Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

This Is How The Right Wing Supports The Troops

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2007

A month back, a soldier currently serving in Iraq published an article in The New Republic under the pseudonym “Scott Thomas”.  The article was hard-hitting and grim.  It told how war desensitized and dehumanized the persons fighting in it, most of whom are teenagers or young and still impressionable adults (our brains aren’t fully mature until we’re in our mid-twenties, a fact that several of society’s enterprises use to their advantage but not necessarily to ours).   While talking about the place of war in society — it never will go away, he obviously thinks — he tells about some of the terrible things he had witnessed and done, such as desecrating corpses and running over dogs with armored vehicles.

Of course, once they found out about it, all of the Usual Suspects in the conservative’s mighty Wurlitzer – Malkin, Powerline,  the whole schmear – set out to prove that “Scott Thomas” didn’t exist and that this was all just liberal lies to smear the armed forces and turn the country against the war. They went berzerk proving to themselves through “semiotic analysis” and other such crapola that this whole thing was just made-up liberal media lies.

The following week they were all congratulating themselves for their hard work at exposing TNR’s alleged lies, and went on to demand a retraction from the New Republic. At this point, which was late last week, the real author of the piece, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp — a soldier currently serving in Iraq — came forward.  (If this all sounds familiar:  They didn’t think “Jamil Hussein” existed, either — and they didn’t much care that their outing of him would likely lead to his death.)

Did the appearance of Beauchamp cause the cons to either apologize or shut their yaps in embarrassment?  Of course not.   These people have no shame.

Instead, the reaction of the cons was pretty similar to how they reacted to the people who turned Jenna and her twin Barbara Bush in for underage drinking at Chuy’s a few years ago.    The “support the troops” conservatives immediately set out to destroy Pvt. Beauchamp-working on getting him in trouble with the army  — a project apparently made easier by getting an officer assigned to the job of assisting with their work — working to dig up and in at least one case posting personal information about him (which you will not find here), and even suggesting that other members of his unit frag him while on patrol.

An endless stream of vicious threats and smears, and it was all treated as business as usual with no one suggesting that anyone involved in this had crossed a line.   When we left him last week, Howie ‘Mistah’ Kurtz was working on trying to pump this into an actual scandal — on the part of Beauchamp, not on the part of the sick cons trying to hound him to death.   (In fairness, I must note that one conservative, John Cole of Balloon Juice, is disgusted by the actions of Malkin and Company.  Bully for his not being a bully.)

To quote Digby on this:

I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don’t seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn’t require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.

[UPDATE: Jon Swift provides another good rundown, with some links I don’t have.]

[UPDATE #2:  TBogg tells us about Bob “Confederate Yankee” Owens and his efforts to harass Private Beauchamp.  Keep digging that hole, Bob!]

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15 Responses to “This Is How The Right Wing Supports The Troops”

  1. John said

    I’m not sure you really read any of those links. The debate wasn’t about whether or not Beauchamp existed, most of us military bloggers were pretty sure he did. The question is about the validity of his claims, which neither TNR or the Army has been able to verify yet.

    Your comparison of Beauchamp vs. Jamil Hussein is case in point, let me read you something that milblogger Greyhawk scribed well before you wrote this post and well before Beauchamp came out: Some time ago I advised folks not to focus on whether Jamil Hussein was actually an Iraqi police officer and instead concentrate on the accuracy of his claims. I’ll now suggest avoiding the argument as to whether “Scott Thomas” is or isn’t a soldier. The exhumation of a graveyard has already been corroborated, that alone leads me to believe Thomas is indeed a soldier here.

    Also, your presumption that Beauchamp is some sort of whisteblower is simply not true. And I’m not saying that through the lens of a right wing ideology, it just is.not.true.

    Reporting on something anonymously is not whistleblowing. He wrote under a pseudonym so that neither Beauchamp or his fellow soldiers, the men perpetrating the crimes, could be identified. There was no effort to right the wrongs, just an effort to be published.

    And that’s if the crimes existed. Again, there’s been no corroboration of STB’s stories.

