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Discussing "Honor"
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 27, 2007

The post yesterday about the revelation of "Scott Thomas'" identity (Howard Kurtz comments on the situation here) spurred quite a discussion about the concept honor and it's place in the military. I'll simply say that in my almost three decades of service, honor was an extremely important part of it. Probably more so than in any other profession of which I can think. Commenter "J" posted the Army's concept of honor in that thread:
"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."
The other values mentioned are duty, respect, selfless service, loyalty, integrity, and personal courage.

People have asked me, when they hear of an officer who is forced out of the military because of an extramarital affair, why that happens.

Because it is dishonorable, disloyal and reflects poorly on his or her integrity (and judgment). It demonstrates traits with which the military simply isn't willing to live.

The Pat Tillman case and its fallout are examples of dishonorable behavior by those who attempted to cover it up. Abu Gharib also highlighted dishonorable conduct.

The military is a life and death business. It requires leaders whose values are unquestioned because they, in turn, will be required to make very important decisions which will effect the lives of many, may effect the course of a battle and even a war.

So there is a military culture in which these values are inculcated and enforced all up and down the chain-of-command.

New recruits learn them immediately and they have them reinforced at every level of their training and their service. Those seven values form the core of the Army's culture at every single level. The military is both proud and fiercely protective of its culture too boot. It is an ethical system which, unlike such systems in many other professions (such as politics), is taken extremely seriously.

A couple of quotes help sum up the point. Thomas Jefferson:

“Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong”

And Walter Lippman:

“A man has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.”

Beauchamp didn't hold himself to an ideal of conduct and he didn't do what was right. As "J" sums it up:
So, if honor is knowing right from wrong, and always striving to 'do the right thing', how exactly did this 'man' ... 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?
If the stories are true, he destroyed his honor by participating and/or not reporting the incidents. If the stories are not true, he destroyed his honor by lying and putting his profession in a bad light.

Either way, Scott Thomas Beauchamp isn't an honorable man, and despite the fact that he has now stood up and taken responsibility, by name, for what he's written, he's done nothing which reinstates or rehabilitates his lost honor.

As Andrew Carnegie said, "All honor's wounds are self-inflicted." And regardless of outcome, Scott Beauchamp has fatally wounded his.
 
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As Andrew Carnegie said, "All honor’s wounds are self-inflicted." And regardless of outcome, Scott Beauchamp has fatally wounded his.
Interesting post. Honor is not a term I run across often in my world (most often on Star Trek reruns involving the Klingons), though of course things like honesty, integrity, doing the right thing, and treating others with respect are all important in any field. I understand from your post that honor in the military world is an conglomeration of these kinds of traits. But your post raises some questions. Is honor something like virginity which can be "lost" and never regained? If a 20 year old acts dishonorably, is that then a "fatal" loss of honor? That seems a bit misguided.

Honor, if it is like other similar traits, would have two applications: a) to acts; and b) to individuals. If an individual commits many "dishonorable" acts, but over time overcomes those tendencies and learns to behave honorably, then that person would become honorable over time. Thus a 20 year old hasn’t so much "lost" his honor, but he’s yet to develop it. A case like this would be one of those defining moments in whether he can develop his honor: he got himself into a predicament. How will he handle it? Will this help him build honor, or will he shirk from taking real responsibility, play the victim and hide? We don’t yet know if what he wrote was true, or to what extent (though people have strong views on that), but in any event, can it not be the case that a person who commits dishonorable acts still can redeem himself?

As I noted in another thread, I’m not a very judgmental person (heck, I don’t even dislike the people who insult me in these threads). I tend not to label people and if you notice my posting, anything "insulting" I write gets directed at the argument, not the person (at least that’s my aim). I don’t know what value it is to label someone "honorable" or "dishonorable" with such meager knowledge of the reality of the situation or that person as a whole. It seems like a cheap insult.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I don’t know what value it is to label someone "honorable" or "dishonorable" with such meager knowledge of the reality of the situation or that person as a whole"

The reality of the situation is

A. either he lied about the things that happened.

B. participated in and or observed acts which would dishoner not only any person but his profession.

That is it cut and dried.

You can attempt to throw all kind of garbage in to confuse the issue but it is like being pregnant. Either you are or arent.

Either he did A or B. It is just that simple.

You are doing something that is akin to saying something like "Rape is justified and honorable if circumstances X are present"

THe bottom line is IT ISNT.

The fact that you dont understand this doesnt surprise me. This is why liberals in general and a LOT of academia have trouble understanding the military culture. It is also why they cant understand that people like John Murtha and John Kerry disgust us. Not that they have a different opinion than us but that they have used their military service as a badge to justify or in some way try to condone things which are viewed by the military culture in general as dishonorable acts.






