Leaping Private Beauchamp: The Baghdad Poet

The right-wing blogosphere is baying for blood, charging The New Republic's pseudonymous "Baghdad Diarist" Scott Thomas—and it is, as Andrew Sullivan points out, a poor nom de guerre at that; his real name is Scott Thomas Beauchamp—with multiple counts of Stephen-Glassery. After a few days of speculation and skepticism on various conservative and military blogs, mainstream outlets like the New York Times and ABC News picked up the story, provoking an investigation by TNR editor Franklin Foer. The Times explains:

The diaries have described some shocking incidents of military life, including soldiers openly mocking a disfigured woman on their base and a private wearing a found piece of a child's skull under his helmet.

The magazine granted anonymity to the writer to keep him from being punished by his military superiors and to allow him to write candidly, Mr. Foer said. He said that he had met the writer and that he knows with "near certainty" that he is, in fact, a soldier.

After this article appeared, Mr. Foer said he was "absolutely certain" that the author is a soldier.

Beauchamp may very turn out to be a fabulist and, if this is indeed the case, TNR will (deservedly) take its lumps. And the fake soldier—or the real soldier faking "experiences"—is something of an American tradition. But it should also be noted that, if Beauchamp is telling the truth, it would hardly be the first "trophy skull" taken by an American soldier in wartime. In 1943, Life Magazine published a photo of a woman staring at a Japanese skull her soldier boyfriend send her from Guadalcanal. (The photo's original caption: "Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her.") During the Vietnam War, severing the ears of dead Vietnamese soldiers, said one Army investigation, was "routine."

Regardless of the outcome of TNR's investigation, full credit to the magazine's editors who, like a Photoshop wizard at Redbook magazine, took Beauchamp's ridiculous prose and made it half-way readable. According to his personal blog, Private Thomas/Beauchamp saw his a tour in Iraq as an entry into the world of journalism. In a post headlined "ill (sic) return to america an author," he offers readers a taste of his mad author skillz:

bavarian stories in some sort of rounded metaphysical order...personality death stories intersecting with poesy home memory reflections. You begin with a place and an action and let it carry in every direction till the words are vibrating on the page, dripping in thick robust delapidated (sic) barnhouses of adjectives and pronouns...no time for the subtle gray faced calculations of a PERFORMED intimacy...go...but remember what Kerouac forgot: revision is spontaneous also. a brief coming back to america introduction, stories about soldiers, prositutes (sic), innocent students rendered featherless by dark rivets of experience and the decadence of human pursuits in every vein...and then there's the veins...follow 'em. Cut your wrist let it bleed onto the paper in unique soulpatterns of mindthoughts.

Seriously. If nothing else, can't we court martial this guy for pretentious writing unbecoming an enlisted man?

(Lame headline reference here

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  • kap||

    Beauchamp is apparently either married to or the fiance of TNR staffer Elspeth Reeve. Also, TNR apparently fired another staffer who leaked this this morning.

    This is becoming rather entertaining.

    see here.

  • ||

    "unique soulpatterns of mindthoughts"...I don't really have anything to say. I just wanted to type that phrase. Are mindthoughts like mouthspeech?

  • kap||

    A more direct link concerning the fired staffer.

    Also, his prior-life blogtrail is revealing such nuggets as his stating he only joined the service so he could write a book about it, and he planned to write some "horror stories" about the war once he saw action. I've forgotten the links where I read that, I've been following this crap for the last hour or two.

    This is shaping up to be quite Glassian in magnitude.

  • ||

    Are mindthoughts like mouthspeech?


    Actually, mindthoughts are more akin to assspeak than mouthspeech.

  • SIV||

    Hey is that a pic of a souvineered Jap skull?

  • highnumber||

    Leaping Lanny Poffo, brother of Randy "Macho Man" Savage is from Downers Grove.

    So is Emo Philips.

    Downers Grove has a nice little downtown immortalized by Emo in

  • highnumber||

    Looks like I need to read that book!

    Leaping Lanny Poffo, brother of Randy "Macho Man" Savage is from Downers Grove.

    So is Emo Philips.

    Downers Grove has a nice little downtown immortalized by Emo in song.

    I did not have to go to Wikipedia to find that out.

    Tomorrow, we'll learn about Elmhurst.

  • ||

    Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*.

    It seems almost incontrovertible at this point that he is a soldier (even kap's unsubstantiated and unlinked rumor about him "joining the service to write about it" implicitly concedes this point). So if he is in fact a soldier, his opponents need to actually find things that he said which were untrue. And simply not liking what he writes about doesn't count as evidence.

    For heaven's sake. Have we really reached the point where anyone making claims ideologically opposed to your own must be assumed, ipso facto, to be a liar?

  • kap||

    Well, OK, some other allegations addressing his truthfulness:

    - some bloggers tracking the timeline of his career are indicating he was in Germany at the time he claims for some of his in-country experiences.

    - some bloggers within the military have looked up his current rank and paygrade, and it is lower than the rank/paygrade he described himself at some time earlier in his online writings. This suggests either being caught in a resume-padding lie, or fairly serious discipline action at some point in his career.

    - the public affairs officer of his unit has stated that there is a serious investigation ongoing.

    I don't know whether he is or isn't telling the truth, and frankly I don't have any ideological dog in this race. I have no doubt ugly things sometimes happen in war.

    The only thing I am certain of at this point is that the entropophile in me is entertained by the right/left blogosphere foodfight over this.

    Which is, in itself, an ugly thing happening in a war.

  • ||

    Whether what he says is true or not--it's not that hard to believe, really--this is just further proof that the army needs to offer some english lessons. We can't have any warrior poets if we don't have any warrior grammar lessons.

  • SIV||

    I saw a Jap skull in a rock/mineral museum once. It had engraving/graffitti on it
    which said:

    Made in Japan. Tested in the Solomons. And Found Wanting.


    I suppose the Marines and Army have a policy against that sort of thing now.

