August 25, 2007

Burning Another Beauchamp

If we're to make any sort of sense of the Iraq War at all, we need to know that those who are providing us information on the conflict are being as honest in their reporting as inherent human biases allow. As it has often been said, we can allow people to have their own opinions, bu not their own facts. On that point, I think we can all agree.

Because of this shared desire for facts, those dissemblers who falsify accounts and events in that conflict should be brought to light and discredited so that the can no longer easily spread lies.

Friday, Harper's Scott Horton blasted one reporter for lying, and for being part of a group creating "pure fabrications" when it came to war reporting:

I have no idea whether Beauchamp's story was accurate. But at this point I have seen enough of the Neocon corner's war fables to immediately discount anything that emerges from it. One example: back last spring, when I was living in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, I sat in the evening reading a report by one of the core Neocon pack. He was reporting from Baghdad, and recounted a day he had spent out on a patrol with U.S. troops on Haifa Street. He described a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community. Children were out playing on the street. Men and women were out going about their daily business. Well, in fact I had been forced to spend the day "in the submarine," as they say, missing appointments I had in town. Why? This bucolic, marvelous Haifa Street that he described had erupted in gun battles the entire day. In the view of my security guards, with which I readily concurred, it was too unsafe. And yes, I could hear the gunfire and watch some of the exchanges from my position. No American patrol had passed by and there were certainly no children playing in the street. This was the point when I realized that many of these accounts were pure fabrications.

Clearly, Horton vividly recalls the details of that day, including both the day-long gun battles erupting around him (how could he not?) and the written words of a dishonest reporter that he knew well enough that he could even identify him as part of the core member of a specific group of reporters.

I don't care if this reporter Horton read is pro-war or antiwar; if he's lying, he's undermining all of our understanding about the war. We need a thorough investigation, and if the charges are accurate, this liar should be purged from his news organization and the profession altogether.

But first, we need information.

Horton establishes last spring as the rough time frame and Haifa Street as the location in Baghdad where this story of press duplicity allegedly took place. I've taking the liberty of contacting Mr. Horton via his Harper's email address, and I'm asking him to provide as much detail as possible about the fraudulent reporting of which he was a near-eyewitness. The more detail he can provide, the more concrete of a case we can make.

We need good reporting to understand the wars to which we're committing our nation's soldiers, and we need to discard those journalists that either can't tell truth from fiction, or prefer not to make the distinction.

Hopefully, we'll be able to get this resolved quite soon. Such fakery simply can't be allowed to stand.

Update: At the always thoughtful Bookworm Room, lawyer "Bookworm" digs further into Horton's article, and discovers "a swirling sea of anger" where honesty is perhaps not his priority.

Update: I've noticed that several people attempting to track down the article Mr. Horton may have been discussing have been focusing on articles written in 2007.

According to Democracy Now!, Horton was in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, prior to this April 14, 2006 article, and had only "recently returned." Further, that seems to be more consistent with his vague timeline of "back last spring."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 25, 2007 12:54 AM

When you have the liberal belief that all truth is relative, then "facts" can be based on opinions.

Posted by: Francis Marion at August 25, 2007 05:15 AM

I hope you aren't holding your breath wating for a response from Mr. Horton.

My first thought when I read his accusation was - "Certainly, with such blatant deception on the part of this dastardly neocon, Horton's own rebuttal was soon written, corroborated, and published and the lying neocon's career was thankfully destroyed! Surely!"

But I wonder why he didn't mention his own follow-up rebuttal?

It must have something to do with the stranglehold the neocons have on the national media.

Yeah, that's it.

Posted by: Fred Patten at August 25, 2007 06:41 AM

CY, are you conducting similar rigorous fact checks with reporters you happen to agree with? Do you read right-wing reporting with the same jaundiced eye you have when you read reporting from lefties?

For example, did you ever follow up on the "Al Qaeda roasting kids and serving them to their parents" story? That whole thing seemed far-fetched, to put the most charitable spin on it, but did you accept it because it came via Yon despite the fact that he provided no backup for the tale? Perhaps I missed it, but I don't remember reading any email exchanges with Yon where you asked him to defend his story.

Posted by: nunaim at August 25, 2007 07:36 AM

I wonder.....are liberals capable of doing anything but talking, whining, and lying?

Posted by: Kathy Washburn at August 25, 2007 07:36 AM

I believe the "neocon" in question is Fred Kagen.
On Monday May 21st he wrote a piece titled "You Bet We Can Win" in which he states:

But looking at these casualty numbers alone distorts reality. Security is improving across Baghdad, even in traditionally bad areas. In early May, I walked and drove through these neighborhoods. Haifa St., scene of day-long gunfights between Al Qaeda terrorists and coalition forces in January, is calm and starting to revive. Its market is open and flourishing.

Even in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, some of which remains very dangerous, the market now has more than 200 shops - up from zero in February. "

I would not be so quick to trust that Scott is telling the truth. By May, it is quite possible those streets were indeed as Kagen described.

I'd like verification from many other sources about what Haifa Street was like during that time in May.

However, even if Kagen's statement about Haifa Street prove to be wrong - for Scott to claim that he is part of a neocon group that always creates "pure fabrications" is nothing more hyperbole driven by his personal ideology.

I have seen more than enough examples from members of the left wing liberal media establishment, of which Scott Horton belongs, create pure fabrications, both with words and photoshopped images but I don't belligerently discount all stories that emerge from them.

John Burns offers some of the best reporting on Iraq, as do a short but important list of other journalists that belong to a large group of the liberal ideologically motivated left wing press.

Even if Kagen's statement about Haifa Street is proven completely false, that doesn't negate the truth about Scott Beauchamp - he fabricated his stories that were passed off by Franklin Foer as the truth. Foer still refuses to admit he was wrong, he was duped, his teams fact checking was flawed or fabricated, and that he "chose" or "hired" Beauchamp to provide this "Diary" only because he was married or engaged(not sure which) to a TNR journalist & staff member.

It bears repeating: Even if that one particular statement about Haifa Street was misleading or completely fabricated, neither that, nor the nepotism in chosing Scott Beauchamp to author this
Diary" negate the uglytruth that neither Foer, nor his lemming readership, nor Scott Horton, a writer whose own agenda and idealogical leanings cloud his stories and his judgment, wish to acknowledge:

Scott Beauchamp FABRICATED each story that TNR published and touted to be an honest and truthful look at a "day in the life" of soldiers in Iraq.

Scott Norton is a member of a large society called "THE MEDIA" . This society is comprised of organizations and individuals that lean left and lean right.

When any one individual or organization, whether they lean left or right, fabricates lies about the war, the soldiers, the President, or any other issue, it diminishes the credibility of EVERY journalist, writer and photographer including Scott Horton.

Posted by: Tara at August 25, 2007 07:42 AM

Here is the link to the Opinion piece written by Fred Kagen in the Daily News - that I believe Scott Norton was referring to:

Posted by: Tara at August 25, 2007 07:46 AM

Even Carl Levin says this week that the Iraq war is improving. Naturally, the Left must ratchet up the anti-war response to counter any "good news" of this sort.