 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
As I noted in another thread, I’m not a very judgmental person (heck, I don’t even dislike the people who insult me in these threads). I tend not to label people and if you notice my posting, anything "insulting" I write gets directed at the argument, not the person (at least that’s my aim). I don’t know what value it is to label someone "honorable" or "dishonorable" with such meager knowledge of the reality of the situation or that person as a whole. It seems like a cheap insult.
This is because you have no idea what honor is, as evidenced by your inability or refusal to make judgments. You may find that insulting (which is a good sign IMHO) but that doesn’t undermine the argument as you would wish. When discussing the value of someone’s actions, and specifically the honor vel non of those actions, those opining should know what they’re talking about. If you have no idea what honor is, or worse find the concept suspect, then what good is your opinion?
If the stories are true, he destroyed his honor by participating and/or not reporting the incidents. If the stories are not true, he destroyed his honor by lying and putting his profession in a bad light.
Something else that has gone unmentioned is that, assuming everything Beauchamp wrote was true and accurate, he further acted dishonorably by recounting these stories in TNR. It’s already been mentioned that he should have (a) confronted the POS who desecrated the child’s grave and who actively killed the dogs with his Bradley, and/or (b) reported the incidents up the chain of command. But going to TNR under a (p!ss poor) pseudonym to tell these stories may have the worst thing that he did. He exhibited a complete lack of respect for his comrades in arms — you know, the people who are supposed to watch his back; the ones who would never leave him behind; the ones who entrusted their lives to him. That he could unapologetically cast them as monsters without taking any responsibility for his actions, nor showing any concern for the integrity of his unit is the most damning thing.

If instead the stories are greatly embellished or false, then Beauchamp’s perfidy and dishonor is magnified.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Honor is not a term I run across often in my world
Of that we were already aware, Professor.
you know, the people who are supposed to watch his back; the ones who would never leave him behind; the ones who entrusted their lives to him.
Frankly, STB reminds me of the guy from Animal House. The one that ended up "Shot by his own men"...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I’m glad you came back to this topic. I enjoyed yesterdays discussion and the input that Micheal W, Synova and AverageGayJoe brought to it. They refused to allow the redefinition to take place. For example, Synova responding:
"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*.
I mentioned in Billy’s post on IM’ing about the obnoxious lady on the cellphone in
Barnes and Nobles. The book I bought was "Coaching Team Basketball." (I coach youth basketball) The book, written about Marquette University basketball, is written by Coach Tom Crean and Ralph Pim, who coached at West Point. They talk of recruiting and the qualities they look for. They list them as: Character, Integrity, respect, responsibility,unselfishness and physical and mental toughness.They explain each. For instance on integrity: A recruit must be honest. Listen carefully to what a player says and then observe his or her actions. Make sure they are one and the same. Any breach of integrity is a showstopper. Period.Coach Kryzewski of Duke also came out of West Point. In my estimation Coach K in an integrity comparison with the Duke group of 88 comes out way in front. Probably not too many care about basketball but this is not about basketball it is about values. And we’re seeing that values contribute greatly to success and that, hopefully it will lead to a cleansing of the NBA.
I hope to instill some of these values into my 10-12 year old kids too.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Maybe it’s because I am older than I feel, but "honor" seems to have been an essential part of my growing up, from the Boy Scouts, to my military service, to my college education. Mr. Erb notes that honor is not a term he comes across often. I don’t know how he can walk down a crowded sidewalk without relying on the honor of policemen, of people carrying concealed weapons, hell... just anyone sharing the sidewalk. To deserve that honor, he of course has to be just as honorable. And that’s just to walk down the street.

In combat, honor assures each soldier that his companions will provide to him the aid that he, in turn, will provide to them. In a life and death environment, honor holds everyone together, and preserves everyone.

The honor code that I signed in college said that I would not seek or provide assistance to others, nor tolerate those who did. Honor demands that no one be permitted to act without honor.

This is where Mr. Erb’s reasoning fails. Honor is not about "acts" or "individuals." It is about individuals acting and interacting. Of course, Beauchamp can become honorable in the future. Of course he can redeem himself. But he has acted dishonorably.
 
Written By: Rich
URL: http://
I hope to instill some of these values into my 10-12 year old kids too.
You do know you’ll be working aginst the school system, right?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
If someone stole an academic paper from him Professor Erb I am sure he would consider them acting dishonorably even if they needed the money from the published paper to feed their family.

If someone claimed Professor Erb stole a paper from them and he didnt then I am sure he would consider them as not acting honorably either.

See break the argument down in terms that are important to him and I am sure he can get the concept.