  • ||

    Ok, I'm not the smoothest guy in the world when it comes to the ladies.

    However, even I know that a human skull makes for a bad gift.

    Unless maybe you're dating a goth girl, and she's into that kind of thing.

  • kap||

    WOMEN #1
    The darkness here is never complete
    and I'm distracted by a thousand women
    standing in a line on a hill.
    I've forgotten some of their birthdays
    I've forgotten some of their middles names
    some faces are hidden.
    But them,
    they sketch my dreams before I have them
    their mystery is huge and weightless and sweet
    and so I turn and bow
    and apologize.



    and

    Women #2
    I believe too much
    in your checkered skirt
    that falls to the floor
    heavier than god or liberty.



    finally

    THE POLAR BEAR
    I am a polar bear
    in the St. Louis Zoo
    and of a thousand places that you can't leave
    this is where i outrun the terror.
    Something heavy in the sun
    touches my skin,
    peers out of the portholes on my sides,
    where my hair fell out in clumps.
    I'm a polar bear walking in circles
    small circles in the empire
    over and over searching for her
    over and over chased by the memory of her walk.



    I'm thinking he might have been dating some goth girls.

  • ||

    For heaven's sake. Have we really reached the point where anyone making claims ideologically opposed to your own must be assumed, ipso facto, to be a liar?



    Since when are people here ideologically opposed to critics of the Iraq war? If anything it is the exact opposite. I though virtually everyone here opposed the Iraq war? If we don't believe the story, it certainly isn't because of ideological reasons.

    Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*.



    Actually, I automaticly distrust any "first-hand" story that must be told anonymously. I understand that there is certain situations where people must speak anonymously, but they must have overwelming compelling evidence before I will take it at face value.

  • Noting Things||

    I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*

    Resemblances of the soldier's tales to his own previously published fiction and news commentary are...suggestive.

    I understand that there is certain situations where people must speak anonymously

    Example: The would-be anonymous National Review staffer who outed the tale-telling soldier as the would-be novelist husband of another, higher-ranking National Review staffer has been fired.

  • ||

    JasonC

    Are mindthoughts like mouthspeech?

    Closer to wordsounds but with notmorelesses orificeoral

    I want to read this article but I'm very busy, can anyone verify if it's a steaming pile of crap or not. I only want the truthreals.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070730/hedges

  • ||

    "Trophy skulls" of soldiers fighting American troops, not purported victims of a mass-killing.

    Trying too hard to justify the inexplicable and indefensible leads to lousy comparisons.

  • S.A. Miller||

    Example: The would-be anonymous National Review staffer who outed the tale-telling soldier as the would-be novelist husband of another, higher-ranking National Review staffer has been fired.

    It is The New Republic, not National Review.

  • Jim Treacher||

    "Are mindthoughts like mouthspeech?"

    In Beauchamp's case, they're more like buttshit.

  • ||

    I've blogged and written anonymously for various reasons including the organization I was working for and its restrictions. And I've changed some inconsequential details about myself in those writings to better hide my identity. I can understand the guy changing his rank if it was for that purpose.

    I served in the military years ago and found myself around plenty of cruel jerks so I don't doubt there are a few in Iraq.

    Having said that, it sounds like what he was writing was bullshit.

    But time will tell. I'm not invested in the situation so it will be fun to watch it unfold.

  • Justin Raimondo||

    It seems odd to read a denunciation of "pretentious" writing in Reason magazine -- of all places.

  • ||

    "Trying too hard to justify the inexplicable and indefensible leads to lousy comparisons."

    But then, the Japanese skull events had the important element of having actually happened.

    "Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*."

    You know, when I was young if someone made very disturbing allegations of criminal and immoral conduct of people, we were not expected to assume the accusations were true until evidence was shown proving it false. This was especially true when the person making the allegations was ideologically biased against those accused, had a history of writing such descriptions as "fiction" and was describing events that strain any credulity.

    I guess things change.

  • ||

    Siegfried Sassoon is spinning in his grave.

  • SIV||

    It seems odd to read a denunciation of "pretentious" writing in Reason magazine -- of all places


    Drink!?!?!

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Courtmartial? Prose like that calls for summary execution.

    But that's just my mindthought. It may or may not conform to your soulpattern.

  • Ray G||

    My circle of blogs doesn't typically range out of the usual econ stuff with a little straight news on the side, but this story has really grown legs. At least among the bloggers.

    There's a tremendous amount of traffic on this thing, and it is entertaining I suppose.

    As for the actual allegations, a knee-jerk reaction to assume the negative about something merely reveals a preexisting negative opinion on that something.

    Regardless, the Private is in a no-win situation as is TNR.

    The Private because even if he is telling the truth, he's sold his buddies out for personal gain. And if he's lying, well that doesn't need explanation.

    It's not a stretch to say that TNR is largely indicative of the Left in general. With that in mind, we see their real view of American troops, and by extension America itself in that they recruited a mole to dig up dirt on someone they obviously see as an opponent.

    It speaks volumes to the character of TNR as a group that they were so desperate for dirt that they would use this guy.

  • ||

    Ray G,

    "It's not a stretch to say that TNR is largely indicative of the Left in general. With that in mind, we see their real view of American troops, and by extension America itself in that they recruited a mole to dig up dirt on someone they obviously see as an opponent. "

    Well said.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    .......even I know that a human skull makes for a bad gift. Unless maybe you're dating a goth girl, and she's into that kind of thing.

    Media wins the thread at 6:28 or thereabouts.

    Gimme skull, bitch!

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    I want to know if he bleached the skull before he sent it home.

  • ||

    Ray G | July 27, 2007, 12:50am | #
    ...

    It's not a stretch to say that TNR is largely indicative of the Left in general. With that in mind, we see their real view of American troops, and by extension America itself in that they recruited a mole to dig up dirt on someone they obviously see as an opponent.

    It speaks volumes to the character of TNR as a group that they were so desperate for dirt that they would use this guy.