    Lastly, the most vocal critics of the validity of Beauchamp’s claims have been milbloggers, the mil stands for ‘military.’ We’re not smearing ourselves, that simply does not make sense. But we are defending our name, while you’re defending a poorly constructed, factually dubious series of claims that paint the military in a very poor light.

    So again, your attempt to create some sort of hypocrisy on the Right, who has traditionally supported us more than the left, is just plain inaccurate and wrong.

    I’m not trying to offend you here, but you’re way off the mark. I’d be cautious about forming an opinion on something that you (a) clearly have little knowledge of and (b) seemed to have based on opposition to conservatives, and nothing else.

    I’d encourage more aggressive fact-checking and reading next time.

  2. Charles said

    John, apparently there is a reading comprehension problem here.

    Phoenix Woman says, “Of course, once they found out about it, all of the Usual Suspects in the conservative’s mighty Wurlitzer – Malkin, Powerline, the whole schmear – set out to prove that ‘Scott Thomas’ didn’t exist.” (emphasis added)

    You say, “The debate wasn’t about whether or not Beauchamp existed, most of us military bloggers were pretty sure he did.” (emphasis added)

    Both links she provides do in fact cast doubt on Thomas’s existence.

    Secondly, as a point of fact, many whistleblowers do start out anonymously. People know that whistleblowing is heavily punished and, in fact, most whistleblowers who go public lose their livelihood and/or their marriages. Scott Thomas could be punished a lot more heavily.

    There’s a whole book on whistleblowing by Glazer and Glazer. It’s called “The Whistleblowers.” You might want to read it.

    Before challenging someone’s fact checking, you should show a minimum of it yourself.

  3. Charles, John of Op-For is — ironically enough — doing exactly what Gavin of Sadly, No! showed the right-wingers as doing: Moving the goalposts and rewriting history. He knows perfectly well that the only reason Beauchamp came out was of because of people like John and Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt hounding the people at TNR. But he, having no brains in addition to no honor, morals or shame, thinks he can get away with pretending otherwise.

  4. John said

    Out of line, PW. I won’t respond to ad hominum attacks on my character though, since (a) you don’t know me and (b) it reflects poorly on you.

    No one is rewriting anything. Beauchamp never made any attempt to file a proper report on any of these activities. He filed three anonymous dispatches for TNR before The Weekly Standard called into question the validity of those reports.

    Quite frankly, I don’t care if other people doubted if Beauchamp existed. I didn’t, so I won’t be roped into defending that contention.

    The only thing that matters now is validating Beauchamp’s claims. Not whether or not someone thought he was/wasn’t a soldier.

    If he’s telling the truth, then he will face charges under the UCMJ for his toleration of the crimes he witnessed. If not, then he’s a liar. Plain and simple.

  5. John said

    Also, in my first post, I laid this case against Beauchamp very clearly.

    The only thing that I got in return was name calling and quotes from two blogs that I don’t write for calling into question STB’s existence.

    Needless to say, this is not a very compelling counterpoint on either of your parts.

  6. Charles said

    Good grief, what hypocrisy! You come onto this blog, accuse Phoenix Woman of making it up, and when you get your rear end handed to you, tied with a little silver bow, you get huffy.

    What a weenie.

    The simple question is: “when Malkin and Powerline and countless other blogs learned that there was an allegation of what may amount to war crimes, what was their first instinct?”

    Answer: “To silence the accuser.”

    Scott Thomas’s allegations can only be tested by a genuinely fair inquiry, not by the kind of kangaroo court the military provided for the 372nd MP Company. Men in the field, like Scott Thomas, are not the culprits. By the Nuremberg principles, the culprits are their most senior commanders.

    But second in line as people who do wrong are those who try to silence the truthtellers.

  7. John said

    Are we even on the same page Charles? It seems like you’re reading what you want to read and ignoring everything else.

    When did I accuse PW of making anything up? I accused Beauchamp, not her.

    What I did accuse both of you of, however, is demonstrating a fundamental lack of knowledge regarding the facts of this case. In fact, I’m still convinced that you all have read none of the very legitimate questions raised by military members about the details of Beauchamp’s stories.