 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Leaving aside Erb and his misconceptions, for the moment;

We are finding, as we go forward, the wacko leftist routes from which this moron came. His writings our testament to his world view. His world view, four years before he became active in the military, does not strike me as what you would find in the military. After all, the military is a commitment to a way of thinking, at least. And, of course, actions based on that thinking.

I am left with the question of just how it is we find him in uniform, to begin with? I mean, I can certainly understand how it is that he is an underperformer, and a pebble in the shoe of any outfit that he is assigned to. But that’s after the commitments’ been made. How is it that someone with his mindset, ends up volunteering?

Steyn, this morning, looks at his writings and comes to the conclusion that we’re dealing with Self-loathing by the bushel. I think he’s quite right, even absent the politics of the issue. I am reminded of Michael Savage, and his statement that liberalism is a mental disease. I’m not a listener of his, but I can’t imagine he’s not going to be playing off on this moron for the nest fdew years as backing for his axiom. So, then the question also comes, how was it that someone with his mindset makes it through the screening process?

As to the professors comments, and to some of the responding comments, I suggest that trust is a product of honor. He may very well return to acting in an honorable fashion, provided a cure can be found for whatever is going on inside the head of his. The level of trust, however, that others are willing to give him , is another matter altogether.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I am left with the question of just how it is we find him in uniform, to begin with?
As was suggested on another site, two words: Student Loans
I suggest that trust is a product of honor.
As is respect.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
This is because you have no idea what honor is, as evidenced by your inability or refusal to make judgments. You may find that insulting (which is a good sign IMHO)
Sorry, it’s not a good sign because I don’t find it insulting. I understand it’s the way you interpret my position, and that’s fine. One correction, I’m not judgmental but that doesn’t mean I refuse to make judgments at all! I know what honesty, integrity, sincerity, kindness, generosity, and responsibility mean. Honor seems to be a mix of these things, and I’m trying to figure out how this gets used in terms of McQ saying it was "fatally" lost — as if a 20 year old isn’t in some kind of learning and growing process. Also, it seems like the response to question is more like "you don’t get it because you’re not military and therefore inferior." Perhaps, but when that gets backed up by assertion and insult rather than real logic, it’s not persuasive.

If someone stole an academic paper from him Professor Erb I am sure he would consider them acting dishonorably even if they needed the money from the published paper to feed their family.
You seem to be missing my point. I don’t use the term honor much, but all the components that make up the term are certainly things I consider. I would not think to say the person stealing the paper acted dishonorably, I’d say the person was a dishonest thief. A rose by any other name.

But when you take an abstract concept like that and disconnect it from its parts, it become easy to use as a rhetorical football. He acted ’dishonorably.’ OK. What does that mean? Why should I care? How many others are acting dishonorably, is that the norm? How many bad or dishonorable acts (nobody is perfect) yields the label that one "has no honor?" I’ve seen people say "wait for more information" about Haditha and Abu Ghraib, yet in this case they are quick to attack. Why the double standard? And is really true that someone at 20 can lose honor forever?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott - I am amazed you state the following -
Honor is not a term I run across often in my world
Do you allow cheating on tests? If you caught someone with test answers before an exam, would you have trouble deciding if they were right or wrong?

I’m sure there is a student honor code at UM. Is there one for the teachers?

I send my daughter to a private school and each year she has to read and sign the honor code. Included in it are the following -
In the Lakeview community, lying, cheating, and stealing violate the Honor Code and cannot be tolerated.
Lying: Purposely misrepresenting the truth.
Cheating: Giving or receiving unauthorized help on a test or graded assignment, or submitting the work of another as her or his own.
Stealing: Taking another’s property without permission and with dishonest intent

Each student entering the Lakeview Academy Upper School must sign the Lakeview Book of Honor in a public ceremony. The signature indicates the student’s willingness to abide by the Honor Code while at Lakeview Academy.
So kids in school are learning very clearly what honor is, culminating with high school students signing the Book of Honor PUBLICLY, and you are wringing your hands about this.

Of all the things I have read from you Scott, this one DISAPPOINTS me. That you can not understand this and wrote that honor is not something you deal with on a daily basis tells me all I need to know.

And those beers? Forget about it...
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Boris Erb writes:
Honor is not a term I run across often in my world[.]
You wouldn’t have any use for it in any case.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Professor Erb I found this quote quite fitting for your writings. Maybe you should ponder upon it.

