December 04, 2007

Slowly, Slowly...

The TNR saga is slowly seeping into the media, with posts this morning at the Washington Post and the New York Times, in addition to last night's mention in the New York Observer.

Not a single one of these outlets discusses the fact that Franklin Foer spent the better part of 13 pages alleging a military conspiracy spanning four bases in three countries involving dozens of soldiers, from privates to colonels.

I guess they didn't want to discuss how nutty that explanation sounds.

Nor did they mention that Foer and The New Republic refused to apologize to those soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait they accused of atrocities.

Not a single one them acknowledges that Foer was being deceptive when he claimed back in July "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published".

Nor did they mention that both of the author's prior stories made statements--at least one unequivocally false--that should have made them doubt his veracity from the beginning. Even Media Matters ripped The New Republic for their handling of this debacle, perhaps marking the first time in history the organization has ever been to the right of major news outlets.

No. I'm not kidding:

Essentially, what unnerved me is that a magazine like TNR was so completely divorced from the military that they did not even have one person on staff -- one single person -- who was personally connected to a career professional in the military (and Elspeth Reeve, an intern at TNR who is now married to Beauchamp -- himself not a career professional in the military -- doesn't count), who could have a) helped them screen what was being sent in the first place, and b) helped them figure out how to fact-check the guy (let alone, after the fact, help them figure out what was really going on). I mean, seriously, how is it that at this point the best de facto depictions of life in-country come ... in Doonesbury?! (The very liberal cartoonist Gary Trudeau is, in a strange twist of journalism, apparently far better wired in to real soldiers on the ground than is the editor of a major magazine? How did this happen?)

Folks, we are six freaking years into a war now. Regardless of how you or I or Eric or anybody feels about the causality of these wars, the fact of these wars remain important for all of us to understand. We are six years into a period in which the military and issues of war have been, like, you know, sort of central. How could TNR remain so divorced from anyone in the military for so long that they eventually fell for this?

Nor have the professional media sought to address, in any way, that The New Republic hid testimony provided to it by military personnel that contradicted their preferred narrative, and have flatly refused to provide the names of their anonymous civilian experts they interviewed, perhaps because the one that was found shows just how disreputable the magazine truly is.

This story is far from over, folks.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 4, 2007 07:28 AM

Rip 'em!

Posted by: T.Ferg at December 4, 2007 10:08 AM

When I was a young man there was a trade called "reporting". That trade died, unfortunately replaced by the "proffession of journalism".
Reporters were mostly bright, lower class kids with a way with words. They found their way out of the factories and farms. Their brothers and cousins were factory workers, farmers, cops and soldiers.
These days, instead of the bright working class kids, the upper class sends it's kids who aren't bright enough for management go into journalism. The dumbest kids in the universities are in the school of education, the next dumbest are in J-schools and schools of social work.
Please don't act surprised at the shortcomings of journalists. Dimbulbs just can't help it.

Posted by: Peter at December 4, 2007 12:17 PM

Thank you for your tireless efforts in this regard. I made my voice heard too, but you deserve high praise for turning the tide. I have one other suggestion: Each year there are Darwin Awards, i.e., for people who remove themselves from the gene pool via stupidity often combined with arrogance. Can you orchestrate Dan Rather Awards, e.g., hold them each year on the anniversary of some important date in the Dan Rather TANG story debacle? Candidates would be those journalists (including faux photographers who multiply the degree of bomb produced smoke over Damascus) whose asine works are uncovered by bloggers and which eventually forces them to recant. Points for scoring who would win that year could be based on many factors such as the size of the whopper, the time it takes for them to recant, or even if they don't recant personally, the time it takes their media outlet to desert them, etc. I think that posting a table showing these points in the various categories andd which adds them up based on a reasonable formula along with a succinct narative, cropped images, etc., would help convince your readers that the most deserving journalist et al. "won" that award that year, while also establishing the relative asinity of the "runners-up".

Best wishes.

