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This passes for analysis on Hullabaloo
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 27, 2007

It is always interesting to peek in on the leftosphere to see how they analyze various stories. For the most part, the Scott Thomas Beauchamp story has been roundly ignored.

But we're now beginning to see a push back. It is instructive, at times, to deconstruct such attempts. Digby at Hullabaloo is useful in that context. She begins by telling us she noticed the story about TNR's "Shock Troops" when it first emerged but didn't give it much thought because she thought it was "plausible" and it was similar to "behaviors in people in normal life". And, of course, she couldn't pass up the obligatory shot at Bush. She then worries, given the "plausibility" of the stories about the PTSD problems our troops will encounter (consider this her insertion of the obligatory "concern for the troops" trope for this particular entry). You can almost see the "crazy Vietnam Vet" meme reemerging with a new identity.

Notice that Digby can only relate what she reads from "Thomas" with "behaviors in people in normal life". No acknowledgment that the military doesn't compare to "normal life" because of its structure, culture and mission. She also seems unaware that as an organization, it's pretty successfull in removing the types Scott Beauchamp would have you believe proliferate the organization well before they can do the things Beauchamp claims. That's not really an option in "normal life", is it - not until they actually do something anyway.

But it is after that in which Digby gets into the real dissembling:
After a tremendous amount of wingnut pressure on TNR to prove they hadn't been duped by an imposter, now that they know he does in fact exist, they are working their way into a complete frenzy going after this soldier as if he were al Qaeda and acting as though the hawkish New Republic has just endorsed Cindy Sheehan for president. It's like watching a bunch of piranhas attack some kids who accidentally fell into the water.
Notice that TNR is now "the victim"TM. The problem is now the 'frenzy' and those who are frenzied.

The problem are the "wingnuts" and Digby's misstatement of the reason the stories have been called into question is used to support that strawman.

Of course, the stories have been called into question for the same reason Digby found them compelling. Their plausibility, or lack thereof. For those who have challenged the stories, it is the lack of plausibility which has driven the challenges. Note also that Digby conveniently forgets to mention that the author, at the time the challenge was made, penned his stories pseudonymously.

Two pesky points that turn her initial assessment on their head.

She goes on:
This soldier certainly had no idea what he was dealing with, and I suspect TNR didn't either. (Up until now, the right has been sympathetic with their editorial line on the war, after all. For all the disdain for the blogofascists of the left, this is undoubtedly the first time TNR's felt the full force of the wingnutosphere, which makes our little ideological disagreements look like kisses on the cheek. )
Ignoring the "editoral line on the war" that TNR has taken should not be mistaken for "sympathy". Frankly I haven't monitored or read their "line on the war".

Nor does the possiblity of being sympathetic with the editorial line TNR has taken change the implausibility of the stories "Thomas" told. They're completely separate issues. But challenging stories told as fact by an anonymous author - which do not seem plausible based on experience and the word of people who serve in the same place as the author claims residence - suddenly makes one a "blogofascist".

We get more of the same - blah, blah, wingnuts, blah, blah 101st keyborders, yackety, yack - substitute standard leftist boilerplate namecalling for substantive argument.

Then this:
I have never been to war. But that doesn't mean that I have no knowledge of it. Human beings have been at it for some time now and they've left quite a record. Nothing that Private Beauchamp wrote in that piece had not been written before by some other soldier in some other war.
Yeah, like John Kerry (those who rail against the Swift Boat Vets find Kerry's defense "plausible" for whatever reason while those who are on the other side of the issue, find his defense implausible mostly based in their military experience). What seems to slip Digby's grasp is that many of those who wrote such things in past wars actually experienced them and it was obvious to those who actually served that that was the case.

Ironcially she outlines his problem in her first line. To know about something doesn't necessarily mean knowing what is true about something.

My father wouldn't watch war movies saying they simply didn't represent his experience in either war or the military. That was a nice way of saying "they don't reflect realty and pretty much suck". He spent 36 years in uniform so I believed him even though, at the time, I found them compelling and enjoyable. It was only after my experience in the Army that I understood his point.

Frankly, only experience will give that sort of broad knowledge with which to read or hear a story and either raise the BS flag or accept it as plausible. In the case of "Thomas" it was immediately found to be implausible and the reasons, both technical and cultural, were both numerous and well documented. Digby, of course, ignores all of that trivia.
I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don't seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn't require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.
One of the themes of those defending the victimized TNR is to characterize the assault on poor little "Scott Thomas" as being from "the right". It was, in fact, from milbloggers. That, however, is an inconvenient fact. And Digby, like most, attempts to characterize those who have challenged "Thomas" as being, well you guessed it, right-wing chicken hawks, without actually using that discredited meme. If she consistently calls them "the right", everyone on the left understands what that code phrase means when applied to this sort of a discussion, and if not, well then such little beauties as loving their "GI Joe dolls" and "two dimensional John Waynes" and "virtual armchair lynch mob" should get the message across fairly pointedly.

Milbloggers, however, can't be assaulted in the same way as "the right", so instead they're simply ignored by Dibgy. Instead we get the standard hand wave demonization of the "blogofascists" on "the right".

She takes her final shot at the milbloggers, et al, with this bit of flummery:
They'd be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized "the troops" into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism —- that empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.

The real men for them are the civilians on 24 torturing suspected terrorists for an hour each week, keeping the lil'est tough guys safe from harm with hard sadism and easy answers. That's where this wingnut war is really being fought.
Yeesh.

Pretty poor stuff when you finally read all the way through it, which may explain why I normally don't. But as I said, it is sometimes instructive to do this sort of work, just to point out the paucity of real argument to be found in much of the "analysis" the leftosphere does.

UPDATE: Dale points to another example of this attempt to brush off the challenge to the TNR story by none other than the TNR editor himself, Franklin Foer:
As conservative bloggers yesterday continued to challenge the veracity of Beauchamp's accounts, Foer said: "It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard's efforts to press an ideological agenda."
The quote is from the Kurtz article I linked in the discussion of honor and you should note that Kurtz has also bought into the 'conservative bloggers' meme.

Two points. One is best stated by Dale:
Uh, The New Republic is an OPINION journal. His whole job can be described as an effort "to press an ideological agenda". Since that is so, the last line is simply too precious for words.
The more I see things like this, the more I come to believe that Bernie Goldberg was right ... those on the left see their beliefs as "normal" and everyone else has the bias problem.

Point two, the Weekly Standard simply solicited opinions from MILBLOGGERS as to the plausibility of the stories (recognizing as, apparently Digby and others can't, that they didn't have the expertise to really know). And whether anyone likes to admit it or not, that is an entirely different genre of blogging than "conservative blogs". In journalism, what the Weekly Standard did is known as "fact checking", something which TNR is now wishing it had availed itself of before publishing the article.
 
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Note my post from a few days ago.

The left plays the victim card right on cue.
 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
For some reason the Leftosphere defenses of the TNR story all seem to lean very heavily on the assumption that TNR is sympathetic to the Iraq war. I guess the implication is that TNR would have no motive rush a flimsy anti-war piece into publication without proper fact-checking, because such a piece would contradict their own editorial line.

I disagree with this logic, because I consider the stories to be more in the category of "human interest" than "policy argument against the war," but even on factual grounds it is questionable. Q and O provided a link to a semiotic analysis of the writing by John Barnes yesterday, in which Barnes mentions in passing, of the new TNR editor:
One of his major goals as the new editor seems to be to reverse Peter Beinart’s pro-Iraq War stance...
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Good point, Aldo ... and yes, retired military, you did make the claim in another thread. One plus mark for you!
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Even funnier was Kevin Drum, who expressed befuddlement over why anyone would care that the troops are being smeared with vicious lies (come on lefties, if you’re going to fake "supporting the troops" at least do your homework on what supporting the troops might look like), and then cited Sullivan saying righties have an "overwhelming pyschic need" to distract from the war.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
"... those on the left see their beliefs as "normal" and everyone else has the bias problem."
This point was locally demonstrated in the thread where Captin Sarcastic and Retief were maintaining at length that "normal" people believe that Fox News is misinforming people (and that the NYT is not).

