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8/7/2007
A RESPONSE TO CRITICS OF MY LAST POST
CATEGORY: Blogging, Media

Michelle Malkin links to my last post on the Blogs and Beauchamp, showing her disagreement by linking to this eloquent, dignified post by Bryan at Hot Air on why, in fact, the Beauchamp story is considered very important by the military:

How important, in the grand scheme of the war, is the Scott Thomas Beauchamp story? By itself, it’s not all that important. But contrary to the opinions of those who can’t be bothered to care about it but nonetheless opine on it for whatever reason, and then mainly to downplay its importance, Beauchamp hasn’t happened all by itself and to those of us who served, its context and trajectory make it very important.

For the record, my downplaying of the importance of the story doesn’t mean that I believe it to be inconsequential. Nor, as Ace believes, does it mean that I am denigrating the efforts of those who brought elements of the story to light that eventually debunked Beauchamp’s claims. Why must everything in blogs be all or nothing? Is there no place where proportionality matters? A little nuance? A little deeper look at something rather than the raw, emotional primal scream of irrationality?

I read Ace’s post with a growing sense of perplexity. It’s impossible to respond to because he is criticizing what I was thinking while writing. He confidently ascribes motivations to me when he doesn’t know me from Adam and I doubt whether he’s read me in a year – maybe two. Maybe never.

Criticizing what I write is one thing. Criticizing what I believe is fair game. Smearing me for being reasonable? For having an original thought? Divining my “true” intent how? Does Ace have a window into my soul? Is he a mind reader? If you can read that post at Ace’s without scratching your head in wonderment at how someone who doesn’t know me, never met me, rarely, if ever, reads me can accuse me of all that perfidious thought, then perhaps you would be good enough to come back here and explain it to me. It is simply and literally, beyond belief.

Perplexing, indeed.

But Bryan’s points deserve a response.

There were few who stood up for the troops after Vietnam, but that’s a shame that shouldn’t be and won’t be repeated. The Beauchamp story comes down to a simple thing that most who never served in the military may not understand, and that’s the linked concepts of service and honor. It’s an honor to serve in the US military. With that honor comes responsibility not to besmirch the uniform or let down your comrades. Some obviously don’t live up to that honor. It’s up to the rest of us to protect that honor, keep its value high and keep the traditions of the service worthy of honor.

No, I have never served in the military. I have written in the past about my associations with soldiers and how they were different than most people I knew – especially when I was younger. Military people have a sense of duty and honor that that they have no problem wearing on their sleeve. They don’t brag about it. But they are obviously proud that they have a strict code by which they live their lives. I came to respect that aspect of my military friends enormously. In a very real way, I was jealous of that kind of commitment.

So it is not surprising that military bloggers would take the Beauchamp story personally. I understand and agree. I said in the post that it was important to debunk the claims of Beauchamp in order to undo the damage done to the military.

What more should I have said? And herein lies the concept of proportionality. Is it that I’m not sufficiently triumphant? Another MSM scalp nailed to the lodgepole so break out the drums and let’s party? Alright, allow me to express my pure joy at sticking it to TNR - they deserve the shellacking.

But no. It appears that because I point out that all of this amounts to a hill of beans outside Blogdom by making the ridiculous claims that it won’t win the war or mitigate the effect of Abu Ghraib all of a sudden, people want links to bloggers who actually make those claims? What? Where do I say any bloggers say those things? I am deliberately blowing out of proportion the effect of claiming Beauchamp’s scalp to illustrate the futility of taking it too seriously when contemplating the larger picture of the war and even fixing the black eye given to the military by TNR’s lies.

Yes it is important to the military folk that this is done. And for the reasons so eloquently written by Bryan. And yes it is important to debunk false claims on anything made by the media. I hope blogs will always do this.

But not surprisingly, no blogs or commenters below have addressed the thrust of my argument; that these blogswarms blow things out of proportion until the story takes on an importance far beyond anything having to do with the world outside of this cliquish little circle of blogs and blog readers. Is there another way to accomplish exactly the same thing without this happening? Is that such a ridiculous question?

Allow me to post Bryan’s summation:

Besides all of that, truth matters. “Fake but accurate” amounts to a lie, TNR. And in a post-modern war such as the one we’re fighting, and especially as we place more emphasis on the morality of our actions in war than on actually winning it by defeating the enemy, Beauchamp represents an informational attack on our ability to wage war. Words are weapons. Loss of morale leads to loss in war, by the way we fight wars now. Letting his smears stand has the potential of letting another toilet-Koran story to get out there into the infowar zone unchallenged. So again, stopping that from happening is just the right thing to do.

To read my post and say I disagree with any of that would mean you should be working on your cognitive skills, gentle readers. And if my lack of enthusiasm for this victory upsets you, I’m sorry. But there is no need for the kind of wild denunciations made by Ace nor some of your comments below which put words in my mouth and thoughts in my head that simply aren’t there.

By: Rick Moran at 12:56 pm
61 Responses to “A RESPONSE TO CRITICS OF MY LAST POST”
  1. 1
    aric Said:
    1:48 pm 

    If you want a laugh Rick go read some of the comments at Ace’s site regarding your post -> You are not a conservative anymore but some dirty hippie libtard Kos kid who needs to leave the ‘beltway’ and get out and see ‘real Americans’ whose support seems to grow on a daily basis! I especially like the comment stating that despite ‘despite Mr Moran’s and Mr Beauchamp’s best efforts’ were gonna win this thing!

    This whole time I have been reading your site because I wanted to hear informed, reasonable conservative views only to find out you are a democrat double agent…..

