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Beauchamp is back and he’s the victim
Posted by: McQ on Friday, August 22, 2008

Spencer Ackerman takes on the Beauchamp story and says, you know, Scott's a stand up guy and it was Franklin Foer and the bloggers who are the bad guys.

My favorite line in the story, quoting Elspeth Reeve (Beauchamp's wife):
"I found the soldier, in jail in Germany, who was at the [chow hall] scene.
Would that "scene" be in Kuwait or Iraq? Nothing like reliable sources.

As for Ackerman, no reason whatsoever to tackle TNR and come down on Beauchamp's side, is there?
Around then I was asked to write a reported piece about Beauchamp and the slander, since I could hardly be considered a TNR shill after the magazine fired me. Figuring that doing so would both set the record straight and would help me draw a line under an unpleasant period in my life, I agreed.
After TNR's nonsense during the Beauchamp affair, I'm certainly not here to defend it, but my goodness, could the conclusion of Ackerman's article have ever be in doubt?
 
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I left this comment after Ackerman’s article on Radar. Someone or other over at Blackfive had met Beauchamp and sort of hinted that the attacks on him might be unfounded so I wasn’t completely up in arms over him anymore even before reading the defense.

—-

Most of the milbloggers and others who were calling Beauchamp a liar, as far I could tell, (and including me) weren’t getting the "lie" vibes from the particular events so much as the context of them. I’d expect a morbid sense of humor. I don’t figure a soldier never ran over a dog. There’s a reason that there is specifically a rule against taking human trophies. And the story of the scarred woman was much easier [to believe] (and I made that argument at least once) if it happened on the way *to* Iraq at a place where most people were transients. It’s easier to be cruel to strangers.

Good writing tends to humanize soldiers, no matter how painfully. This might have been skillfully written, but in the end those getting "lie" vibes weren’t getting them because they thought soldiers were saints. It was because they saw what the defenders of Shock Troops saw, which was proof that soldiers aren’t human anymore, that this is how they all react, not because they are young or afraid or letting off some tension with gallows humor or some typical adolescent cruelty, but that their humanity had been stripped away.

The subtext was a lie.

The cost of war is enormous and I know more than one "burned" vet who still struggles five, ten, or more years after the fact. They aren’t less human. They’re more human if anything, more aware of human capacity for good and evil.

Some people would like to think they’re numb to "human" anymore. And those people were blogging great emotional defenses of the ultimate truth of Shock Troops and Scott Thomas.

And it wasn’t because they cared about the dog.
 
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