“You cannot believe in honor until you have achieved it, better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world” – George Bernard Shaw

 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Also, it seems like the response to question is more like "you don’t get it because you’re not military and therefore inferior."
I’m not military, and I probably would never have made it very far in the service (I have a lot problems taking orders). While it’s true that the military demands that its members be honorable, not all honorable people are in the military.
Perhaps, but when that gets backed up by assertion and insult rather than real logic, it’s not persuasive.
Wait, I thought that you didn’t find it insulting? And there’s nothing particularly logical about honor.
But when you take an abstract concept like that and disconnect it from its parts, it become easy to use as a rhetorical football. He acted ’dishonorably.’ OK. What does that mean? Why should I care? How many others are acting dishonorably, is that the norm? How many bad or dishonorable acts (nobody is perfect) yields the label that one "has no honor?"
Again, it really can’t be explained to you. I can tell you this though, honor is not something that is externally driven. It is self-motivating indication of one’s integrity and character. Without it, you can lead a perfectly normal and even happy life, but people will tend to have a hard time trusting you or believing you unless they have some definitive way of controlling you.
I’ve seen people say "wait for more information" about Haditha and Abu Ghraib, yet in this case they are quick to attack. Why the double standard?
What double standard? We already know everything that we need to in order to ascertain whether Beauchamp acted honorably. No matter what the ultimate truth is, every possibility says exactly the same thing: Beauchamp acted dishonorably.
And is really true that someone at 20 can lose honor forever?
I’m not sure that anyone actually claimed that, but it sure doesn’t sound right to me. However, that being said, once a dishonorable act has been committed, that’s it. It’s set in stone. Owning up to it, refusing to make excuses for it, and seeking to make whatever meager amends for it are all honorable actions, but none of that can erase a dishonorable action.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Scott - I am amazed you state the following -

Honor is not a term I run across often in my world ...
I’m not. Where do you suppose we get the Ward Churchill’s of his world?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
We have a code of academic integrity, not an honor code, but it accomplishes the same thing. All I want to make sure I’m understanding how "honor" is being used here. All the traits associated with honor are certainly things I come across daily. Meagain, I’ve made clear that I deal with issues of integrity, honesty, responsibility and all that daily and in my personal and professional life. Those are fundamental points in how I raise my children. I could say I want to raise them to be honorable. But that begs the question: what does that mean? What determines honor?

For instance:
Again, it really can’t be explained to you. I can tell you this though, honor is not something that is externally driven. It is self-motivating indication of one’s integrity and character. Without it, you can lead a perfectly normal and even happy life, but people will tend to have a hard time trusting you or believing you unless they have some definitive way of controlling you.
For Michael, honor is: a) self-motivated, b) indicates integrity, and c) is indicated by the amount of trust people have in you. Character is a term like honor, it’s loaded. People bring their own meanings to these terms.
However, that being said, once a dishonorable act has been committed, that’s it. It’s set in stone. Owning up to it, refusing to make excuses for it, and seeking to make whatever meager amends for it are all honorable actions, but none of that can erase a dishonorable action.
OK, I think we’re debating angels on the head of a pin here. I just wouldn’t use the term "honor" as much, I’d use the terms that are more precise to define the act (lack of compassion, cruelty, dishonesty, etc.) You can’t undo an act of cruelty. A cruel person can change. I think we’re on the same page, but I was a uncertain how the term "honor" is being used.

How’s this: An honorable person is kind, compassionate, trustworthy, shows integrity, stands up against injustice, takes responsibility for his or her actions, is self-motivated, fulfills his or her responsibility to others, is honest, and puts principle ahead of immediate self-interest.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"but I was a uncertain how the term "honor" is being used. "

If you had been in the military and served honorably or understood the military culture then this uncertainity would not have existed.


 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
I’m not judgmental but that doesn’t mean I refuse to make judgments at all!
(Dryly...) No kidding.

The issue, then, becomes what you find worthy of your being judgmental.

I’ve seen people say "wait for more information" about Haditha and Abu Ghraib, yet in this case they are quick to attack. Why the double standard?


There is no double standard here. We said wait for evidence, in those cases, because there was not nearly enough to go on, at the time. The bottom line is there’s far more in the way of evidence these last 24 hours, as to Beauchamp’s intents and state of mindless, than there ever was as regards Haditha and Abu Ghraib... more than enough evidence now, to make a judgment on.

But perhaps more to the point, perhaps we said "wait", because the people making the most noise about those events, have repeatedly shown themselves to be particularly bereft of honor. And it interests me that you bring up Haditha... since that case in particular is a prime example of precisely what I’m talking about, here, when I say the accusers are particularly bereft of honor. We now find the accused are innocent... and were nothing more than targets of opportunity for political advancement... And the rush to judgment in that case was precisely for that reason, and that reason alone.

And you know what, Scott? I’m willing to bet the majority of the ones screaming for vengeance in those two cases, didn’t use the word "honor" very much, either. Including Jack Murtha. If he had any honor, he would have apologized months ago to those troops he slandered. Then he has not, I take is proof of my point.