    Silencing the accuser? Honestly, must you be so dramatic? He made some highly dubious claims. People want those claims fact-checked. That’s it.

    So please, spare me the Big Brother fantasies.

    Here’s another thing to consider. Last week there were two incidents of unauthorized killings to the north and east of Baghdad.

    Soldiers from each of the involved units came forward, made the appropriate reports, and now the perpetrators are facing charges. Why aren’t we having this debate about them?

    You won’t answer that, of course, so I’ll answer for you.

    Because they had evidence to back up their claims. They took the proper steps to report the incidents and did the right thing.

    Listen, given the silliness of your replies I don’t expect to get anywhere with this. The mere fact that you’ve tried to create a heroic whistleblower out of a man who either tolerated some horrible crimes without reporting them or created those stories simply to be published is absolutely beyond me.

    But it has taught me a very, very important lesson about liberal bloggers, one that I won’t soon forget.

    You all can whine and complain about folks like Malkin and Powerline all you want. I came on here, presented a reasonable argument, and was labeled a dishonorable hypocrite liar for it.

    Maybe it’s time you look inward instead of focusing on conservative bloggers. They seem to have you beat in the class department.

  8. Charles said

    All you’ve managed to show, John, is how you came here to start a fight. When you say, “I’m not sure you really read any of those links,” you are in effect accusing the person who linked of having invented.

    As for whether Scott Thomas is telling the truth or not, you and your buddies are not a court of inquiry– and neither are Phoenix Woman or I. But you’re setting yourself up as judge and jury. You’ve already declared him to be either a war criminal or a liar. And some people, based on the hatred being whipped up against Scott Thomas, are urging that he be murdered.

    If those are the two sides– between defending Scott Thomas’s right to speak without being threatened vs. trying to protect the image of the US military even if it ends in a serviceman’s death– I’m happy to choose the former.

    For that matter, if you really are a member of the services seeking to protect the image of the military, you’d do well to do the same. So far, you have simply dirtied them by associating the military with your own arrogant, disingenous words.

  9. John said

    All you’ve managed to show, John, is how you came here to start a fight. When you say, “I’m not sure you really read any of those links,” you are in effect accusing the person who linked of having invented. What? Is that last line even a sentence? I’m not even sure what you’re trying to say anymore.

    As for whether Scott Thomas is telling the truth or not, you and your buddies are not a court of inquiry– and neither are Phoenix Woman or I. But you’re setting yourself up as judge and jury. You’ve already declared him to be either a war criminal or a liar. And some people, based on the hatred being whipped up against Scott Thomas, are urging that he be murdered.

    I never urged that he be murdered, nor did I condone anyone who did. Why do you continue to quote other people and act as if it has any relevance to me?

    I’m not judge or jury. But I do have a brain. Scott Thomas claimed he witnessed these crimes. Failure to report those crimes falls under “Conduct Unbecoming a Soldier” in the UCMJ. So he’s either guilty of tolerating these actions, or he is lying about it. This is the simplest point that I’ve made here, and you’re having a terrible time wrapping your brain around it.

    If those are the two sides– between defending Scott Thomas’s right to speak without being threatened vs. trying to protect the image of the US military even if it ends in a serviceman’s death– I’m happy to choose the former.

    Oh yeesh again with the “silencing” meme. NO ONE SAID THAT HE COULDN’T SPEAK OUT. In fact, he was expected to speak out, by reporting this up the chain of command. It was his failure to do so that got him into this mess in the first place. Geez, how many freakin’ times do we have to go over this same point?

    For that matter, if you really are a member of the services seeking to protect the image of the military, you’d do well to do the same. So far, you have simply dirtied them by associating the military with your own arrogant, disingenous words.

    Ha, I don’t think so dude. Your logic would be knee-slapping funny if you weren’t so darn serious about it.

    Scott Thomas accuses his fellow soldiers of the most despicable of crimes, and I’m the one dirtying the military’s rep by pointing out the factual errors in those accusations?

    Ha.

    Hahahaha.

    Was that some lame attempt to discredit what I’m saying? Oh man, come back when you’re serious Charlie, honestly.