    ...

    Hell, I'm socialist and have never read the National Review. The magazine doesn't represent the left, or the left in general. The National Review represents the National Review. Your generalization is simplistic.

    Anybody think Hemingway went to war to fight, or to write? Why not both? Hell, he went to the Spanish Civil War to make a movie to show to raise funds to buy ambulances to help the leftists that fought the fascists. This fellow is no Hemingway, but that doesn't mean anything. Orwell went to the Spanish Civil War for the express purpose of journalism, but decided to fight once he was there. There isn't any shame for a writer to go to war to write. Where the hell do you think all the great novels come from?

  • e||

    Well said, oldnumberseven!

    Though, I too am skeptical that American soldiers would brutalize Iraqis. Everyone knows we went to war to help Iraqis be free, not as revenge against the towelheads for 9/11 or some such thing.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Hell, I'm socialist and have never read the National Review.

    That's probably best for both you and National Review.

    Actually, the magazine you should be not reading is The New Republic, the liberal publication being discussed here. National Review is essentially the conservative equivalent of The New Republic. One or more of them really should change their initials.

  • ||

    Actually, the magazine you should be not reading is The New Republic

    My mistake. But I have never read either magazine, and believe it or not, I am somewhat of a reader.

    Thanks for the correction, though.

  • ||

    It's not a stretch to say that TNR is largely indicative of the Left in general. With that in mind, we see their real view of American troops, and by extension America itself in that they recruited a mole to dig up dirt on someone they obviously see as an opponent.

    Well, maybe it's not a stretch to say that the reaction of the Right and Ray G to this article show us their real view of America - a military
    Sparta where any critical talk about soliders is ipso facto unpatriotic, and an unquestioning identification of "American" with "military". It's like the Soviet Union all over again. The funny thing is that Beauchamp's article really made no political point at all about our success or failure in Iraq, it was just a fairly stereotypical "war sucks, young men do stupid shit during a war" kind of article. Nothing we haven't seen thousands of times before, in every war since the common soldier became literate. The fact that so many idiots see their honor besmirched by this is a really sad commentary on the American right and their increasingly desperate military fantasies.

  • Andrea Harris||

    Anybody think Hemingway went to war to fight, or to write? Why not both? Hell, he went to the Spanish Civil War to make a movie to show to raise funds to buy ambulances to help the leftists that fought the fascists. This fellow is no Hemingway, but that doesn't mean anything. Orwell went to the Spanish Civil War for the express purpose of journalism, but decided to fight once he was there. There isn't any shame for a writer to go to war to write. Where the hell do you think all the great novels come from?



    But Hemingway and Orwell actually had real talent. This Scott Thomas Beauchamp person so far gives evidence of having none.

  • e||

    It's not a stretch to say that TNR is largely indicative of the Left in general.

    A rag that supported the Iraq war, a rag moreover that is run by a neoconservative, who called Jimmy Carter a "Jew hater", is representative of the Left in general?

  • Andrea Harris||

    Well, Vanya, I suppose that some "rightwingers" do see their honor as being besmirched by this, but the ones I have read on this subject are mostly dismayed by the poor quality of the writing and the frankly unbelievable scenarios the person has cooked up. I too have no doubt that soldiers sometimes do creepy and shitty things, for whatever reason (you know, like making up lame stories about wearing a child's skull like a hat and driving a tank like a sports car). But these have all been written about by better writers, in such a way that you can't immediately say "that's just stupid -- no one does that." (Like, wouldn't the child's skull have fallen right off? And how would it fit under a helmet? And in blazing hot Iraq, why would anyone put one more thing on their head? And don't get me started on the supposed deliberate running over of dogs, in a Bradley, which numerous people who actually know these things have proved is impossible to do as written.)

    I'll bet the genus of these stories is something more like this: would-be-writer soldier hears of or witnesses the uncovering of a mass grave. His little mind starts working: "what if one of the soldiers did something gross with the remains?" (write write write, mail to New Republic.) Or: say he'd heard of or witnessed about a dog or something getting knocked over by a tank, or maybe he saw Stripes or used to watch M*A*S*H. Dreams up groovy story about riding tanks about, running over things and animals. After all, the reality about military life is that it's mostly boring, but that doesn't sell magazines or impress girlfriends or advance the career of a guy who thought he'd get all sorts of gutsy experience to get those creative juices flowing.

    But let's not go any further. After all, this is just like the Soviet Union. I'm sure vanya has already been taken away by the police to be questioned.

  • Guy Montag||

    The criticism by many of us with military service is not that he was never in, it was that he was fabricating stories (I think Fairbanksing is more appropriate than Glassing, in this case). I was in the minority thinking that Scott Beauchamp was made up by an editor who had gotten some BS stories from someone else.

    The bit about his buddy running over dogs with a Bradley (hey Radley, they are still not tanks) sounds totally fabricated. Ezra Klein produced "evidence" on his 'blog, showing an M1A2 running over a car and I guess to folks who don't know anything about vehicles or the military think disabled cars are as easy to run over as live dogs. In reality, live dogs must be much more difficult.

    Do the live dogs sleep out in the street and sun themselves when it is very hot? The ones I have noticed in my life pick the shade when they can. Now, if you find one sleeping in the street, try sneeking up on one with a Bradley.

    Oh, one minor point, the insurgents have been packing dead dog bodies with explosives for some time now, as widly reported just a few months ago. Tracked vehicle drivers were avoiding all dogs, as a rule, for quite some time.

    As far as this article goes, Mr. Moynihan might want to brush up on what is acceptable these days vs. what was acceptable under the FDR administration. A good place to start is with the anti-enemy propoganda films made under FDR vs. [sorry, nothing there today].

    It was common practice to shoot the wounded in the head some time before WWII. That "Saving Private Ryan" movie made it look like shooting surrendering Germans was the rule during WWII. If some new little snot starts making up stories about that happening in 2007 does a negative need to be proven before the cheese-eaters will believe the story false?