 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Retired Military, fair enough. I was asking questions, listening, and now I think I know what you mean. Sorry if it took awhile.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Addendum:

I suggested earlier, that trust is a matter of honor. I suggested in the most recent post, but the ones making the most noise about Haditha and Abu Ghraib had a history of acting in a particularly honorless fashion.

I suppose my point here, that the reason we said "wait " was that those sources could not be trusted.

It was a suspicion that at least 50% of the time proved to be quite correct.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I skimmed a lot of blogs yesterday trying to catch the updates on the Scott Thomas story, and on one of them I read an observation that perfectly captures the distinction that many here have been trying to explain to Erb. I wish I could remember which blogger wrote it, so that I could give proper credit, but I can’t find it now.

The blogger noted that many young men and women joined the armed forces in the years following 9/11 because they felt a duty and an obligation to defend their country in a time of crisis. That is honorable.

Mr. Beauchamp also joined the military, but in his writings he expressed different motivations for doing so. It seems that he may have joined the military in order to provide fodder for his creative writing career and to burnish his credentials for making liberal arguments on defense policy. If those two goals merged in a project to help liberal anti-war arguments by doing a little creative writing that made his fellow soldiers out to be monsters, that would not be honorable.

In other words, he ended up in the same place as the other soldiers (FOB Falcon), but he took a different route to get there, as Bithead commented above.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Mr. Beauchamp also joined the military, but in his writings he expressed different motivations for doing so. It seems that he may have joined the military in order to provide fodder for his creative writing career and to burnish his credentials for making liberal arguments on defense policy. If those two goals merged in a project to help liberal anti-war arguments by doing a little creative writing that made his fellow soldiers out to be monsters, that would not be honorable.
"It seems he may have..." I am hesitant to draw conclusions about motives, it’s tricky. Yet there is a difference between: a) wanting to experience what war is so he can write about it, understand and even make better arguments against it, but nonetheless serve honorably while in the military; and b) wanting to join just to further his career and not taking his responsibilities seriously while there. "A" seems honorable, even if his "cause" is different than that of others. "B" would be dishonorable. If the last sentence is right — he was engaged in creative writing to make his fellow soldiers out to be monsters — then clearly that’s wrong.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I am hesitant to draw conclusions about motives, it’s tricky.
I fully agree. My conclusions were not based on my own speculative psychoanalysis, but explicit statements in his own writings explaining why he joined. I am working now, but when I get more time I will gladly give you the links.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
." I am hesitant to draw conclusions about motives, it’s tricky.

Yet, you had no such caution in the case of Abu Griab and Hadditha. Why the double standard?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"but I was a uncertain how the term "honor" is being used. "
If you had been in the military and served honorably or understood the military culture then this uncertainity would not have existed.
Or if he were possessed of a sense of honor himself. I’m not military (yet), and I understand it perfectly.

Erb never will.
Mr. Beauchamp also joined the military, but in his writings he expressed different motivations for doing so. It seems that he may have joined the military in order to provide fodder for his creative writing career and to burnish his credentials for making liberal arguments on defense policy. If those two goals merged in a project to help liberal anti-war arguments by doing a little creative writing that made his fellow soldiers out to be monsters, that would not be honorable.
"It seems he may have..." I am hesitant to draw conclusions about motives, it’s tricky.
What drawing of conclusions? He wrong in HIS OWN BLOG that his joining the military would ’make him his bones’. I paraphrase greatly, but he out-and-out admitted that his service was intended to add credability when he spoke on anything regarding the military in any way. It was done to improve the story, not because he had a desire to serve this country.

I’m working on enlisting. Found out my prior discharge from Navy bootcamp in and of itself won’t stop me (that was, frankly, the huge worry).

This story cuts me DEEP. STB is the antithesis of what a real soldier is.

He’s in it for himself, not the country.

Pay for college? that’s nice.
Travel? That’s fine.
Post service jobs. A fine bonus, to be sure.
Serve the greatest country that has ever existed for little pay?. Hell yes, where do I sign up? When do I leave, Sgt?

Don’t even START to confuse STB with a real soldier. He’s a cardboard cut-out on his BEST days.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Or if he were possessed of a sense of honor himself. I’m not military (yet), and I understand it perfectly.

Erb never will.
This is what I understand honor to be, based on this discussion: An honorable person is kind, compassionate, trustworthy, shows integrity, stands up against injustice, takes responsibility for his or her actions, is self-motivated, fulfills his or her responsibility to others, is honest, and puts principle ahead of immediate self-interest.