Posted by: Ivon Fergus at December 4, 2007 12:55 PM

What twigged me, and many others, was the bit about the dogs. You just don't do that with a track! Most especially, you don't do that with a track containing people who are standing up wearing lots of heavy gear and carrying stuff -- and most most most especially, you don't do that with a track containing, etc., when you might be under fire at the moment. The situation deteriorated from there.

And note what Foer did. He called up the manufacturer, whose rep is quoted in the blogosphere as saying something resembling the above and no doubt said the same thing to the TNR staffer making the inquiry. But, being an honest person, the rep no doubt also made some statement to the effect that he wasn't there and soldiers are inventive and sometimes irresponsible -- and that's all Foer heard of the entire conversation from what he reports.

That's not lack of information or even misinformation. He took a statement that did not support his assumptions, and extracted from it what appeared to him to support them. That's delusion on the level of the guys on street corners ranting about conspiracies between the CIA and Gray aliens. Millenium hand, and shrimp!


Posted by: Ric Locke at December 4, 2007 02:47 PM


Seriously, hats off to ya, buddy. They could surely profit from the example of real journalism you've set them, here and elsewhere. But we both know they won't.

Posted by: Mike at December 4, 2007 03:00 PM

What is stunning to me is that Foer seems to argue that the story about a soldier wearing a human skull into battle was true,
but that officers of the US army constructed a cover cover up and coerced soldiers to sign statements supporting the cover up.
This it seems to me, would be a huge story if it could be proven.

First Foer got Beauchamped, now it seems he is trying to Beauchamp himself.

By the time I got to the part where
Foer finally admitted that TNR couldn't stand by Beauchamp's piece, my main
thought was when will TNR admit that they can
not stand by Foer's piece?

The whole idea of bringing in the real fact checkers after the article is published is
pretty funny, I have to admit. Lets see what
the real fact checkers have to say about Foer's
article. Foer's piece was dated 12/10/2007, so
the fact checkers probably won't even know of
its existence till next week and may not actually read it before the end of the year.

Posted by: kenmoreland at December 4, 2007 03:26 PM

You'll notice that the MSM put the story on ice until they had an 'equilavence' slam against NRO.

The difference, of course, being that TNR stonewalled for 5 months and NRO immediately admitted the shortcomings of their pieces and rectified the situation.

Posted by: John at December 4, 2007 03:51 PM

As a parent I think I speak from experience when I contend that if it takes fourteen pages of excuses for someone to work themselves up to saying "oops" there is sufficient grounds to question their sincerity.

Posted by: submandave at December 4, 2007 03:58 PM

Another distinction, John, on these two events is that the NRO errors are politically neutral; whether or not there were certain numbers of Hezbies and Hamantashen doing what they do at a particular place and time, in particular numbers, is hardly identifiable as a trope of one political persuasion or another. Baghdad Diaries... not so much.

Posted by: megapotamus at December 4, 2007 03:58 PM

Thanks Bob.

USMC '82-88

Posted by: DaveW at December 4, 2007 04:01 PM

Media Matters wrote, "Essentially, what unnerved me is that a magazine like TNR was so completely divorced from the military that they did not even have one person on staff -- one single person -- who was personally connected to a career professional in the military."

Fred Reed, a Marine in Viet Nam and a career reporter writes on the news media and reporters, with some references to the military in An Oozing of Gray Sludge.

Some excerpts.

"In thirty years of in the writing trades, Iíve covered a lot of things, but three in particular: The military, the sciences, and the police. For years I had a military column syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate and later carried by the Army Times papers until I was fired for political incorrectness. For half a dozen years I rode with the cops all around the country for my police column in the Washington Times. And Iíve written tech columns and pieces for technical mags like Signal forever."

"This isnít my first rodeo."

"In each case the reporters I met were, with very few exceptions, pig ignorant. The military reporters didnít know the history, the weaponry, the technology, strategy, tactics, or how soldiers work. Almost none had served."

