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TNR issues a statement about Scott Thomas Beauchamp
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, August 02, 2007

The New Republic has released a statement about their "investigation" into the Scott Thomas Beauchamp stories.
All of Beauchamp's essays were fact-checked before publication. We checked the plausibility of details with experts, contacted a corroborating witness, and pressed the author for further details. But publishing a first-person essay from a war zone requires a measure of faith in the writer. Given what we knew of Beauchamp, personally and professionally, we credited his report. After questions were raised about the veracity of his essay, TNR extensively re-reported Beauchamp's account.
That's simply BS. The "experts" they contacted were journalists. The fact that they found the stories plausible calls their expert status into question. But moving along...

First story:
Beauchamp's essay consisted of three discrete anecdotes. In the first, Beauchamp recounted how he and a fellow soldier mocked a disfigured woman seated near them in a dining hall. Three soldiers with whom TNR has spoken have said they repeatedly saw the same facially disfigured woman. One was the soldier specifically mentioned in the Diarist. He told us: "We were really poking fun at her; it was just me and Scott, the day that I made that comment. We were pretty loud. She was sitting at the table behind me. We were at the end of the table. I believe that there were a few people a few feet to the right."

The recollections of these three soldiers differ from Beauchamp's on one significant detail (the only fact in the piece that we have determined to be inaccurate): They say the conversation occurred at Camp Buehring, in Kuwait, prior to the unit's arrival in Iraq. When presented with this important discrepancy, Beauchamp acknowledged his error. We sincerely regret this mistake.
Error? Mistake?

That's called a lie where I come from, TNR.

So now we have a story which supposedly happened before they got to Iraq and we're again supposed to swallow it after it has been determined that he lied in his original version?

Yeah.

Oh, and let's not forget that this was all supposed to be "about the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war" according to Beauchamp's piece.

In the case of story one, if true, they hadn't even left Kuwait yet and he would appear to be morally and emotionally stunted before he ever showed up in Iraq.

Also note that while three soldiers remember seeing this woman, only one 'corroborates' Beauchamp's story ... and that's the one who supposedly did the little song and dance with him. The others only agree they saw a disfigured woman.

Second story:
In the second anecdote, soldiers in Beauchamp's unit discovered what they believed were children's bones. Publicly, the military has sought to refute this claim on the grounds that no such discovery was officially reported. But one military official told TNR that bones were commonly found in the area around Beauchamp's combat outpost. (This is consistent with the report of a children's cemetery near Beauchamp's combat outpost reported on The Weekly Standard website.)

More important, two witnesses have corroborated Beauchamp's account. One wrote in an e-mail: "I can wholeheartedly verify the finding of the bones; U.S. troops (in my unit) discovered human remains in the manner described in 'Shock Troopers.' [sic] ... [We] did not report it; there was no need to. The bodies weren't freshly killed and thus the crime hadn't been committed while we were in control of the sector of operations." On the phone, this soldier later told us that he had witnessed another soldier wearing the skull fragment just as Beauchamp recounted: "It fit like a yarmulke," he said. A forensic anthropologist confirmed to us that it is possible for tufts of hair to be attached to a long-buried fragment of a human skull, as described in the piece.
Actually it is not consistent with the report of a children's cemetery near Beauchamp's COP. It is consistent with a report of a children's cemetery found south of Baghdad International Airport when a COP was constructed there. Secondly, until we know who these two witnesses are, given the first story, it remains simply that, a story.

Oh, and who is the "one official" who said bones were commonly found in the area. I assume if that's true he or she will have no problem with TNR releasing their name.

Also, please note, that nothing is said about wearing it under his helmet in this particular statement.

Last but not least, skulls aren't perfectly round and flexible like a yarmulke, are they?

Third story:
The last section of the Diarist described soldiers using Bradley Fighting Vehicles to kill dogs. On this topic, one soldier, who witnessed the incident described by Beauchamp, wrote in an e-mail: "How you do this (I've seen it done more than once) is, when you approach the dog in question, suddenly lurch the Bradley on the opposite side of the road the dog is on. The rear-end of the vehicle will then swing TOWARD the animal, scaring it into running out into the road. If it works, the dog is running into the center of the road as the driver swings his yoke back around the other way, and the dog becomes a chalk outline." TNR contacted the manufacturer of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System, where a spokesman confirmed that the vehicle is as maneuverable as Beauchamp described. Instructors who train soldiers to drive Bradleys told us the same thing. And a veteran war correspondent described the tendency of stray Iraqi dogs to flock toward noisy military convoys.
But of course that's not at all how Beauchamp described it as being done, is it? And not covered in the statement is the fact that Beauchamp claimed to have seen it at least twice (and heard about the third, correct?). And as he described it, it was done with the dog on the right of the vehicle and catching it's leg in the track.