  2. 2
    the big sombrero Said:
    1:51 pm 

    Sorry Rick, you lost me on this one. I have to agree with Ace (in general not in his exact words). I would guestimate that this story is important to the majority of conservative readers/bloggers simply because of where it was published and the subject matter (military maniacs). It didn’t show up on DU or Kos but on a supposed respectable liberal mag who have had problems with this type of thing in the past. Without national clout it seems to me that conservative bloggers have to “swarm” to debunk mis-truths and outright lies, especially when it concerns the military. I for one welcome the coverage. I understand your point but I’m afraid the only agreement your going to get is mainly from lefties (Sullivan will be linking to you soon). I do not claim to be able to see what’s in your heart but for me your post came off as elitist and demeaning. Thanks for the great idea though- “Swarm Media” is kinda catchy.

  3. 3
    Rick Moran Said:
    1:56 pm 

    BigS:

    Thanks for being civil. And I think Capt. Ed agrees with me to, although he also misunderstood my “winning the war” remark.

    I reread that paragraph and can’t figure out why it was so misunderstood. Again, I think it goes back to this idea of “all or nothing” on blogs in general. People seem to be quick to take things the wrong way or out of context.

  4. 4
    Tbone Said:
    1:58 pm 

    I can’t believe the over reaction to all of this. Personally I find your views fair and balanced and generally more in line with ‘real-life’ conservatisim than the hardcore right-wingers, although I do enjoy reading many of their blogs. It is explosions like Ace’s that just shows how close to the Kos crowd they really are. His post is a perfect example of the ‘radical right’ to compare to the the ‘nutroot left’. I don’t always agree with what you write, but I respect your views and enjoy your blog.

    Keep up the good work, there are those of us out here who enjoy your intelligence more so than others rabid ravings and constant attacks.

  5. 5
    gregdn Said:
    2:00 pm 

    Ms. Malkin has made a career of ‘attacking the messenger’. It’s hardly surprising that she would disagree with anyone who doesn’t place the same emphasis on it that she does.

  6. 6
    Rick Moran Said:
    2:01 pm 

    T-Bone:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I don’t know how far “right” Ace really is. I think he just likes to scream.

  7. 7
    Bender Bending Rodriguez Said:
    2:07 pm 

    For you to have written

    “Decloaking Beauchamp will not bring us closer to “victory” in Iraq – if such a thing existed outside of the fevered imaginations of an ever dwindling number of conservatives. It will not make up for Abu Ghraib – another story whose perceived importance far, far outweighed any relationship to the reality of what actually happened. It will not induce the American people to change their minds and embrace the war effort.”

    implies that you have heard someone somewhere say that the “uncloaking” would indeed have such an effect. Inserting yourself into the convo as the Voice of Reason, when the unreasonable folks were strawmen from your imagination was, frankly, insulting to my intelligence, and probably Ace’s (such that it is, as he would admit), too.

  8. 8
    Rick Moran Said:
    2:12 pm 

    “Victory in Iraq” and “fevered imginations” modify each other. Not “Decloaking Beauchamp” and “fevered imaginations.”

    I’m being dead serious when I ask if that is the problem? Is it that awkward a turn of phrase that this is what everyone misunderstood?

    If so, I will post an update.

  9. 9
    doubleplusundead Said:
    2:17 pm 

    I don’t know how far “right” Ace really is. I think he just likes to scream.

    So wait, you b*tch about Ace, “Does Ace have a window into my soul? Is he a mind reader?”, then you go ahead and just assume he likes to scream in comments, so I ask you,
    “Does Rick Moran have a window into Ace’s soul? Is he a mind reader?”

    Good point, Bender Bending!

  10. 10
    Rick Moran Said:
    2:19 pm 

    I would say by any reasonable standard, the term “scream” could easily apply to much of what Ace writes.

    Feel free to disagree with the characterization that no one needs a window into his soul to see.

  11. 11
    doubleplusundead Said:
    2:21 pm 

    Clearly we don’t read the same AoSHQ then. Says all I need to know.

  12. 12
    Bender Bending Rodriguez Said:
    2:44 pm 

    “Victory in Iraq” and “fevered imginations” modify each other. Not “Decloaking Beauchamp” and “fevered imaginations.”

    No, that was clear, and that’s not the issue.

    The issue is, where did you hear anyone say that uncloaking Beauchamp would indeed lead to winning final victory in Iraq, or making up for Abu Ghraib, or winning the domestic debate about the war?

    That’s the part that makes no sense to us. You seem to be moderating against an extreme, naive triumphalism which, to the best of our knowledge, doesn’t exist.

  13. 13
    Steve Said:
    2:57 pm 

    It’s all about the willingness to believe in that which you want to believe. Liberals eat up stuff like Beauchamp’s lies, they blast it across many blogs as an “Even if an ounce of it is true, I told you so, soldiers are animals”. It’s a news feeding frenzy of reinforcement.
    The Kooks On Steroids (kos) crowd will believe the story no matter the retraction, and normal people won’t care. They don’t believe anything that comes from liberals anyway.

  14. 14
    John Cole Said:
    3:08 pm 

    It’s all about the willingness to believe in that which you want to believe. Liberals eat up stuff like Beauchamp’s lies, they blast it across many blogs as an “Even if an ounce of it is true, I told you so, soldiers are animals”.

    No one “ate it up” on the left. No one cared. Really. Seriously. Why would anyone care about a dog that got run over when there is verifiable evidence of real atrocities out there? And even then, no one that I know has drawn from the behavior at Haditha and Abu Gharaib and pinned it on all soldiers. Only in the fevered minds of Ace do “liberals” have that opinion.

    And liberals is in quotes-o-sarcasm because liberal is currently being defined as “anyone not willing to agree to everything printed at michellemalkin.com.

