[Language Warning: If easily offended, please stop reading now. OK, you’ve been warned. — HW]
If ever the casual viciousness of the Right were on public display for all to view — and gape with astonishment at — it is now. With all the self-awareness of the sadistic boy who delights in pulling the wings off of flies and butterflies, sticking firecrackers in frogs’ mouths and bludgeoning prairie dogs to death, the Right is now piling onto the Beauchamp story, having declared victory, so that pussies like Charles Krauthammer can come along and “discover” the story — as if it weren’t all-but-plagiarized on Page A-13 of today’s Washington Post:
Friday, August 10, 2007; Page A13
For weeks, the veracity of the New Republic‘s Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the Army private who has been sending dispatches from the front in Iraq, has been in dispute. His latest “Baghdad Diarist” (July 13) recounted three incidents of American soldiers engaged in acts of unusual callousness. The stories were meant to shock. And they did….
After some commentators and soldiers raised questions about the plausibility of these tales, both the Army and the New Republic investigated. The Army issued a statement saying flatly that the stories were false. The New Republic claims that it had corroboration from unnamed soldiers. The Weekly Standard quoted an anonymous military source as saying that Beauchamp himself signed a statement recanting what he had written.
Amid these conflicting claims, one issue is not in dispute. When the New Republic did its initial investigation, it admitted that Beauchamp had erred on one “significant detail.” The disfigured-woman incident happened not in Iraq, but in Kuwait….
Alas! Krauthammer’s descriptive powers fail him. His “After some commentators and soldiers raised questions about the plausibility of these tales…” deserves an “Honorable Mention” in the Palace of Lies’ Hall of Shame.
More accurately, the Jingo Monkeyhouse went bugfuck CRAZY, with the shrieking of the chimps at a fever pitch, and feces being flung in all directions. But I don’t need to tell YOU that, gentle reader. I’ve chronicled the “raising of questions” by those “commentators.” and the vitriol that’s been spewing nonstop for almost a month now. We expect this sort of puling, plagiaristic “me-too”ism from fading roué of the Right Krauthammer. The casual sadism and phony self-righteousness are nothing new, so we turn instead to the Washington Post-owned SLATE “Magazine” (quotations since it only exists online) for this:
I am deeply skeptical about the veracity of Beauchamp’s dispatches, particularly the last one, but disinclined to offer definitive pronouncements at this time. Partisans on both sides of the political spectrum seem to harbor no such doubts. Based solely on the content of these dispatches, some were happy to leap to conclusions about the author’s veracity without regard for the facts. And as the argument grows louder, each side turns toward the troops, using them to stand in for their own preconceived ideas about this war…
Gee, you think you could bee MORE effete? Stare down your nose at EVERYBODY a little more? (But watch out, your eyes might permanently lock in the crossed position that this article seems written from).
The author is one “Phillip Carter” a fellow who seems to think that standing by, effetely ‘tsk tsk’ing that “this isn’t cricket, boys” while the witchburning continues in all of its obscene glory. ‘Flaccid’ is the term that comes to mind.*
[*To be fair, according to his tagline “Phillip Carter, an Iraq veteran, is an attorney with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and a principal of the Truman National Security Project.” One presumes from his prose that he served in the Tea Service Division, enforcing ‘extended pinkie’ regulations.]
Excuse me, but has ANY literary work of the 21st Century received this kind of microscopic examination and “semiotic analysis” by would-be literary critics, sleuths and folk-with-axes-to-grind? Could ANY author withstand this sort of agenda-driven parsing?
What is most disturbing is that the effete, Olympian distancing, the “I’ll only touch this with surgical gloves on” prissiness of the prose is exhibited by BOTH Krauthammer and Carter. Literary Viagra™ seems in short supply — within the “mainstream media,” at least, who are only NOW rousing themselves from comatose somnambulism with a “what’s all this then!” red-nosed snort and belch.
A month has passed, idiots. Where were you? (And they wonder why respect for the MSM has fallen to new lows?) The tail wags the dog.
And that’s a huge part of this story. This tale was ginned up in the Rightie blogosmear, and, as it emerges into the mainstream, it does so WITHOUT an opposing viewpoint. The Right has all their ducks in a row, and the Left is left to their traditional position on such questions: ducking. (And were taken by surprise as it emerged, fully formed).