How about going back 5 months and fabricating a story with a parsimony of detail to cast doubt? Don't do anything more than create a "Jayson Blair" scenario. Then sit back and deride the "neocons" who fail to PROVE the made up story is false.

Makes me wonder if his source may not have been Scott Thomas Beauchamp???

Posted by: BigTex at August 25, 2007 07:46 AM

nunaim, Yon recorded precisely what Iraqi interpreter extracted for the citizen--he neither claimed it was true or false, just an accurate recording of what the man said. Are you disputing the interpreter's translation?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 25, 2007 08:02 AM
Are you disputing the interpreter's translation?

No. What do I know about translations? On the other hand, Horton is recording what he experienced on the day in question. Why is one tale open to scrutiny and the other not? I suggest that it is simply because of the political leanings of the writers involved.

Posted by: nunaim at August 25, 2007 08:19 AM


Try harder son.

Horton isn't even saying he is comparing the SAME day as Kagen's.

Horton states Kagen was referring to -some- non-specific day that was calmer than it had been in the past. He never mentioned a specific day.

ALong comes Horton to say that ONE day, the day he is writing his piece was not calm, and had some skirmishes and fighting. So that means, within his tunneled logic, that ALL days MUST be like the ONE day he was writing about.

Whereas Kagen stated, quite clearly, that while things aren't perfect, they are getting better. He never once said the fighting is -all- gone. Ever.

Go home.

Never once is it specified that Horton and Kagen are talking about the same day.

Posted by: couch1971 at August 25, 2007 08:31 AM

As regards Burning yet another Beauchamp;
Has anyone read the NYT op-ed from the soldiers of the 82nd? As I read, there were a number of questions that I had regarding the authorship of the piece. There were a several incongruities, (sp?)and while I was an E-5 (Army SGT), I didn't know many individuals whom were familiar with "Janus", albeit, I was. I spoke w/Bill Roggio via phone, and we both concluded that it was "ghost written" by someone far above the level of the individuals that put their names to it. We concurred that the "essay" could be ripped apart in almost every single paragraph.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: Jack Coonan at August 25, 2007 08:37 AM

*Sorry if this is a duplicate but my first attempt to publish this indicated there was a problem, so I re-edited it slightly and I've tried to publish one more time*

-- Nunaim: You seem to suffer from the same stupidity most of your ilk is experiencing. Mike Yon never stated that the roasting of a child in Iraq by Al Queda was a fact. He merely shared a story that an Iraqi told in front of other soldiers and officials. The translator was an American soldier who belonged to the unit Mike was embedded with.

At NO point did Mike say the story was true, altho he felt the need to share it only because in the past 18 months he has spent in Iraq he has personally witnessed atrocities by Al Queda, and as thus, he felt the story could not be dismissed.

Why is cooking a child any different to you than BEHEADING civilians live on the internet?

An Iraqi reporter that has recently been kidnapped by Al Queda told Mike he too had heard that same story, except it was the baked and roasted head of the child that was presented to the family.

Al Q has tortured people using drills, have stuffed bombs up their cavities and used them as bombs to attack soldiers, have beheaded innocent individuals live on the net, and you wonder if its at all possible that Al Q could bake children and serve them to their parents?? Mike does NOT need to verify a story that he IDENTIFIED as a story and NOT as fact.

Its interesting to me how NO ONE of any value or serious weight on either side o the media has any issue with Mike's credibility or his dispatches.

The only people that keep harping on this are belligerent ignorant left wing bloggers with too much time on their hands, who seem incapable of understanding the ethical difference between sharing a story that was clearly identified as a story, within a bigger story, AND LYING or FABRICATING "facts" about our soldiers, our President, and the war.

I stood on a small hill in Stuttgart that had been created by the ashes of Jews that were cooked in ovens after having been gassed. If Germans were capable of gassing alive Jews then cooking their bodies in ovens and leaving the ashes behind that eventually the formed a small but evident hill in an otherwise very flat landscape, then why do you have trouble believing a story but forth by an Iraqi claiming that he witnessed Al Queda serve a baked child to the child's parents.

Let me make this clear to you--- at no point did Mike Yon ever state this story was a fact.

Mike was embedded with a unit, and at a meeting with Iraqi officials, one official who spoke freely at the meeting in front of Iraqi and American commanders -- whose names Mike clearly states( these would be witnesses lending veracity to what Mike wrote, Numaim) this official shares his opinion about how Al Queda came to Baquabah and united independent criminal gangs.

Now - you and your ilk of losers don't seem to take issue with that part of the dispatch. Lets move on to see how stupid you really are.

In the same dispatch Mike clearly identifies that this Iraqi official is speaking through an American interpreter, Lt David Wallach who speaks native Arabic.

So,numaim, David Wallach is identified, so he serves as yet another witness to the story Mike is RETELLING. So far Mike has provided 3 names that can lend veracity to the fact that this Iraqi told them about al queda baking a child and serving the child to his parents.

So without a doubt we (those of us who actually know how to use our brains) know that Mike Yon has NOT FABRICATED the story, since he provides the names of people who were there and who can VERIFY that this Iraqi told the story about Al Q baking children.

Are you following this logic, numaim??

I doubt you have the mental capacity to understand the difference since you and your merry band of morons out of desperation to prove your stupidity keep bringing up the "mike yon" story about Al Q baking kids.


Beauchamp FABRICATED all his stories. Mike DID NOT fabricate what he reported. Mike repeated a story told to him in front of WITNESSES he identifies. And that story included some valuable important insight:

"the Iraqi official related how al Qaeda united these gangs who then became absorbed into “al Qaeda.” They recruited boys born during the years 1991, 92 and 93 who were each given weapons, including pistols, a bicycle and a phone (with phone cards paid) and a salary of $100 per month, all courtesy of al Qaeda. These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people."

"AL Q used the young boys they recruited for kidnapping torturing and murdering people. 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."

I notice how you don't seem to ever comment on the above in your endless nattering so I have to assume you and TBogg and Instaputz and the rest of you lemmings have no problem with the credibility of the above.

You just seem to have a problem with the rest of the story this same official is sharing, but you fail to mention that Mike didn't MAKE UP the story, he merely repeated it.

Lets read what Mike witnessed:

"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"

Now let me help you out here, Numaim:

Mike quoted what David Wallach, an American soldier who speaks arabic, was translating from the Iraqi official.

At no point EVER does Mike Yon say the latter or even the earlier part of what the Iraqi official is telling him is itself factual. BUT he does report verbatim what Lt David Wallach translates from the Iraqi official.

Mike Yon never said that this story about Al Q baking children was true. But we do KNOW that Mike Yon did NOT FABRICATE the story about Al Queda baking the boy.

THAT, Nunaim, or more aptly,Numnut, is the difference between Beauchamp who insisted his stories did actually happen, but were in truth fabricated ( apparently he seemed confused about WHERE that the mess hall incident took place -mistaking Kuwait for Iraq) and Mike Yon's dispatch which is detailed in location, names, conversations, witnesses, and discerns between irrevocable fact and a small part of a story that is being shared as part of a bigger story about how Al Queda operated in Baquba.