In discussion, an honorable person listens to the other, doesn’t call names and insult, admits when he or she is wrong, and but proves his or her points with logic and evidence. I try to debate honorably in that regard — though again, nobody is perfect.

Aldo: OK, I understand you were getting your information directly from what he wrote.


 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
trustworthy, shows integrity, stands up against injustice, takes responsibility for his or her actions
There’s your core. We’ll work from these basics.

Kind? Compassionate? Sure, sometimes, but honestly I don’t think they are part of the foundation. Do they grow from the core? Sure they do. But they aren’t integral in and of themselves. Plenty of pure hard-asses out there that are 100% honorable.

Self-motivated? Again, I think this mostly builds from the core. And I don’t think "self" is needed there. A soldier isn’t 100% self motivated. Just plain ol’ motivated. It comes from following through with commitments and requirements, and not neccessarily commitments he sought out. This is part of ’fulfills his or her responsibility to others’.

Honest? to be honest is to be trustworthy, and possess integrity. If you are honorable, you and honest. If you are honest, you might not be the most honorable person. (Example: IF [big if] STB is 100% truthful in what he wrote, he is being honest, but is not honorable because of failing to meet the standards set for in ’the core’)

Principle ahead of self-interest? That goes with, and comes from, integrity and standing up against injustice.
In discussion, an honorable person listens to the other, doesn’t call names and insult, admits when he or she is wrong, and but proves his or her points with logic and evidence. I try to debate honorably in that regard — though again, nobody is perfect.
I will say, Erb, for someone who excells at attempting to besmirch others while not seeming to, this was one of your best.

You almost make it sound like you are the only honorable person here, as though you and you alone meet those tenents you listed.

Had I not read many things you have writen before, I would likely have been fooled.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Compassionate, honesty, and self-motivatation came from replies I got earlier by other people defining honor (I believe it was true compassion rather than compassionate). Self-motivated means "I do X because I believe it is the right thing to do," rather than "I do X because I’ll get punished if I don’t." I think that those who aren’t self-motivated are not going to behave honorably when the risk of punishment is not there.

I notice you don’t criticize or counter my definition of honorable debate, but accuse me of giving it as a subtle insult. It was meant to get you to think about applying these traits not just to things like military duty, but internet discussion. Heated debates can be fun, but I try to focus on the argument and make my points there, rather than other people. In that, defining what I think an honorable approach to debate is does reflect that tactic, I’m not saying "I think your debate tactic lacks honor," but rather saying "here’s what’s I consider honorable debate to be." That gives you something to disagree with if you want, or if you agree with it, you determine how it applies to you or I.

Aldo, that’s also what you describe as passive aggressive. My approach is aggressive and often provacative, but it’s directed at the argument, not the person. I try to differentiate the person from their argument, and always be respectful to the person, even if I disagree intently. (I learned this after not following that kind of approach for years in internet debates, and trying to figure out why that form of communication was failing — I used to do tit for tat when it came to insults). Sometimes its hard to do, especially if emotion gets involved, but it’s my goal, and I can honestly say that while I often strongly dislike the arguments some of you make (or the assumptions you build your arguments from), I do not dislike anybody here personally. And I learn a great deal, especially on military issues and perspectives/sources I might not otherwise come across.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So, this guy posts some things you don’t agree with, and you can’t disprove them, so you try to come up with ways to get him in trouble.
There are many comments on this post that sound almost like this one. They all sound like Scott Thomas Beauchamp is the victim here, but he is not.

If Beauchamp is in any trouble, and so far this is unproved, it is based solely on his own actions. Nothing that any bloggers did or said will be used in the investigation into the "stories" that he gave/sold to TNR, the posts on his blog or his participation in any of the incidents described in his TNR stories.

The fact that he used a pseudonym because he feared some sort of blowback, shows that he knew he was walking into a buzz saw of his own making. Beauchamp is reaping from that which he sowed. There are proper channels to handle improper conduct, and TNR isn’t one of them. Besides, sending stories of improper conduct to TNR doesn’t do anything to to stop improper conduct.

Additionally, it is clear from the comments on various posts that Beauchamp had placed himself in peril by remaining silent especially on the Bradley incidents, if they are in fact true.

If Beauchamp is in any trouble, it is because Beauchamp is a victim of his own stupidity.

 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
What’s important is the veracity & accuracy of Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s claims, not his personal make up. Any opinions about his "honour" or background or personal behaviour are nothing more than an attempt to distract attention from the issue which, again, is whether or not the incidents described in his article are true.