Captin Sarcastic:
”Fox News viewers have been shown to be more misinformed that (sic) pretty much anyone.”
Non-liberals who get information outside the liberal bubble are "misinformed".

Retief:
”...people whose primary news source is Fox News believe more false things than anybody else.”
Non-liberals who get information outside the liberal bubble believe "false things".

Captin Sarcastic and Retief deny a liberal bias. They believe that they are simply "well informed".
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Digby is a she. This post goes downhill from there.

Since I am apparently a freshly minted member of the leftosphere, let me help you with the leftosphere view- it is a resounding "so what?"

We spent five years being told war is hell and that things happen and now that someone reports a dog was run over or a woman was mocked in a cafeteria and you want us to freak out?

This is a distraction, a non-issue, far more people are reading SHOCK TROOPS because of all the nonsense swirled up by the DEFENDERS OF THE TROOPS, and only important so far as it fits into the ability of the Powerlines and the Hewitts to beat the meme that the media wants us to lose and hates our troops.

Really, I am not the only person who would have said "Scott who?" if the milbloggers, fueled by the usual suspects at the Corner, WS, MM, and HH had not worked themselves into a laughable lather over this.
 
Written By: John Cole
URL: http://www.balloon-juice.com
As conservative bloggers yesterday continued to challenge the veracity of Beauchamp’s accounts, Foer said: "It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard’s efforts to press an ideological agenda."
vs Aldo’s quote of John Barnes over Foer....
One of his major goals as the new editor seems to be to reverse Peter Beinart’s pro-Iraq War stance...
One could logically take Foer’s statement as a rather thin and unsubstantial denial of his own intent to politicize Beauchamp’s fantasy.

Foer’s issue, then, would appear to need to be not whether or not Beauchamp’s being used as a pawn, but rather, by WHOM, and whose political agenda is being pushed here... one from The Standard, or is it in fact the one TNR has been pushing since about 3 weeks before they dragged Sadam outta that foxhole?

Clearly, this person was chosen for the role assigned them by TNR, by irtue of the fact that he’s in uniform, thus giving creds, they think, to the anti-war nonsense. (That he’s engaged to a TNR staffer didn’t hurt either, apparently)

The nonsensical stammering coming from the left has all the facts come pouring out about Beauchamp in the last 24 hours, is testimony to the idea that the left is grabbing onto anything it can to make its point. Their problem is, the trustworthiness... dare I say it, the honor of the people they latch onto,Like, well, like Beauchamp for example, is no better than their own.

And John
This is a distraction, a non-issue,


I find your response laughable. It only became a nonissue to the left when Beachamp’s credibility was shown as nonexistent.
t fits into the ability of the Powerlines and the Hewitts to beat the meme that the media wants us to lose and hates our troops.

Come now, are you really suggesting that the staunchly anti War TNR would post something in its pages that it thought unimportant? I mean, if the media, including TNR doesn’t want us to lose and doesn’t want us to hate our troops, why on earth would they go to such great lengths to arrange such a story? Sorry, that doesn’t wash, John.









 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I wiped Balloon Juice from my bookmarks several years ago hoping to never again read anything by John Cole. John, go away.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Oooooh, now I understand.

It’s ok to lie... er, publish stories anonymously as long as "nobody cares".

Quick, get that man a remedial course in honor! He’s clueless and ignorant to boot.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: rocketjones.mu.nu
John "eek, the theocrats are coming!" Cole sez:

"We spent five years being told that war is hell and that things happen and now that someone reports a dog was run over or a woman was mocked in a cafeteria you want us to freak out?"

I see the little bit about desecrating the dead passed right by you, Cole, but no matter. The left has never seemed to care about death so long as it serves the higher truth.

And, like your compatriots, (insert William Shatner voice here )you KEEP MISSING THE POINT. We want you to "freak out" over the high probability that Beauchamp is a liar, describing things that could not have happened the way he tells them. That is the point the evil warmongering Bushbot milbloggers are making and one that the defeatists and seditionists on the left are determined to blow past.

Too bad, Cole. I remember when you were sane.
 
Written By: Christopher
URL: http://
Digby is a she.
Yeah, well I guess that shows you how much attention I normally pay to Dibgy. But thanks, I’ll edit to reflect that.
Really, I am not the only person who would have said "Scott who?" if the milbloggers, fueled by the usual suspects at the Corner, WS, MM, and HH had not worked themselves into a laughable lather over this.
Well heck John, only if "fake but accurate" is your new mantra. I take it, that like Digby, you found the stories to be "plausible" as well?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Actually, the theocrats aren’t coming anywhere- the kids hate ’em too.

At any rate, if you can point to anywhere I have posted that what Beauchamp has said is verifiably true, please do so.

I don’t know. Nor do you. And there is really no way to prove one way or another. Are they going to search Iraq for dismembered canines? Women who have been mocked? The answer, of course, is no. Now ask yourself- why exactly is it so amazingly difficult to believe that someone in his unit did run over a dog? Why does that seem so crazy?

As to the GY- it has been verified that his unit did in fact find a gy filled with the bodies of children. Is it so implausible one of the guys in his unit fiddled with the remains?

Regardless, it may be that Beauchamp is a complete and total liar, but the real story in all of this is the vicious, over the top, and completely ludicrous reaction of Defenders of TEH TROOPS.
 
Written By: John Cole
URL: http://www.balloon-juice.com
”This is a distraction, a non-issue... a laughable lather...”
Move along folks, nothing to see here. Liberal editors use the same bias to spike stories that do not support the LN while telling themselves that they are merely exercising good news judgement. Mr. Cole cannot undertake to grapple with this issue on its merits without sounding as vapid as the local lefties, so he ...laughs at it. Nothing more than a good opportunity to do the liberal eye rolling thing, right Mr. Cole?

Tell you what, Mr. Cole. Just for ducks, why don’t you take a few minutes and give us a brief take on what you might write if you did deign to notice the impropriety of publishing such articles under these circumstances? Oh wait, you already have:
”We spent five years being told war is hell and that things happen and now... you want us to freak out?
An excellent bit of writing (do I smell Democratic think tank?). Taking it on its face: is this a serious position to take? Not really. Just a facile throwaway line. Very clever. Yes, it is clever. Did I mention the cleverness of it?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
I don’t know. Nor do you. And there is really no way to prove one way or another. Are they going to search Iraq for dismembered canines? Women who have been mocked? The answer, of course, is no. Now ask yourself- why exactly is it so amazingly difficult to believe that someone in his unit did run over a dog? Why does that seem so crazy?
See here for some statements from soldiers in Iraq as to the implausibility of Beauchamp’s claims, including this one from a fellow soldier based at FOB Falcon:
Sir,
I am and have been an avid reader of your milblog for many years and wanted to answer your request for help with the entry about the TNR article ’Shock Troopers’.

I am one of the many thousand American soldiers at FOB Falcon. We do have an IA Battalion here, but they are on a completely isolated portion of the camp. I don’t mean to contradict your trusted source about the ownership of this place, but I’m sitting in my barracks right now typing this email here on the FOB. Without naming units or giving specific personnel counts, I can assure you this is definitely an American post.

In the 11 months I’ve been here I’ve never once seen a female contractor with a burned face. In a compact place like this with only one mess hall I or one of my guys would certainly have noticed someone like that. There are a few female contractors, I think maybe a dozen, but none fit the horrific description given in that article. Further, I’ve personally seen guys threatened with severe physical harm for making jokes of any kind about IED victims given the number of casualties all the units on this FOB have sustained. It is not a subject we take lightly. Gallows humor jokes do get told, but extremely seldom and never about anyone they actually know or are in the presence of.

Given the friends in the S-2 shop of my *** Squadron and how often I talk to them about what’s going on in our AO and AI I can also tell you no reports whatsoever have been sent up - or down from MNCI - about a mass grave of any kind. We find bodies all the time, sure, but graves? None.

The part about running over the dog, in my opinion, is somewhat plausible, but I doubt the PL or CO of that individual would let them do it more than once if they valued the lives of their men at all. The vehicles we drive are all top heavy and violent swerving to hit a dog is not advisable.

As for the human skull bit, I know that any NCO worth his salt, and most certainly a PSG or higher, would literally crush a Joe for taking his ACH helmet off in the middle of a mission only to put a portion of human skull on his head.