You keep insisting that Bob needs to seek proof from Mike about this story,but he doesn't because the proof is in the story. If Mike had FABRICATED any of this story then why have NONE OF THE MEN HE NAMES in this dispatch come forward to deny what he wrote??

It bears repeating that you and your lemmings have no leg to stand on with regards to your bogus accusations about Mike Yon and your useless attempt to diminish his credibility.

Mike's credibility is not in question by the worlds most respected journalists- especially those in the liberal MSM, only by a bunch of foolish left wing bloggers.

Using his name to attract attention to your blogs, to try to diminish his reputation and credibility and and to perpetuate some ludicrous assertion that Bob only attacks left wing writers serves to prove just how freaking stupid and desperate you are.

Posted by: Tara at August 25, 2007 09:02 AM


Tara, I can't add a single thing to that.

Except, perhaps, BRAVO!

Posted by: C-C-G at August 25, 2007 06:12 PM

I wouldn't hold your breath expecting any specifics back from Horton. As a noted Human Rights lawyer and journalist he is unlikely to trifle with mere blogs. As a haughty lefty who sees Iraq as a purely ideological struggle, he will not want to get pinned down when he is throwing unsupported bullshit against the wall. Generalities yes, specifics, hell no.

He frames the Beauchamp matter in purely ideological terms rather than as a debunking of fables that strained the credibility of knowledeable observers. Once strained, the reluctance on the part of TNR to disavow the stories added credence to the suspicion that there may have been an ideological motivation behind their publication. The profile of Foer in this month's Columbia Magazine noted at Powerline certainly does nothing to diminish this suspicion.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 25, 2007 07:07 PM

Shorter Tara:

I'm CAREFULLY not going on the RECORD as saying the event HAPPENED, but only LIEberals will question THE FACT that it HAPPENED, because it ADVANCES the NARRATIVE I'm PUSHING.

Bonus Tara:

I'm going to MENTION Beauchamp in my TIRADE even though the PERSON I'm REPLYING TO didn't mention him, mainly because WE ON THE RIGHT are obsessed with BEAUCHAMP, and we can't stop talking ABOUT HIM. Beauchamp's dreamy, isn't he? I can't get him out of my mind...

Posted by: nunaim at August 25, 2007 07:14 PM

nunaim, two points:

Point the First: Tara never, I say again, never says that what was related in the story ever actually happened. In fact, she says:

At NO point did Mike say the story was true

Apparently you need to invest in reading comprehension classes.

Point the Second: you've been present in every Beauchamp thread that I have seen here on CY.

If we conservatives are obsessed with Beauchamp, apparently you are too.

Or obsession might not have anything to do with it.

Posted by: C-C-G at August 25, 2007 07:22 PM

Hmmm. Last spring? The suggestion that the "incident" of last spring isn't the only "neocon" lie? I'm with you on one point, however: no lying in the news. Ever. By anyone. Even so, there are a few interesting questions that might be wise to have answered before digging too deeply into this "situation:"

(1) If Mr. Horton was so concerned about this incident and the myriad other incidents to which he alludes, why did he restrain himself from reporting them when they occurred? Liberals haven't been shy at exposing alleged conservative perfidy to this point, so why the reticence to publish potentially juicy and damaging stories? Why did he wait until now, when the outcry for complete disclosure on the part of TNR is so strong? Perhaps that's just a coincidence, but it would be interesting to know.

(2) Why not expose the "liar(s)" immediately? Why not name names, if the truth is so belatedly important? Of course, without names, dates, times, it's much more difficult to investigate Mr. Horton's allegations, but surely he's not obfuscating?

(3) What relationship, if any, does Mr. Horton have with Mr. Foer or with anyone working at TNR? What contact has he had with anyone working at or for TNR?

Just food for thought...

Posted by: Mike99 at August 25, 2007 08:09 PM
Point the First: Tara never, I say again, never says that what was related in the story ever actually happened. In fact, she says:

At NO point did Mike say the story was true.

Apparently you need to invest in reading comprehension classes.

Oh, yes: don't people always spend paragraphs explaining things that they don't believe happened?

The sweet smell of history being rewritten, with just a dash of conspiracy theory thrown in by Mike99.

I'll bet Foer's a member of the Trilateral Commission!!

Posted by: nunaim at August 25, 2007 08:28 PM


Tara quotes the relevant paragraph. In it, Michael Yon presents the story as something an Iraqi citizen told a translator.

Can't you read? Just how stupid are you?

Posted by: lyle at August 25, 2007 09:05 PM

nunaim, you are purposefully taking things out of content, well past the point of gross misrepresentation.


Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 25, 2007 09:39 PM

Why do I suddenly have a Queen song running through my mind?

Posted by: C-C-G at August 25, 2007 09:52 PM

You people are arguing with Libs who still hold up the "16 words" of the SOTU address as a lie when it is incapable of being a lie. Anyone feel like they are wasting their breath?

Posted by: MAJGross at August 25, 2007 09:57 PM

Horton appears to be a full tilt hoony lib. peruse some of his daily web postings for Harpers. I particularly liked his paranoid screed from May 3, 2007 about Bush targeting the media in Iraq to control the message about the war - strike that - he says they are not REALLY targeted:

May 3, 2007
Is it hyperbole to say that the Bush Administration has gone to war against journalists? Increasingly, this claim is a literal truth. Those who would dismiss the claim should contemplate some hard facts from the real battlefields of the “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, over a hundred journalists have been killed – a multiple of the number who died in World War II – and a large part of that number fell to American arms. I don’t suggest that the U.S. soldiers intentionally targeted them; but it does appear that historical rules that shielded journalists on the battlefield have disappeared, and that this has led to deaths. And with respect to certain foreign press organizations, like al-Jazeera, intentional targeting is now documented.

The above was just an excerpt, but it explains where his position derives. What rules protecting journalists were relaxed exactly? What the hell is he talking about?

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 25, 2007 10:10 PM
Anyone feel like they are wasting their breath?

Every time I'm arguing with a liberal.

Posted by: John in CA at August 25, 2007 10:14 PM

From Katherine Stapp, at IPS, via Asia Media Forum responding to the deaths of all journalists in Iraq, as of 07 JUL 2006:

"FS: So far, CPJ has found only case where a journalist was killed by Iraqi forces, and, even in that case, the circumstances remain unclear. Most journalists who have been killed in Iraq have been murdered by insurgent forces or have otherwise been killed in insurgent attacks. Incidents involving U.S. military forces have been the second-leading-cause of death for journalists in Iraq.

IPS: So far, the number of journalists deliberately targeted (38) and those killed in crossfire or other acts of war (36) are roughly equivalent. Do you see a trend in either direction?