  15. 15
    Bender Bending Rodriguez Said:
    3:32 pm 

    John, if no one cared, then no one would be posting defenses of Beauchamp like your own (paraphrasing) “no one has debunked his story” or the Kossacks calling him “vindicated” and a “whistleblower.” They would say, “yeah, he got busted for some lies and/or inaccuracies,” and that would be that.

    Sure, no one on either side cared about the diaries before they were found to be largely crossed the line into fiction. But no one on either side cared that Gannon was lobbing Bush softballs, either, until all of a sudden, they had pics from a gay escort site. All of a sudden, when your side can score a few points against the media, people start to care.

  16. 16
    Thom Said:
    3:42 pm 

    There’s so much I could say about Bryan’s post. Just a few:

    It’s up to the rest of us to protect that honor, keep its value high and keep the traditions of the service worthy of honor.

    Given what we know about the horrors of the rape and murder story, and other stories, how is going after the comparatively paltry claims of Beauchamp “protecting the honor” of the military? Really, how? It seems more like a diversion. Y’know? And the sheer volume of text given to the subject certainly did make it seem like it was of vital importance to the RW blogosphere.

    And his entire premise relies on a smear – that we on the Left don’t respect members of the military. The response to that has been made.

  17. 17
    Enlightened Said:
    3:45 pm 

    “No one “ate it up” on the left. No one cared. Really. Seriously.”

    This is precisely why the right does care. The right has tired of the moral vacuum left by liberals on the left that simply do not care.

    Maligning men and women who have put their lives on the line to get a “pass” as a psuedo war correspondent is bullshit – and can and should be called out every time.

    Having the crap published simply because the “narrative fits” is precisely why TNR is going to get what they deserve.

    I bet Rick’s perspective would have been a damn sight different if it was his brother that was the alleged “diarist”.

    Liberals defined themselves when they opted for Fake But Accurate over Facts. Nothing has changed since then apparently.

  18. 18
    bob Said:
    3:47 pm 

    Perplexing, indeed.

    It’s not really all that perplexing, is it? It’s SOP for blogs in general, and especially for Malkin/Ace/etc. You’re just finding yourself on the receiving end of it.

  19. 19
    Thom Said:
    3:48 pm 

    Another commenter brings up another false reason for the importance of the story: where it wasd published. How many times does it have to be said: The TNR supported the war, and the surge, and treated the Left with the same contempt that the RW blogosphere has.

  20. 20
    Thom Said:
    3:50 pm 

    Enlightened

    You’d be a lot more believable about the RW blogs if something like Michael Yon’s “Al Qaeada bakes boys and feeds them to their families” story was treated with the same disdain. Even Yon backtracked. But rather than go after Yon – RW blogs spread the story around.

    WTF?

  21. 21
    Enlightened Said:
    3:58 pm 

    Thom – Nice try – Michael Yon reported what he was told by authorities and offered no opinion as to the veracity.

    How you compare that to outright lies told by Beauchamp is indicative of left-think.

    PS: There are other reports of baked children. Perhaps there is truth to the legend.

  22. 22
    Thom Said:
    4:12 pm 

    Enlightened

    Wrong. You parroted exactly what Yon said, but you’re both wrong. Here’s what he wrote in the first post to mention the “baked boys”:

    “At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

    This could to people without a grasp of the language seem picky, but Yon works in words. He exactly backs up the veracity by the language he uses. He writes “And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family” and thereby takes the words out of Wallach’s mouth and states it as fact. If you dont’ understand that – it’s your problem. Taking language out of someone’s mouth is exactly how reporters confirm parts of their stories. If he had added an “he said” to finish it – that would at least have followed those very basic standards of reporting.

    But it still wouldn’t have been okay. Serious reporting would not have touched that claim. Not in a million years. It is blood libel. Anybody with any sense of fair repoorting, and Yon claims to have that, would have known that.

  23. 23
    Enlightened Said:
    4:16 pm 

    Thom – Sadly you quite obviously cannot read and comprehend.

    That is part and parcel the largest problem of the left.

    I’ll leave you to your, uh, issues.

  24. 24
    r4d20 Said:
    4:25 pm 

    And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.”

    Is this real because this story is straight out of Herodotus?

  25. 25
    busboy33 Said:
    4:26 pm 

    Rick said:

    “Why must everything in blogs be all or nothing? Is there no place where proportionality matters? A little nuance? A little deeper look at something rather than the raw, emotional primal scream of irrationality?”

    Clearly not. Your first line said it all: “The right will make too much of this. The Left will make too little.”

  26. 26
    Thom Said:
    4:28 pm 

    Enlightened

    I’d be interested to know your reading, writing, and comprehension credentials.

    And nothing to say about blood libel?

  27. 27
    Thom Said:
    4:29 pm 

    Yes, Arabs eat baked boys. Jews too.

    God.

  28. 28
    holdfast Said:
    4:43 pm 

    “But no. It appears that because I point out that all of this amounts to a hill of beans outside Blogdom by making the ridiculous claims that it won’t win the war or mitigate the effect of Abu Ghraib all of a sudden, people want links to bloggers who actually make those claims? What? Where do I say any bloggers say those things? I am deliberately blowing out of proportion the effect of claiming Beauchamp’s scalp to illustrate the futility of taking it too seriously when contemplating the larger picture of the war and even fixing the black eye given to the military by TNR’s lies”

    Which just goes to show how pointless and link-whory the post really was. As the whole affair winds down, you are warning righty bloggers against doing things that no blogger has actually done. As a bonus, you get to position yourself as the “reasonable” or “mature” conservative. You go sage!

  29. 29
    Enlightened Said:
    4:47 pm 

    Blood Libel. Michael Yon.

    I think I’ll just go and savor that for awhile.