Why? Because TNR and Beauchamp aren’t PERFECT.* And, therefore can’t be defended without long, fey sniffs, a la Mr. Carter, et al, etcetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. They expect us to pussy out, and, fulfilling those expectations, we do.
[Could the Righties live up the standard they push forward? One doubts it.]
For a solid month, now, The Weekly Standard (A News Corporation publication) and Michael Goldfarb’s minions — by whose open soliticitation , the blog-attacks on TNR began, and were then PUBLICIZED in Goldfarb’s official TWS blog — have been stomping on Beauchamp, have been looking under every stone and stoning every dissenter to crucify Beauchamp and The New Republic and its editor Franklin Foer. Indeed, the drumbeat for Foer’s firing is so widespread and so insidious, one wonders what girlfriend Foer stole from Goldfarb in a D.C. bar that such a stealth campaign to wreck his career is being pursued.
Because, make no mistake, this whole episode bears the overt stamp of a personal vendetta against Foer by Goldfarb, and an attempt to destroy The New Republic by The Weekly Standard — which seems odd, given that their audiences overlap not a whit.
Fortunately, one puff of wind in this fartstorm has arisen today, in the form of The New Republic’s statement 2 hours ago (as I write this), which attempts to present the other side of a story that no one’s willing to even lend creedence to. The sheer weight of numbers (and oh-so-precious sniffers, like Mr. TK and his “disinclined to offer definitive pronouncements at this time” — who gives a FUCK what you think, pal? Talk about an Olympian overestimation of one’s own place in the Universe!) merely confirms what I told you two days ago:
The lie that “TNR lied” is now a “fact” and the piling on has begun in earnest. In this battle for rhetorical “reality,” two plus two now equals five, and Beauchamp continues his assignation at the Ministry of Love, while the Ministry of Truth gleefully tears off another gossamer wing.
Here is what the editors of The New Republic wrote in defense:
… we continue to investigate the anecdotes recounted in the Baghdad Diarist. Unfortunately, our efforts have been severely hampered by the U.S. Army. Although the Army says it has investigated Beauchamp’s article and has found it to be false, it has refused our–and others’–requests to share any information or evidence from its investigation. What’s more, the Army has rejected our requests to speak to Beauchamp himself, on the grounds that it wants “to protect his privacy.”
At the same time the military has stonewalled our efforts to get to the truth, it has leaked damaging information about Beauchamp to conservative bloggers. Earlier this week, The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb published a report, based on a single anonymous “military source close to the investigation,” entitled “Beauchamp Recants,” claiming that Beauchamp “signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only ‘a smidgen of truth,’ in the words of our source.”
Here’s what we know: On July 26, Beauchamp told us that he signed several statements under what he described as pressure from the Army. He told us that these statements did not contradict his articles. Moreover, on the same day he signed these statements for the Army, he gave us a statement standing behind his articles, which we published at tnr.com. Goldfarb has written, “It’s pretty clear the New Republic is standing by a story that even the author does not stand by.” In fact, it is our understanding that Beauchamp continues to stand by his stories and insists that he has not recanted them. The Army, meanwhile, has refused our requests to see copies of the statements it obtained from Beauchamp–or even to publicly acknowledge that they exist. [emphasis added]
But those technically correct debate points are meaningless in a rhetorical arena driven by the paranoid fantasies and ‘fan fiction’ of the true fabulists of this story. Listen to the triumphalism posted at 5 AM (EDT) by the National Review Online:
A case of “Beauchamping.”
By Jeff Emanuel
Baghdad, Iraq — The Scott Thomas affair has, for all intents and purposes, come to a close.
Questionable from the very start, the stories penned by the then-pseudonymous Scott Thomas Beauchamp have now been declared false. The New Republic, which published the pieces by the Baghdad Diarist, defended them vigorously when their author came under fire. But according to Mjr. Steven F. Lamb, the deputy public-affairs officer for Multi National Division-Baghdad, “an investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate [his] claims.” …
Remember what I said? They’ll declare victory and move on AS IF the issue were resolved? Well, call me Cassandra. Listen to the patently bullshit “magnanimity” of the “victors” as the Declaration of Victory continues:
What they published was shown not to be simply “inaccurate” or “exaggerated,” but false — and TNR, along with its defenders, went to the mat for it.
The motivation for this is likely not as sinister as some ascribe to TNR — it is highly doubtful that they went to press with a story that they knew to be false, from a source they thought untrustworthy. In all likelihood, they simply found a story that validated their views about the “morally and emotionally distorting effects of war,” which also served as “a startling confession of shame about some disturbing conduct, both [the author’s] and that of his fellow soldiers.” Thinking the source unimpeachable, they ran with it.