FS: Indeed, most journalists killed in Iraq have been murdered, usually gangland-style, in direct retaliation for their work. While nearly as many journalists have been killed in crossfire and many other acts of war. I don't think the trend in Iraq is necessarily changing. But here is food for thought. If one looks at CPJ's achives going back over the past decade, or even the previous decade, one consistent and alarming trend stands out: about three out of four journalists killed on the job are not killed on the battlefield; they have instead been murdered outright in direct reprisal for their reporting. Most of these journalists are local, investigative reporters. Even more alarming, in nearly nine out of 10 of these journalist murder cases, no alleged perpetrators have been prosecuted at all. The most murderous nations since 2000 are the Philippines, Iraq, Colombia, Bangladesh and Russia.

IPS: How bad is the situation on the ground in terms of the control, or lack of it, of the various armed forces? It appears that outside the bunkers that protect the occupying forces and their allies, widespread chaos and violence reign. How can a journalist, especially a local journalist, prepare for such coverage? What does it mean to be a freelancer in Iraq? What is possible for a freelancer in terms of making a living, securing some degree of freedom of expression and covering the conflict?

FS: Iraq today is the most dangerous conflict to cover in memory, and there is no easy or guaranteed way to cover the war and stay safe. The risks are tremendous from foreign correspondents, including even well-known Western news anchors on a Baghdad assignment to Iraqi fixers working closer to home. Freelancers whether foreign or local face additional risks. CPJ encourages freelancers especially to make sure that they have adequate health insurance, and we encourage news organisations to provide health insurance, in particular, to those whom they rely on. Security training is another important element that we also recommend. There is an organisation, the International News Safety Institute (that includes CPJ), that has been providing subsidised training for Iraqi fixers and others in Iraq."

At IPS Ms. Stapp appears to cover an array of issues on the left, including world socialist get-togethers. Here she is debunking the CPJ claim of the US being a leading or, indeed, second-leading cause of death in Iraq. She previously cites only 13 cases with US military involvement, so that would be 13 out of 74. By her own account 90% of all Iraqi reporter deaths are by this thing known as 'murder' on the street in a lawless way. At that point in 2006 the Iraqi Police were having a hard time standing up and were the frequent target of killings by insurgents, coming right after civilians if memory serves. She places this at the feet of insurgents. Thus #1 is insurgents, #2 is gangland slayings (of which there are a number of such with the typical shot to the back of the head concept). There may be some overlap as criminal and insurgent interests overlap in some areas. That puts the US no higher than #3. Perhaps we can get some reporting on organized crime activity in Iraq from 'journalists'?

So, this does seem to point out a problem with the 'US being the leading cause of death of reporters in Iraq' concept. It is a very violent place where al Qaeda, in particular, is trying to formulate the news environment so only news they like in the way they like gets reported, thus the targeting of independent journalists is done for a specific reason: to form the news environment and reporting. Of particular note is the number of Iraqi journalists, not foreign journalists, being killed and unreported in the US.

Perhaps a 'journalist' could report on that...

Posted by: ajacksonian at August 26, 2007 06:30 AM

nunaim was pwn3d!

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 26, 2007 01:50 PM

Well, I am going to have to find the various reports, but this reporters is going on out a limb to insist that it was a lie written on the same day that a battle took place.

Reading various reports, it seems that Haifa street has consistently waivered back and forth from "peaceful and 'bucolic'" to a battle front. One such report was a rather historic view of the area through various units and strategies that were put in place. The current unit in control of the area now has combat out posts and Joint Strategic Stations that remain open. I will find the report, but according to this US commander, the original owners of that area had "pacified it" and then turned it over to Iraqi police, not making any substantial regular patrols or leaving forces in the area. The police, of course, were infiltrated and further, undermanned and outgunned, thus, unable to hold it allowing insurgents of all stripes to move back in.

The movement of this US force was because the strategy had called for turning over "pacified" areas to the Iraqis and moving US forces to other areas. Largely because the manpower did not allow for leaving significant forces and because we looked at each area as a separate battle to be fought and pacified before moving on.

This officer noted that, as soon as the previous unit pulled back, Haifa street was once again infiltrated by both Sunni and Shia militias and turned into a battle field. Something that we should not be shocked about since Haifa St is literally the fault line between Sadr city, a Mahdi Army Shi'ite enclave, and multiple Sunni districts like Rusafah and Karkh. both long time bases for the Ba'athists AND al Qaeda in Baghdad. In fact, before Zarqawi was killed and back when he was moving his forces more strongly into Baghdad to inflict his latest strategy and when we had taken over a safe house where we found the now infamous video of Zarqawi in New Balance Tennis shoes unable to fire a captured US weapon, they also found a document that discussed the problems with their forces located in these areas (Rusafah and Karkh; which also abutts the green zone), the removal of some leaders who were "too hot" (because US forces were tracking them) in the area and strategies that they might undertake to attack certain strategic locations like the central police station (located across the river), certain ministries, etc, all accessible by Haifa St.

Haifa St also being the location of a rather infamous Sunni extremist mosque (the Imam Mohammed?) that openly preached "death to Americans" from its outside loud speakers. Its been raided so many times by the Iraqis and Americans, you no longer really hear about it. I believe the Imam was either replaced or significantly chastised. I believe, in the documentary "Gunner Palace", the officer in charge of the area told the Imam flat out that he would have him arrested the next time such blatant calls for attacking Americans were heard.

So, this reporter is being rather disingenuous. Possibly even the other reporter who said it was peaceful. It probably was on that day and it has been for many days and weeks before it had been re-infiltrated. In fact, recent reports indicate that it is once again "peaceful" and shops are opening. But, earlier this year, there was a video featured at blackfive showing a battle between US and Iraqi forces v. "insurgents" (their association with AQI, Ba'athists or Sadrists was unknown). Before that, it had flip-flopped between quiet and deserted to outright battles with the Iraq police and any US force that did venture into the area. I really have to find the report because the officer in question was very honest in his portrayal of the history of the area and his units forced need to basically "re-take" the area, driving out the insurgents "again". this is, in fact, how the insurgency and counter-insurgency had been fought. This is, in fact, what happens when the previous strategy was in place. This is, in fact, a truth you could apply to any area in Iraq, including Ramadi and Fallujah where the area went back and forth several times before the Shiehks were finally convinced to throw their entire lot in with us.

Therefore, I think this fellow is making something out of nothing and, is, in fact, ignoring the total history of haifa st throughout the battle to secure Baghdad and Iraq. he is also ignoring the new strategy of continuing presence and outposts to avoid this continual back and forth control of the street. It hardly signifies a "lie" on behalf of the "neocons" or a static "truth" that cannot change depending on the month and strategy.

I'll look for the reports, but I believe they are linked somewhere in Blackfive and Mudville Gazette.

I think the reporter in question, should this idiot you are quoting, actually indicate the time and date, would be found to be telling the truth for that specific time frame. It probably was rather peaceful and "bucolic" with shops opening, etc while he was there. It doesn't make his report a lie. It is just a snapshot among the many back and forth conditions of this street. To point it out as some sort of "proof" of "neocon" lies over the entire war is like trying to extrapolate the rather stupid anecdotes of Beauchamp as definitive of US forces as a whole.