    All that aside, the story does get even better, now that Elspeth Reeve is in the picture. She wrote a TNR article in December that appeared to be a recycling of an Examiner story, written by my favorite TNR assistant editor. Not saying the Reeve story was done without permission, just saying it seemed strange. Oh, the Reeve story could be backed up with independant research, the Fairbanks story could not.

  • Guy Montag||

    But Hemingway and Orwell actually had real talent. This Scott Thomas Beauchamp person so far gives evidence of having none.

    On a serious note, Orwell certainly did not ring of falsehood in his true life writings.

    I don't remember much of Hemingway's work, but have not heard that accusation about him either.

  • ||

    The fact that so many idiots see their honor besmirched by this is a really sad commentary on the American right and their increasingly desperate military fantasies.

    This is the truth. The worst thing this guy accused anyone of is running over dogs intentionally in a Bradley fighting vehicle. Hardly something that will land one in a Nuremburg-type war crimes trial.

    I don't know if the incidents he wrote about are true or not, but the honor of all U.S. soldiers hardly hangs on the outcome of the pending "investigations". If they aren't true, The New Republic takes it deserved lumps, as Mr. Moynihan said above. If they are true, it proves there's a guy in the Iraq combat zone that ran over some dogs. On purpose. So what?

  • ||

    Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*.

    Given the accusations that he is making, and his history and statements, I think the burden of proof is on the other foot (if you know what I mean).

  • Episiarch||

    Uh, the story here is very simple. If the dude lied, he's a liar. OK. But if he lied, and these lies were obvious, TNR looks like a bunch of ideologically motivated idiots for running the stories. TNR should get ridiculed, hard, if this is the case.

    That's it.

  • ||

    It's not a stretch to say that TNR is largely indicative of the Left in general.,/i>

    What a ridiculous statement! TNR, which endorsed the Iraq War and Joe Lieberman for President? TNR, that is now edited by a Director of the Scooter Libby Defense Fund? TNR, that was formerly edited by Andrew Sullivan? TNR, which carried a banner editorial in 2000 about how George Bush was unlikely to appoint right-wingers to the Supreme Court, because he's such a uniter, not a divider? TNR, which keeps advocating for an attack on Iran?

    Somebody really, really wants to find a reason to justify hating liberals, truth be damned.

  • ||

    "I don't know if the incidents he wrote about are true or not, but the honor of all U.S. soldiers hardly hangs on the outcome of the pending "investigations". If they aren't true, The New Republic takes it deserved lumps, as Mr. Moynihan said above. If they are true, it proves there's a guy in the Iraq combat zone that ran over some dogs. On purpose. So what?"

    Here is the so what: I continually read posts here on H&R that say things like: "How many Iraqis have been murdered by American soldiers in the last xx days..." The clear implication is that the US military is filled, top to bottom, with sociopaths. Torturing animals, or killing them for the "fun" of it is the sick hobby of a sociopath.

    Those of us who have actually been in the military know that it is just like any other slice of the American pie; it is mostly good, kind, decent people. Those of you who have not been in the military ought to have the common sense, not to mention the statistical ability, to know that the US military is representative of America as a whole.

    This Beauchamp guy strikes me as a nut, and yet the left is contentedly licking his ass beause he is painting a picture that they believe is true, and want to be true.

  • Urkobold™||

    SIGH. JOE, GO READ YOUR BOOK AGAIN.

  • ||

    Here is the so what: I continually read posts here on H&R that say things like: "How many Iraqis have been murdered by American soldiers in the last xx days..."

    Bullshit.

    A search on the word "murdered" in Reason's search engine yields zero links supporting your claim, wayne.

    Zero, wayne. None. Go ahead, prove me wrong.

    You can't.

    You're just taking the constant stories about how much violence and murder have been caused by launching this war, and pretending that they are accusations that US troops are committing those murders, so you can have something to bitch about, and pretend that the collapse of the policy that is documented day after day after day can be dismissed as the imaginings of ideologues.

  • ||

    That book was hard! It opened from the left, and the words were upside down!

  • ||

    For those accusing TNR of ant-Iraq War bias, I'm fairly sure they're still mostly for the war.

    They just think the wrong party's running it.

  • ||

    TNR looks like a bunch of ideologically motivated idiots for running the stories.

    ONE story. And for all your ranting about ideological motivation, the veracity or falsehoods of Beauchamp's little diary wouldn't swing anyone's opinion of the war either way. You can believe every US soldier is a saint and still think the occupation of Iraq is a stupid waste of resources and time. You can believe a lot of enlisted men are sociopaths, and still think that breaking a few eggs is worth it if we get the omlet of a democratic Iraq at the end. Clearly TNR ran this piece because the editors thought it was interesting, and (yes, maybe they guessed wrongly) an authentic "soldiers voice." The real ideological motivation lies solely with the people who decided to take a back-of-the-magazine diary piece in an increasingly irrelevant political journal with a subscriber base smaller than most hobby magazines and turn it into the latest "outrage of the week!". Please.

  • ||

    Joe,

    I tried using the search engine here with no results. Slow connection probably did not help.

    here are three comments from this thread that fit the mold I described though:

    GeofBro at 6:00PM
    "Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*."

    Kenobi at 6:13PM
    "Whether what he says is true or not--it's not that hard to believe, really--"

    e at 3;22AM
    "Though, I too am skeptical that American soldiers would brutalize Iraqis. Everyone knows we went to war to help Iraqis be free, not as revenge against the towelheads for 9/11 or some such thing."

  • Guy Montag||

    Pug,

    This is the truth. The worst thing this guy accused anyone of is running over dogs intentionally in a Bradley fighting vehicle. Hardly something that will land one in a Nuremburg-type war crimes trial.

    You find that more serious than toying with the remains of dead children or making fun of a recovering IED victim? Those were other accusations (actually, 1 accusation and 1 admission) written in his last article.