 
Written By: Kent M
URL: http://
What’s important is the veracity & accuracy of Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s claims, not his personal make up. Any opinions about his "honour" or background or personal behaviour are nothing more than an attempt to distract attention from the issue which, again, is whether or not the incidents described in his article are true.
Add one more to the "Fake but Accurate" collum
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott, what do you mean? Kent said that what matters is the ’veracity and accuracy’ of his claims. Clearly if they were fake, they wouldn’t be accurate. Although this was an interesting discussion of honor, I’m still not sure why it matters whether or not he acted dishonorably. Argumentum ad hominem remains a logical fallacy (whether X is true or false is not dependent upon the honor of the person claiming X).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m still not sure why it matters whether or not he acted dishonorably
Apparently Scott, you missed where we were talking about the connection between honor, and trustworthiness.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Apparently Scott, you missed where we were talking about the connection between honor, and trustworthiness.
Unless you’re saying that nothing a person who has acted dishonorably says can possibly be true, then such a connection is tangential for this issue. Argumentum ad hominem is a logical fallacy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
you’re expecting us to accept that our troops are guilty of major crimes, based solely on the word of someone who has given us no reason to trust him. Pool, further, has shown that there are many reasons to distrust him.

do you understand the problem yet?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"Argumentum ad hominem is a logical fallacy."

I believe lawyers call it impeaching a witness. As they say on television, "It goes to credibility of the witness, your honor".
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"What’s important is the veracity & accuracy of Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s claims, not his personal make up. Any opinions about his "honour" or background or personal behaviour are nothing more than an attempt to distract attention from the issue which, again, is whether or not the incidents described in his article are true."


Actually his personal make up does play a part in this. WHy? Becuase he is in the military and HONOR is considered to be more than a word but more like a code to live by.

Military prisoners are not allowed to salute because they have DISHONORED their profession.

Beauchamp has dishonored his profession by his actions if they are true and by his writings if they are false. And for that fact alone he can be courtmartialed and or punished under the UCMJ.

Is the matter of whether the accusations are true are not is higher on the scale of things. But this thread is entitled "Discussing Honor" and by Beauchamps own words and or actions he has shown that he does not have the honor to wear the uniform.

Also in the American system of justice someone is innocent until proven guilty. Beauchamp made the accusations and now it is up to him to prove the charges.

You can say "Beauchamp is isnt until proven guilty isnt he?" but since he is the part of the accuser that doesnt play in this case. At his Court Martial or UCMJ Procedings when the Army prefers charges on any number of UCMJ articles whether his statements were proven true of fales the army then has to prove those charges which they can readily do by Beauchamps own words. But initially Beauchamp has to prove HIS allegations are true not we have to prove them false.

And I said even if they are true he is still guilty of a host of UCMJ violations due to his actions. Not only him but others whom he was talking about.

Beauchamp is not a victim of anyone or anything but his own actions.






 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
One of my favorite authors had her military/hero character explain honor this way to his son (he had been smeared and disgraced and was known as "the Butcher".)

Reputation is what others know about you.

Honor is what you know about yourself.

I thought that was very good. Honor is what you know about yourself. Even if no one else is aware of your actions. Even if everyone admires you. Even if (as with this fictional character) your Honor results in the worst reputation possible.

(This is generally part of my usual rant about "honor" killings. They are *reputation* killings. *Honor* would demand taking the public scorn on one’s self in service to those in your care.)


Honor is internal. Honor is not leaning on a wall just because no one is there to see you lean on the wall. You know the rule is not to lean on the wall. If you leaned on the wall, *you* would know that you broke the rule even if no one else knew or could know.

Honor is what you do when there is no chance whatsoever of being caught.

It’s what you know about yourself.

Many people are honorable about some things and not so much about others. It’s an ideal more than a reality, but it’s an important ideal. We talk about "honor among thieves" or other ways of saying that someone has a code of honor that is selective or odd. In all cases it’s a description of what those people *will not do* even if there is no chance that they’d get caught.

In the military there are rules and a code of behavior and values. Those things aren’t Honor. Honor is adhering to those things even when it’s hard, going to cost you, or when no one is watching.

(My author lady also talked about an honor reset button... in the vicinity of the navel. It was supposed to be funny but part of a very serious conversation where a character felt she’d violated her honor, and thus her self-identity, and didn’t quite see how to go on.)
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Synova, a favorite quotation about honor:
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
That’s a great quote.

I particularly like the Carnegie one too.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Scott, what do you mean? Kent said that what matters is the ’veracity and accuracy’ of his claims. Clearly if they were fake, they wouldn’t be accurate.
Really surprised you didn’t know the origin of "fake but accurate". Maybe you’re just pretending not to know. But it comes from a headline in the NY Times. Here’s a write-up from WSJ Online (Sept 14, 2004):
Today’s New York Times has an update on the scandal over Dan Rather’s use of fraudulent documents in last week’s hit piece on President Bush. Oddly, the Times piece lacks a byline, but it has what may be the greatest headline ever: "Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says."