You’ve probably received multiple emails about all this already, but I just wanted to help crush the bull**it surrounding this story. Thank you for your milblog [ed.—Blackfive] and for all you do for us overseas.
There’s more at the link, and the Army is now investigating all of the incidents. Like they would have done earlier if Beauchamp had reported them properly.
Regardless, it may be that Beauchamp is a complete and total liar, but the real story in all of this is the vicious, over the top, and completely ludicrous reaction of Defenders of TEH TROOPS.
If you don’t understand why people (especially milbloggers) find the need to defend "TEH TROOPS" from Beauchamp’s slander, then why don’t you just STFU about it?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"...the real story in all of this..."
Yeah, like the real story in Rathergate was Bush’s TNG activities.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Now ask yourself- why exactly is it so amazingly difficult to believe that someone in his unit did run over a dog? Why does that seem so crazy?
Well, because if he was driving a M2 Bradley, he couldn’t see the f*cking dog! The driver is either looking through a periscope, or through about a 1" slit between the hatch coaming and the hatch. He’s also sitting on the left side of the vehicle, with the engine on his right. He can’t see anything on his right that’s closer than 20 yards to the vehicle.

Oh, and also, in general, armored vehicles freak dogs out. They are used to cars and trucks, and motorcycles. But when an armored vehicle heaves into view, dogs de-ass the AO. I’m sure you could pop the occasional dog in a Hummer, but in a Bradley...well, that kinda stretches the imagination.

Next, the driver doesn’t move the vehicle an inch without first the convoy commander giving the go-ahead, and the vehicle commander directing the movement. Any driver that makes a habit of deviating from the approved movement plan quickly finds himself manning a turret, while someone else drives, mainly because no one want’s to get blown to sh*t by an IED.

Finally, a lot of soldiers love dogs. In fact, it’s a problem in Iraq, because guys are always finding little stray puppies and trying to smuggle them onto base, and keep them as mascots. COs regularly have to confiscate the darn things, because of disease and hygeine concerns. If you start running over dogs willy-nilly, some of your fellow soldiers are gonna want to have words with you.

So, the reasons for skepticism aren’t that we doubt that there’s some *sshole who might be willing to do it. It’s because it’s barely even concievable that a Bradley driver could physically do it, the vehicle commander would probably get ticked off, as would the convoy commander, and a lot of fellow soldiers wouldn’t like it much either.

That’s why it’s amazingly difficult to believe. We aren’t saying its an absolute impossibility, but we are saying that the liklihood of it even being physically possible is extraordinarily low.
As to the GY- it has been verified that his unit did in fact find a gy filled with the bodies of children. Is it so implausible one of the guys in his unit fiddled with the remains?
I don’t actually think that’s true. As I understand it, when the grave was found during the construction of an outpost, his unit was still in Germany and hadn’t deployed. His unit did participate in securing the construction of another outpost, but no grave was found there, according to the PIO for 4th IBCT, 1st ID.

But even if it was true, the infantry guys wouldn’t be the ones who found the grave. Infantry troops don’t build outposts. They secure a perimeter, while construction guys with bulldozers and stuff do the actual construction. If anyone would’ve found any graves, it would’ve been the construction guys who were actually working to build the outpost, not some PV2 guarding the perimeter.

And when the remains were found, what happened to all the officers and NCOs? Did the guy’s squad leader, platoon sergeant, platoon leader, etc., just let him ponce about festooning himself with human remains?

So, yeah, again, it’s implausible, because I gotta wonder how some infantry private actually got access to the remains, and if he did, what his leadership was doing while he toyed with rotting corpses.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
How about Amarita Barnes, the female veteran who was raped when she was in Iraq; except she hadn’t been in Iraq, and hadn’t been raped, and the NY
Times knew it a week before publication. Or Jimmy Massey, the Iraq Vet who told
a tale of atrocities to a NC paper and later to a memoir published in France; but was contradicted by the local embed. Or the story floated by Turksih sources; of a mass epidemic of rapes by US troops. All these stories have surfaced and have been rebutted; but like Thierry Meysan’s ’missile hit the
Pentagon theory" they continue to circulate, in obscure and sundry spots; surface in odd places, like "Loose Change" and collectively undermine the war effort among allies and our own people.
 
Written By: narciso
URL: http://
Well, because if he was driving a M2 Bradley, he couldn’t see the f*cking dog! The driver is either looking through a periscope, or through about a 1" slit between the hatch coaming and the hatch. He’s also sitting on the left side of the vehicle, with the engine on his right. He can’t see anything on his right that’s closer than 20 yards to the vehicle.
I have driven an M2. Have you? I am well aware where the fan tower is, and I am very familiar with driving the M2 and the M1 Abrams- running over a dog is not the impossible feat you are making it out to be.

Additionally, I have posited that it is entirely possible that EVERYTHING he has said is not just embellished, but an outright lie. This would not be the first fabulist to write about war (not even the first in this one, as we are all familiar with with Jesse MacBeth), nor will it be the last. I am willing to bet he is in fact the company jerk. Wouldn’t be surprising at all.

That aside- what I am taking issue with is the clearly over the top reaction from people on this. first it was doubted he was a soldier, then he is a soldier but he is a liar because everything is implausible, etc. This whole uproar and the way the right wing is behaving reminds me of the potent intersection of stupid and angry that was the left wing WP accusations several years back. I think you and I were both on the right side of that idiocy back then, I think I am on the right side of this nonsense now. The only difference between the two is who is being an idiot.

Now we have idiots investigating the guys girlfriend, Uncle Jimbo at Black Five and his commenters are hoping for some good old fashioned violence happens to him, and we are but a day or two away from National Review calling for treason charges.
An excellent bit of writing (do I smell Democratic think tank?). Taking it on its face: is this a serious position to take? Not really. Just a facile throwaway line. Very clever. Yes, it is clever. Did I mention the cleverness of it?
That is all you got? Really, that is it?
 
Written By: John Cole
URL: http://www.balloon-juice.com
John Cole, I’m curious to know something: what is the proper reaction when a magazine of the standing of The New Republic publishes a story that’s a complete fabrication? You said the right wing has been over the top, so I’d like to know what you think the right wing should have done.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
I have driven an M2. Have you?
My son has, with the 11th Cav ... that’s what he did. His reaction was to say "BS. Dogs don’t get near tracks" and he essentially said much the same things Dale just did. He also reiterated the point that vehicles don’t go alone, they have track commanders and they move according to SOP. Now that’s just common sense stuff to anyone who’s been in or around the military for more than a day. It is that sort of knowledge which raises the BS flag pretty quickly and challenges the plausibility of what was offered as ’fact’.
first it was doubted he was a soldier, then he is a soldier...
Good grief John, he was writing with a pseudonym and his stories were found to be implausible by men and women serving at the very FOB from which he claimed to be. Given that, I see nothing wrong with doubting his veracity. Had he said who he was to begin with, no one would have had such a doubt.
...then he is a soldier but he is a liar because everything is implausible, etc.
Yes. And the technical and cultural problems (I’m speaking of military culture now) are legion in his stories and have been pointed out in detail and at length. Have you read through them?

No one, not you or TNR or any of those who are remarking on the other side of this are in any way offering rebuttal. All we hear is "it could happen". Yeah, so could Pluto colliding with Venus, but it ain’t very likely, is it?

What has been pointed out is in some cases, technically, it couldn’t have happened for particular reasons (like his unit wasn’t in country yet, or a skull isn’t going to fit under an ACH, or that dogs just really don’t like tracks and are very likely not going to let a 30 ton 600 hp turbodiesel sneak up on them) and in some cases culturally, it is implausible that it happened (and that is based mostly on the "fact" that each of his stories seems to happen in a vacuum where there is absolutely no leadership in a crowded DFAC or a vehicle movement or the building of a COP).