  • ||

    wayne,

    I'm still waiting for the "murdered" part.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Hell, you want some real subversive stuff, read 'The Things They Carried' by Tim O'Brien. This fellow Beachamp can't write as well, but I believe he probably read O'Brien.

  • Guy Montag||

  • ||

    Joe,

    I can not make the search engine work from my location, all I get is the undulating microsoft flag. Besides that, I have never used this search engine so I am not even sure how to search for comments on H&R stories.

    My paraphrase: ""How many Iraqis have been murdered by American soldiers in the last xx days..." was just that, a paraphrase, so the word 'murdered" might not have been used. It might have been, "how many iraqi civilians have been killed by Americans in the last xx days...", or it might have been something equally accusatory, but using slightly different language. Never the less, I stand by my point. I cited three instances of this sort of thinking in this thread alone, though.

  • oldnumberseven||

    wayne | July 27, 2007, 9:29am | #
    ...

    This Beauchamp guy strikes me as a nut, and yet the left is contentedly licking his ass beause he is painting a picture that they believe is true, and want to be true.

    ...

    Yes, because this goddamned Beauchamp figured it all out. Give the left some stories of corpse desecration, dog killing, and laughter in the face of the disfigured, and the all mighty and all powerful left will make the American fighting man and woman give up in Iraq. Christ knows if I was in Iraq I would give a damn about what the leftist boogeyman was publishing in their little leftist magazines about me. I, perhaps, may be a little more worried about IED's.

    Those rightists have sold you a lie. The left hates America, the left wants us to lose, the left stabbed us in the back. Ah, the good old stab in the back. You are being set up.

  • ||

    oldnumberseven,

    So, the left wants us to win in Iraq? Is that your point?

  • ||

    Didn't they learn anything from Jamilgate?

  • ||

    wayne,

    Care to link to even one of those stories, in which Reason writers proclaim on how many Iraqis have been killed by American soldiers?

    Even one? You say they appear on a daily basis, so you should be able to just scroll through the page if the search engine won't work for you.

    I don't think you will even find one. You'll find plenty of stories about how many people are dying in Iraq, but you will find no-none-zip-zero stories accusing American troops of killing them.

    What you will find is lots of stories about Iraqis being killed by Sunni insurgents, al Qaeda, or Shiite death squads/Iraqi government forces. That you choose to read these stories as accusations of atrocities by Americans doesn't say anything about Reason, but about yourself.

  • shockcorridor||

    Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*.

    So in other words, the burden of proof is on the accused? Okay Geoff, you peddle heroin to elementary school children, you kidnap women and have your butler inseminate them and then you sell the babies to lesbian couples. I really don't see any evidence that what I just said is actually false, so now the burden is on you to prove that what I said is false. Another Lionel Hutz School of Law graduate.

  • ||

    So in other words, the burden of proof is on the accused?,/i>

    Hey, now! This isn't a thread about Iraqi WMDs and al Qaeda connections.

  • ||

    Uh oh.

    *covers taint*

  • ||

    Godammit, joe! Close your fucking tags!

  • ||

    joe,

    You may want to check if H&R ever posted about Haditha, too.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Wayne,

    You don't think the left wants us to win in Iraq? You prefer to think of your fellow citizens as defeatists, traitors, and that the war would have been won if the left, had done what, just shut-up, just went along, just kept their goddamned mouths clothed?

    You ever read David Hackworth, Wayne?

  • Kohlrabi||

    Good call RC.

    Geoffbro, beat it. See shockcorridor's comment.

  • ||

    Joe,

    I said "posts", not stories. I think the stories done by the Reason staff or linked to by the Reason staff are almost always of the "look how America has fucked up this time vein", but I don't remember one making claims of American soldiers being thugs, murderers, sociopaths in general. There have been stories of individual American soldiers being thugs, murderers, sociopaths as indeed a few have been.

    The accusation that I make is that there are many implications (snide, sarcastic, and sly sometimes) of American soldiers being beastly by posters, not H&R staff. I would be very surprised if you have not done it, Joe.

    What about the three citations from this thread that I listed in my 9:54AM post? Do those not count?

  • ||

    Seven,

    Yes, I have read Hackworth.

    Can you honestly picture Joe being happy if the situation turns around in Iraq? I can not.

  • ||

    wayne,

    OK, I see. I generally use "post" to refer to the blog entries and "comment" to refer to what we write in the threads. I agree, there are occasional anti-soldier comments written on the threads; I recall one character who decided to write crude insults about Pat Tillman in the thread where his death was announced. Such people are typically shouted down.

    But I most certainly have not do so, wayne. Not even once. I am not surprised by your lack of surprise; nor am I surprised at your inaccurate assumptions about what I think.

    As for the three quotes you pulled, none of them accuse American soldiers of murdering anyone. Nor does Beauchamp, if you bothered to read any of the links.

    You seem to think this is some kind of new front in the 40-year-stale "baby killer" argument. It's not - it's a debate about what this particular soldier wrote about how the experience of being in war brutalizes people, and how they come to see behaviors as acceptable after months or years of combat that they would never accept in normal society. Two of the three comments you quote are making exactly that point.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Wayne,
    And so what? joe is a poster on a message board of a libertarian magazine. joe's comments undermine our military how exactly? joe's happiness or unhappiness means fuck all. The American military does not win or lose because of a guy named joe posting on reason.com. You should Hackworth again, and again, until you see this.

  • Guy Montag||

    Wayne,

    The thug/murderer/psycho editorial talk is saved for the cops, as is should be.

    Looks like Army Specialist Adam Chrysler might be trying to get into the 'stupidity files' right behind little Scottie.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Should be: You should read Hackworth again, and again, until you see this.

  • ||

    I don't think wayne wants us to win the War on Poverty. He seems like he'd be really unhappy if we succeeded in ending poverty. He wants all those poor people to suffer; what other explaination for his negativism about AFDC can there possibly be?