    Because it ties in so deliciously to the lies that Beauchamp and TNR pimped to an unsupecting public.

    Because we all know Al Queda has never harmed a child, and have refuted Michael Yon’s story – as have you. With facts of course.

    I think I’ll go an chew on it for a bit. Somehwere else.

  30. 30
    holdfast Said:
    4:52 pm 

    The title of the post “BLOGS MISSING THE REAL STORY AS USUAL” strongly implies that this is not a real story. While the war itself is clearly a bigger story, the Beachamp story is a piece of how the story of the larger war is being written.

    Killing a dog is not as awful as raping and killing civillians, BUT the public rightly recognizes those sick acts as the crimes of individual soldiers, and the Army is moving to punish the individuals in question.

    Beauchamp’s stories are important because, even though the crimes/misconduct therein described does not rise to the level of murder or rape, they speak of a military that has become accustomed to various despicable acts, where such acts are widespread and widely tolerated, bacically going back to the Vietnam narrative of John Kerry and Jen-Jis Kahn. If TNR wants to prove that they are certainly welcome to try, but they better have their story sewn up nice and tight.

  31. 31
    Thom Said:
    5:09 pm 

    Enlightened

    Well, since you won’t answer my questions, I guess you may as well go chew on something.

    Oh, and how touching – you’re just working to protect the unsuspecting public. How safe they must feel.

    And nothing – nothing – about your credentials. Enightened – are you always this easy?

    Holdfast:

    No blogger has done? You’re joking, right?

  32. 32
    Enlightened Said:
    5:39 pm 

    Little Thom –
    My crednetials are none of your business. I’m not obligated to answer your “questions”.

    If you want to continue to call Michael Yon a Blood Libeler, it would behoove you to prove his story wrong with actual facts.

    TNR can help you fact-check if neccessary.

  33. 33
    Stashiu3 Said:
    6:11 pm 

    Rick,

    I’ve had you subscribed on bloglines for quite a while now. Between this story and the Gonzales story, I’ve decided to unsubscribe. Although open to differing views, I have lost considerable respect for your reasoning and am now convinced my time is better spent elsewhere. I’m sure I’ll still catch some of your writing through links and thank you for the good work you have done.

  34. 34
    Karl Said:
    6:29 pm 

    Rick writes:
    I read Ace’s post with a growing sense of perplexity. It’s impossible to respond to because he is criticizing what I was thinking while writing. He confidently ascribes motivations to me when he doesn’t know me from Adam and I doubt whether he’s read me in a year – maybe two. Maybe never.
    Pot, meet kettle. You know how often (if ever) Ace reads you?

  35. 35
    Rick Moran Said:
    6:35 pm 

    Karl:

    Kind of a stretch, isn’t it? Especially when I make it clear I DON’T know (That’s what “I doubt” and “maybe” mean. Look it up in a dictionary if you don’t believe me.) if Ace has ever read me (he’s linked me a couple of times in the past so I know he has in fact read my stuff on occasion).

    Pretty dumb, kid.

  36. 36
    TonyR Said:
    7:08 pm 

    Are you kidding me? This guy has been hailed by Crooks and Liars and other far out sites as a hero of justice and now it turns out he’s nothing more than a liar.

    You wont see Crock and Liars with a followup headline ‘Beauchamp lied’ anytime soon… or in their own angry vernacular ‘BEAUCHAMP LIED

  37. 37
    Fight4TheRight Said:
    7:15 pm 

    Rick,

    First off, I truly realize you could care less if I stay reading your blog or not. And I’m not here for the drama tonight but I have always enjoyed your writing – you have a knack, a talent for the written word.

    Did you feel the “but” coming? haha. Here it is. But, quite frankly, I’ve had an incredibly difficult time over the past six months finding much conservatism in your writings. I can’t describe it but to me you have become the John McCain of the blogs. You want to “bridge the gap”...you want to apparently mend the fences between the Left and the Right. Fair enough, if that’s your goal, but to call your house here “Right Wing…” is misleading.

    I’ve seen you downplay this insult on American troops as well as their families and also all Americans, I’ve seen you go out of your way to describe the YKos attendees as model citizens (and after reading Kos and then your description of them in person, i’m even MORE afraid), I’ve seen you seek withdrawl of troops from Iraq, I’ve seen you now attack right wing blog after right wing blog.

    Hey, it’s the blogosphere, Rick. It’s your stage, man. But let’s face it. It’s gotten to a point in the past six months that 75% of your commenters are Lefties. Your “bridging” strategy has shunned the conservatives from this site and has welcomed in the Left. Again, that’s your perogative, but in essence, I will put forth this prediction. In another six months Rick, you’ve got yourself a Lefty Blog here. Maybe you have changed, maybe you consider yourself moderate now. But bottom line is, most of the blogs end up Right or Left.

    You aren’t Right anymore. And I hope you find where you feel you fit. Your writing talent is a gift and many of us have appreciated your sharing it with us. I know I have. Best of luck, Rick.

  38. 38
    baldilocks Said:
    7:22 pm 

    What more should I have said?

    That a goodly portion of the right-wing dissection of the Beauchamp saga was coming from bloggers who are or have been in the military (like Bryan). And that this slander against the military was part of a larger and increasingly upfront narrative from the Left that the military is composed mostly of mindlessly brutal idiots who only follow the orders of their not-so-mindless, but equally brutal authorities above them (such as Bush and Cheney). For that’s how we who know what goes on in the military see this and every other slander of the military that has been put forth in public.

    In your last post on this topic, you mentioned the Spielman case and commenter #16 above, Thom, asks a relevant question about it:

    Given what we know about the horrors of the rape and murder story, and other stories, how is going after the comparatively paltry claims of Beauchamp “protecting the honor” of the military? Really, how?