"Over the years Iíve noticed several things. First, in print publications, most reporters arenít very smart. A few are very bright, but probably through a mistake in hiring. (The prestigious papers are exceptions, hiring Ivy League snots of the sort who viscerally dislike soldiers, cops, rural people, guns, etc.)"

Fred's disgruntlement is our gain.

Posted by: Looking Glass at December 4, 2007 04:10 PM

I ran out of gas. I got a flat tire. I..uh..didn't have change for cab fare. I left my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake . . .a terrible flood! IT WASN'T MY FAULT I SWEAR TO GOD!!!

Therefore, we can no longer stand by the story.

Posted by: Mike S at December 4, 2007 04:38 PM

Thanks very much.

USAF, 1984-1991

Posted by: Patrick Carroll at December 4, 2007 04:53 PM

The American left is so anti-war that it simply cannot see the military without a negative bias. Believe me, I know. I joined the anti-war ranks during Vietnam and woke up to cold realities only after 9/11. But at least I woke up. I can't say the same for TNR and others who simply won't EVER get it.
Thank you for your brilliant and tireless work on behalf of the truth.

Posted by: E. Miller at December 4, 2007 05:07 PM

Seeing how TNR values propaganda over truth, the lesson is clear:

They have sold their birthright for a pot of message.

Posted by: pst314 at December 4, 2007 05:09 PM

Okay. This is the most memorable story out of Iraq.

Guess who then gets to keep the problem?

Did you know that there are people "out there," who call this adventure Bush's war?

Seems lots of people think we've been ripped off. But they can't quite figure out the "how" part.

Like in "how" did we get to do so much work for the Saud's? While Maliki hates out guts. And, Afghanistan is going to hell in a hand basket.

Okay. So you "bagged" TNR. Big deal.

But how come the army let Beauchamp "keep serving?" If he's the biggest story teller in Iraq, how come there is a marine who is on trial for his life? His crime? He was sent out at night, to patrol. With an Iraqi. Who lit a cigarette. Giving away their position to snipers. So, to protect his own life, this marine tried to get the Iraqi to put out his cigarette. Words led to fists. Led to the Iraqi reaching for his AK-47. And, yes. The marine with only a knife in this fight, killed the Iraqi. But now? 20 terrorists watched. So the American lawyers have 20 "witnesses" looking to hang this marine.

Too bad Maliki hates Bush. If he didn't, the Marine's life wouldn't be at stake.

And, Beauchamp? What happens when his tongue starts to wag? Or his computer starts to function?

You think TNR's surrender is the best story out of Iraq? Wow. Plus, I don't think they surrendered. They just took their time sifting through the bullshit.

It's pretty standard, when you go to war, and you are part of the action; your brain shifts gears. And, you get hardened.

Perhaps, TRN can't recognize a hardened soldier. Doesn't mean there aren't stories out their that would make your hairs on your head stand on end.

You can't fool me. The Saud's are financing terror. And, Bush is pushing for them to get "status" in the Mideast.

We shall see.

Posted by: Carol Herman at December 4, 2007 07:05 PM

Did you know that there are people "out there," who call this adventure Bush's war?

Yes Carol, we know you do. And you are "out there", really out there.

Posted by: Boss429 at December 4, 2007 07:39 PM

Carol - Do you have a citation for the follwing portion of your comment?

"You think TNR's surrender is the best story out of Iraq? Wow."

Posted by: daleyrocks at December 4, 2007 07:56 PM

There you have it, folks, a shining example of the left. Thank you for that, Carol.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 4, 2007 08:08 PM

it is so sad that you people think that this is some kind of victory, or that you think TNR is a left wing rag.

from the well over a thousand postings on TNR talkback section, you might imagine that TNR did the equivalent of telling the Germans of the DDay landing. Has anyone here actually read all 14 boring pages of the Foer article? I am a subscriber who thought that 3rd story was too macabre, even if true, but it was one story out of tens of thousands written yearly. Victor Hanson has written for TNR, and not long ago. It has also had Fred Barnes, Morton Kondrake, etc. on its staff. It produces much greatness and a few clinkers.