  10. As the proprietor of the blog you linked as “The ‘they support the troops’ conservatives immediately set out to destroy Pvt. Beauchamp,” I think some air-clearing may be in order.

    I find it quite amusing that you are so interested in supporting “the troop”–the singular soldier who supports a narrative of U.S. soldiers as barbarians and sociopaths–instead of the hundreds of soldiers that he has smeared with acting dishonorably and illegally.

    If you read his accounts, he claims that he insulted a female burn victim in an especially crowded dining facility, without apparent repercussions. This is a smear against the integrity of the entire forward operating base, across the multiple units that take their meals there.

    He insists that while the soldier danced around with part of a child’s skull on his head, that no one objected, and that the majority found it highly amusing. Once again, this is a smear against the integrity of every soldier in his unit, and an indictment that they were all guilty of desecration and dereliction of duty for not reporting this soldier. The third incident once again smears the entire patrol for cheering and laughing for the storied dog-murdering driver. Once again, every soldier in his unit would be guilty of dereliction of duty for not reporting such an incident.

    And this was simply in one story, the third of his dispatches.

    A claim in his first dispatch has been disputed by other Iraq War veterans as being very implausible, and this comes from servicemen who have literally walked the same streets.

    We also know for a fact that Beauchamp flatly lied in his second story when he claimed that only Iraqi police carry Glock pistols. This claim in his second story cements him as a fabulist; the only thing the investigation into the stories he told in his third dispatch will reveal is how much of a fabulist he really is, and whether or not he committed crimes with his other apparent fictions.

    How does one really support the troops?

    You seem convinced that support the troops, it is imperative that we swallow an implausible narrative from this one particular, sorry excuse of a soldier, at the exclusion of the other soldiers from his unit and others at FOB Falcon that have explicitly denounced his claims as false in their entirety.

    You decry the fall of a fabulist, and completely ignore the probable libel he committed against hundreds of his fellow soldiers. About them, you don’t seem to care. About the failed fabulist you seem only to care because you prefer his narrative.

    PV-2 Beauchamp–a man who has already lost rank once before–needed no help in getting in trouble with the Army. He has apparently libeled in the press an entire FOB and his own unit in specific with three distinct stories that encompass behavior that soldiers tell us are violations of military law. Even if his stories are true–and there is precisely zero evidence supporting that to date–his posts amount to a confession that he has repeatedly broken military regulations.

    Scott, have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no?

    That some have uncovered his other troublesome behavior–from explicitly stating that he only joined the army to burnish his anti-war credentials, to the imaginary girlfriend he created with a photo swiped from a German blogger’s pages, to operational security violations that put his unit at risk, Beauchamp is an on-going and obvious trainwreck.

    As for the claim that conservative bloggers were “out to prove Scott Thomas didn’t exist,” you show scant evidence, as has every person promoting that particular narrative. Frankly, I think that this narrative is ripe with untruth.

    If you look at the center-right blogosphere and milbloggers honestly and objectively, you’ll find plenty of people questioning the stories, but few (if any) prominent bloggers claiming that “Scott Thomas” was an outright fabrication by TNR.

    I questioned whether or not TNR checked his credentials and verified his status, but asking if the editors did their job (and rather obviously by all the holes that have been exposed, they didn’t). I was curious into whether or not he was active duty, or a veteran… that is a far cry for claiming he didn’t exist. A handful of other bloggers who speculated on his possible identity (incorrectly, I will add), citing a specific military veteran as the possible writer– but again, an incorrect speculative identification of a man who serve on the same base at an earlier time is a far cry from claiming that he didn’t exist.

    And yet, you, like so many on the left, continue to falsely claim such a narrative. You should be ashamed for being so dishonest.

    I’d further take you to task for inaccurately labeling the semiotics expert as a conservative; if you actually read the entire piece, he clearly identified himself as a liberal.

    As ever, it appears that you could care less about the troops, and seem to care far more about the appearance of caring about the troops. You have not said one word about the hundreds of good soldiers apparently libeled by a proven fabulist, and defend his dishonesty.