    Though I go into this via a link to the last post, I’ll give a short version here: the outcome of Spielman, et al., points to an Armed Force which has the means to punish and remains vigilant to punish those of its number who commit crimes—small and large.

    In contrast, the Beauchamp stories—insignificant though they may seem—put forth the concept of a military that is out of control and it feeds a larger narrative. The authors of that narrative wish to discredit the character of military members, military leaders, the CinC and, thereby, the military’s mission in the GWOT. The Beauchamp saga is just one of many attempts. (My trackback response to Rick’s last post is free of hostility and invective, which is why I suspect that I’m getting no feedback.)

    That Spielman and his buddies committed such crimes shows the evil to which many humans—military and civilian—are prone. They will suffer the consequences for their actions, which is an idea which Beachamp and TNR tried to dispute. That’s why this story is important.

  39. 39
    Rick Moran Said:
    7:42 pm 

    Thanks Baldilocks.

    There are times today when I’ve been genuinely amazed at the reaction to what I wrote. It is clear that you took the time to read and think about the post before commenting and I appreciate it. Others have not.

    I don’t know quite how to respond to military people on this because I realize their honor is at stake as well as them having an emotional investment in its outcome. If I have seemed to downplay the importance of vindication, I truly apologize. It was not my intent to slight or injure anyone – much less anyone who serves – by attempting to assign some proportion to something I see as out of control and injurious to this new medium.

    I make no great claim to insight in this matter. This is still a new medium and I have invested a great deal of time and effort into my blog writing to say what I want to say and what I feel needs to be said. In that way, it is a very personal thing, this blog of mine (as I’m sure yours is to you).

    This is the essence of blogs – saying what you want, when you want with no editor to tone you down (or save your ass if you screw it up). There are plenty of times I wish I hadn’t punched that “Publish” button. This isn’t one of them.

    Where you and I differ (and where most others differ as well) is in how important we think this story really is. I agree that it is important. In essence, I am being raked over the coals for not agreeing hard enough. It isn’t enough that I agree with the sentiment. I must agree in the same proportion or I’m some kind of liberal!

    I must be tired, or dense, or just plain stupid because I can’t for the life of me understand why that should elicit this kind of outrageous reaction from some people.

    Live and learn. And I’ll leave this comment at your site in case you don’t see it here.

  40. 40
    Rightwingsparkle Said:
    7:55 pm 

    Remeber these gems from John Kerry (ya know the Democratic Presidental candidate?)

    “Kerry: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

    And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women..

    Try tip toeing through the tulips at Kos or any other well read left wing blog and you will see a defense of these remarks ad nauseum.

    To pretend that the left side of the blogosphere doesn’t seem to delight in horror stories about our military is foolish. It’s just a fact.

    We do not disagree that there are “bad apples” or that bad things don’t happen with some 138,000 troops in Iraq. Tell me where there are 138,000 people anywhere at any given time where there isn’t rape and murder. I can promise you the numbers are much bigger in the civilian population.

    But the military in general is by far a honorable and decent group. Stories like Beachamp’s struck a chord. It seemed to be (and has proven to be) nothing more than an attack on the military.

    Rick,

    I think people are perceiving you as somehow brushing this off. It may not be a big thing to media elite, but it’s a big thing to us.

    I don’t like how people have responded to you. I don’t like how many on the right attack those on their side when someone seems to break away from the pack. I experienced my share of it by supporting McCain. I know.

    We all need to take a breath. Life is not black and white. We all are not always going to agree.

    But I think the blogosphere in general could use a big dose of manners and civility.

  41. 41
    Rick Moran Said:
    7:59 pm 

    RWS:

    If they were all as nice as you, I’d look forward to posting controversial stuff.

    This, I thought would get some strong disagreement but not the hate. I still don’t know where that came from.

  42. 42
    baldilocks Said:
    8:04 pm 

    Thanks, Rick.

    What I think about several of the nay-sayers with regard to the importance of Beauchamp—and even a significant portion of the yea-sayers—is that there is an gap in perception between military and civilian commentators. I don’t think many members of either group understand the overarching reason (IMO) why Beauchamp is important—or why he isn’t. This isn’t a slam on either group, but it’s the same reason that I don’t understand the importance of entities with which I am don’t have an intimate familiarity.

    That may sound like a “chickenhawk” slam but it isn’t—as anyone who searches my blog using the keyword “chickenhawk” would discover.

    It’s merely reality.

  43. 43
    baldilocks Said:
    8:05 pm 

    members of either group=always civilian nay-sayers and yea-sayers

  44. 44
    Rick Moran Said:
    8:11 pm 

    I wouldn’t have taken your comment that way at all. You are stating a fact that we are from different cultures, if you will with a different perspective.

    Despite my knowing many military people througout my life – some of them intimately – I acknowledge there are aspects that I might admire but not understand.

    It kind of surprises me that you are the only military person I’ve heard from – I think. At least no one in the comments has identified himself or herself as such. I would be curious if your rather temperate reaction – disagreeing strongly, I understand – would be widespread among the milbloggers.

  45. 45
    busboy33 Said:
    8:42 pm 

    It amazes me the “you are not red enough” posts. Unless I misread the post, you were saying Mr. Beauchamp is a story: nothing more, nothing less. If I was on a liberal blog, and the post was “Troops convicted of murder, but don’t read too much into it”, I can’t imagine the responders flaming with “How dare you not use these few idiots to smear all soldiers!! Turn in your Leftie card!!.” I’m sure some of your readers disagree that the response would be any less dramatic, and mabye I’m lucky and only go to sites that have a lower precentage of trolls than is average.

    Righties scream, Lefties lecture I guess.