A massive part of the problem with TNR and others who seek to run to press with the first available scandal is that, to them, such behavior is the rule in the United States military, rather than the exception (as it is in reality).
Oh, and the tag? Why, this Jeff Emmanuel is Mr. Macho! (And not some faggoty little puke like me):
OK, let’s get this straight. WHO says that Beauchamp was lying? The Army. You know, the same Army in which Beauchamp’s theater Commanding Officer says that 190,000 weapons that are missing in Iraq are the result of “clerical errors,” according to Gen. Petraeus. (110,000 AK-47s and 80,o00 pistols, IIRC).
The same Army who’s covering up the death of Pat Tillman by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan with a blizzard of “I don’t knows” and this bizarre situation:
Censured general evades subpoena to appear before Tillman hearing
Published: Wednesday August 1, 2007
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) revealed in a Wednesday hearing that Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, who was censured Tuesday by the Army for deceiving investigators regarding the announcement of the death of Army Specialist Pat Tillman, has evaded a subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“General Kensinger refused to appear today,” Chairman Waxman said in his opening statement. “His attorney informed the committee that General Kensinger would not testify voluntarily, and if issued a subpoena would seek to evade service. The committee did issue a subpoena to General Kensinger earlier this week, but US Marshals have been unable to locate or serve him.”
Whose lawyer, today, sent RAW STORY an email excuse that sounds eerily like what I reported yesterday in “Wrong is Right“? THAT Army is the “credible” one, and The New Republic is the INcredible one? Gee, Righties. What happened to that microscopic parsing? That stratospheric high bar for accuracy? Where did all that skepticism go? Hmm. The Army is lying to congress, stonewalling, has admitted to a cover-up in the death of Tillman, and NOW their leaks and statements (without any details, and with Beauchamp in information blackout) THOSE are credible, but TNR is full of it?
Now, I will reiterate the charge that “Confederate Yankee” (and first recipient of Iraq Central Command emails claiming Beauchamp lied) Bob Owens so “witheringly” attempted to debunk: this sort of focused, agenda-driven story doesn’t appear by accident. And, if not by accident, then certainly not without a specific PURPOSE.
And it doesn’t enter the mainstream via “military leaks” without the direct complicity of the White House. If only because they’d shut it down, otherwise.
A solid month has been spent on this non-story.*
Is Beauchamp Hemingway? Because that’s the kind of literary attention that’s been given to his prose. Sadly, a writer receiving that kind of universal, negative acclaim often commits suicide. As a soldier serving as a private in one of the heaviest combat zones in Iraq, if he got killed by, say, one of those AK-47s that are missing, we’d all understand.
These pricks, these would-be defenders of fucking freedom have decided that Beauchamp is “dishonoring” the defenders of fucking freedom, and focus every possible energy at killing the kid. THAT is what we’re talking about, after all. Jesus H. Christ what insane and sadistic crap has been focused on him, on his writing, and on his wife. And he’s in the fucking Army in fucking Iraq with the fucking Army PISSED off at him.
If Private Beauchamp survives this shit, he will have the biggest balls of anybody who’s ever lived. I’m with you, kid. It doesn’t matter what you wrote. You never deserved to be treated like this.
And these pricks call themselves “Christians.”
Jesus H. Christ.
Let me say that again: this information is not released to the media without the direct complicity of the White House. Oh, there may be “plausible deniability,” but in the court of public opinion, I put it to YOU, jurors: Could this transpire without White House approval? Would the fingerprints of anonymous officers and confirmations and the insistence on “secrecy” and “privacy” come from the Pentagon or from the West Wing?
When the malefic muppets of the Right are finally reduced to the hands that moved the lips, the buck stops at the top. Not with Michelle Malkin. Not with Michael Goldfarb or even William Kristol. Not with Charles Krauthammer or with Major Lamb, Colonel Steven Boylan or General Petraeus.
The “frame” is precisely what the White House wants to push, it’s a classical “forking attack” (As I noted HERE), pinning Democrats as “defeatocrats” and no one on the Left dare touch it. It was “confirmed” via official Army leaks at the highest level, but is being STONEWALLED by claims of “confidentiality,” and concern for the “privacy” of the silenced soldier, Private Beauchamp.