    At least, if I'm being really dishonest, I can convince myself that he believes that. Better than admitting that the effort is a miserable failure, and my belief in it and the leaders who created it was misguided.

  • ||

    Seven,

    I don't think the America military wins or loses based on the comments or attitudes of Joe.

    I do think the American military is placed in a very precarious position in Iraq with the politic'ing that is going on in America though. The insurgents would have to be idiots (I assure you, they are not) not to realize that all they have to do is hang on for a couple of years at the outside and they won't have to contend with the American military. That is hardly a recipe for victory. Certainly, the left has played a central role in this.

  • metalgrid||

    Can you honestly picture Joe being happy if the situation turns around in Iraq? I can not.

    Let me rephrase that: "Can you honestly picture Joe being happy?"

    Don't be so peeved that you got your premises wrong.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I'm still fascinated by this idea that The New Republic, which never met a war it didn't at least initially like, is run by military-hating radicals.

    The "Baghdad Diarists" pieces may or may not be true. I certainly don't find it hard to believe that The New Republic would publish inaccurate articles. But it's ridiculous to claim they were run because of the editors' prejudice against soldiers. The fact that this idea has any traction at all suggests to me that the underlying issue here isn't the ill-informed stereotypes some liberals have about the military, but the ill-informed stereotypes some conservatives have about the media.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Hyperbole aside, I agree the war on poverty is a miserable failure and further it was only marginally about poverty or poor people. It was about the Democrats controlling this country.

    Iraq was a bad idea. We should not have done it. But that is behind us now. The possibility for great good from our Iraq adventure was certainly there. That too has probably slipped away though. What remains is to see whether Iraq can deal with all of the external and internal forces that want to control it as despots: Iran, Al Qaida, Sunni and Shia extremists.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Obviously joe,

    It is upon the left to prove that we are not traitors, hate America, want us to lose in Iraq, and that we are not stabbing the right in the back, this may seem unjust to some, but it is what we must do. It isn't enough to love your country. You must prove to the right wing of the Republican party that you love your country.

    Kind of comical.

    Well, Wayne, practice what you preach. The burden of proof falls upon Beauchamp to prove his writing. So, prove us lefties are stabbing America in the back. Prove oldnumberseven, an avowed socialist is stabbing America in the back.

  • ||

    wayne,

    I WISH 70% of the country were "Left."

    We live in a democracy. In a democracy, people complain when their government screws up. The bigger the screw-up, the more the complaints. If the arguments that were used to build support for the war turn out to be false, the complaining will be even louder, as supporters will feel betrayed, and feel less of a committment to supporting the cause.

    If a president takes a democratic nation to war without accounting for this, it is he who has set up our military. A president who puts troops in harms way in these circumstances may as well have sent them to war without bullets or rations.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Jesse Walker | July 27, 2007, 11:13am | #
    The fact that this idea has any traction at all suggests to me that the underlying issue here isn't the ill-informed stereotypes some liberals have about the military, but the ill-informed stereotypes some conservatives have about the media.

    I wonder where in the hell they might have gotten that idea?

    Holy christ, I wish I lived in a different time.

  • ||

    I WISH 70% of the country were "Left."

    I don't know where you got the 70% figure, but I wish it were true as well. There is no doubt the country would be horrendously fucked up and those of us able to think as individuals could smugly laugh at your side's problems.

  • oldnumberseven||

    joe | July 27, 2007, 11:21am | #
    If a president takes a democratic nation to war without accounting for this, it is he who has set up our military. A president who puts troops in harms way in these circumstances may as well have sent them to war without bullets or rations.

    My geography is a bit rusty, but I always thought if Bush had been smart, he would have gone after the Taliban and Al-Queda and forced them to Iraq. I am not sure why we let them dissolve. Could have forced them into Iraq and Bush could have had his war or Iraq would have capitulated and given us free reign to hunt them down. It seems sound to me after a few whiskeys, wonder why Bush never thought of it.

  • ||

    I do think the American military is placed in a very precarious position in Iraq with the politic'ing that is going on in America though.

    I totally agree. It was appalling when Bush used our armed forces to try to secure an unassailable permamnent Republican majority by launching a splendid little war that he thought he could pull off on the cheap against an enemy that had nothing to do with a horrifying terrorist attack that he wanted to exploit for political gain for his party.

    The insurgents would have to be idiots (I assure you, they are not) not to realize that all they have to do is hang on for a couple of years at the outside and they won't have to contend with the American military.

    Right, again. In order for our occupying forces to quell this insurgency over the next 10-30 years we require a much larger contingent of infantry troops so we should reinstitute the draft and start building permanent bases there. This should only cost $10-30 trillion dollars or so. Is it the nation's best interest? Who cares! In for a penny, in for a pound, say I.

    Certainly, the left has played a central role in this.

    I'm a generally a pretty laid back guy, but I think you're a contemptible, un-American piece of shit for saying this.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Would you be happy if things turned around in Iraq?

  • ||

    Thrilled, wayne. I hope it turns into a hot version of Minnesota tomorrow.

    It ain't gonna. It doesn't make a terrible person who wants to see people fed into shredders to say that. It makes me right.

    It would be nice if the world was so simple that the Iraq War stood a chance of success. It ain't.

  • oldnumberseven||

    wayne | July 27, 2007, 11:16am | #
    What remains is to see whether Iraq can deal with all of the external and internal forces that want to control it as despots: Iran, Al Qaida, Sunni and Shia extremists.

    Hrmmm, what was there before the war wayne? Iraq had all those things before the war, during war, and apparently will after the war, if you believe the right wingers. Personally I believe Iraq will arise free from government interference in the markets, abortion will be outlawed, and the oil, the oil, wayne will flow like a... well I already wrote fuckall on this blog and shall not continue. If only it had not been for joe!