    You don’t support the troops in general; you simply support the one malcontent that supports your chosen narrative.

  11. Charles said

    Ah, yes, The Confederate Yankee who continued to put out the lie about the so-called biological WMD trailers long after the president’s own commission, The Iraq Survey Group, had demonstrated that that was ridiculous. Getting a lecture from such a notorious prevaricator is like getting a lecture on chastity from Bill O’Reilly. Turn the vibrator off and you might be easier to understand.

    _________________________

    John, you falsely stated that Phoenix Woman was incorrect in claiming that Malkin and Powerline attempted to question Scott Thomas’s existence. You continue to deny that.

    This is like a hook in your flesh. You keep tearing at yourself to get away from it. But I can tell that you have some shred of conscience that brings you back to be brought face to face with your misdeed again and again.

    Here’s how you get that hook out: you admit that Phoenix Woman did not misstate anything regarding Malkin and Powerline. If you think “the military bloggers”– in other words, your friends– are correct in challenging Scott Thomas’s account, fine. That’s an opinion, which will be answered in due course of time.

    But as long as you fail to admit any wrongdoing, that hook will rip and rend.

  12. John said

    What the hell are you talking about? Powerline questioned Foer’s use of “nearly certain” line, but concluded with I am in a state of “near certainty” that “the editors” don’t have a clue regarding the veracity of Thomas’s article.

    NOT the “veracity of Thomas’ existence.” The veracity of his article. Read, dude.

    And the closest Michelle got was linking to an American Thinker article in which Ray Robison incorrectly theorized the STB was really Clinton Hicks (who was a soldier anyway).

    Which is why I questioned whether you or Phoenix Woman had even read the pieces. Meat hook, christ.

    Still, there….I took to time to answer your tiny, nitpicky, and completely irrelevant argument. Now why don’t you address the two dozen legitimate points that both Bob and I brought up.

    Unless there’s any other bloggers that you’d like to quote out of context and then act as if I’m somehow responsible for their thoughts and words.

  13. I’m in agreement with John.

    Charles, you’ve made the allegation that Phoenix Woman is correct. It is therefore your responsibility to cite the exact blog posts that support that assertion, and present the “evidence,” in context.

    If you cannot do this, you yourself are revealed as a fabricator.

    As for the “lie” you said I wrote, you only serve to show once more your own dishonestly. All I provided in that post was the fact that:

    …a single team of nine civilian experts wrote a “unanimous” report that was only unanimous within their one group, while two military teams of experts reached the conclusion that these were bioweapons labs.

    There were dissenting opinions. You might not like that reality, but it is reality, just as you might not like the reality of your “reality-based” (“based” by definition meaning not entirely) community committing falsehoods when they try to spread the narrative that some sort of majority (or even a significant minority) of milbloggers or center-right bloggers claimed that “Scot Thomas” was fictional.

  14. Charles said

    You guys are both invited to leave voluntarily.

    Any time that an impartial fact-finding commission makes a determination on Scott Thomas, you’re welcome to razz me. It won’t change the fact that certain right-wing bloggers have been very far over the top on this case.

    But I have no time for babysitting, and I think I speak for my co-bloggers in that regard.

  15. We’ve done nothing but provide facts, Confederate Yankee. You and John continue to pretend that the facts don’t exist. It hurts John more than you, because he has, as Charles says, a shred of conscience.

    Anyone who wants to can follow the links we’ve already provided. We’re not going to waste time jumping through the same hoops just so you can ignore them. Besides, your posts in this thread have shown not just your fearful efforts to change the subject, but your extreme lack of honor and unwillingness to argue in good faith — because if you did, you’d have to admit you are not only wrong, but amoral. Truly, you are one of the People of the Lie: You see truth and facts only as things to force good people to spend time researching, even as you all sit around and do things like make up garbage about “semiotic analysis” to “prove” that “Scott Thomas” didn’t exist. Didn’t you amoral fools learn from the Jamail Hussein incident? When you all claimed he didn’t exist, either?

    There’s one good thing about your visits to this thread: The more time you and your minions spend here, the less time you all have to harrass Scott Beauchamp.

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