  46. 46
    Topsecretk9 Said:
    9:02 pm 

    I’m not positive, but I suspect that many took exception to your original post because a certain key quality isn’t being acknowledged and that is the conduct of TNR’s post Beauchamp conduct.

    I think it’s pretty obvious the consensus, that while righty bloggers weren’t enchanted with TNR’s non-existent fact checking, the central belief was Beauchamp lied to them as well.

    And so I think many would agree, if Foer didn’t default into smear the accuser, become defensive laced it with juvenile sarcasm but acted as a diligent, transparent and mature professional the sequence of events would most likely played out differently.

    Besides the shoddy catty non-professionalism, TNR chose the anti-transparency method of response and is issuing crafty, slight of hand response that I’m sure confuse even lawyers – in essence the corners politician TNR usually loves to report on. – and that’s just offensive.

    In light of TNR’s behavior, I do think righty bloggers just aren’t rolling over on TNR and it’s an important aspect to consider.

    Also, I do think it appalling how they treated the “whistle-blower” in light of the fact TNR used a Kos Townhouse email group snitch and published a fake email supposedly from that group.

    TNR has some major problems – they had them and still do. Undeniable.

  47. 47
    SShiell Said:
    10:39 pm 

    Jesse McBeth
    Micah Wright
    Jimmy Massey
    Amorita Randall
    and now Scott Thomas Beauchamp

    How many more times are we going to have to relearn the lessons of the individuals listed above. Even our leaders (Kerry, Durbin, and Murtha just to name a few) offer their own versions of the atrocities our troops commit in combat. And MSM falls on its sword every time on the “fake but accurate” meme.

    Some question TNRs fact-checking and then their steadfast, even stubborn, adherence to the author when holes in his story appeared. Some question the left gleefully grabbing onto the stories initially and the deafening silence that is now heard from that venue. Some question the right fighting the validity of the stories and now question their vindication as piling on. And some question this episode as much ado about nothing. All of these questions are worthy of discussion and debate because I think they reflect the condition of our society today.

    I’ll even add a question to the mix. I question the MSM acceptance of the Beauchamp tales as gospel from TNR without so much as a blink as to their authenticity. Are the newsrooms of America void of common sense? Are they that devoid of military experience? Are they that gullible? It is one thing for a leftist rag to accept the versions presented to it because it fits their world view. But the entirety of the rest of the media? And the tale is the same, although somewhat different, for all of the individuals listed above. Each had their 15 minutes of Media fame before each was shot down as frauds. Their stories were front page news but their comeuppance was little more than a footnote. Of the footnote, I am not surprised. But it surprises and galls me they were so readily accepted in the first place.

  48. 48
    busboy33 Said:
    11:29 pm 

    @topsecretk:

    “I’m not positive, but I suspect that many took exception to your original post because a certain key quality isn’t being acknowledged and that is the conduct of TNR’s post Beauchamp conduct.

    I think it’s pretty obvious the consensus, that while righty bloggers weren’t enchanted with TNR’s non-existent fact checking, the central belief was Beauchamp lied to them as well.”

    No doubt. Unfortunately, I guess you can add TNR to the list of news providers that have devolved into style and ratings over substance. Of all the stories surrounding this war, the failure of the Fourth Estate to do their duty is becoming numbing in its repetition. I have to go searching for even the appearance of fact checking. Thats why I read here (say what you will about Mr. Moran, but he does his homework), and Leftie sites like TPM.

    The common thread between them, aside from the fact checking? When they get something wrong, they immediately notify the viewers and correct the mistake. Like you said, TNRs response after the problem was raised is the most damning part of this: rather than figure out if there was a problem or not, the verbal bombs started flying. Like I said before, this makes me feel old. I want Mr. Cronkite back to just let me know what the heck is going on in the world for 30 minutes a day.

  49. 49
    Dilbert Said:
    3:38 am 

    Propaganda is designed to undermine the will of the American people to fight the war. Potraying US troops as an undisciplined mob running amok committing war crimes and atrocities is a very specific part of AQ’s propaganda. Beauchamp and idiots at TNR have done their part nicely. I assure you AQ is quite pleased with this story being published in TNR. That’s why the people engaging in this sort of behavior are called “useful idiots”.

    TNR was pro-war when that was popular (and sold magazines) and now they’re anti-war and slandering the troops (when that sells magazines). TNR obviously doesn’t care one whit about whether the story is true – only whether it can be disproved. That’s one reason the abused woman story was moved from a forward base (smaller, tighter, limited population) to a rear base in Kuwait (larger, more contractors, more troops, multiple facilities) – doing so makes it near impossible to disprove.

    Allowing TNR to go unchallenged in publishing lies about the troops is allowing enemy propaganda to go unchallenged.

    For me personally as a former Marine what galled me most about Beauchamp’s ridiculous crap – and the clearest indication that it was horse hockey – was his statement that they were doing this as a group. That is in fact a key aspect of his little wonder world and what sells it to a rag like TNR. It portrays the military as a group as behaving in an undisciplined, out of control manner.

    That isn’t the military in which I served.

    I have just about given up trying to explain military service to people that haven’t served and aren’t able to grasp the concept. Those people cannot grasp why someone would volunteer in the first place (outside of some personal profit motive like money for college) and their ability to understand the military skews out from that point into ever widening circles of nonsense – because the basic concepts are, from what I can tell, foreign to them.

    Propaganda is part of the war, one of the battles. Your initial post, posturing as a broader more thoughtful perspective, somehow misses that.

    For some of us dispelling the falsehoods being traded for money by the likes of this punk and TNR is important. Allowing TNR and this chump to portray us as roving mobs of undisciplined sociopaths running over dogs in our 30 ton multi-million dollar tracked vehicles and playing in graves bothers us a bit. Go figure.