  • ||

    "In order for our occupying forces to quell this insurgency over the next 10-30 years we require a much larger contingent of infantry troops so we should reinstitute the draft and start building permanent bases there."

    a thirty year insurgency is one possibility, but certainly not the only one. You might not be aware, but we are already building permanent bases in Iraq. Hard to say about the draft being required.

    Another possibility is the insurgency getting the shit kicked out of them and Iraq standing on its own as a democracy. Telegraphing to the world our withdrawal timetable certainly does not help.

  • oldnumberseven||

    de stijl | July 27, 2007, 11:32am | #

    You said it much better than I. I drink to you. old number seven, of course.

  • ||

    "Hrmmm, what was there before the war wayne? Iraq had all those things before the war, during war, and apparently will after the war, if you believe the right wingers. Personally I believe Iraq will arise free from government interference in the markets, abortion will be outlawed, and the oil, the oil, wayne will flow like a... well I already wrote fuckall on this blog and shall not continue. If only it had not been for joe!"

    Bye. Stop by later when the booze has worn off and you can post coherently.

  • SIV||

    de stijl

    we should reinstitute the draft

    Why do you lefties always want to bring back the draft?

  • oldnumberseven||

    wayne,

    Which part is incoherent to you?

  • ||

    Another possibility is the insurgency getting the shit kicked out of them and Iraq standing on its own as a democracy. Telegraphing to the world our withdrawal timetable certainly does not help.

    Actually, it does. Look at Northern Ireland - it was the Brits' announcement that they were going to withdraw their military that split the Republicans, and allowed the deal cutters in Sinn Fein to get the upper hand against the bomb-makers.

    Staying the course has proven, for years now, that it cannot bring about the political conditions that will put the insurgency - especially the foreign jihadists - out of business. The continuing occupation has, in fact, caused that insurgency, which has provided the "water" in which the jihadist "fish" swim.

    The announcement of our intention to withdraw, along with actually drawing down our troops, are weapons we have in our quiver to promote the necessary political solution in Iraq.

    It is only ignorance, stubbornness, partisanship and wounded pride that are keeping the existing, failed war going, and preventing us from letting the Iraqis take control of their own country.

    Oh, that, and our insistence that they pass an oil bill that gives massive concessions to foreign firms.

  • Guy Montag||

    Why do you lefties always want to bring back the draft?

    Because the Left supports slavery.

  • ||

    "I hope it turns into a hot version of Minnesota tomorrow."

    Me too.

  • ||

    Why do you lefties always want to bring back the draft?

    We don't. As when we noted in 2003 that there weren't enough troops to secure the country, and in 2004 that torturing prisoners was a bad way to gain popular support, the observation that a draft is necessary to raise the number of troops needed for the President's stated policy is not a statement of fact about why the war cannot work.

  • ||

    "Because the Left supports slavery."

    Well it did take Abe Lincoln, a Republican, to bring about aboliton of slavery ;-)

    Have another drink Seven, I wish I could join you.

  • ||

    Whoops: "...is not a statement of fact BUT AN OBSERVATION about why the war POLICY OF THE ADMINISTRATION cannot work."

  • ||

    "Actually, it does. Look at Northern Ireland - it was the Brits' announcement that they were going to withdraw their military that split the Republicans, and allowed the deal cutters in Sinn Fein to get the upper hand against the bomb-makers."

    I will admit that withdrawal of AMerican troops might force some sort of resolution to the Iraq situation, although that is certainly not a given.

  • ||

    Joe,

    You need to get your nose out of the bottle too.

  • ||

    Because the Left supports slavery.

    I see Guy has managed to avoid seeing the story about slave labor being used to build the embassy in the Green Zone.

    Congratulations, hawks, you really have made a difference in the Middle East.

  • ||

    ""Rather nasty comments notwithstanding, I have yet to see any evidence that what Beauchamp has said is actually *false*. ""

    Maybe your not looking.

    Beau claimed Glocks have square casings. False!

    Beau claimed only Iraqi Police use Glocks. False!

  • oldnumberseven||

    Guy Montag | July 27, 2007, 11:55am | #

    Why do you lefties always want to bring back the draft?

    Because the Left supports slavery.


    I think some on the left support the draft because they figure it will make the fat cats admit that they do not want their sons or daughters to go to the wars. Simple enough strategy.

    I could see your argument that the left supports slavery. Depends on the left, though. One could also say the right supports fascism. Again, depends on the right. So, where is the middle?

  • ||

    wayne,

    I agree, it's not a given. That's why I want to withdraw from Kurdistan last - so we can protect them, as we did in the 90s, if the political process fails.

    I'd put the chance of a political solution ending the violence at about 50%. That's not good, but it's 49% higher than staying the course.

  • ||

    "Congratulations, hawks, you really have made a difference in the Middle East."

    We try our best Joe, but it makes it all worthwhile when you notice.

  • Guy Montag||

    O#7,

    Take wayne's advice.

    "Fascists" are National Socialists and were never free market or Capitalists at all.

    Perhaps if you use more descriptive terms than party symbols or (abbreviations, in the case of the German National Socialist Worker's Party) you won't get so confused.

  • ||

    Right totalitarians like to define all totalitarianism as Left, so they can hide their designs.

    I can't possible be a totalitarian, says the fascist; I like big business and hate unions!

  • ||

    The "Baghdad Diarists" pieces may or may not be true. I certainly don't find it hard to believe that The New Republic would publish inaccurate articles. But it's ridiculous to claim they were run because of the editors' prejudice against soldiers.

    I think to the right-blogosphere, the question is why TNR started publishing these accounts, and not any others. See for example, the post on Instapundit with links to righty military bloggers volunteering to write as Baghdad Diarist.

    Obviously, the guy is a shitty writer, so it's not that they were picked for their literary quality. The obvious fallback then, is that they were picked because they have controversial stories about American troops.