Additionally, we're again left with the leadership vacuum. While you can swing a Bradley around in many ways, what officer or NCO is going to risk this crew in a combat zone and his career on allowing some private the chance to run down a dog or two?

Yeah, none. And given the fact that these vehicles don't move alone in indian country, the likelyhood that they'd be alone doing it, even if a track commander was inclined for whatever reason to do so, he'd do it in front of at least one other TC who could also likely be the patrol leader, convoy leader, serial leader or movement leader I'm sure it would just amuse the hell out of him to see another yahoo risking the entire force's safety to play 'run down the stray'.

TNR ends with this:
Although we place great weight on the corroborations we have received, we wished to know more. But, late last week, the Army began its own investigation, short-circuiting our efforts. Beauchamp had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters. If further substantive information comes to light, TNR will, of course, share it with you.
The only substantive information in this entire thing is Beauchamp lied. See story one.
 
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actually, a lie requires intent to deceive.

you have no evidence of his intent.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Actually I do:
Oh, and let’s not forget that this was all supposed to be "about the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war" according to Beauchamp’s piece.
And now we find out it supposedly happened before they ever were in Iraq and ’at war’.

Sounds like intent to deceive to me.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
actually, a lie requires intent to deceive.

you have no evidence of his intent.
Wow...Huh?
Are you still defending this, at a minimum, insensitive opportunistic piece of work?

Get a clue Francis, any guy who would do this kind of crap, real or imagined, isn’t a nice guy in the first place, and the war didn’t "desensitize" him.

Ask yourself if you’d be likely to brag about doing crap like this, or feel guilty about it if it were you. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t brag on it if it were me. There’s not a thing he described doing that I found remotely acceptable. How about you?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You know Francis, I hate that "intent" almost as much as I dislike hate crimes.
Vehicle theft is prosecuted as joyriding (a misdemeanor) instead of vehicle theft (a felony) because you have to prove that the thief intended to deprive the owner of the vehicle of his property. Taking it and riding to the next city and abandoning it when the tank is empty is proof that the thief did not intend to deprive the owner of the vehicle even though the owner was deprived of his property until it was recovered. Having to prove intent should never be.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
1. A political opinion journal decides to publish a non-political, subjective series of anecdotes about one man’s experience in the Iraq war. out of the ordinary

2. The author of the anecdotes has no writing chops, no journalism credibility, and no combat experience outside the wire. Odd

3. The anonymous author is revealed to be a doctrinaire liberal, who happens to have nepotism connections to TNR. Suspicious

4. The accuracy of several important details has been challenged by knowledgeable people. For example, it has now been confirmed that the events described in one anecdote did not even take place in Iraq.


I don’t think that it requires a conspiracy nut to suspect that TNR published these stories knowing full well that they were not the record of an ordinary soldier’s typical Iraq experience, but instead were carefully constructed fables created by a liberal ideologue precisely to serve as agitprop against the war. The use of a nepotism assignment to create a false-flag type backstory for a piece designed to shape public opinion against the war has eery similarities to the Plame/Wilson scheme.

Some people have argued that these anecdotes could not be useful as agitprop, because they are not sufficiently inflamatory. The implication is that they are run-of-the-mill "war is hell" material that tells us all what we already know about war. Actually, these stories don’t work like that at all. Instead, they are full of fratboy type bad behavior that fits very nicely with the liberal charges that the war is mismanaged and no adults are in charge, or at least they would have if the milblog community had not called foul.



 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I am:
A) Absolutely not surprised by TNR’s "statement". I knew full well that they would absolutely back STB.
B) Absolutely not surprised at the likes of Francis. I’d be disgusted, but that would suggest I ever expected better.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
A) Absolutely not surprised by TNR’s "statement". I knew full well that they would absolutely back STB.
B) Absolutely not surprised at the likes of Francis. I’d be disgusted, but that would suggest I ever expected better.
I’ll just say, "fake but accurate" and get it over with.
It was acceptable then, it’s obviously still acceptable now.

You’d think the same people who just want us all to get along would heavily frown on guys who mock disfigured women, don’t protest a**holes wearing bits of people on their heads, and run over dogs in their AFV’s.

But no! Here they are, defending them, because it’s important to them that this as*wipe be telling the truth. And using a 5th grader’s legalistic view of the world to defend it to boot.
They hate guys like this, right? Military moron that he is, right? But here’s Francis rushing to his defense.

Go figure Francis. Kudos for not letting your sense of right and wrong stand in the way of your anti-conservative/anti-war idealogy.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’m still withholding judgment, but I will not be surprised if a lot of you will have to eat crow on this one. What will you do if the military comes out and says their investigation shows the story to be accurate with only perhaps a few details in error. Say the military is part of a left wing conspiracy? I won’t say any more for now, let the investigation continue.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Let’s see, every story coroborated and your response is
The only substantive information in this entire thing is Beauchamp lied.
Wow. Now that you have three other people confirming the dining hall inccident, are you abandoning your "officers and NCOs would never sit still for such a thing" argument? Pretending you never made it, now that you have the location to whine about? All I can do is commend to you a bit of contemplation of Mark 8:18.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
I’m still withholding judgment, but I will not be surprised if a lot of you will have to eat crow on this one. What will you do if the military comes out and says their investigation shows the story to be accurate with only perhaps a few details in error.

I hate to be a nitpicker, but he had the wrong country.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I hate to be a nitpicker, but he had the wrong country.
Not only that, it happened before he went "to war" so the whole premise of his piece, i.e. how this is "about the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war", is a lie.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Wow. Now that you have three other people confirming the dining hall inccident,...
In Kuwait. Before they went to war.

And two of the three only confirm seeing the woman, not the episode.

Retief, if this is the best you’ve got, do yourself a favor and sit this one out.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I guess all that storied fact-checking failed to turn up the fact that the author of the piece about the effects of war had not actually been to war yet.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
What will you do if the military comes out and says their investigation shows the story to be accurate...
Let’s turn that around Scott, what will the left do if the military debunks the TNR peice? I’m pretty sure how McQ would react, and I’d say it would be far more honourable than how Greenwald/Cole would react. The angry-left/anti-Bush is married to their narrative and, as we’ve seen lately, lashes out at any person who dares question that narrative, irrespective of facts. The responsible right slash libertarian right in far more responsible in owning up to their mistakes.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
“..every story coroborated (sic)
“Hey, and some other guys who were there, whose names I never got, who I cannot provide any clues to help you locate them, but they was there all right, they saw it and they say my story is all true, just like I said.”

This is all liberals need for their “Big Lie” technique. *ssh*l*s like Professor Erb simply “reserve judgement” no matter what turns up in upcoming investigations. Liberals have no shame in a matter such as this. When it is a case of “fake but accurate” all disbelief is suspended and the slightest cover is treated like an iron tight case. No amount of evidence will cause Retief or Francis to change their kool-aid inspired support of a fellow liberal.

Don’t waste your breath with regard to this or any other evidence that may be forthcoming, it will never be enough. To liberals Beauchamp was absolutely correct that war is terribly disturbing and the fact that he got the timing wrong and the country wrong, and whatever else wrong, if he had been given enough time he could have told stories just like these that were true and that is the main true thing. All this other stuff is just nitpicking details.

Idiots.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
The rear-end of the vehicle will then swing TOWARD the animal, scaring it into running out into the road.


I don’t know much about Iraq dogs but almost every dog I’ve seen startled, moves AWAY from the noise.
I saw her nearly every time I went to dinner in the chow hall at my base in Iraq. She wore an unrecognizable tan uniform,


He saw her numerous times, almost daily even, remembers every detail. Except the time of the year and what country he was in..... Yea, right.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
I’m still withholding judgment, but I will not be surprised if Erb enjoys eating cat turds. I won’t say any more for now, let the investigation continue.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
What will you do if the military comes out and says their investigation shows the story to be accurate...
Let’s turn that around Scott, what will the left do if the military debunks the TNR peice?
Story one has already been debunked by TNR itself.

So how is the military going to show that story to be "accurate" when Beauchamp claimed it occurred in Iraq (if it happened, it was Kuwait) with the intent of proving it occurred because of "the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war" (they hadn’t gone to ’war’ yet).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The guy is clearly a jerk, that much was evident from the original story, whether true or not, to put those words on paper (metaphorically) screamed out, "I’m a jerk". But there are a lot of jerks around, some of them are quite productive, you just don’t want to hang out with them.