  50. 50
    busboy33 Said:
    10:36 am 

    @ Dilbert:

    “Propaganda is designed to undermine the will of the American people to fight the war. Potraying US troops as an undisciplined mob running amok committing war crimes and atrocities is a very specific part of AQ’s propaganda.”

    I don’t defend TNR at all but I’m very worried by this argument. I’m reading your post as equating people who speak in a negative way about the military (and the war itself?) as being “pawns” (my word, not yours) of AQ. That may be a wrong interpretation, but that’s what I’m taking from it.

    I’m not trying to start a flame war, but I have a serious question: if the Beauchamp story were true, would it still be propaganda to publish it? From what I take from your post, it would still be labled as such—undermining the will of the people to wage war. Certainly Abu Grahib, the recent murder trials, the lost weapons, Haditha, all those stories besmirch some members of the military.

    Let me offer a counter definition of propaganda: information designed to trick the listener/viewer into believing or feeling a certain way. Advertising is propaganda (“buy an iPhone and you’lre cool!!”). Its the argument style of choice for those who usually don’t have facts on their side.

    I’m opposed to propaganda, in all its forms. Covering up such stories (if true) is just as much propaganda, and just as morally reprehensible. It seems you assume a sinister motive to TNR actions. Let me offer a different possiblity. TNR ran with what they (sloppily) thought was a legitimate story. Once it became clear that they blew it, they took the cowards road and tried to dodge the bullet rather than correct their mistake and take their lumps. Same result, no sinister motive. Would that change your assessment of the situation, or do you still feel the same?

    Again, I’m honestly asking these questions, not trying to be snarky or anything. If I can pry, are you recently out of the corps, or a long(er) time civilian?

  51. 51
    jpe Said:
    11:22 am 

    This is a non-insane conservative blog that’s well-written and generally well-reasoned; it was inevitable that it would catch flak from the wingnut side.

  52. 52
    busboy33 Said:
    11:27 am 

    I’ve just been reading up on Mr. Beauchamp, as I wasn’t really following the story too closely prior to all this.

    re: the proof that he’s lying.

    Is it really all coming down to the Weekly Standard claiming that an unnamed military person told them it didn’t check out? I don’t read the WS, so I haven’t seen the article, but the MSM is noting that nobody independent has, so far, verified the alleged written admission (calls to the military have been met with “no idea what you’re talking about” by several reporters), and the report is private.

    Not saying Mr. Beauchamp was telling the truth, but if the proof he lied is “government said so” I’m EXTREMELY suspect.

    Any Weekly Standard readers in the thread? Did they actually cite to anything except an unnamed, anonymous source?

  53. 53
    baldilocks Said:
    1:05 pm 

    I’m reading your post as equating people who speak in a negative way about the military (and the war itself?) as being “pawns” (my word, not yours) of AQ.

    Here’s the way I read it: as “equating people who LIE about the military (and the war itself?) as being “pawns” of AQ.”

  54. 54
    busboy33 Said:
    1:25 pm 

    @baldilocks (great name, btw!):

    “Here’s the way I read it: as “equating people who LIE about the military (and the war itself?) as being ‘pawns’ of AQ.”

    I think thats my concern. “Lie” implies that TNR knew, beforehand, that the story was BS, and printed it anyway, as opposed to simply rushing in without checking facts.

    I’m not saying that they did or didn’t lie, but the fact that Mr. Beauchamp’s stories may not be true does not automatically make TNR liars, only embarassingly poor journalists. The NYTimes printed the “anonymous administration source”’s story that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake uranium. Turned out to be a lie. The source lied, sure, but did the Times lie or just fail to fact check? And is there a difference? To me, there is. Mabye there isn’t.

  55. 55
    Laddy Said:
    3:03 pm 

    Rick, you’re the one that somehow conflated winning war victories with certain blogs trying to get a MSM publication to act responsibly. Everyone agrees that victory in Iraq is more important. Duh. How you could somehow conflate and compare the two is what has people scratching their head and irritated. In essence, you said nothing of any import and ended up sounding like you’d consumed a case of sour grapes because you had been left out of the story. Whether you intended that or not, I don’t know. I do know this. If the blogs and the Weekly Standard hadn’t held TNR’s feet to the fire, TNR would still be publishing Little Scottie’s fraudulent diary entries as fact and defaming the U.S. Army’s best.

  56. 56
    Dilbert Said:
    8:37 am 

    busboy33-

    I’m not trying to start a flame war, but I have a serious question: if the Beauchamp story were true, would it still be propaganda to publish it?

    No. It would not be propaganda if it were true. I tried to be clear and careful in my wording but obviously I wasn’t careful enough.

    The original blog says (paraphrasing here) this isn’t the war, its not like we won a battle in the war, you guys are getting sidetracked’.

    What I am saying is that propaganda is most definitely part of the war (I’m going to take for granted that this isn’t in dispute). Part of AQ’s propaganda is that US troops are committing atrocities, that they are a crusader army running amok and raping, pillaging and burning.

    This (false) story by TNR plays into AQ propaganda.

    Since this story plays into AQ propaganda TNR (or any other media player doing something like this) should be damn careful fact check to ensure it is true before publishing it. They weren’t and they didn’t.

    You can speculate on what their motives were as you wish. I am trying to be generous by assigning the motive as money. I could have decided I think it is a flat, deliberate lie to perpeptuate a false narrative that the magazine believes. Frankly I doubt the only other motive I can think of, that TNR is deliberately trying to aid AQ in its propaganda effort, is true (seems pretty dumb to me).

    They are careless and stupid. At BEST.