    That's wrong, though, and the answer is more banal, and probably more embarrassing to TNR. They were picked because the author is married to a staffer. It's just simple nepotism. He probably wrote them for cheap/free hoping to parlay them into a book deal when he got out, and TNR was happy to get some filler.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Josh | July 27, 2007, 12:18pm | #
    and the answer is more banal, and probably more embarrassing to TNR. They were picked because the author is married to a staffer.

    Where is our Hemingway? Where is our Orwell? Where is our Jack Reed? Where is our Graham Greene? Where is our Tim O'Brein?

    The writers of tis war will probably emerge in two years. That this writer has not done a good job of it matters not. What matters are the writings of those few who were there. I would lay a bet that more writers, poets, and artists have gone to war than fops like Bush, or Cheney. And of those writers, poets, and artists, I'll will wager at least a quarter of them are socialists. How about that for a generalization Ray G?

  • oldnumberseven||

    joe | July 27, 2007, 12:13pm | #

    Right totalitarians like to define all totalitarianism as Left, so they can hide their designs.

    I can't possible be a totalitarian, says the fascist; I like big business and hate unions!


    thanks joe.

  • ||

    FYI, to the person referencing David Hackworth...

    I respect Hackworth's service and he did a lot for the country but frankly he was a crappy prognosticator when it came to military campaigns.

    I don't say this because of any book he wrote, I've never read any of his books. I say this because of his many pieces in Newsweek and on CNN in the buildup to the first Iraq war. He was wrong in every possible way. He was completely unprepared for modern warfare. If you didn't read or see any of this, I'm sure a quick search will dig things up.

    To his credit, he went from totally opposing the invasion to singing the coalition's praises at they battled.

    Good guy I'm sure but a retarded chimp could have beat his predictions.

  • oldnumberseven||

    eb | July 27, 2007, 3:33pm | #

    FYI, to the person referencing David Hackworth...

    I respect Hackworth's service and he did a lot for the country but frankly he was a crappy prognosticator when it came to military campaigns.


    Yes, I take your views over Hackworth's and will adjust my thinking accordingly. Or perhaps you could provide me this quick search. Just list a few links to a few articles from critics qualified to criticize Hackworth. Otherwise, well, what does that make you?

  • oldnumberseven||

    I thought one of the themes of this thread was the accuser had to provide the proof.

    Beauchamp must provide the proof.
    The left must provide proof we are not traitors.
    Shitheels talking shit about Hackworth must provide the proof.

  • ||

    Yes, I take your views over Hackworth's and will adjust my thinking accordingly. Or perhaps you could provide me this quick search. Just list a few links to a few articles from critics qualified to criticize Hackworth. Otherwise, well, what does that make you?

    What does it make me? Obviously better informed than you.

    Perhaps you were one of the bazillions of people who didn't actually watch CNN during the runup to the first Iraq war or didn't read Newsweek. I have no idea why you would not have dared to search out, read and listen to a man you obviously hold a great deal of respect for in the runup to a major conflict. I sure know I did. I was listening to every "expert" I could find.

    Unfortunately I'm not available for the "oldnumberseven" research team unless of course there's money involved, and if so, please email me now!

    I thought I went out of my way when I suggested the technique known as a "quick search" that should provide you and anybody else with the documentation you need for verification.

  • oldnumberseven||

    eb | July 27, 2007, 3:56pm | #

    Nope burden of proof is on the accuser in this thread. Perhaps you have not read the thread. You accused, and provided no proof.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Beauchamp must provide the proof.
    The left must provide proof we are not traitors.
    Shitheels talking shit about Hackworth must provide the proof.

  • ||

    Nope burden of proof is on the accuser in this thread. Perhaps you have not read the thread. You accused, and provided no proof.
    oldnumberseven | July 27, 2007, 4:04pm | #

    Beauchamp must provide the proof.
    The left must provide proof we are not traitors.
    Shitheels talking shit about Hackworth must provide the proof.


    Maybe in "oldnumberseven's" wacky world of wonderful wonderings but I didn't take an oath that I'm aware of and unless somebody drops an affadavit in front of me, I'm going to boldly comment without attribution OR footnotes. Anarchy reigns I guess.

    And frankly I don't actually understand what that second post of yours means. Are you actually speaking English?

    Kak dela?

  • oldnumberseven||

    It means you are a shitheel talking shit about Hackworth. I suspect next you will slander Bob Dole.

  • ||

    Dude, did you forget to take your librium today?

    I have no desire to get in a catfight with an unmedicated military strategist, no matter how virtual.

  • oldnumberseven||

    eb | July 27, 2007, 5:02pm | #

    touché eb, touché.

  • ||

    Are you talking about Jack Reed, the Senator from Rhode Island?

    Did he write something worth reading?

  • oldnumberseven||

    'Ten Days That Shook the World' by John Reed

    all us socialist call him Jack.

  • ||

    Hmm... is B.G. Burkett any relation to Bill? 5th link

  • ||

    History records so many examples of wars of occupation at first taking a frightful toll on the ethical fiber of the occupying soldiers, and then the citizens of the government that sent them to the foreign soil.

    Each of us should contact our representative and senators and tell them, for the sake of our precious republic, to cut off funding for the war and bring the troops home:

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  • ||

    Fascists" are National Socialists and were never free market or Capitalists at all.

    Quite true. Even as ownership in certain private hands was permitted, a free market never wass.

  • Guy Montag||

    Mewonders who was 'editing' his 'stories'. Do the magazine insider types know if that is published anyplace?

  • Lupo||

    "Anybody think Hemingway went to war to fight, or to write? Why not both? Hell, he went to the Spanish Civil War to make a movie to show to raise funds to buy ambulances to help the leftists that fought the fascists. This fellow is no Hemingway, but that doesn't mean anything. Orwell went to the Spanish Civil War for the express purpose of journalism, but decided to fight once he was there. There isn't any shame for a writer to go to war to write. Where the hell do you think all the great novels come from?"

    Well, to their credit, at least they joined the side they believed in. Bueachamp, in addition to being, well, not a real writer, joined the wrong side.

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