Instead all that is offered is this sort of nonsense:
This whole uproar and the way the right wing is behaving reminds me of the potent intersection of stupid and angry that was the left wing WP accusations several years back. I think you and I were both on the right side of that idiocy back then, I think I am on the right side of this nonsense now. The only difference between the two is who is being an idiot.
I’m sorry John, the "idiot" wrote the stories and presented them as fact. I took exception to the depiction and the contents. Maybe it has something to do with spending 28 years of my life doing this stuff. But the fact remains, I am very sensitive to this sort of "journalism" because I lived through the very same sort of thing 30 plus years ago, when we took off our uniforms upon returning home from overseas because we really weren’t in the mood to be harassed and called names with every step we took.

So it’s a personal mission of mine to challenge such nonsense every time it raises its ugly head. And I intend to continue to do it whenever I see it. Yes, we were on the right side of that argument 3 years ago, and I’m on the right side of this one as well. And if that bothers you, I suggest you get over it.
Now we have idiots investigating the guys girlfriend, Uncle Jimbo at Black Five and his commenters are hoping for some good old fashioned violence happens to him, and we are but a day or two away from National Review calling for treason charges.
Take it up with them John ... why are you complaining here? I’ve not done any of that nor have our commenters called for violence against him. We’ve struck at the plausibility of the stories and why we think they stink. I’m not about to accept the paint you’re trying to splash, in Digbyish fashion, with your broad brush. If you have a problem with Blackfive or National Review, take it up with them.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
My response to the idiotic question of why people are upset about this story is twofold.

1. Maybe we are tired of the media MAKING CRAP UP and PRINTING IT to fit their agenda.

2. Maybe there are quite a few folks who dont want to be falsely compared to the likes of the hordes of Ghenghis Khan AGAIN.

BTW Mr Cole you said you have sat in a Bradley before. You never did say that while driving it you could see a dog on the right hand side of the vehicle and you could swerve to hit it.
 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
John Cole, I’m curious to know something: what is the proper reaction when a magazine of the standing of The New Republic publishes a story that’s a complete fabrication? You said the right wing has been over the top, so I’d like to know what you think the right wing should have done.
Not to be a stickler for things like facts, but where exactly is the proof this whole thing is a fabrication? All I have seen is speculation on blogs that NO WAY could a dog be run over by an M2 and assertions that no GI would ever make fun of a disgured person. Hell, even the military press release can’t refute those as of yet.

The graveyard presents the real dilemma. The Weekly Standard confirms that a GY existed:
There was a children’s cemetery unearthed while constructing a Combat Outpost (COP) in the farm land south of Baghdad International Airport. It was not a mass grave. It was not the result of some inhumane genocide
Then denied it existed:
As the 4th IBCT Public Affairs Officer- I can tell you unequivocally: there was NO mass grave discovered in this area of operations in conjunction with the building of a coalition outpost anytime in the past 12 months. None. Zero. Zip. And Frank Foer’s assertions to the contrary, there is no way that his mystery soldier "Scott Thomas" can prove it. Foer can produce all of the alleged "eyewitnesses" he wants- unless these individuals are willing to back up their claims with real evidence, it’s just so much garbage on a computer screen. Some people seem to forget that the burden of proof should be on the New Republic to back up his unsubstantiated claims and not the other way around.
More than likely, the Graveyard discovered in the first blockquote is the one denied in the second blockquote because while a graveyard, it was not a mass grave. Now- is it completely implausible that during the unearthing of this GY, someone fiddled with the bones?

Other than that, the refutations consist of a few people saying things like ’I never saw a disfigured woman here.’ As someone who vehemently protested the smears of George Bush’s military service, need I remind you that no one saw him on base in Louisiana, either.

So prove this whole story is a fabrication and get back to me.
 
Written By: John Cole
URL: http://www.balloon-juice.com
My son has, with the 11th Cav ... that’s what he did. His reaction was to say "BS. Dogs don’t get near tracks" and he essentially said much the same things Dale just did. He also reiterated the point that vehicles don’t go alone, they have track commanders and they move according to SOP. Now that’s just common sense stuff to anyone who’s been in or around the military for more than a day. It is that sort of knowledge which raises the BS flag pretty quickly and challenges the plausibility of what was offered as ’fact’.
Small world. When I was on active duty I was in the 11th ACR in Fulda, Germany. Tell your son that I said "Allons." He will know what I mean.

I am well aware that vehicles move with track commanders- I spent 2 and a half years in a tank, and considerable time cross-training in Bradley’s. But back to the point- are you and your son really going to go on record and s tate that nothing ever happens that is not SOP? Seriously? That is the crux of the argument? It couldn’t have happened because it is not Standard Operating Procedure? And I am the one being naive?
Yes. And the technical and cultural problems (I’m speaking of military culture now) are legion in his stories and have been pointed out in detail and at length. Have you read through them?

No one, not you or TNR or any of those who are remarking on the other side of this are in any way offering rebuttal. All we hear is "it could happen". Yeah, so could Pluto colliding with Venus, but it ain’t very likely, is it?
So someone running over a dog in an armored vehicle or fiddling with human remains or mocking a disfigure person is so implausible it reaches the level of planets leaving their orbit and colliding? Let me guess- soldiers would never taunt Iraqi children with water bottles, either.

Of course not. Troops would never make a song that would ruin hearts and minds and then videotape it for all the world to see. That would not be SOP.

Again, I am not arguing all this stuff did happen. I have no way of verifying it. You, on the other hand, are arguing there is no way in the world ((literally, with your Pluto/Venus remark) these events happened. I think you are on much shakier ground.

I guess the final thing that I do not understand is that if these guys did do this stuff, so what? Sure, it would be offensive and inappropriate, but we aren’t talking about My Lai or Abu Gharaib.
 
Written By: John Cole
URL: http://www.balloon-juice.com
The graveyard presents the real dilemma. The Weekly Standard confirms that a GY existed:

There was a children’s cemetery unearthed while constructing a Combat Outpost (COP) in the farm land south of Baghdad International Airport. It was not a mass grave. It was not the result of some inhumane genocide

Then denied it existed:

As the 4th IBCT Public Affairs Officer- I can tell you unequivocally: there was NO mass grave discovered in this area of operations in conjunction with the building of a coalition outpost anytime in the past 12 months. None. Zero. Zip. And Frank Foer’s assertions to the contrary, there is no way that his mystery soldier "Scott Thomas" can prove it. Foer can produce all of the alleged "eyewitnesses" he wants- unless these individuals are willing to back up their claims with real evidence, it’s just so much garbage on a computer screen. Some people seem to forget that the burden of proof should be on the New Republic to back up his unsubstantiated claims and not the other way around.
Located at BAI are Camps Liberty and Victory - yeah, they’re huge. Much larger than an FOB and right at the airport.

FOB Falcon is located to the southeast of there on the other side of the main highway coming into Baghdad from the south and near the Tigris River.

Now, you tell me John, import construction and security from FOB Falcon or use the security and construction assets from the two largest camps in Iraq to do the job?

Yeah, not FOB Falcon’s AO, so not their job.

Note that the person who reported the grave didn’t say a word about the grave being discovered by FOB Falcon units. He simply states that one was found while building a COP south of the Baghdad airport.

However, the 4th BCT PAO states unequivocally that the COPs built in his AO did not find mass graves or any graves when they constructed them (namely COP Ellis).

That suggests again that the COP where the grave was found was not in their AO.

You choose to treat that as a lie. I suggest you go look at a map.

But it does go to my point about the "grain of truth" in the stories which are then wildly embellished. If the person reporting the fact that a graveyard - a children’s graveyard at that - was found during the construction of a COP in another AO, it provides a perfect starting point for embellishment, doesn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’m still amazed how everyone on the left from Cole (you’re not newly minted, John, you just think you’re reasonable compared to your cesspool of deranged commenters) to Sullivan to Drum seems perplexed that anyone would be upset about vicious accusations of our soldiers desecrating graves for fun, mocking the disfigured, shooting kids, and generally behaving psychotically. They just don’t get it.

Helpful hint guys: if you’re going to fake supporting the troops, at least do some homework on how people who actually support the troops think.

So it’s a personal mission of mine to challenge such nonsense every time it raises its ugly head.

Goddamn right. 30 years ago, the Left destroyed the American public’s faith in our soldiers with a campaign of vicious lies, some of them right out of our enemy’s propaganda leaflets. There’s a reason John Kerry has an honored place in a museum in communist Vietnam.

