One thing I’ve noticed about Scott Beauchamp’s defenders is that they are very careful not to disparage the Milbloggers--Beauchamp’s strategically stupid slam on those who’ve never been to Iraq notwithstanding--whose doubt about Beauchamp’s stories have twofold characteristics: 1) most of them have actual experience—in the Army, in other services and/or in Iraq, and 2) whose expressed doubt about the veracity ofthe Beauchamp stories generally have a , shall we say, more direct character. Remember that in Saturday’s Washington Post, TNR editor Frank Foer asserted that
Conservative bloggers make a bit of a living denying any bad news that emanates from Iraq.In today’s WP, Foer again takes a shot at conservatives.
It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the [conservative] Weekly Standard's efforts to press an ideological agenda."Foer is very careful to avoid mentioning the military bloggers who’ve given the Beauchamp offerings a heavy battering. Why? Because any criticism of the Milbloggers will result in a harsh and ugly blowback that Foer isn’t quite prepared for. (Again, Beauchamp wasn’t clever enough to avoid this.)
This is no slam on the efforts of civilian doubters of the Beauchamp’s stories. On the contrary, people like Ace, Michelle Malkin, Allahpundit, Charles Johnson, Bryan Preston [correction: it turns out that Bryan is a USAF veteran. -ed.] , Dean Barnett and Hugh Hewitt lend their credibility to the dissection of these stories and their thoughts are more difficult to ignore than are those of lesser-known bloggers—military and civilian alike. However, their lack of military service makes them a better target-of-opportunity for their critics when it comes to using the ‘chickenhawk’ epithet. (Remember what I said about that rhetorical weapon; it's aimed at the civilian defenders of war, but troop morale is the casualty.)
In light of that, I thought it may be useful to collect a small roundup* of what military bloggers are saying about the Beauchamp controversy. Here goes, with some missives edited for…directness.
Jonn Lilyea, SFC, USA (ret.):
[P]utting a child’s skull on your head - sorry, but infantrymen never know when their next shower will be - putting an exhumed skull anywhere on your body is just unsanitary and his squad leader would’ve knocked the troop into his next rotation. I know it seems trivial to most people, but anyone who has really been an infantryman, not the kind in the movies, knows the importance of personal hygiene - and the dangers of ignoring personal hygiene.Crotchety Old B*stard, retired Army NCO and field grade infantry officer:
From reading Beauchamp’s blogs, I get the impression that the little weasel heard some stories in the latrine while he was pounding his pathetic little pecker, blew them out of proportion and then marketed them to The New Republic - which swallowed them hook, line and sinker. I guess it’s not really their fault since they wouldn’t know a track pad from sh*t-on-a-shingle, what with them being a bunch of chickensh*t civilian p*ssies and all.
[E]very unit has one of these useless morons. It’s almost like standard issue in the Infantry Company MTO&E. It’s listed right after the company barber kit.Neptunus Lex, current USN officer:
Nomenclature: Dirt Bag, whiny, useless; permanent Private
Disposition: UCMJ action and eventual separation for the good of the service
I would be willing to bet that the Commander and First Sergeant immediately guessed [who] this spoonful of owl sh*t [was] as soon as the company was identified as A Co. 1-18.