In short, I give no credence to his lousy and unfounded attack. Anyone who has actually been paying attention to the Battle for Baghdad would know the truth is in between and believe neither represents the final disposition of the street or the war.

Posted by: kat-missouri at August 26, 2007 02:27 PM

Here's some links that show that Haifa St has gone back and forth:

This is Major K of "Strength and Honor" from 2005. If you read his blog, you will find that his unit was all over the area and had to fight back the insurgents:

He points to a report indicating that Haifa St has been largely pacified by their efforts against both the Shia and the Sunni insurgents:

Somewhere in between, there are other reports, but here is the January 2007 report from Lara Logan showing the "new" battle for haifa st:

Here is a video that the US army released discussing the fight and pacification of the street "again"(note, they are not lying about what occurred there nor misrepresenting it as the "final" outcome; just the outcome for that particular fight):

here is a report from Wes Morgan at Bill Roggio's Fourth Rail that indicates the uneasy "peace" of haifa street and current efforts as of August:

Another report from Wes Morgan specifically on the street, its conditions and the new strategy of continuous patrols that the new unit has in place to keep the street "pacified":

Oh...and it was Wes Morgan with Capt. Peterson who discussed the history of Haifa St and US presence there:

As I was saying, this report by Scott Norton is really quite lame. He is, in truth, trying to pull exactly the same thing that he accuses the "neocon" reporter of doing: extracting a day and time to represent a whole untruth.

This is not about burning another "Beauchamp". This guy may or may not be telling the truth about what he saw on any given day compared to another, but is about how this guy's bias makes him the unreliable source. People who want to know and who are fairly rational understand how both are true to the extent any one given day, week or month changes the reality.

Posted by: kat-missouri at August 26, 2007 02:58 PM

Oh...and Haifa St is literally miles long and transits Baghdad from South East to North West. Meaning that, on any given day, one section of Haifa St could be exactly as the one reporter noted while on the other end of the street, miles away, a gun battle could take place and the reporter would not even know it while another one could be right in the middle of it.

So, yeah, if this guy can't name the date, time and exact location on the street the fight was raging to compare to the other reporters date, time and exact location on haifa st, I call this Scott character at least a misleading, disingenuous ideologue if not a liar.

Maps and outlines of various areas including denoting "haifa St" and how long it is:

We're talking miles and through different mixed and ethnically singular neighborhoods.

Scott Norton is an idiot.

Posted by: kat-missouri at August 26, 2007 03:19 PM

Calling a liberal an idiot is redundant.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 26, 2007 03:27 PM
Calling a liberal an idiot is redundant.

Not necessarily.

There are those who are intelligent and who embrace liberalism in the quest for personal power.

I call those "evil."

Posted by: C-C-G at August 26, 2007 04:10 PM

Finally, just so I am providing accurate information, the Sunni Mosque that was routinely raided for calling for attacks against Americans and harboring insurgents was the al Hanifa Mosque in Adhamiya on the Northwest end of Haifa St.

Battle for Baghdad

Al Adhamiya district also contains the al Hanifa mosque that has been raided many times. It is widely known to spread anti-American and anti-government information via sermons as well as the use of their external PA system. Also suspected of providing sanctuary to insurgents and storing weapons.

The purpose of the raid was not immediately clear but some worshippers, gathered outside the mosque, said the security forces had arrested the mosque's imam, Shaikh Muayid al-Adhami.

According to the US Commander of the district, in 2004, he had warned Adhami several times about mosque activities and finally had him arrested when he continued his activities. Adhamiya is largely Sunni rejectionist and Ba'athists. Zarqawi tries to make common cause with them to prepare the way for his arrival and operations in Rusafah. He may even be hoping for "joint operations".

After the curfew was lifted on Tuesday afternoon, residents gingerly came out onto the street once more. Meanwhile, a statement issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq, the country's most prominent insurgent organization, promised more fighting on Wednesday.

"Al-Qaeda in Iraq is announcing a new raid to avenge the Sunnis at Adhamiyah and the other areas, and the raid will start with the dawn of Wednesday, if God wishes," the statement said. "The Shiite areas will be an open battlefield for us. We will strike anything we face."

While just a mile or so down the road is "al Thawra" or "Sadr City" and a little further down the road is the Sunni neighborhood of Rusafah and so on and so on.

I really could go on and on about what is the reality of the area. Before we lynch somebody as a liar, know more about the area and tell this Scott character to give up his date, time, and exact location for either alleged event. Until then, this is a macabre dance to try and prove we aren't "biased". Something that is pretty foolish and plays into this character's own ideologically biased fantasy world.

Posted by: kat-missouri at August 26, 2007 04:41 PM

Wretchard made a similar point to kat-nissou's last post, but with respect to the battle of Tal-Afar. Two reports on the same day - one portraying units out looking for insurgents and finding nothing (and implying the US military effort was fruitless.) Another right fromt he middle of a fire fight. Both were true, crrectly reported what the reported saw, the narrative (quagmire, hopelessness)thrown in with the first report not so much.

Posted by: Buck Smith at August 26, 2007 04:51 PM

I did think I could find the post by Wretchard, but whaddiyah know I did:

Posted by: buck smith at August 26, 2007 04:54 PM

This reminds me of reading one of the stories in "A Piece of My Heart." It told of the rocket and mortar attacks on the hospital at Pleiku in Viet Nam. I happened to be stationed in the Pleiku area during the time that the story took place and the frequency and intensity of the storied attacks would have been notable to me. I won't begin to claim that none of them took place, but I'd bet that not nearly as many took place as was stated.
Just like those Haifa Street battles that may or may not have ever happened, the peaceful neighborhoods vs. constant street battles of the opposing press positions, may depend a lot on which side of the aisle one stands.
I for one, tend to believe the soldier who claims things seem to be more nearly peaceful. But, that's just me.

Posted by: Oran Woody at August 26, 2007 05:11 PM

He's pretty clearly talking about Kristol's "Nothing to Fear but the Polls Themselves," in which Kristol quotes an unnamed friend:

We went through two of the worst Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad ... heavily infested with al Qaeda and other terrorists who terrorize the population and drive them to support or at least tolerate attacks against us. But the kids on the streets -- and there were many -- waved, smiled, asked for candy. The locals give us tips and ask us to get the terrorists out of the area and, above all, to protect them. We walked through a market off of Haifa Street -- remember, the site of that long-running gun-battle back in January that made so much news? The market was thriving, flourishing, the local U.S. commander knew everyone and everyone knew him. The kids thronged around us, laughing, asking for candy.

This friend must've written Kristol in the two weeks prior to 21 May -- the article seems to have gone online 14 May, so let's see what Haifa Street was like in late April/early May 2006.

From Bassem Mroue, "Attacks on bridges aim to geographically divide Baghdad," April 25, 2007:

Some Shiites who commute across the river say that after the Sarafiyah bridge was destroyed, they must now drive through the Sunni areas of Haifa street to the south or the Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah to the north.

Verdict: Dangerous.

