demonstrated butchery. Nota bene the Anbar Salvation Council and the Diyala Awakening. Al Qaeda has been all but crushed in Al Anbar and are being destroyed in Diyala. In recent operations in Baquoba, local leaders proved willing to cooperate and negotiate with Coalition Forces, and residents are providing information and support to us. One battalion commander there said he met one individual who had thirty-five (35!) family members murdered by AQIZ. It is amazing it has taken this long and this much blood, but it is happening.

You mention the importance of energy resources. Which way do you think the pendulum will swing in the Middle East if a Salafist (or Iranian proxy) Iraq emerges in the wake of an American abandonment?

The threat to our civilization is real. It is not in the form of ’suitcase nukes’ (however, radiological weapons are a real threat, as are other spectacular mass casualty terrorist attacks). Just witness the ongoing and upcoming cultural war for Europe. They (the Italians for instance) have virtually zero-population growth, whereas their Muslim residents are extraordinarily prolific. It is similar to the situation in turn-of-the-century America with the influx of Irish and Italian Catholics. However, those groups proved willing to assimilate into our society. European Muslims show no such inclination; in fact (as also in the US to some extent) many seem to be intent on bending their host nations to fit their societal ideals. I’m not saying it is the reconquista of Europe in the name of Greater Caliphate with the impending implementation of Sharia.... But it certainly bears watching in the coming years and decades. You cannot argue that many of these Muslims’ values are incompatible with our own—perhaps even more so in the case of the secular Europeans.

That may sound alarmist, but you yourself touched on globalization. Globalization is not just the rapid movement of goods, services, and information across national boundaries, it is also people.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
J: I’ll try to hit your most important points, starting with the last one. But I’ll likely not do it all in one post — my four year old won’t give me that much time at the computer! You are right that "Globalization is not just the rapid movement of goods, services, and information across national boundaries, it is also people." And this will change societies, and the world in 2100 will be much different than now. But that’s just part of the natural flow of things, there have been migrations and changes throughout world history. I think how we handle this will be important. A few things to keep in mind: European Muslims are among the most modernized and secular Muslims in the world, though clearly there is a mix of different perspectives. Most Muslims that come from Europe come from Africa, trying to escape poverty. They often are not very religious, and they see Europe as the land of opportunity.

Here’s the problem: Europeans still define their countries by blood and ethnicity. I’ve been told by German friends that I could be accepted as German because of my heritage, and the fact I can speak German fluently. Yet a Turk who was born in Germany and speaks far better than I, and knows only Germany will always be a Turk. The Europeans tend to ghettoize the immigrants and reject their assimilation. This is the fault of Europeans as much as the immigrants, and the Europeans are wising up to this, recognizing the need to integrate what will be about 16% of their population by 2025. I think Pope Benedict’s "conversion" on Turkish membership in the EU is representative of this. Moreover, immigration can help their problem with declining population (though France and a few other countries have seen a rebound in fertility rates) if they can develop a capacity to redefine citizenship. This is being attempted by focusing on the EU and European "ideals" rather than blood and ethnicity (this is one positive of the EU — it gives the Europeans a chance to develop a more American like notion of citizenship, one based on common ideals rather than blood).

Will they pull it off? I don’t know. I’ve been actually paying a lot of attention to Germany and Italy. Germany because it’s my area of specialty and I have lots of friends there. Italy is a country I love, I lived there a year, and about once every year and a half take students there on travel courses. I’ve noticed an increase in African immigrants in Italy (one broke into my backpack on a bus, but Italians started yelling and warning me, so no harm was done). There is a clear tension between the Italians and the Africans, in part because they have overtaken the role the gypsies used to have as the main pick pockets. Right now Muslim extremism and religious fundamentalism is a small part of the population — the problem is more economic. But, clearly, if they can’t be integrated this will become a far greater problem in the future.

OK, more later, child care duties call...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I disagree with your assertion that Iraq is working against both CT and COIN goals. Certainly, in the short term it gives Muslims, particularly in outside nations, a common enemy of the United States. However, that simply means victory there is all the more important. Would you favor us withdrawing, defeated (whether we admit it or not, it will be defeat in the eyes of the Arab world—and Iran) with our tail between our legs? In that case we would be both an imperialist bogeyman and a paper tiger.
Right now Iran has benefited the most from the US strategy in Iraq. They now have a Shi’ite government generally friendly to them in Iraq, they are able to arm Shi’ite militias and can certainly can make it impossible for Iraq to have a pro-American government. But Iran is only a regional power, and certainly the Sunni Arab world (majority Sunni) isn’t going to tolerate Iranian expansion. We will almost certainly start withdrawing large numbers of troops next year. We need to set up a situation where a stable Sunni-Shi’ite balance of power can occur to prevent collapse into regional civil war. I think Americans tend to exaggerate our importance in this; the real battles are within the Muslim world and the Mideast, we are not even the main enemy of al qaeda.
Not to mention, defeat in Iraq would embolden Iran and take a serious bargaining chip off the table: not only would they no longer be geographically contained, but we would have shown ourselves too weak-kneed to see the Iraq adventure through, and lose all credibility with respect to any threatened punitive ground expedition against them. Nations potentially inclined to aid us in this ’global counter-insurgency’ would become ambivalent to American intervention or assistance, and understandably so.
We already are seen as weakened, and Iran has already been emboldened. I don’t think we can possibly succeed in Iraq in a way that will alter that; rather, we need to assure that Iran can be contained by regional power balances when we leave. Since the Sunnis are a majority in the Arab world, that isn’t impossible to imagine. The key is to make Iran and Syria see it in their interest to support the status quo power structure.

You are right that al qaeda is weak in Iraq, but they’ve never been strong there, and with both the Sunnis and Shi’ites disliking them as "foreign fighters," they’ll be defeated in Iraq whether we stay or go. Perhaps the surge will be useful to definitively weaken al qaeda in Iraq so that it’s not difficult for the government and Sunni forces to ultimately eliminate their efficacy, but it doesn’t weaken the Sunni-Shi’ite rivalry or settle their political problems. The dream of a pro-American stable Iraqi democracy was never realistic to begin with; we have to move from idealism to realism, find a balance of power that can buy some time to try to build partnerships for effective counter terrorism, contain Iran, and support modernizers. It’s a tough region, a lot can go wrong, but I don’t really know what we can obtain in Iraq, especially if aren’t able to dramatically reduce force levels next year.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"But I know from one of those personality tests that I’m way on the perception side in the continuum from judgemental to perceptive."

Another excerpt from the seemingly endless stream of personal information about himself. And yet he says we cannot hope to actually know him.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider