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Pathetic
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jonathan Chait, writing in The New Republic, attempts to shift the focus on the Scott Beauchamp problem at TNR to William Kristol. Any guess why? The first paragraph tells the story:
It's hard to believe that, not so long ago, neoconservative foreign policy thinking overflowed with ideas and idealism. The descent has been steep, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the pages of The Weekly Standard—particularly in William Kristol's editorials, which have come to consist of stubborn denials of any bad news, diatribes about internal enemies, and harangues against the cowardice of Republican dissenters.
Yes, dear friends, it was the Weekly Standard which pushed the investigation into TNR's latest fabulist. Instead of addressing that in a straight forward manner, Chait chooses to attack Kristol's integrity and thereby, by proxy, the magazine which has been responsible for the effort which unmasked TNRs latest failure.

Why else Kristol?
Kristol's sensibility is perfectly summed up in one representative passage from a recent issue. The topic was The New Republic's decision to publish an essay by Scott Beauchamp, an American soldier serving in Iraq, detailing some repugnant acts he said he and his comrades committed. Legitimate questions have been raised about this essay's veracity. (We've been publishing updates on our continuing efforts to get answers to them at tnr.com.) But Kristol rushed past these questions, immediately declaring the piece a "fiction." Offering up his interpretation of why tnr would publish such slanders, he concluded, in an editorial titled, "They Don't Really Support the Troops":
Having turned against a war that some of them supported, the left is now turning against the troops they claim still to support. They sense that history is progressing away from them—that these soldiers, fighting courageously in a just cause, could still win the war, that they are proud of their service, and that they will be future leaders of this country.
You may not agree with Kristol's analysis, but it certainly isn't something I would consider to be outlandish or ill considered, except, perhaps, the overly broad brush Kristol uses. But I've certainly not had any problem finding examples on the left which demonstrate Kristol's point. And, considering Beauchamp's articles I can certainly understand a point of view which would conclude that his was an attempt to smear all service members. In fact we've argued that is one of the primary reasons he should be debunked.

And then there's the fiction about TNR's "continuing effort" to get answers. If that's the case, it has been a well hidden effort. But still, there's a bigger reason to ignore other critics and concentrate on Kristol, and Chait finally gets too it in the following paragraph:
In just two sentences, this passage provides a full summary of the decrepit intellectual state of neoconservatism. First, there is Kristol's curious premise that tnr only published this essay because we have "turned against" the war. If Beauchamp's writings were tnr's attempt to discredit the war, why would his first contribution describe a pro-American Iraqi boy savagely mutilated by insurgents? For that matter, why would we work to undermine the war by publishing a first-person account on the magazine's back page rather than taking the more straightforward step of, say, editorializing for withdrawal?
Because one of the oft stated and repeatedly recorded bits of information to come out of the Beauchamp fiasco was the intent of Franklin Foer to reverse the pro-war slant TNR had exhibited before he became editor. And I love the attempt to use one example of supposed "pro-war" story as proof that the editorial slant hasn't changed.

But in reality, this is just a journalistic tantrum by Chait. How else do you explain non sequiturs like "this passage provides a full summary of the decrepit intellectual state of neoconservatism"? What in the world does neoconservatisim or its intellectual state have to do with the argument about whether or not Beauchamp is a fabulist?

Chait then lets the mask slip:
The notion that tnr published a Diarist merely for the edification of readers, rather than to advance a political agenda, did not occur to Kristol, because he could not imagine doing any such thing himself.
The intent was to edify their readers? What in the world were they hoping to make their readers understand if not the agenda that Beauchamp was pushing in the overarching theme of his three stories? Wasn't the editorial decision to publish them based on that Beauchamp premise and didn't it neatly fit the Foer decision to move the magazine editorially away from supporting the war?

You bet it did. And Chait tries desperately to avoid acknowledging that by attempting to shift the focus of the fight from TNR to Kristol (and thereby the Weekly Standard). He spends the rest of his rant attempting to tie Kristol and the "theme" of the "traitorous liberal" together. And while he makes some points here and there, the avoidance of the main point concerning TNR's failure to fact-check and verify the Beauchamp stories is again telling. Trying to destroy the credibility of Kristol and the Weekly Standard isn't going to change anything as concerns the failures of TNR's editoral process or the apparent fact that they again published the stories of a fabulist. I'd have much more respect for Jonathan Chait, as a senior editor of The New Republic, if he'd just man-up and address the fisasco head on.

Instead we get this.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’d have much more respect for Jonathan Chait, as a senior editor of The New Republic, if he’d just man-up and address the fisasco head on.
LOLZ!!

Now you did it McQ. You had to swat that hornets nest, didn’t you? The only thing they hate more than questioning their patriotism is questioning their masculinity.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
TNR’s "continuing effort" to get answers
When the find the answers, perhaps they can help OJ with his problem as well.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"TNR’s "continuing effort" to get answers"

Like a TV soap opera, or ’daytime drama’ if you prefer, this effort will continue as long as people are watching, and with the same plausibility.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Respect for Chait? Sorry, I’ll see cold fusion, 200 mpg cars and free beer first.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Speaking of PVT Beauchamp.

I checked out his AKO account back when he first introducted himself. I found that he was listed as a PV2 and much was made of the fact by others that he had been a PFC but must have been busted to PV2 prior to his journey into journalism.

I checked his AKO information a few days ago. It still lists his unit as 1/18th however his rank is now listed as PV1.

So that, at least to me, answers the question of what punishment he got. Looks like an ART 15, reduction in rank to PV1, and who knows if he got extra duty or loss of any more pay.

Yet TNR still stands behind their man until proven wrong (at least proven wrong in thier books which would mean that Beauchamp would have to have a political conversion to a republican).



 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
The notion that TNR published a Diarist merely for the edification of readers, rather than to advance a political agenda, did not occur to Kristol, because he could not imagine doing any such thing himself.
Huh. Yeah. The New Republic is a center-left political opinion magazine. The whole point of their magazine is to publish articles that "advance a political agenda". That’s why they print the magazine in the first place.

Why would we assume that any article is published "merely for the edification of readers" in an magazine whose purpose is to advance a specific ideological and political agenda? I don’t assume that National Review or Weekly Standard does, why would I assume TNR does?
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
The New Republic is a center-left political opinion magazine. The whole point of their magazine is to publish articles that "advance a political agenda". That’s why they print the magazine in the first place.
I like Ed Morrissey’s take on the "edification" spin over at Captain’s Quarters:

Let’s take a look at the rest of their articles highlighted on their front page to see whether they express a political point of view, or are merely edifying:

America’s Hypocritical Impulse To Spread Freedom And Democracy

Mitt Romney’s Flimsy Iowa Victory


The U.S. Must Act in Darfur—Right Now


How Political Psychology Explains Bush’s Ghastly Success


Are Terrorists Soldiers or Criminals?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
So that, at least to me, answers the question of what punishment he got. Looks like an ART 15, reduction in rank to PV1, and who knows if he got extra duty or loss of any more pay.
Wow! I think your the first to report this retired military
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"Looks like an ART 15, reduction in rank to PV1,"

Unless they have changed the UCMJ in the last 20 years (a definite possibility), an article 15 can only reduce you to E-2. As I recall, the only time anyone was reduced to E-1 was if they were courmartialed, and reduction to E-1 was usually accompanied by stockade time. I don’t know how promotions go these days, but it seems to me after 18 months or more of active service he should be an E-3, particularly if he is overseas.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Timeactual,

Actually there is no limited to how far they can busted down his rank. Usually they bust a person to one rank lower. If he was busted before entering Iraq and became an E2, then when he was buted again, he would be an E1.
 
Written By: Minh-Duc
URL: http://
They certainly can bust someone to E1. Depending on the CDR level it can be a certain number of grades. I retired 10 years ago but I believe company grade ART 15 was at least 1 grade and field grade ART 15 was at least 2 grades. A court martial can take you all the way down and in todays army that means out as well.

In fact I had a 1SG explain to me that a PV1 can be busted. What will simply happen is he is the same rank but his date of rank changes to when he was last busted. As some know time in rank is one determining factor on whether a person can get promoted or not. From PV1 to PV2 it is normally 6 months with as few as 4 with a waiver. But if a PV1 is busted to PV1 then his 6 months start all over again.
 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
A company grade officer can demote you one rank. A field grade officer can demote two ranks.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Perhaps if I had searched before I wrote, I would have known. I must remember that Google is my friend (sort of). Ah, well. Toerr is human, and it encourages humility.

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/l/blucmj15.htm

"...
(H) if imposed by an officer of the grade of major or lieutenant commander, or above—

(iv) reduction to the lowest or any intermediate pay grade, if the grade from which demoted is within the promotion authority of the officer imposing the reduction or any officer subordinate to the one who imposes the reduction, by an enlisted member in a pay grade above E-4 may not be reduced more than two pay grades;..."
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
If Chait and TNR were upset and vented their furstration at Kristol, you can bet dollars to donuts that they will react to the possible busting of their "budding Hemingway" with even more vitriol.

This is all part of TNR as "victim".

The question that TNR will try to obscure .. who is the victimizer ?

Of course, it is the fabulist, Mr. Beauchamp.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
A field grade can bust an E-4 or below all the way to E-1. A field grade can bust an E-5 or E-6 by one pay grade.

Company grades can bust E-4 or below a single grade.

E-7 and above cannot be reduced save by a court martial.
 
Written By: John Sheridan
URL: http://allaloneinthenight.com
Can an officer reduce another officer in rank
 
Written By: Baume
URL: http://
Can an officer reduce another officer in rank
Yes ... through courtmartial, usually a general courtmartial.


 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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