30 years later, the only thing’s that’s changed is that lefty gatekeepers don’t control the flow of information anymore. This time around, the truth will come out, thanks to milbloggers and emails from troops who raised most of the objections to this story. The military itself is now investigating. Either some very bad people will go down, or a very bad liar will be exposed.

In the end, of course, no matter what happens Beauchamp will cry victim, write a book, and cash in on all the lefties who want to believe. All he needs is a suitably Orwellian title (sadly, "The Politics of Truth" is already taken).

 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
So prove this whole story is a fabrication and get back to me.
What would be the point if you’re just going to lie and obfuscate about it? Your indictment of the Weekly Standard above is undermined by your own cut’n paste job:
The graveyard presents the real dilemma. The Weekly Standard confirms that a GY existed:

There was a children’s cemetery unearthed while constructing a Combat Outpost (COP) in the farm land south of Baghdad International Airport. It was not a mass grave. It was not the result of some inhumane genocide
Then denied it existed:

As the 4th IBCT Public Affairs Officer- I can tell you unequivocally: there was NO mass grave discovered in this area of operations in conjunction with the building of a coalition outpost anytime in the past 12 months. None. Zero. Zip. And Frank Foer’s assertions to the contrary, there is no way that his mystery soldier "Scott Thomas" can prove it. Foer can produce all of the alleged "eyewitnesses" he wants- unless these individuals are willing to back up their claims with real evidence, it’s just so much garbage on a computer screen. Some people seem to forget that the burden of proof should be on the New Republic to back up his unsubstantiated claims and not the other way around.
More than likely, the Graveyard discovered in the first blockquote is the one denied in the second blockquote because while a graveyard, it was not a mass grave. Now- is it completely implausible that during the unearthing of this GY, someone fiddled with the bones?
They denied it existed? Well, no. The two quotes aren’t even inconsistent. They refuted this piece of Beauchamp’s story:
Like a strange archeological dig of the recent past, the deeper we went, the more personal the objects we discovered. And, eventually, we reached the bones. All children’s bones: tiny cracked tibias and shoulder blades. We found pieces of hands and fingers. We found skull fragments. No one cared to speculate what, exactly, had happened here, but it was clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground of some sort.
What other sort of "Saddam-era dumping ground" filled with children’s bones would there be besides a mass grave?

If you were truly concerned about the facts of the situation you wouldn’t be misrepresenting people’s arguments.
All I have seen is speculation on blogs that NO WAY could a dog be run over by an M2 and assertions that no GI would ever make fun of a disgured person.
Well then you haven’t been looking very hard, have you? Shame on you on you.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
a resounding "so what?"
For someone who thinks "so what," Cole has spent a whole lot of energy within 5 comments (so far).
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
John, if the original story was such a ho-hum, not so big of a deal......why was it published in the first place?
I guess the final thing that I do not understand is that if these guys did do this stuff, so what? Sure, it would be offensive and inappropriate, but we aren’t talking about My Lai or Abu Gharaib.
Because if they DIDN’T, that deserves to be known.

"So what"

So much crap excused by you with just a shrug and a move-along, nothing to see here.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
When I was on active duty I was in the 11th ACR in Fulda, Germany. Tell your son that I said "Allons." He will know what I mean.
I will ... he loved it.
But back to the point- are you and your son really going to go on record and s tate that nothing ever happens that is not SOP? Seriously? That is the crux of the argument? It couldn’t have happened because it is not Standard Operating Procedure? And I am the one being naive
I think the word is obtuse, John. No one is saying anything like that, we’re talking about plausibility. the story talks about multiple incidents, some involving curbs, some buildings, some market stalls and some dogs. How long after doing any of those would you have still have been driving your track?
So someone running over a dog in an armored vehicle or fiddling with human remains or mocking a disfigure person is so implausible it reaches the level of planets leaving their orbit and colliding? Let me guess- soldiers would never taunt Iraqi children with water bottles, either.
Obviously the point is the probability of something happening not necessarily the possibility. No one is arguing that these things can’t happen. What is being argued is it is more implausible than plausible for the reasons given.

I notice, too, that you have completely avoided the alleged DFAC incident. I assume even you can’t put "plausible" on that one and pretend it happened with no fallout of any sort. And did you notice how the person involved just happened to be a "contractor" (another soldier and his buddies most likely would have stomped a mud hole in their chest) and a woman (a man would have most likely kicked their ass) and conveniently without friends or acquaintences?
I guess the final thing that I do not understand is that if these guys did do this stuff, so what? Sure, it would be offensive and inappropriate, but we aren’t talking about My Lai or Abu Gharaib.
Did you miss the part where I explained why it’s not just a ’so what’ or do I need to explain it again?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"So prove this whole story is a fabrication and get back to me. "

Yes the mantra of the Mainstream news media

"Noone has proved this story wrong yet!!"

Since when was the standard to printing something was to have someone prove that it is wrong. Shouldnt the standard be to fact check the story prior to printing it?

Mr Cole

I saw Elvis yesterday

Now

"So prove this whole story is a fabrication and get back to me. "

Do you see how ridiculous your statement is.

As for the Bradley you neglected that Beauchamp stated


"I know another private who really only enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs. Occasionally, the brave ones would chase the Bradleys, barking at them like they bark at trash trucks in America—providing him with the perfect opportunity to suddenly swerve and catch a leg or a tail in the vehicle’s tracks. He kept a tally of his kills in a little green notebook that sat on the dashboard of the driver’s hatch. One particular day, he killed three dogs. He slowed the Bradley down to lure the first kill in, and, as the diesel engine grew quieter, the dog walked close enough for him to jerk the machine hard to the right and snag its leg under the tracks."



Now we know that Bradleys can run over dogs. But stating that he did so deliberately along with "curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market" must strain even your crediblity meter. So he is inside the bradley with I am sure helmet and most likely hearing protection on and yet he can hear when a dog gets close enough for him to jerk the machine hard rightand snag the leg under the tracks.

Yeah right.

Would you like me to ask Elvis for him to give you an autograph the next time I see him. I honestly saw him yesterday.

"So prove this whole story is a fabrication and get back to me. "

Do you realize just how ridiculous you sound?


 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
retired,

Hey, that’s the NYT motto: "All the news you can’t prove is made-up."

"behaviors in people in normal life".

This is kind of disturbing, too. Drum also said it was "banal" or some such.

Desecrating graves, wearing human remains on your head as a joke, cruelly mocking the disfigured, and running over dogs at every opportunity is just normal, everyday stuff?

I am definitely going to avoid hanging out with these guys.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
Too many comments, too litle time:
What other sort of "Saddam-era dumping ground" filled with children’s bones would there be besides a mass grave?
It was clear to HIM it was a Saddam era dumping ground. The PO says it was not, and it was in fact just a children’s graveyard. Which proves he was wrong about what it was, but that they did unearth bones. Now- prove his mates didn’t play with the bones.
I saw Elvis yesterday
I am not arguing you didn’t see Elvis yesterday. for all I know you did. For all I care you did. Does this mean I hate the troops?
Now we know that Bradleys can run over dogs. But stating that he did so deliberately along with "curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market" must strain even your crediblity meter. So he is inside the bradley with I am sure helmet and most likely hearing protection on and yet he can hear when a dog gets close enough for him to jerk the machine hard rightand snag the leg under the tracks.
No, this does not strain my credibility meter. Read it again:
"I know another private who really only enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs. Occasionally, the brave ones would chase the Bradleys, barking at them like they bark at trash trucks in America—providing him with the perfect opportunity to suddenly swerve and catch a leg or a tail in the vehicle’s tracks. He kept a tally of his kills in a little green notebook that sat on the dashboard of the driver’s hatch. One particular day, he killed three dogs. He slowed the Bradley down to lure the first kill in, and, as the diesel engine grew quieter, the dog walked close enough for him to jerk the machine hard to the right and snag its leg under the tracks."
For all I know several things could have happened- he could have a buddy who ran over numerous corners, curbs, etc. Iraq is littered with things broken by our vehicles. Not sure if you have ever had any experience with an M2 or M1 personally, but you can take out a curb or part of a building with doing little more than messing up an easily replacable portion of the armor.