From Ann Scott Tyson, "The Two Sides of Baghdad Barriers," Washington Post, April 30, 2007

Across the river in the predominantly Sunni district along Haifa Street, Col. Bryan Roberts, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade, said an increase in vehicle bombs had led him to introduce a plan to barricade five markets in the district. "My biggest concerns security-wise are the current attack methods, the VBIEDs, suicide vests," he said.

Verdict: Still Pretty Dangerous

On 9 May, Ann Scott Tyson, in "Commanders in Iraq See 'Surge' Into '08; Pentagon to Deploy 35,000 Replacement Troops," noted:

In the relatively safe Haifa Street area of Baghdad, monthly attacks fell by about 50 percent from January to February but since then have increased slightly, including a significant increase in suicide car bomb attacks.

Verdict: "Relatively" Safe.

Ironic quotation marks because things did not go well on 10 May, as reported by Agence France Presse:

Meanwhile, residents were woken by the sounds of a battle near Haifa Street, a main city thoroughfare that was once notorious as a three-way battlefield between Sunni insurgents, Shiite militia and Iraqi security forces.

For almost two hours explosions and automatic gunfire echoed among the restive district's tall concrete buildings, but officials were not immediately able to explain what was going on.

Verdict: Not Very Safe At All

According to an 18 May security report, "US gives Iraq two months to 'rectify' political course":

"The US troops have arrested a person called Shaykh Haydar at the home of his sister, whose husband was also arrested. The US troops said that Shaykh Haydar's brother-in-law is responsible for masterminding many killings, abductions, and acts of displacement on Haifa Street in central Baghdad."

Verdict: A Little Safer, But Still Pretty Dangerous

So I wonder who Kristol's anonymous friend is, and whether the emphasis should be on refuting Horton, since his account better squares with what I could pull up on Lexis/Nexis. Do you really believe Kristol to be an objective, non-ideological writer? Moreover, do you really believe his anonymous friend is?

Posted by: SEK at August 26, 2007 06:09 PM

SEK, the update I posted hours ago shows Horton was in Baghdad on Haifa Street in 2006, and I have not seen anything saying he'd been there before or since that visit. All the articles you've cited come from a year later, in 2007.

Horton may be many things, but I don't think he's a prophet.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 26, 2007 06:47 PM

It's really neither here nor there. Haifa St has continually gone back and forth between peaceful and calm and outright battles. While one section might be secure, another section might be an insurgents' playground.

It's almost five miles long. I could be having chai at an outdoor restaurant on one end while a pitched battle was happening on the other. On the same day. On the same street called Haifa in the city of Baghdad.

Finally, no one should take any one report from any one resource on anyone day and try to conflate it into the definitive view of the street, Baghdad or Iraq as a whole. It is literally defined in inches, feet, yards, miles and district to district.

Posted by: kat-missouri at August 26, 2007 06:52 PM

I'd seen the update, but it's not unusual for correspondents to cover an area multiple times -- esp. when the one in question passed the Iraqi bar exam a few years back.

Another way to put it: the Kristol article squares with Horton's description, and given that he says "back last spring," it seems to logical to assume he was talking about 2007. Until evidence to the contrary's presented, I'm not sure why you're assuming "last spring" meant "a year ago last spring."

RE: Haifa Street

From what I remember, it's a little over two miles long, and they're describing the same Sunni-controlled sections of Haifa.

But I can turn this around: even if Horton's talking about 2007, not 2006, Kristol's reportage on Haifa is suspect. I expect a post about the veracity of his anonymous correspondent's observations post haste.

Posted by: SEK at August 26, 2007 07:12 PM

Horton writes his post to specifically present the picture of a man reading the news one evening after his neighborhood had been under constant combat all day, reading with anger and disbelief that some claims to have walked through the same neighborhood, but instead of violence he saw scenes "a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community."

Horton specifically cites two things that he said the un-named writer recounted--the presence of an American patrol, children playing in the street--that he claimed could not have happened on that day, in that neighborhood because of the running gun battles.

Is this a honest presentation? Obviously, it is not. Either the unnamed member of "the core neocon pack" was on that section of Haifa Street in a peaceful time, or Horton was hunkered down to avoid fire: both cannot co-exist at the same place, at the same time.

Someone, obviously, is not telling the truth.

SEK, Horton is clearly writing about a report he read that day, filed that day, which was in the spring of 2006. Please quit trying to justify being a year off; it's rather unbecoming.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 26, 2007 08:41 PM

In the Democracy Now interview, Scott Horton says he lived on Haifa Street for three weeks. If we combine that with the knowledge that he left Iraq shortly after his client was released around 4/10/06, then we can surmise that he was probably living on Haifa Street in 2006 from about 3/20 until 4/10.

I don't have access to Lexis/Nexis, but a Factiva search turned up only 1 instance of the phrase "Haifa Street" during that time frame. It was clearly not the article in question.

Posted by: WFR at August 26, 2007 09:02 PM

WFR, I'm deaf, so I didn't try to listen to the interview. I'll do a Lexis/Nexis search for 2006 tomorrow, however, and see what turns up.

Confederate Yankee, there's absolutely nothing unbecoming about assuming that by "last spring" someone means "last spring." It's an entirely rational assumption, and I feel no shame in having made it. If I'm wrong, so be it, I can pull up the articles for 2006 and see what fits in that time-frame.

That said, the Kristol article is by William Kristol, a prominent neo-con. It does talk about an American patrol on Haifa St. and children playing in the street. And it was from "last spring," fitting the time-line Horton presented. I'm not sure the reason for your tone, except that you seem certain that because he was in Iraq a year ago last spring, that means he couldn't have been there last spring too. Which, frankly, strikes me as illogical. Again, I could be incorrect here, but I don't think I'm doing anything "unbecoming."

However, I'll note that you didn't respond to my remark about when your post on Kristol will be posted. After all, the published accounts of Haifa St. in April/May 2007 don't correspond to the one Kristol presented in The Weekly Standard. Why not bolster your rhetorical bluster with some proof that you're willing to investigate inconsistencies regardless of ideological affiliation? Kristol's relayed report on Haifa St. this April/May is contradicted by the DOD's own press releases. Where's the outrage?

Posted by: SEK at August 26, 2007 09:46 PM

I looked over all of Horton's 2007 web postings for Harpers yesterday, sometimes more than three per day. There was nothing to indicate he was living or visiting Baghdad for any period of time this past spring unless he chose not to write about it, an event I find highly unlikely given his antiwar views and proclivity for Bush bashing.

SEK, you should take a look at his writings instead of taking a shot in the dark. I see nothing inconsistent with Kristol relaying the observations of his friend with the concurrent reporting and concerns over bombings cited elsewhere in this thread. Perhaps your ideological biases are showing the way they did on the Beauchamp threads at Protein Wisdom. Time to look in the mirror, SEK.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 26, 2007 10:12 PM

daleyrocks, you mean the "ideological biases" which allowed me to admit, openly and unreservedly, that I'd been wrong about Beauchamp, and that he'd violated the codes of journalistic conduct I thought TNR would've at least superficially abided by? Sorry, but I'm not blinded by ideology, as any of the folks at Jeff's place (not to mention Jeff himself) will tell you. I evaluate the facts before me, honestly, and draw my conclusions from them. Right now, I know that Horton claimed he was there "last spring." If you can tell me why "last spring" definitively refers to "a year ago last spring," I'll buy it. I understand that he was there in the spring of 2006 ... but that doesn't preclude him having been there in the spring of 2007.