Where did TNR make their mistake?
First of all in “outing” Private Beauchamp (whether by his decision or by theirs). Nothing has come of it, save for attacks on his character, a microscopic analysis of his life, his blogs, and even the accusation that something was “WRONG” because his fianceé (now wife) worked for TNR*.
[*This implicit charge of nepotism was, weirdly, repeated by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post — a newspaper who have never had the slightest public problem with the fact that columnist Sally Quinn was sucking Editor Ben Bradlee’s COCK while everyone pretended that the office affair wasn’t going on, and then MARRIED the sonofabitch and are now the Regal Couple of D.C. Where were the nepotism charges then? Implicitly OR explicitly? If there were any, I sure as hell haven’t seen them. And no comment AFTER the couple outed themselves! I apologize if this seems gross, or grotesque, but I would suggest that you take your high dudgeon to Bradlee, Quinn and the Washington Post, whose slimy, sorded business it either is, or else, whose mouth OUGHT to remain shut on such matters. Journalists, I have found, NEVER hold themselves to the same sort of scrutiny that they would hold others to.]
Secondly, by getting TNR to “fact check” and they, stupidly and honorably, admitting to an error of PLACE (which may have been intentional on the writers’ part to PROTECT THE perpetrators and the victim), they opened themselves up to amateur literary analysts like Krauthammer who use the “error” as a brush to tar EVERYthing with.
And we must ask: was this an abberration? A fluke? A “weird” story that showed up in the traditional summer’s season of slow news days and low readership?
No: this either came from the top (remember, the White House and/or Rove has been in open collaboration with bloggers and talk show hosts — calling both last week for pow-wows on how to defang the Alberto Gonzales perjury charges), or else it was ENABLED from the top. Keep your eyes on the pea.
As usual, the shells move with bewildering speed.
This is coordinated. This relies on Usual Suspects (Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, et al). This is being run THROUGH a Rupert Murdoch right-wing rag that happens to be run by a FAUX NOOZ regular, William Kristol, and is aided and abetted by OTHER FAUX NOOZ regulars — Michelle Malkin, Matt Sanchez, etc.
It covers up the Pat Tillman affair. It provides a smokescreen for the rape-murder convictions of several soldiers regarding a 14-year-old girl, and her family. It raises the red flag of “Lefties don’t support the troops!” It silences Beauchamp. At a minimum, it chills TNR, and — they seem to hope — gets Franklin Foer, TNR’s editor fired (as they are, increasingly and openly calling for).
And while you’re at it, Google “Franklin Foer” if you want to see who’s being set up to take the fall. (Google news: 200 hits) Hugh Hewitt’s lackey Dean Whatsisname even posted this vile piece of tripe three days ago on Hewitt’s Townhall dot com blog:
Place Your Bets! Introducing the Franklin Foer Dead Pool!
Town Hall, DC – Aug 7, 2007
SO WHAT ELSE HAVE WE to do but form a Franklin Foer Death Pool?
At this point, I don’t care about whether or not Beauchamp was utterly truthful, or pulling it all out of his ass. The response has been disproportionate, unfair, uncivilized and filled with a casual viciousness that makes one question whether these sadists are actually human beings at all, or merely demons from the pits of hell sowing destruction, disease and death.
The death of truth, that is: the “reality by assertion” riff that’s killing democracy in the USA. Or, as Tomm writes (reproduced with permission of):
There is supposed to be a “disaster fatigue,” where too many catastrophes — the Utah mine disaster, the Manhattan flooding (which I barely missed during my visit last month), the missing weapons in Iraq (who was in charge? Why, General Petraeus!) — but the outrage fatigue is greater. We are doomed. Television is again beating the drum for war and persists in refusing to expose the level of filth and malice and evil from these bastards. They go on Fascist Radio to score their points. They organize smear campaigns against ordinary soldiers and translators and other citizens trying to do their jobs.
And meanwhile, power is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few and fewer and the middle class is wiped out, tuition is unafordable, health care is destroying our morale and misery is rising around us like the temperature at the North Pole as hope evaporates like ice at the North Pole and we are all polar bears drowning….
OK, Krauthammer, why don’t you finish this all off with a pissy tagline?
We already knew from all of America’s armed conflicts — including Iraq — what war can make men do. The only thing we learn from Scott Thomas Beauchamp is what literary ambition can make men say.
Good attack dog; here’s your Scoobie snack.