Additionally, I don’t see how he claims to have seen it- he could be relaying what his buddy told to him- who himself was lying. In that case the dogs were not run over. Or he could have hit dogs accidentally and shrugged it off as intentional.

And that is just the point- there are so many options and variables about what happened, all filtered by his own interpretation of events, perhaps merely stories relayed to him by his buddies. I have no way of verifying these things happened or didn’t. In all the cases, I really hope they didn’t.

But you, on the other hand, are CERTAIN, without any evidence other than your credibility meter, that they did not.
 
Written By: John Cole
URL: http://www.balloon-juice.com
For all I know several things could have happened- he could have a buddy who ran over numerous corners, curbs, etc. Iraq is littered with things broken by our vehicles. Not sure if you have ever had any experience with an M2 or M1 personally, but you can take out a curb or part of a building with doing little more than messing up an easily replacable portion of the armor.
John, that’s not what he said in the story ... he is claiming the driver deliberately did these things.
...it gave him the opportunity to run things over ...
Had you run over things deliberately, how long would you have continued to drive your track? And especially when some of those things you’re deliberately running over could cost you and your crew their life?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Now- prove his mates didn’t play with the bones
Actually, since Scott Thomas made the initial assertion.....it is up to HIM (or TNR) to prove that it did happen.

John, that’s how these things work.


 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Can I say with 100% certainity they didnt happen?
No.

Can I say that they strain my believeability meter? YES.

The difference between my statement and Mr Thomas’ is I am not proudly proclaiming to the world that I and others are guilty of violations of UCMJ, dishonoring my profession, and myself as a human being for taking part in and allowing the actions he described to happen if they are true and if he is lying guilty of violating the UCMJ and I am sure numerous orders about publishing articles and/ or speaking to the press. However, I am stating that PVT Beauchamp is guilty of violating the UCMJ whether his allegations are true or not.

Nor will you see me on the TV describing soldiers as the hordes of Ghenghis Khan, nor proclaim that I am victim.

As to the 2nd (being a victim) I am sure that this will be the meme of both the mainstream media and PVT Beauchamp in the coming days and weeks. Also I cant say for certain that the first part (Ghengis Khan) will happen but history has a tendency to repeat itself and we have seen this comparision before.

Can I prove either of the above statements?

"So prove this whole story is a fabrication and get back to me. "

BTW I used to read BalloonJuice a few years ago. Glad I no longer choose to do so after viewing your screed above.

 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
But you, on the other hand, are CERTAIN, without any evidence other than your credibility meter, that they did not
But instantly believeing that they did, based on the writings of a professed lefty, is ok though....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I have no way of verifying these things happened or didn’t.
Motto at Balloon Juice: "Why verify when you can vilify?"
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
And that is just the point- there are so many options and variables about what happened... I have no way of verifying these things happened or didn’t. In all the cases, I really hope they didn’t.

But you, on the other hand, are CERTAIN, without any evidence other than your credibility meter, that they did not.
The old possible, plausible, probable argument. You know Cole, it is possible that Sadaam both had operatioinal links to al Qaeda and had small stockpiles of WMD’s that he was able to secret out of the contry before the US invaded. Not that many believe this anymore, but it is possible. And because you weren’t there you cant prove that either are untrue. Further, I ’d think you would mock anyone foolish to walk that rhotorical path.

Often in the case with foolish folks, they are unable to understand parallels, and wonder why they aren’t taken seriously by people outside their idealogical circles.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I think it is hillarious that all of these people are getting so worked up that such deeds as this would be impossible, when their only argument is that this isn’t true because our troops would never do such things. And if some wanted to, the culture, organizational strictures, and his superiors would stop him. After all the terrible things already documented from Abu Graib on down, that’s your assertion?!? Just silly. Saying he must be lying because that would never happen is pure foolishness.
Oh, and also, in general, armored vehicles freak dogs out. They are used to cars and trucks, and motorcycles. But when an armored vehicle heaves into view, dogs de-ass the AO. I’m sure you could pop the occasional dog in a Hummer, but in a Bradley...well, that kinda stretches the imagination.
You know what else freaks dogs out? Tigers. Generally dogs will de-ass the AO when a tiger shows up too. In fact it stretches the imagination to suppose that a dog would just still still for a tiger to have sex with her. Is it even physically possible? That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen though.

Finally, a lot of soldiers love dogs. In fact, it’s a problem in Iraq, because guys are always finding little stray puppies and trying to smuggle them onto base, and keep them as mascots. COs regularly have to confiscate the darn things, because of disease and hygeine concerns. If you start running over dogs willy-nilly, some of your fellow soldiers are gonna want to have words with you.
Do I have to link all the dog shooting videos for you again?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Here’s what I don’t understand. The internet is full of trophy photos and videos that (as I understand it) show US troops engaging in conduct very similar to that alleged by Pvt STB, including shooting dogs and desecrating bodies. These mostly go by without comment from milblogs and pro-war blogs. Yet this particular war diary has caused tremendous outrage.

Is it the power of the written word? the choice of publishing location? Or is there a real substantive difference between what is already broadly available and the diary?

Non-snide responses preferred. Thanks in advance.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
I think it is hillarious that all of these people are getting so worked up that such deeds as this would be impossible, when their only argument is that this isn’t true because our troops would never do such things.
Well since that isn’t what is being argued here, what’s your point? Click on the wrong blog?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
including shooting dogs
Francis, you can’t compare shooting a dog to running over a dog.

If you can’t understand why troops shot stray dogs and at the same time AVOID jerking a Bradley to the right to run over dogs, then there’s no helping you.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
John wants to know what all the noise is about.

McQ said it, but a little more obliquely than I’m going to.

The milbloggers and most of the commentators on this thread are attempting to STOMP OUT THE "BABYKILLER" MEME FOR IRAQ VETERANS BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE TO INFECT THE BODY POLITIC, AS IT DID 30+ YEARS AGO!

Beauchamp’s stories, as even you’ve admitted, could be true or false. So far, the evidence seems to indicate that they much more likely to false. Even assuming a 50/50 chance, doesn’t the publication of them seem to be more in line with an agenda? That’s a rhetorical question, since your alignment with that agenda has prevented you from seeing it. Obviously, the "higher good" is worth the slander of honorable men.

I got out in ’66, before the opponents of the war convinced themselves that tarring with a broad brush was an acceptable technique to build a consensus against the war. My brother-in-law, who humped a machine gun through the jungle in 68-69 got the full force of it, and I remember his tales of insults and dirty looks as he traveled in uniform from Oakland.

I don’t want that same treatment for my son, or any soldier.
 
Written By: bud
URL: http://
Cole quotes STB’s words about the dog hunting and writes
Additionally, I don’t see how he claims to have seen it- he could be relaying what his buddy told to him- who himself was lying. In that case the dogs were not run over. Or he could have hit dogs accidentally and shrugged it off as intentional.
1) A person doesn’t "shrug" off accidentally running over dogs by keeping the information in a logbook.
2) Cole, why did you ignore the remaining information?
I DIDN’T SEE the third kill, but I heard about it over the radio.
This sentence clearly implies that he did see the first two kills described in the story.

It doesn’t say much about your intellectual honesty, Cole, when you intentionally ignore the part of the story that immediately follows your quoted selection.

Why are you trying to mislead people with your comments?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Or is there a real substantive difference between what is already broadly available and the diary?
Yes ... the believability of the story.

Again, these were related as fact. Heck, Francis, if you see a guy in on video doing something which discredits the military you call for him to be prosecuted to the full extent of the UCMJ. I’m not going to sit here and defend a dirtbag.

But when someone tells stories they relate as fact and you can immediately see discrepancies in them, then you have to challenge their credibility, especially when it discredits an institution in which you’ve invested a significant portion of your life and of which you have a pretty intimate knowledge. Why allow to lay there something which seems patently false?

If Beauchamp had produced video of the DFAC nonsense, I’d have not only been infuriated with him and his friend, but at every officer and NCO in the place as well. My condemnation would have been pretty broad but very specific ... dereliction of duty. However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates jumped around mocking a wounded person is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.

And essentially we’re asked to believe that all three stories took place in the same sort of atmosphere that lacked ’adult supervision’ as some NCOs like to refer too it. Given the incidents, the likelihood is nil. In the case of the Bradley, we’re expected to believe it happened on multiple occasions. The BS meter pegs out in cases like that.