    I am saying that the OB, posturing as being thoughtfully focused on the war, and saying others are sort of gleefully dancing around pointing at their new Dan Rather target, and that they are getting distracted from the war, misses the point that this propaganda is, in fact, part of the war. Refuting propaganda is legitimate, and part of the war.

    Or alternatively we could all sit back and let TNR and anyone else publish all manner of BS that discredits and slanders the US military as a group and that some of us readily KNOW to be untrue – even knowing that is part of AQ’s propaganda.

    For me, as an former Marine, I am willing – actually I consider it a duty of sorts – to call BS when I see people slandering the troops.

    I apologize for the length.♦

  57. 57
    Dilbert Said:
    9:33 am 

    Not saying Mr. Beauchamp was telling the truth, but if the proof he lied is…

    We don’t need to speculate about whether he lied or not or how we know. The proof he lied is that TNR says he retracted the part about the woman in Iraq.

    His first sentence says he saw her every day at chow in Iraq. Unless you think he just made an error about what he saw and did every day in Iraq he’s a liar by TNR’s admission.

    A multiple liar in his first sentence.

    If people then choose to believe anything else the guy says I obviously can’t do anything more than say it isn’t true and let those folks go on about their business. But their choosing to believe a guy that admits he told (by my count) 2 lies in the first sentence of that story over a mountain of other evidence.

  58. 58
    busboy33 Said:
    12:34 pm 

    @Dilbert:

    “What I am saying is that propaganda is most definitely part of the war (I’m going to take for granted that this isn’t in dispute). Part of AQ’s propaganda is that US troops are committing atrocities, that they are a crusader army running amok and raping, pillaging and burning.

    This (false) story by TNR plays into AQ propaganda.

    Since this story plays into AQ propaganda TNR (or any other media player doing something like this) should be damn careful fact check to ensure it is true before publishing it. They weren’t and they didn’t.”

    I agree 100 percent. As I said before, the MSM has gone comatose with their duties, on BOTH sides of the propaganda (again, the “yellowcake uranium” is an example of the US propaganda IMO). Its gone to “print whatever anybody tells you,” and I firmly believe that its a prime reason our country is where it is now.

    “We don’t need to speculate about whether he lied or not or how we know. The proof he lied is that TNR says he retracted the part about the woman in Iraq.

    His first sentence says he saw her every day at chow in Iraq. Unless you think he just made an error about what he saw and did every day in Iraq he’s a liar by TNR’s admission.

    A multiple liar in his first sentence.”

    Again, true. Even Mr. Beauchamp’s supporters on the Left acknowledge that the part about mocking the injured woman is not correct. Does that establish the rest of the allegations (playing with children’s skulls, running over dogs, etc.) are also false? Certainly suspect to an extreme degree, but discounted out of hand?

    My concern is that the WS article (I’ve been told) says that he wrote an admission that ALL of it is a flat lie, and that seems to be what the Right Blogosphere is screaming about. To completely discount the entire narrative, for me, requires more than anonymous assurances from the Admin that nobody can verify.

    As I said before, I haven’t been following the Beauchamp story, so I’m late to the party. While I have never served in the military (two deficiencies: I don’t wake up before 7am and I react violently to people giving me orders) I have several friends in, and some over in the sandpit. Statistically, when you get 100,000+ people together, you’re gonna have at least one problem child (as Haditha demonstrates). An atrocity is GOING to happen during a large, protracted war—I don’t see any possibility of avoiding it.

    My concern with this story echoes Mr. Moran’s: The Right will make too much of this. The language flying about the Intertubes seems to be reaching for “Beauchamp proves any questioning of military personnel is Treason,” and thats the leap I’m worried about. As you said, if it were true, then it should be reported. As the Tillman case demonstrates, people will lie to protect themselves (thats a natural human reaction IMO, not a sign of evil). The Wingnut approach (again, IMO) seems to be
    “don’t ask, don’t tell, and America keeps her virginity.” This cognitive position is too weak for our country, and will end allowing problems to occur in the future.

    Decrying Beauchamp (Man, I’d love some verification on that confession) is appropriate (I hate liars) and pointing out TNR didn’t take Journalism 101 is almost a civic duty. But I don’t think logically the story can be taken anywhere beyond that (by either side).

    Military question: The reports I’m seeing say that Beauchamp is being punished by taking away his cell phone and laptop, and thats it. I’m not familiar with Military Justice (I worked civilian justice for years, and I know Military Conduct rules are different), but that seems extraordinarily lenient for falsely calling your squadmates War Criminals. I assume you don’t have direct experience with Military Courts, but does this “jibe” with your experience in the service? I’d have thought at least a transfer (to the North Pole) and a rank penalty of some kind. That’s like “teenage son broke curfew” penalty.

    Again, thank you for the input and opinions.

  59. 59
    Dilbert Said:
    7:08 am 

    If they had actually done what he said they did they would be in big trouble.

    If he had falsely accused someone of a crime he’d be in big trouble.

    Writing fiction isn’t against the law even in the military.

  60. 60
    Dilbert Said:
    7:12 am 

    Sorry, I wrote poorly again, as I am in a hurry.

    If he had OFFICIALLY falsely accused someone of a crime he’d be in big trouble.

    Just writing fiction doesn’t get you 10 years in Leavenworth.

  61. 61
    Anonymous Said:
    10:21 am 

    My understanding was that he didn’t put it out as fiction, but as fact. Sure, I can write a fiction story claiming my next door neighbor is a serial killer, but if I go to the media and verify the story, I’m in trouble.

    I’m not sure of the exact chain of events from Mr. Beauchamp’s blog, so I don’t know how it got from him typing on a blog to us discussing it, but I got the impression that he “confirmed” the story with TNR.

    Mabye I’m confusing different definitions of “officially.”

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