Fake but accurate! If this is the New York Times’ new standard of journalism, does it apply to all stories, or only the ones that seek to make President Bush look bad?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Steverino: I hadn’t heard that headline, but it doesn’t apply to this case. If it is a fake story, it is by definition inaccurate. No one I know is trying to say that if the story is made up it is nonetheless accurate. But as Retired notes, this thread is on honor, and as such it’s been very interesting and informative.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb, you’re being deliberately obtuse here. Scott Jacobs’ citing of "fake but accurate" was directly on point.

For a Poli Sci prof, the fact that you weren’t aware of a headline on the NYT in what was one of the biggest scandals of the 2004 election cycle strains credibility. Either you’re lying about not seeing (or hearing of) the headline, or you’re just not very good at your job.


 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
How was "fake but accurate" on the point, Steverino. If it was fake, then it should be dismissed as inaccurate. So how the heck can fake but accurate be on the point? Can you explain that?

You also don’t have much knowledge of what political science is if you think somehow someone specializing in European politics and international relations should be following the horse race of an American election cycle to the point of noting NYT headlines. The only newspaper I read regularly is The Financial Times. A great paper.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb, you’re being deliberately obtuse here.
Of course he is. Feigned ignorance is a ploy tickets used quite a bit by the good professor. The reasons, of course, are rather simple... Because if he was ever to admit publicly that he actually understood what was he was promoting, he would be calling for his own lynching.

The only way out of that particular problem, is to ignore the logic in front of him.

Alas, that this particular ploy is not unique to Erb... but it does tend to be fairly well contained on the left.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, you are the one being obtuse here.

Clearly if this story is fake, it is not accurate. Period.

So how the heck can Scott J., Steverino and yourself say that anyone is saying "fake but accurate?" Don’t be obtuse, don’t dance and weave, just answer the question in an honest, straight forward manner.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"You also don’t have much knowledge of what political science is if you think somehow someone specializing in European politics and international relations should be following the horse race of an American election cycle to the point of noting NYT headlines."

You do teach something other than European politics and international relations, don’t you? It might be nice if you learned enough to teach those classes.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Clearly if this story is fake, it is not accurate. Period.
Correct. Then again, so were the TANG papers the phrase refers to. But again, you’re going to tell us you don’t recall these.

And... funny thing; Both were presented by the group "Liars against the War".

By the way... they called... and you’re overdue on your membership fees.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
And look, let’s admit that there is a very central reason to why TNR chose to print this fantasy. That Beauchamp is still, for the moment, in uniform... (though that will doubtless change in the next weeks and months once the board of inquiry gets ahold of this scuzzy butt.) The central reason, is not that he had been engaged to a staffer at TNR, though that helped. it wasn’t that is writings were particularly good, (they were not) it wasn’t that his writings were verified as fact (Again, they were not) it was that the writings of Scott Thomas Beauchamp..... met two criteria:

1: It contained Bush Derangement Syndrome -generated hysteria
2: Because he does have the green suit on for the moment, the rest of us are not supposed to question him.

Ann Coulter addresses this one quite well, indeed, in "Godless"
Finally, Democrats hit on an ingenious strategy; They chose only messengers whom we’re not allowed to reply to. That’s why all Democratic spokesman these days are sobbing, hysterical women. You can’t respond to them because that would be questioning the authenticity of their suffering. Liberals haven’t changed the message, just the messenger. Although most prominent Liberal spokesman are people with "absolute moral authority". Democrats with a dead husband , a dead child, a wife who works at the CIA, a war record, a terminal illness, or as a last resort being on a first name basis with Nelson Mandela.
In this case, it wasn’t a female, but it is somebody we are not allowed to question. The slightly altered tactic has proven to work in the past with such luminaries as John Kerry and Max Cleland to name a couple. The reason that we aren’t supposed to question them, of course, is they were once in uniform.

Obvious holes in their story, obvious idiocy and their politics, obvious political avarice, nor obvious mental illness... none of these rise to the level that will trump that they were in uniform.

it’s funny, though, how the people who were in uniform , and their widows, and their children, seemingly don’t account for much. There are, for example, an awful lot of windows in those categories who support the president. Coulter goes on later to point up the idea that the "Jersey Girls" never really caught the support of the wives of the firemen who died in those towers, that day. It seems by the lights of the democrats, there are a very selective few when we cannot question. Interesting, how the ones we can’t question are the ones supporting their politics. The remainder are people that we just shouldn’t take as seriously.

But they.. that remainder, aren’t trying to turn their personal tragedy into a tool by which to dictate national politics toward the Democrats, are they?





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

 
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