So the point is, there are dirtbags who do plenty to discredit and dishonor the military every day. What I’m not about to put up with is a dirtbag who makes stuff up to discredit and dishonor it and I’ll speak out about it every time I see it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’ve said this elsewhere many times about this issue. (And I’m actually cut-and-pasting this from a comment I made on GayPatriot for Francis because what I wanted to reply to you is pretty much this same thing... I’d also like you to see the post I made on my blog... oh what the heck...)

On my blog I said: "I’ve read accounts that were stark and honest about how bad it is and how it affected the person writing. Those accounts didn’t dehumanize, they humanized, showing a painful reality, not this Hollywood version of morality free, repugnant, slumming."

You asked why this is different. I can only answer for myself. What Beauchamp wrote dehumanized our troops.

It’s the context of the stories, how they are told, rather than the events themselves. The red-flags are in the atmosphere of “shock troops”, the very way that it conforms to a romanticized version of war to appeal to a particular audience. (On my blog I wrote, Isn’t it romantic…)

Do track drivers like running over stuff? I’m sure they do, every one. Wouldn’t you? But *do* they run over stuff? For a lot of reasons, not often. “shock troops” portrayed the atmosphere that the driver got to do these things, running over market stalls and wrecking buildings, just like on a movie set, and no one minded at all.

Are some young men crude enough to mock an IED victim? Of course. Though it would be utterly wrong to suggest the Army made them that way (which again is part of the atmosphere of the story). If someone (Beauchamp by his own confession) were that much of a first class jerk, they’d still not be able to be that way openly. There would be consequences and the unofficial sort might even be the most severe. Yet the story, as I read it, was all “they approve of me!”

Are soldiers likely to be macabre or engage in dark humor? Absolutely. But again, the events described (besides being unlikely in the *details*) are presented in a context of *approval*. No one *cares* that they found buried children. No one *cares* that someone is playing with a piece of skull. In fact, they all, including Beauchamp, think it’s really funny.

In truth (and no way at all to know if Beauchamp was actually there) they found a children’s cemetery during construction and it was moved and the remains reburied in another location. I doubt very much that this was done without local involvement and I doubt very much that it was done without respect. [In this comment thread a couple people have pointed how it’s highly unlikely he was anywhere near the children’s graveyard.]

The stories, if true at all, portray Beauchamp as a young man who knows better but has decided that because he’s in the military he has no responsibility for his own behavior. Considering that by his own words he was going in order to enhance a writing career (I don’t actually have a problem with that, if he behaved in good faith otherwise. I’m a writer and I’d do it too if it were at all practical.) his lack of moral compass is more damning in my mind than if he were just some kid who didn’t know better.

He was slumming. Putting on a costume and a persona and hanging out in the bad part of town, tasting the darkness and thrill of lawlessness.

And writing about it as though this is the way the military is.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates jumped around mocking a wounded person is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
Not what’s being argued here? Should we believe your protestations or our own lying eyes?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Retief thinks this:
I think it is hillarious that all of these people are getting so worked up that such deeds as this would be impossible, when their only argument is that this isn’t true because our troops would never do such things.
Well since that isn’t what is being argued here, what’s your point? Click on the wrong blog?
is equivalent to this:
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates jumped around mocking a wounded person is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
However, to anyone with a brain (which evidently excludes Retief), it is clear that this argument doesn’t say that privates would never act like a$$es. It says that others would have reacted to such behavior within the dining facility.

It’s not your eyes that have the problem, Retief...it’s your brain.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Not to be a stickler for things like facts, but where exactly is the proof this whole thing is a fabrication?
Jeebus, John, that was a disingenuous question. Let me use your own words here:
Additionally, I have posited that it is entirely possible that EVERYTHING he has said is not just embellished, but an outright lie.
I wasn’t saying that the article was a fabrication. I was going off your own comment that it could be a fabrication, and asking you what the appropriate level of response should be to a fabrication.


You can leave the snark in the holster, it won’t work on me.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Not to be a stickler for things like facts, but where exactly is the proof this whole thing is a fabrication?
So, are we really being asked to prove a negative, here?

Logic 101
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I respect those who defend the honor of their profession.

(I’m tired of lawyer jokes, myself, and I was delighted to see Nifong go down. Of course, being married to a public defender makes me generally anti-prosecution.)

What I’m trying to understand is why the milblogs and pro-war blogs have been quiet about photos and videos which show the same kind of conduct as STB wrote about.

Here’s my thinking.

A. I’m factually wrong — there are virtually no videos / photos showing similar conduct.

B. I’m factually wrong — pro-war and milblogs have in fact been attacking the posting of photos/videos that discredit the armed forces.

C. I’m being unfair — silence does not imply consent and there’s only so much time in the day.

D. There’s something especially aggravating about having one’s profession discredited in writing.

E. The diary was uniquely aggravating because it seemed to make events that should only happen rarely and only upon a gross breach of discipline into common practice.

F. The diary was uniquely aggravating because it confirms the Left’s belief that soldiers are undisciplined monsters. (Please note: I personally believe that this is a tiny slice of the anti-war community, but I could be wrong.)

G. The diary was uniquely aggravating because it HAS to be ficticious.

A lot of people on both the Left and Right (Progressive/Conservative) [Democrat/Republican] just love to count coup by proving the other side guilty of hypocrisy. I find that accusations of hypocrisy, especially against those who are not elected officials, mostly are a waste of time. But it can be useful to try to walk a mile in the other side’s shoes.

So, when it appears to us lefties that pro-war / mil bloggers are silent or even defensive about soldier misconduct, until it arrives in the pages of TNR at which point the roof blows off, the change in course of conduct (from silence / defensiveness to full-throated outrage) could use a little additional explanation.

Continuing walking in the other side’s shoes, you should consider that those who make versions of claim G, and then have that version disproved, lose credibility. (Not a soldier // is a soldier; no mass grave // children’s cemetery known to be in the vicinity; skull won’t fit under helmet // diary talks about skull fragment; etc.)

(JWG-most people consider me beyond any help. that’s why i practice law.)
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
A. I’m factually wrong — there are virtually no videos / photos showing similar conduct.
"Similar" being the important word as I’ve pointed out before.

Shooting stray dogs in a terrorist war zone (or burning their carcasses) is not similar to trying to run them down with a vehicle for sport.

Racing military vehicles in a controlled environment, while not praiseworthy, is not similar to driving them purposely through buildings and animals for sport.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG, re "It’s not your eyes that have the problem, Retief...it’s your brain. " allow me to refer you to Matthew Chapter 7 verse 3.

In what way does this
this isn’t true because our troops would never do such things. And if some wanted to, the culture, organizational strictures, and his superiors would stop him.
not equal this
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates jumped around mocking a wounded person is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
Whether you phrase it in your derisive construction as "our noble soldiers are too pure in heart to do this," or cloth it in a more complex version where the culture and strictures and supervision of the military serve to prevent such outbreaks, either way it boils down to the military wouldn’t do this, so it can’t have.

One can use McQ’s construction if you’d like to demonstrate the foolishness of such an assertion:
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates beat prisoners to death is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates sodomized prisoners with lightsticks is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates raped a 14 year old girl is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
And it is true that none of these things is typical of the military. But they all happened.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
JWG, yeah, shooting dogs for sport is waaaaay different than running them down for sport. How about tossing a bottle through a cars window because it was too slow to more over? Driving over cars for sport? How about the pictures from nowthatsf*ckedup.com?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
What I’m trying to understand is why the milblogs and pro-war blogs have been quiet about photos and videos which show the same kind of conduct as STB wrote about.
I’m not sure they have so I can’t remark on that. I have, however, not been aware of it since I don’t seek that sort of stuff out. However, anything that brings disrepute, dishonor or disrespect to the military should be condemned and punished.

The first company I had in the military saw me court martial 18 people. I can tell you upfront that I didn’t enjoy it, really didn’t want to do it to some of them, but integrity and fairness required I do so.