Anyway, this is a moot point, as I'm willing to grant that I'm wrong and look at the evidence from spring of 2006. I'm not wedded to my theory, I'm looking at the best available evidence. And yes, there are inconsistencies in the picture Kristol paints when you consider what happened on Haifa St. in April/May 2007. The rhetoric's loaded -- the terrorists quickly disappear and are replaced by smiling children requesting candy ... when, as the other reports indicate, that area was prone to extreme violence at the very time the Kristol's correspondent writes about smiling children requesting candy.

At best, Kristol's guilty of manipulating his friend's report to emphasize the narrative he's wedded to -- that the surge is working, Baghdad's getting better, &c. That he didn't mention the destruction of the bridge into the area, the "significant increase in car bomb attacks," &c. demonstrates as much. I suppose my bias is responsible for my trusting the words of Col. Bryan Roberts, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade ... but now, as on Protein Wisdom, I'm going to trust the words of a soldier over those of an anonymous commenter.

Or do you not remember the reason I got involved in those thread? If you're wondering, it's that someone over here would countermand the words of one of our soldiers over there. Yes, it turns out Beauchamp lied, but that doesn't change anything for me: they're over there, fighting for us, and it's sad that some of you would dismiss them so quickly just because their assessment fails to jibe with yours.

Posted by: SEK at August 26, 2007 10:37 PM

SEK - I don't remember you admitting you were wrong at PW. I just remember your attitude and bias, but I could easily have missed your admission.

I'm not disputing Col. Roberts at all as I said above. Here's an excerpt from either the same oa a different Ann Scott Tyson piece from April 30, 2007:

Although sectarian killings have decreased in Baghdad since February, when tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops began arriving, attacks with the vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, known as VBIEDs, have increased. Supply of the weapons, which commanders liken to a low-tech precision bomb, is virtually unlimited. "It's a sophisticated network, but not a sophisticated weapon," said Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad. "The difference is a set of keys and a driver."

"We'll come back here tonight and clean up" the debris, said [Bryan Dodd], 31, of Killeen, Tex. Before the bombing, Dodd said, the market area was so quiet he had chatted with residents over tea. "They said I could eat with them and didn't need any body armor," he said, but added somberly, "Our job is to be constantly looking for the threat."

U.S. and Iraqi commanders are planning more measures to guard against vehicle bombs, including adding barriers to parking lots such as the one outside the Sadriya market. "We will put in some more barriers," [Stuart Toney] said. "We had suggested it before, but the locals were adamant we didn't. Now they are receptive."

If you were a close follower of events on the ground over there you would have known about a shift in insurgent tactics as well as a change in coalition response this year. The erection of vehicle barriers at markets was a more widespread development this year. The peaceful scene of sitting around without body armor would not be inconsistent with that of Kristol's friend, even though danger is still present. See how this works SEK?

Nice of you to drop by.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 26, 2007 11:03 PM

SEK - I'm also not wedded to 2006 versus 2007, but was merely pointing out what I observed from scanning his prolific output on Harpers weblog from earlier this year. Common usage would argue that he meant 2007, but he gave not hint of it in his postings this year. Strange.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 26, 2007 11:15 PM

Does SEK have a problem deciphering 2006 and 2007? I can't grasp what he's talking about. The story is about the spring of 2006 and he keeps bringing up something Kristol said in May of 2007.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 26, 2007 11:25 PM

Funny, I've looked in the comments here and other blogs and no response from Horton. What a surprise! Seems such a simple thing, to throw read meat at the knuckle draggers and watch them knaw. But alas, we already know that Horton won't provide a date and that the only response will be more shrill and deranged attacks on the "neocons" over the Beauchamp expose.

So nice of everyone to be so diplomatic and at least pretend he would be willing to defend his [snicker] honor.

The real story in all of this is how often these "esteemed" reporters for mainstream lefty mags just make shit up. While we always knew they did it, it is astonishing that they are unablet to correct even the most obvious problems and instead act like sociopaths, daring their readers with even bigger and bolder lies.

Posted by: Becky at August 27, 2007 12:29 AM

Funny, I've looked in the comments here and other blogs and no response from Horton. What a surprise! Seems such a simple thing, to throw read meat at the knuckle draggers and watch them knaw. But alas, we already know that Horton won't provide a date and that the only response will be more shrill and deranged attacks on the "neocons" over the Beauchamp expose.

So nice of everyone to be so diplomatic and at least pretend he would be willing to defend his [snicker] honor.

The real story in all of this is how often these "esteemed" reporters for mainstream lefty mags just make sh** up. While we always knew they did that, it is astonishing that they are unable to correct even the most obvious problems and instead act like sociopaths, daring their readers with even bigger and bolder lies.

Posted by: Becky at August 27, 2007 12:31 AM

Funny, I've looked in the comments here and elsewhere, and no response from Horton. Seems such a simple thing, to throw that read meat at the knuckle draggers and watch them gnaw. But alas, we already know that Horton won't provide a date and that the only response will be more shrill and deranged attacks on the "neocons".

So nice of everyone to be so diplomatic and at least pretend Horton might want to defend his [snicker] honor.

The real story in all of this is how often these "esteemed" reporters for mainstream lefty mags just make sh** up. It is astonishing that they have no ability to correct even the most obvious problems and instead act like sociopaths, daring their readers with even bigger and bolder lies.

Posted by: Becky at August 27, 2007 12:38 AM

Funny, I've looked in the comments here and elsewhere, and still no response from Horton. Seems such a simple thing, to throw that red meat at the knuckle draggers and watch them gnaw.

But alas, we already know that Horton won't provide a date and that the only response will be more shrill and deranged attacks on the "neocons". So nice of everyone to be diplomatic and at least pretend Horton might want to defend his [snicker] honor.

The real story in all of this is how often these "esteemed" reporters from mainstream lefty mags just make sh** up. It is astonishing that they have no ability to correct even the most obvious problems and responding instead like sociopaths, daring their readers with even bigger and bolder lies.

Posted by: Becky at August 27, 2007 12:42 AM

I'm really sorry about the excess posts. It didn't look like they went through. My bad.

Posted by: Becky at August 27, 2007 12:46 AM

The roasted child story is important not because of of its truth or falseness (it seems dodgy to me).

It is important because it shows what the Iraqi attitude (in some sectors at least) is towards Al Q.