But looking back at the initial responses to these anecdotes, if the TNR report is true (may have to wait for results of the military investigation to know this), then STB was far closer to being accurate than most detractors would acknowledge could be possible.

We all know the three anecdotes, and here is what McQ had to say about each one...

Dining hall episode...
A) no one would make fun of, say a severely injured or disfigured soldier. So note the fact that it is conveniently a contractor. B) a man in that situation would have probably decked the loud-mouthed provocateur, so the victim is conveniently a female. C) there isn’t an officer or NCO worth their salt who would have allowed such an incident to get past the third line before that soldier would have been physically removed from the mess hall.
Does this argument become less true in a dining hall in Kuwait?

Bones episode...
Again, you’re asked to believe that a bunch of privates or at least low ranking enlisted, are out by themselves without NCO or officer supervision and are allowed to romp through a mass grave and play with the body parts of children. If you believe that, then I can only say you want too. This is pure fantasyland. Most officers and NCOs are family men who have children. Do you suppose they’d sit still for a minute and allow some idiot to prance around with a child’s skull on his head?
The jury is still out on this one. Needs either more corroboration or to be shown to be false, but it seems likely that there were bones.

Bradley episode...
Again we have a lower ranking enlisted man who has complete and utter control of his vehicle, driving carelessly on multiple occasions, without any NCO or officer stopping him. In a word, nonsense. Secondly, as Blackfive notes:
Another states that the driver in the article would have been beaten by his own troops for putting them in danger of IEDs.
And, again quoting the officer at FOB Falcon:
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.
And then there’s that little problem of the bad guys hiding IEDs in the bodies of dead animals to contend with. Again, troops in combat areas don’t screw around with their lives to do dumb-ass things like this and, as the one said, if this idiot had kept it up, his own buddies would have held the equivalent of the old "blanket party" for him to make their point.
Apparently, soldiers are putting some of their more radical training to the test on the streets of Iraq, and I see a distinction without a difference between a guy swerving left to make his tail go right, or just swerving to run over something.
Not only that, it happened before he went "to war" so the whole premise of his piece, i.e. how this is "about the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war", is a lie.
On this I agree, but it’s far too existential to be able to call this a lie. The guy could easily say that the proximity of war, even a country away, had it’s effect. For my money, this guy was jerk before he got his dog tags.

If you want to go after this guy for being a jerk, go for it, if you want to go after this guy for being a liberal, feel free, but I suspect that if he tesitified to this stuff under oath, there is no way he could be convicted of lying based on the discrepancies shown here, including the fact that he got the country wrong in the dining hall description. Military dining halls are like McDonald’s, no matter where you go in the world, they look pretty much the same.

I suspected when I first heard this story that it was going to be far more factually accurate than any of us would want it to be, and niggling aside, I believe that appears to be the case so far.

So go ahead and call me a vile human being for "defending" STB... if that’s what you think I’m doing.

Cap


 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
More kool-aid, Captin?
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
So how is the military going to show that story to be "accurate" when Beauchamp claimed it occurred in Iraq... [when]it was Kuwait[.]
Beauchamp’s story will be claimed ’accurate’ when the military investigation says that, while highly improbable, the situations described can not be conclusively disproven. Cole/Sullivan/Greenwald will claim ’Truther’ status, and be validated by their fellow travellers, and thus, beyond reproach.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
On this I agree, but it’s far too existential to be able to call this a lie. The guy could easily say that the proximity of war, even a country away, had it’s effect.
How?

Seriously?

How?

That’s a bit like saying it wouldn’t be a lie to claim the "war" effected me while assigned to Okinawa while they were fighting in Vietnam.
Apparently, soldiers are putting some of their more radical training to the test on the streets of Iraq, and I see a distinction without a difference between a guy swerving left to make his tail go right, or just swerving to run over something.
Well then obviously the points made about why he’d be swerving his tail with the ok of his TC (to avoid danger, etc) and when he’d catch hell from his TC for the same maneuver (trying to kill a dog for fun) are beyond you.
I suspected when I first heard this story that it was going to be far more factually accurate than any of us would want it to be, and niggling aside, I believe that appears to be the case so far.
And I said when I first saw them they were probably "war stories" he’d heard, made them 1st person and embellished them. That has little if anything to do with accuracy and a lot to do with urban myths passed off as "teh truth" to the unsuspecting.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Memories are strange things...was something to the left of a tank, was an incident before the unit headed to Iraq or if it was still in Kuwait. People make numerous mistakes of that kind, memoirs are full of them. Not because people lie, but memories blur together. Ask three people about an event and you’ll get three different stories. To discredit Beauchamps one has to do more than nitpick about the location of the dogs or where an incident took place. That will be enough for those who have made up their mind and want to attack him personally and tear him down — the desire of people to do such things never ceases to amaze me, I cannot relate to that kind of animosity — or simply can’t admit to being wrong. But for those interested in the truth and what it means about war, this war and the experience of some soldiers in stressful situation, well the questions are a lot more difficult. Clearly, the jury is still out on this one.

If the military effectively debunks the claims, I’ll believe it. I simply am curious, I have no desire to see it proven one way or the other, I simply want to get as clear a picture as possible.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Beauchamp’s story will be claimed ’accurate’ when the military investigation says that, while highly improbable, the situations described can not be conclusively disproven. Cole/Sullivan/Greenwald will claim ’Truther’ status, and be validated by their fellow travellers, and thus, beyond reproach.
Well that cabal has had a different definition of "accurate" than most of the rest of the planet for years.

You know, something else to consider is that TNR claims a lot of corroboration for certain aspects of these stories by a bunch of unnamed witnesses. In fact they are as anonymous as Beauchamp was for a while. Given Beauchamp’s credibility at this point and the probability that TNR is doing everything in its power to spin this in such a way that they escape unscathed (you have to parse their "statement" very carefully to see what I mean), I’m not sure why anyone should vest a whole bunch of credibility in the outcome of their "investigation".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
to this:
Are you still defending this, at a minimum, insensitive opportunistic piece of work?

Get a clue Francis...
and related comments,

I may not have a clue, but I do have a California State Bar license. Lies require intent to deceive. That’s what a lie is. Otherwise, it’s just a mistake.

Intent can be inferred from conduct. But to infer that SB intended to lie from what evidence we have for now is grossly over-reaching. Absent knowing a lot more about when the diary was written and when it was posted and what editing process it went through prior to posting and what fact-checking process it went through and where the possibility of error could have crept in, then NO, none of us know whether he had the intent to deceive. You take this case as it stands now to court on the claim that he lied, and no judge would even let it go to a jury. You don’t have enough evidence. (gee, I could have sworn that someone just recently wrote about waiting for the investigation. hmmm.)

For example, if he wrote about the ’mocking’ incident many months after it occurred, and the incident took place close in time to when he deployed to Iraq, then it is quite possible that he mis-remembered.

See, for example, A. Gonzalez’s recent testimony to Congress regarding the weaknesses of memory.

Am I defending him? No. Am I attacking those who rush to judgment? Yes.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
That’s a bit like saying it wouldn’t be a lie to claim the "war" effected me while assigned to Okinawa while they were fighting in Vietnam.
I knew a guy who started a foundation for "Vietnam ERA Veterans", the basis for the entire foundation was ostensibly to support members of the armed forces who served at the time Viet Nam was being fought, but who had served in Viet nam. The reason was that, according this guy, the war affected all of us, whether we were there or not.

The guy may have been a money grubbing opportunist, I’m not sure, but to answer your question, yes, it would not be a lie to say that the fighting in Viet Nam affected you in Okinawa... if it were true to you.... that’s where it gets existential

Again, in this particular case, I would say that this guyis lying through his teeth about the machinations of his inner self, but that’s not something you can ascertain, so we are stuck with the facts, which are closer to the truth than we would have hoped... at least so far.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
The guy may have been a money grubbing opportunist, I’m not sure, but to answer your question, yes, it would not be a lie to say that the fighting in Viet Nam affected you in Okinawa... if it were true to you.... that’s where it gets existential
Good grief, what a load ... thanks for playing, Cap.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I may not have a clue, but I do have a California State Bar license. Lies require intent to deceive. That’s what a lie is. Otherwise, it’s just a mistake.
Well we’re not in a court of law. And like I said, where I come from when you purposely misrepresent something for the purpose (intent) of proving your larger premise ("the war made me do it") then you lie.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
To liberals Beauchamp was absolutely correct that war is terribly disturbing and the fact that he got the timing wrong and the country wrong, and whatever else wrong, if he had been given enough time he could have told stories just like these that were true and that is the main true thing. All this other stuff is just nitpicking details. — Mr. Fulton
Aye yep. Yep. Witness:
To discredit Beauchamps one has to do more than nitpick about the location of the dogs or where an incident took place. [..] But for those interested in the truth and what it means about war, this war and the experience of some soldiers in stressful situation, well the questions are a lot more difficult. — Erb
You really know your stuff, Bob.
Idiots. — Fulton
You really do.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
The DFAC harassment episode, as "confirmed" leaves room for the possibility that no one else heard enough of the taunting to respond. There is also the very real possibility that the taunting itself, even if it hurt the woman’s feelings enough that she left, was "dramatized" for the story. There is also the fact that a DFAC on a FOB where everyone knows everyone and the other people there are likely to be within your chain of command is quite different from a DFAC where the population is in transition and people don’t know each other and are not in the same chain of command.

Even with the very tiny bit of military experience that I have (and in the Girl Scouts (Air Force) no less) I’d assume different dynamics in those two situations.

It also makes a big difference that they hadn’t even been to the war zone yet. I objected that soldiers who’d been in the war and faced IED’s would not taunt *anyone* who appeared to have an IED injury. They’d be living with the threat. They’d know people who’d been injured. They might know people who had died.

That this happened before they got to Iraq makes the psychological situation very different.

And it is absolutely a lie to portray this as "the dehumanizing affects of war."

The guy was a waste of carbon before he got there.

The confirmed "playing with bones" story leaves the possibility that someone picked up some bones and played with them... briefly. The portrayal of this as being all day and wearing it under his helmet and everyone thinking it was very funny is by no means confirmed. And that is what I objected to. Not that someone might play with bones but that no one would notice who would have to do something about it and that wearing the hair and bones and getting caught would indicate a shocking lack of a sense of self-preservation.

The dog thing... it’s pretty clear that killing stray dogs is sometimes a duty (but not one to talk about because people back home will not understand) and that few people think that soldiers wouldn’t kill dogs. The swerving to hit the dogs is not accurate and all the track drivers saying it sounded fishy for all the reasons that they said it sounded fishy were right. There’s also the portrayal of the driver as getting to do the hollywood movie style driving over market stalls and the corners of buildings and whatnot without getting in trouble for it.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
To discredit Beauchamps one has to do more than nitpick about the location of the dogs or where an incident took place. [..] But for those interested in the truth and what it means about war, this war and the experience of some soldiers in stressful situation, well the questions are a lot more difficult. — Erb
Yeah, tell us all about how it effects soldiers, will you?

This isn’t some academic exercise where we play "what if". Instead you get to tell me all about what you know about something all too real. So lead on McDuff.

Tell us all about what the "truth" is and "what it means in war". I’m sure you have a freakin’ wealth of experience to share in that realm, don’t you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"But for those interested in the truth and what it means about war, this war and the experience of some soldiers in stressful situation, well the questions are a lot more difficult."

What it means about war?

That’s the problem isn’t it. What does it mean about war. Is war dehumanizing. Does war turn nice young men into amoral animals without the sensibility to respect the bones of children, who take joy in torturing dogs, and who have no feeling for the wounded and disfigured?

What does it mean about war, Scott?

Maybe what it means about war is that moral men and women who go to war remain moral men and women and carbon wasters that go to war remain a waste of carbon.

Hm?
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Heh. :-)
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Linda, the fact is IF the event happened, then it isn’t all that relevant if he got the place right. You are the guys dodging and weaving, looking for any kind of error that you can jump on even if it seems that his stories were basically correct. It is as if anyone who is critical of the military or something, from Murtha to Beaucamp, simply is to be gone after personally, with every vile smear and attack possible, to try to totally discredit him, thinking that somehow if you try to personally demonize any critic that will make you look good.

It doesn’t work that way. So you guys can call names, try to attack and smear anyone who doesn’t buy into your take, defend your perspective not with reason, but with emotion. And then, when the rest of the world doesn’t buy that kind of approach, you can conveniently blame the "mainstream media" or "sheeple" or "a liberal narrative" or "liberals" for somehow misleading people from what to you seems oh so obvious. The sad thing is, I don’t even think you realize you’re doing it! You really believe all the "liberals" and "anti-war" types are personally flawed or idiots, even when some of us are pretty successful at what we do. Know, for you it’s not just different perspectives or disagreements, it’s personal.

And you don’t even realize the obvious errors you’re commiting. You really believe it, don’t you?

All that said, I still have made no judgment about what to make of the stories. I really am quite content to wait for the military investigation to be complete. I also don’t think even if true they would at all besmearch the honor of the military, they’re dramatic but not horrific. But even that "waiting for more information" isn’t good enough for some of you true believers, is it?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I know this isn’t going to sink in but I’ve read other accounts of things that are just as bad and do not have the same urge to launch vile attacks and smears.

Why the heck is that do you think?

I read first hand accounts every bit as harsh and I don’t get this feeling that I have to be defensive. Why is that?

John Barnes read the story and saw an assumption of sociopathy by the writer. It’s *there* Scott. You say this doesn’t even reflect badly on the military and some guy can look at the stories and see a pattern of moral free tough guy antics that are typical of a certain class of young men aspiring to a certain kind of literature and we’re supposed to go, Oh, well, the events aren’t really all that bad so it just doesn’t matter. Right?

The man described a military that people didn’t recognize. He didn’t just describe a couple of screw-ups. Screw-ups aren’t heroic after all.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
One thought that nagged me about the mass burial/cemetery site is that I had read of several instances (Lt Pantano for one) in which permission from the relatives or Islamic Council was needed to exhume a body. I concluded, perhaps erroneously, that if prior knowledge of where bodies were located then permission to exhume would be sought prior to digging. I thought it would follow then that if in the routine course of digging that if human remains were found that there was probably a protocol that had to be followed to notify the appropriate authorities. Just digging willy-nilly and not notifying a senior NCO or Officer would be a serious breach of directives. Was I wrong?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
What will you do if the military comes out and says their investigation shows the story to be accurate with only perhaps a few details in error.
What will the democrats do if General Petreaus comes out and says the surge is succeeding and we need just a little more time? Reid and Pelosi aren’t even waiting until the report is given. They’re already denouncing it. But what will you do Professor Erb?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Incident with burnt woman took place in Kuwait. Might as well be Germany. Nothing to do with Iraq really as we had troops there before this war started.

Incident with skull under helmet morphing into small skull fragment (yarmulke) place on top of helmet = STB was not there and heard this story second-hand and/or embellished it himself. Small skull fragment could have been an animals, too - a full human skull would be much easier to identify and I think people would truly freak with playing with a kids skull whereas a small fragment? Ehhh? Or maybe an adult skull (see German troops in Afghanistan.) Also if it is a small fragment could you wear outside your helmet "day and night" as he said?

Dog killing - to me this was the most believable story. Bored soldiers MIGHT do that once or twice, but really, as McQ keeps hammering - in a convoy in Indian country? STB repairs Bradleys, no? At least according to his blog. Could this have happened inside the FOB? And p.s. we don’t need to go to Iraq to get young men to kill dogs -> Michael Vick.

So, I’d say these stories are part BS, part fact, and not much at all.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"actually, a lie requires intent to deceive.

you have no evidence of his intent."

Please notify the millions of people who keep saying "Bush lied people died."

Thank you.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
You are the guys dodging and weaving, looking for any kind of error that you can jump on even if it seems that his stories were basically correct.
[. . .]
All that said, I still have made no judgment about what to make of the stories. I really am quite content to wait for the military investigation to be complete. — Erb, emphasis his
Why, it’s just like Bob said, way upthread there:
*ssh*l*s like Professor Erb simply “reserve judgement” no matter what turns up in upcoming investigations. Liberals have no shame in a matter such as this. When it is a case of “fake but accurate” all disbelief is suspended and the slightest cover is treated like an iron tight case.
Goodness. It’s as though he’s read you like a book, or maybe a Liberal Narrative or something there, Scott.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
What will the democrats do if General Petreaus comes out and says the surge is succeeding and we need just a little more time? Reid and Pelosi aren’t even waiting until the report is given. They’re already denouncing it. But what will you do Professor Erb?
I’ll take it seriously, but my view will also rely on Ambassador Crocker’s report. I don’t want to see Iraq fall into chaos. I want to see what’s best for the US — I have two young sons whose future will depend upon the future of this country. I’m keeping an open mind.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Let’s see:
Wrong country. No, not Cambodia
Wearing a magic hat. Well, a yarmulke-like skull.
Say, do you suppose a Swift Boat could run down a dog?
Summer Soldier.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Sounds like intent to deceive to me.
(Chuckle!)

You don’t think you’re actually going to get them to admit this, now, do you? You and I have both seen democrats in general, and these individuals in particular, deny distort and otherwise do everything they can to avoid the obvious conclusion.... all over and over and over again.

Don’t misunderstand. I admire you’re staying on point, and I admire your consistently pounding that point home. But I’m telling you right now it’s going to take a "road to Damascus" event to get them to admit to it.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Francis,
Good work on the degree, and certification as a lawyer to practice in California. You’re demonstrating your education and hard work haven’t gone to waste. You’ve deliberately started to focus on the weeds in the story so you can avoid the 10,000 foot view. You’re metaphorically down to parsing the meaning of the word "is".

The point of his article was to prove that combat and danger in war changes people, especially, I’m sure, in an "unjust war". Alas for your defense, the guy had to lie about the mess hall location so it could mean something, because otherwise he’s just demonstrating he’s a certified bastich. The war didn’t ’desensitize’ him, because he hadn’t even seen any of it at that mess hall in Kuwait. That’s a fact.

That means the U.S. Army, and George Bush & Dick Cheney’s war for oil didn’t turn this guy from the sweet kid next store who mowed your lawn into a sociopath with their "silly knees-bent creeping about advancing behavior" in Baghdad.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Let’s see, every story coroborated ...
Ah, so now Kuwait is Iraq in Retief-world. What a surprise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’ve been reading a very calm, reasonable, comment thread on this on a liberal blog. (Linked from Protein Wisdom)

It’s amazing how many people can reasonably and calmly explain how it’s the training that turns people into automotons, unquestioning killing machines. How soldiers don’t shoot (dig out stats about WW2) unless they’ve been specifically trained to kill humans in a sort of pavlovian response to stimuli. Our military, it seems, spends a great deal of effort to strip the humanity from our soldiers and twice that effort to strip the humanity from the enemy so that they aren’t seen as real people at all.

And of course being in war only makes it worse with all the stress and horror and no one can really be expected not to snap like the Haditha Marines or at the least act out such as Beauchamp describes. No one is blaming the troops for this. It’s not their fault.

It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating because explaining that military discipline isn’t about getting people to shoot other people nearly so much as it is about getting people to *stop* shooting other people gets ignored. It’s frustrating because I know just how hard the military works to take recruits off the street and instill values and discipline. This picture of the military is so unquestioned it does no good at all to say anything at all.

It’s like when someone says "liberals hate the troops" and someone else says, "How dare you accuse me of hating those poor psychologically broken sub-human monsters. It’s not their fault!"
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
The idea of the a government military organization in charge of instilling values and disciplines does make anyone with libertarian tendencies nervous!

Also, I have heard from people who had been in the military that they thought the process was much as those liberal blogs describe; I’m sure the majority would not agree. Like everything, there are a variety of perspectives — and I appreciate learning the perspective of military supporters.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
McQ is English your first language? You claimed the mocking stroy could never happen in a DFAC, that the officers and NCOs would never allow it. So he must be lying. Now you’re claiming that it did happen in a DFAC in Kuwait, so he must be a liar. Your argument lies in ruins and you sit here with your fingers in your ears screeching "liar liar pants on fire". Enjoying yourself? According to McQ-today McQ-from-last-week’s argument is no longer operative, or more pithily, a load of old codswallop. And if it is a load of old codswallop now then it was also a load of old codswallop then. Thank you for finally acknowledging that.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
You claimed the mocking stroy could never happen in a DFAC, that the officers and NCOs would never allow it.
So far we have a known liar and some unidentified "corroborater", oh, and you, claiming it supposedly happened (in Kuwait, not Iraq), and, apparently, if the Sanchez story I linked too above is right, an entire platoon -his platoon- saying his stuff is nonsense.

Or’d you miss that?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"to discredit Beauchamps one has to do more than nitpick about the location of the dogs or where an incident took place. [..] But for those interested in the truth and what it means about war, this war and the experience of some soldiers in stressful situation, well the questions are a lot more difficult. — Erb"

Yes but to discredit the entire military apparantly all you need is one private writing for the TNR.

If the liberals held Beauchamp to the same standard as they are trying to do to his detractors then we wouldn’t have the problem because the piece would have never been published.




 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
”You claimed the mocking stroy (sic) could never happen in a DFAC, that the officers and NCOs would never allow...
Uh, Retief, YOU lie! McQ never said that. He said...well, I’ll let his words speak for themselves. Link them if you dare, you miserable liberal mis-quoting s*n-*f-*-b*tch.
 
Written By: &amp
URL: http://
Oh, I forgot:

sarcasm/humor alert
 
Written By: &amp
URL: http://

 
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