There is nothing different with chasing down those who produced photos and videos showing similar things to that which Beauchamp talked about. They should be found and punished. Hopefully that’s clear enough.
A lot of people on both the Left and Right (Progressive/Conservative) [Democrat/Republican] just love to count coup by proving the other side guilty of hypocrisy. I find that accusations of hypocrisy, especially against those who are not elected officials, mostly are a waste of time. But it can be useful to try to walk a mile in the other side’s shoes.
Agreed. But I’d point out that you can’t just automatically assume that a blog has "been silent" about something when it is entirely possible it hasn’t seen what is in question.

We, for instance, aren’t a milblog although we do write fairly extensively about military matters. But that is not the focus of our blogging. So it is entirely likely we aren’t as familiar with some of the stuff that’s out there as other blogs might be. But I suggest you take the question to one of the more popular milblogs and ask it ... I think it is a legitimate question.
So, when it appears to us lefties that pro-war / mil bloggers are silent or even defensive about soldier misconduct, until it arrives in the pages of TNR at which point the roof blows off, the change in course of conduct (from silence / defensiveness to full-throated outrage) could use a little additional explanation.
I understand your point, but I think the explanation has more than adequately explained that.
Continuing walking in the other side’s shoes, you should consider that those who make versions of claim G, and then have that version disproved, lose credibility. (Not a soldier // is a soldier; no mass grave // children’s cemetery known to be in the vicinity; skull won’t fit under helmet // diary talks about skull fragment; etc.)
OK. But that doesn’t change anything concerning the veracity of the stories.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to opine that someone writing under a pseudonym might not be who he says he is (and especially given the trash he wrote).

And speaking of credibility, there wasn’t a mass grave "in the vicinity" there was one up near the Baghdad airport which is completely out of their AO. Additionally, he didn’t talk about a "skull fragment" he specifically said it was "the top part of a human skull, which was almost perfectly preserved" and, "He squealed as he placed it on his head like a crown. It was a perfect fit." How convenient that the top of a child’s skull was large enough to fit over the outside of an adult’s head.

And of course left out all this credibility talk is the "contractor" woman with the melted face who no one on that base but Beauchamp ever remembers seeing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
One can use McQ’s construction if you’d like to demonstrate the foolishness of such an assertion:
Ah no, Retief, not so fast. Your attempt to use the example out of context won’t cut it.

In the example I used the officers and NCOs in question would have been found in large numbers in a crowded DFAC facility where the alleged mocking of the wounded woman took place.

Uh, what? Yeah, no match.

Sorry. Thanks for playing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
One can use McQ’s construction if you’d like to demonstrate the foolishness of such an assertion:
Once again, you’re being dishonest. I hope you don’t act this way in your profession.

Did any of the events you use take place in the open in front of multiple NCO’s and officers? Or did they take place in isolated and secluded locations?

If not, then they are not valid comparisons, just like all of your linked videos provide no actual comparisons.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
shooting dogs for sport
1) Why do you assume it is for sport? There are no practical reasons for shooting stray dogs in a terrorist, disease-ridden war zone?
2) Even if it was for sport — shooting a dog does not provide the risk like running over an IED in a vehicle.
How about tossing a bottle through a cars window because it was too slow to more over?
Not knowing the context of the situation, my first reaction is that we don’t know what kind of trouble the person got into after the incident. We don’t know if this person does this regularly and in view of those in authority (as the dog-killing driver does).
Driving over cars for sport?
In a war zone filled with IEDs? Riiiiiiight.

Again, you avoid the point of the argument that those in authority won’t put up with activity that puts soldiers at risk. It’s not that soldiers don’t act like a$$es, it’s that their superiors won’t let activity that they witness (like tormenting a wounded comrade, swerving large vehicles, or playing with children’s remains all day) to go unpunished.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
1) Why do you assume it is for sport? There are no practical reasons for shooting stray dogs in a terrorist, disease-ridden war zone?
Dogs are a cheap early warning system if you’re up to no good, if you get my drift.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
In what way does this [written by Retief]
this isn’t true because our troops would never do such things. And if some wanted to, the culture, organizational strictures, and his superiors would stop him.
not equal this [written by McQ]
However I know my military pretty well and I know that the probability of all officers and NCOs sitting on their hands while a couple of privates jumped around mocking a wounded person is simply not probable at all. In fact me winning the lottery is more likely.
You passed law school? And the bar?

McQ isn’t making the argument that soldiers don’t do bad things.

Therefore, your assertion of "lying eyes" to the only point you made in that comment of "I think it is hillarious that all of these people are getting so worked up that such deeds as this would be impossible, when their only argument is that this isn’t true because our troops would never do such things," is clearly and without argument different than McQ’s actual words.

The fact that you claim to be a practicing lawyer and cannot make critical distinctions between different arguments does not speak well of your abilities.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
McQ:

Thanks very much for the civil exchange.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Thanks very much for the civil exchange.
My pleasure, Francis.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I believe I got Retief and Francis confused as I was commenting since both were making statements about shooting dogs. As far as I know, Retief is not a lawyer and Francis did not make the mistake of misapplying McQ’s argument to his own.

I did not intend to state that Retief is a lawyer, but I did intend to question his judgement.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG, I’m not a lawyer, I did once take the LSAT though. Nice job catching yourself before I could point it out. Anyway, go watch the videos before you claim that cars don’t get run over. Or try to make up reasons for the dogs to be shot. In the question of "are bad things done", there is no substantive difference between "soldiers don’t do bad things" and "soldiers aren’t allowed by their leaders to do bad things". As for your suggestion that "the point of the argument that those in authority won’t put up with activity that puts soldiers at risk. It’s not that soldiers don’t act like a$$es, it’s that their superiors won’t let activity that they witness (like tormenting a wounded comrade, swerving large vehicles, or playing with children’s remains all day) to go unpunished", I will note again that this assertion simply boils down to your belief that the military wouldn’t allow such a thing - again, not cuz they’re angels but because they’re disciplined and supervised. Are any of the examples I gave things that should have been prevented by that discipline and supervision?

McQ, same question to you. Circumstances are not identical, sure, but are not those events also events that should have been prevented by the NCOs and officers, as well as all the other factors you cite? Or are you suggesting that in the military you know so well raping prisoners isn’t something that the officers and NCOs’ supervision, as well as other factors, should prevent? Also, are you really going to pretend that in a facility that feeds 5000 people everyday, there are no opportunities for rowdiness unobserved or marginally observed, by such authorities?

 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Circumstances are not identical, sure, ...
They’re not even in the same galaxy, so I see absolutely no reason to entertain the fraudulent argument they contain.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well, they’re both in Iraq. They’re both things that should have been prevented as you claim the officers and NCOs would have. They’re both things the military I know doesn’t encourage.

In what way is it fraudulent to suggest that other things that we have seen happen in Iraq are also things one would think the officers and NCOs would have done something about? Like I said at the beginning, given the awful things that our soldiers have been documented doing in Iraq already, the "the military wouldn’t allow this" is laughable.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Prevent and allow aren’t the same.

"Shock Troops" portrayed a culture where the activities described didn’t have consequences.

The claim isn’t that some military culture would prevent them (though even a small instinct for self-preservation ought to mitigate the stupidity to some extent) but that they would not be allowed to go on in "public" without consequences.

Article 15s, captains mast (I think that’s about the same thing), courtmartial in various levels of severity... the first shirt... your NCOIC... the person in charge of your particular unit... it’s not that sailors and soldiers and airmen and marines never do anything wrong. Bases have security police. Services have organizations analogous to the FBI. They have investigations, sting operations, all that jazz. CSI and crimelabs for pete’s sake.

But lots of informal or non-judicial correction as well.

"Shock Troops" was all about supposed approval of the bad behavior and implying that something about the Army made them that way. I mean, he clearly wasn’t claiming responsibility for his own lack of decency. It was more like, look what the Army did to me.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
the "the military wouldn’t allow this" is laughable
That’s why no one else is arguing it but you. Let us know when you get back to the ACTUAL argument.
try to make up reasons for the dogs to be shot
Thank goodness YOU’RE not making up the reason as "sport." You wouldn’t want to use the reasons they actually give in the videos you linked. Next you’re going to link to video of insurgents being shot as examples that soldiers kill random Iraqi’s for sport?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

 
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