Posted by: M. Simon at August 27, 2007 06:19 AM

I would suggest that we try to not be drawn into arguments over Michael Yon, baked children, hypocritical bloggers, and so forth. This really boils down to something simple: Scott Horton, in an article posted to a well known magazine's website, has accused a reporter of deliberately lying, and also used that as an example to make a blanket accusation against the "Neocon corner" and their "war fables." If he has any evidence that reporters are deliberately lying about their experiences in Iraq, then he should provide that evidence. He should also have no problem providing the exact dates and any other specific information he can about the time he spent at Haifa streen in Iraq.

Anything else being commented on here is just window dressing. All that is being asked here of Mr. Horton is that he back up his accusation. That's it. It was he who made the accusation, so it is incumbent upon him, and not the accused, to provide the evidence.

Posted by: RJ at August 27, 2007 09:10 AM

It is pretty clear that Haifa Street has a history as varied as the route is long. My bit of research shows that the area has been hotly contested throughout the insurgency, but that the most recent reports--beginning in May 2007--are the most accurate. Wes Morgan is no neocon hack and he writes descriptively about the area. His posts at The Fourth Rail are worth a read to anyone boasting intellectual honesty as a character trait.

Kristol may well be relating comments provided to him by Kagen. The two men are certain to correspond professionally, and Kristol's essay could be rehashing what Kagen described to him.

Horton very clearly has not been to Haifa Street in over a year. There is no evidence whatsoever to show his presence there at the time that Kristol and Kagen describe.

What's ironic is that Bob started this discussion in an intellectually honest attempt to determine if there was a Beauchamp on the right. He'd come across an accusation that someone had "fabricated" a story, and he expressed a desire to have the truth be told. That is, Confederate Yankee appeared set to castigate a conservative for the same thing we've raked TNR over the coals with. Instead, it looks like the prevarications are coming from the left. Again. Heh...

Tara and kat-Missouri have research skills that are teh bomb. Y'all rock.

Posted by: Dave at August 27, 2007 09:12 AM

How long is Haifa street?

Posted by: Bill Mead at August 27, 2007 10:37 AM

Yes, there seems to be a disjoint between Harper's 2006 experience, and Kristol's 2007 report. If nothing else, the events described are a year apart.

Please note that Harper did not mention a specific name or date in his 2007 blog post. Also please note that he only provided one (vague) example.

Normally when one is trying to establish a specfic claim, one attempts to provide as many specific data points (i.e. facts) as possible, for no other reason that it takes at least two data points to establish a trend.

In other words, if Harper wants to establish a claim that there's a neocon bias, or a neocon habit fabulism regarding war reporting, he is obliged to provide more than one "fer instance," and he would do well to give as many specifics as possible.

The very first thing that jumped out at me when I read Beauchamp's work was the complete absence of names, dates, ranks, or outfits. I have concluded that it is very nearly a definitive law that any claim made about American armed forces abuses is not trustworthy when the story-teller can't or won't provide those four things. Beauchamp's claims tended to validate that "law."

CY, maybe -assuming Harper ever even answers you- you can ask him for more instances of "neocon ... war fables."

About the only thing I can think of relates more to "quick on the trigger," as opposed to "fables," and that's when everyone jumped all over every news release that claimed Hussein had been killed or captured. Again. Didn't we kill him about 3 times before they finally get him? A similar problem occured several times when press releases announced that someone on the infamous "deck of cards" had been killed or captured, and writers/bloggers would run with it immediately, only to find out -oops!- wasn't him...

Posted by: Casey Tompkins at August 27, 2007 11:12 AM

"For example, did you ever follow up on the "Al Qaeda roasting kids and serving them to their parents" story? That whole thing seemed far-fetched, to put the most charitable spin on it, but did you accept it because it came via Yon despite the fact that he provided no backup for the tale? Perhaps I missed it, but I don't remember reading any email exchanges with Yon where you asked him to defend his story.
Posted by: nunaim "

Yon did not report that incident as fact. He reported what the translator was being told by an Iraqi. In this scenario, fact verification would involve contacting the translator and asking if that is what he communicated to Yon. If so, then Yon's reporting is verified. Now, if Yon left out the part of the translator and the Iraqi, and instead reported that Al Quaeda was baking children, then verification of the alleged incident would need to occur. Get it?

Posted by: PJ at August 27, 2007 01:00 PM

It started out by CY trying to get someone to assist in possibly uncovering another "Beauchamp." Along the way, its become apparent that to ALL involved, be it a left/right reporter or blogger, the fact is/was/always will be/should be is that the so called "Fourth Estate" is supposed to be free of personal bias in all ways shapes and forms. Unfortunately, that is no longer and issue, and because of the constant harping of both sides of the political spectrum, the future of America seems to be one similar to that of the Balkans, specifically the former Yugoslavia. Red State VS Blue State, Us VS Them... its all leading to a massive fractioning of society. Damned shame if you think about it.

The ONLY consolation that I have (personally speaking) is that for all the virulent rhetoric on both sides, its nice to see that SOME people have a grounding in reality. Specifically here on CY...

Posted by: Big Country at August 27, 2007 04:13 PM

Two additional points on SE's attempted defense:

1. Those Ann Scott Tyson articles are datelined from.... where exactly?

2. This would appear to be the same Ann Scott Tyson busted by the WaPo's ombudsman for regurgitating antiwar propaganda in a story about Army recruitment.

Posted by: Karl at August 27, 2007 04:23 PM

Hey CY! As a linguist - I took a stab and trying to decipher Horton's story and he purposefully made his recount of his day on Haifa Street so non-specific that it could be any day, any year, on any part of this street.

What reporter (and editor for that matter) would permit such vagueness in an "investigative" report?

Here are some telling examples:

One example: back last spring (lack of detail), when I was living ("working", "reporting", "posted" would be much better choice of words) in Baghdad, on Haifa Street (again, no detail, what neighborhood? What hotel?), I sat (where? In your room? In an outdoor cafe?) in the evening reading a report by one of the core Neocon pack (In what context was he reading? Online? Newspaper? What was the source?). He was reporting from Baghdad, and recounted a day (a day? There are 365 of them in Iraq just as there are here in the US! more no specificity) he had spent out on a patrol with U.S. troops on Haifa Street. He described a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community. Children were out playing on the street. Men and women were out going about their daily business. Well, in fact I had been forced to spend the day “in the submarine,” as they say, missing appointments I had in town (appointments?). Why? This bucolic, marvelous Haifa Street that he described had erupted in gun battles the entire day (I recall a quite, typical Tuesday morning in September of 2001 that was as usual and typical as could be until about 10 am). In the view of my security guards, with which I readily concurred, it was too unsafe. And yes, I could hear the gunfire and watch some of the exchanges from my position (How dangerous could it have been if he decided to watch this all from his viewpoint? Didn't he need to take cover?). No American patrol had passed by and there were certainly no children playing in the street (So, he was outside on the street the entire day, watching every vehicle that passed by?). This was the point when I realized that many of these accounts were pure fabrications. (So, ONE report leads him to the conclusion that they ALL are "pure fabrications"?)

Not only should the writer be taken to task, soneone should be asking some hard questions to his editor asking for justification for such a strong accusation with so little, if any supporting evidence.

Posted by: Marc at August 27, 2007 06:04 PM