It’s sad to think that with Western civilization locked in a mortal struggle with an implacable and murderous ideology, that nearly half of us would prefer not just to have us tie one hand behind our backs, but actively conspire to shove their heads up their a**es while they’re at it.Dadmanly, Iraq War veteran, Army:
Beauchamp admits in his writings that he joined the Army despite an anti-war disposition so that he would earn “credibility” for later criticism of Government defense policies (and presumably, the war). He admits to wanting to turn himself into an accomplished writer. He clearly practiced fictional accounts of combat, based on his training, before he was deployed. Objectively, it’s clear that the kind of “war is hell,” apocalypse now kind of Iraqi war stories are infinitely more salable than less violent, more honorable narratives. Match prior intent, with motive, opportunity, and willing accomplices, why is it so difficult for media types to entertain skepticism in the face of this kind of war reporting? They exhibit tremendously greater skepticism about Multinational Force press releases. [SNIP]Ever the blunt one is Blackfive’s Uncle Jimbo (James Hanson), retired SO NCO, USA:
No, we just don’t tolerate people who fabricate stories, misrepresent their “combat” experience, malign and slander their fellow soldiers with partisan intent, or otherwise attempt to portray US military (as a class of persons) as cruel, evil, deranged, stupid, homicidal, etc. Don’t try to do to any of us today what you so successfully did to veterans of Vietnam – denigrated and disgraced their services with outright lies and disgusting caricatures that became the public face of the Vietnam Vet for a generation. [SNIP]
Get real veterans, honest men and women of integrity. Ask them. Check out some agenda-free reporting, from independents and real embeds. Discount those oppositional voices with stark partisan objectives, or who have deeply invested their reputations on “Iraq is a quagmire,” “we’ve lost already,” “our army is broken” kinds of agenda-reporting (New York Times, AP, et al).
By mutual consent, acknowledge that there are always bad or dishonest or criminally violent among our soldiers, as there are among the rest of society. But see that they are recognizable by the fact that they are rare exceptions, not the norm.
If we ever reach a day when there cease to exist active partisans out to discredit our military and its efforts, to find evil and misdeed where there is none, then military, veterans, families and friends will not need to step forward publicly and call BS on those peddling slander.
Your character, or more accurately, your complete lack of it has already been noted and your experiences, being mostly fiction matter little. If any of them happened, you will face punishment, but as we know telling BS stories is not a crime. As far as writing under your own name, as I noted above JD Johannes had already identified you down to Company (100+ troops) level and you used your first and middle names as your pseudonym you freakin' pinhead. You were already fronted out and I would assume it was some members of your unit that "politely" invited you to name yourself. You are a disgrace Beauchamp, a wannabe intellectual lacking the brainpower to do much more than embarrass yourself in public. Well Bravo, you have shown yourself to be a back-stabbing petty BS artist. Congratulations on that.No cardboard cut-outs are the Milbloggers. John Cole, Army veteran, says that the Beauchamp controversy means little in the scheme of things:
The funniest (and again, saddest) thing about the Beauchamp nonsense is that despite the hysterical cries that he is HURTING THE TROOPS AND LIVES ARE AT STAKE, no one really had read the TNR piece before the outrage pimps started linking it massively. I hadn’t read ‘Shock Troops’ until it was linked repeatedly by the usual suspects and made it to memeorandum.com As I stated yesterday, the terrorists and the insurgents are not reading TNR. They are not going to justify their next IED, their next suicide bomb, their next sniping of a Baghdad patrol, their next, well, whatever, on the tales offered by Beauchamp.The usually (and deceptively) mild-mannered Greyhawk, retired USAF NCO, is direct as well:
Some people might somehow consider this a political issue. They are wrong. There are a**holes in the Democrat and Republican Parties in the United States. There are probably a**holes living on your street. There are a**holes in the Army. Those who think no soldier could be an a**hole are wrong. Those who think all soldiers are a**holes are wrong. While some a**holes aren't exposed prior to their military service, those who think the Army transforms good people into a**holes are wrong. (Beer can do that, but that's another story.)And, finally Cheryl McElroy, SFC, USA (ret) published a communiqué from Beauchamp’s first sergeant:
Numerous soldiers within my unit have served on several deployments and this is my third year as a First Sergeant in this unit. My soldiers conduct is consistently honorable. This soldier has other underlining issues which I’m sure will come out in the course of the investigation. No one at any of the post we live at or frequent, remotely fit the descriptions of any of the persons depicted in this young man’s fairy tale. I can’t and won’t divulge any information regarding this soldier, but I do sincerely appreciate all the support from the people back home. Again, this young man has a vivid imagination and I promise you that this by no means reflects the truth of what is happening here.
*Many of those currently in Iraq are not commenting on this subject--yet.