As to Beauchamp, he is an ass who, if telling the truth, is a jerk, if embellishing or lying betrayed his wife and her company by his actions.

I have been an ardent supporter of the war, and of the surge (wishing it had been done years ago) I engage in many long and useful discussions with other TNR readers. We go from the far left to the far right (has anyone here ever read Marty Peretz's blog the Spine?) no squishy liberal he. There is no groupthink at TNR. Some of the most vociferous Hillary bashing can be found there (as well as her defense)

I seriously doubt most of the posters here could last a week with the intellects who post at TNR's talkback. Believe you me, I don't include myself in this group, but I do learn from many of these people. Don't judge everything on one story, especially when the story is a minor sideshow relegated to the back of the magazine.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 4, 2007 08:30 PM

Oaxaca, if you think that it's still possible that Beauchamp is telling the truth, you are willfully ignorant, and therefore not worth further discourse.

Good day, sir. I said, good day!

Posted by: C-C-G at December 4, 2007 08:32 PM

Ric Locke:

What got me was the dining hall story. I am in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, I have eaten at Coast Guard stations, and ribbing and poor-taste jokes happen. But such cruelty to a wounded person in the hearing of NCOs is not heard. It didn't fly with me, especially as I also work in government on my day job and in both the day job and the USCGAUX we have been given the videos and sermons about behavior.

Joke with your buddies when no one is around to overhear? That happens. Do that when more than your buddies are around and someone will have to say something if a complaint is filed? Hell no!

It didn't fly, no one said "STFU, you idiot."

That sounded more like a high school cafeteria story than a large military mess deck to me.

Regards, Mikey NTH

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 4, 2007 08:44 PM

before I get yelled at for being some kind of leftist pinko, I want to mention that I have spent over 10 years living and working in the third world. In China criminal gangs kidnap small children from peasant farmers, break their bones and reset them in crippling fashion, in order to make them effective beggars. Does anyone here doubt me? I think not, I need no proof because you know it is true. It got to the point I could no longer live in rural China.

Now I am in Oaxaca, recently a group of young Guatemelan migrant girls were kidnapped on the way to America, with the direct support or complicity of the Police, aimed to extort money from immigrants' families already in the United States. A brave Catholic priest Padre J. Alejandro Solalinde Guerra of the Tehuantepec Diocese was jailed by the same police for his protests on behalf of them.

I have daily seen such genuine heartbreak and horror that a story of a few dogs run over, a mocked woman, or bits of bodies where dead bodies are in abundance, all that shocking.

It makes me wonder if many of you find the story all that shocking either, or just find this an excuse to vent hatred at your fellow Americans whose politics you disagree with.

Move to a third world country for a while and you will find just how many values you share with Democrats (or Republicans) and you will wonder just what you were so pissed off with them about.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 4, 2007 08:51 PM

BTW: When I typed "wounded" I meant "hurt"*. Stupidity happens and things happen, but just ripping apart another person because of an injury? Not like that.

*I'm on the Great Lakes. Injuries happen, but so far no 'bad guy inflicted' wounds that I know of. Thank God

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 4, 2007 08:52 PM

oaxaca: What you are reporting is not the fault of or the actions of US military personnel. There is a vast difference in behavior between the US Army and the Mexican police or Chinese criminal gangs.

Try again.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 4, 2007 08:56 PM

thank you C-C-G for proving my point at just how closed minded many of you are and insulated your lives truly are. What have you done to truly help your fellow man? I have lived in poverty from a small island in Micronesia, rural China, rural Mexico, to realize just how insignificant that story of Beauchamp was, certainly not worth the thousands of posts related to it.

When my second son was born prematurely in China I found out later a girl, who was even more premature, was nearby. The father, a poor peasant, did not want a girl (one child policy and all) and he did not want to pay for the incubator, the hospital itself simply let that baby die. I found out about this later. I don't know what I could have done, at the least I would have offered to put my name on the birth certificate as the child's father and paid for the babies treatment, I am certain I could have found many Americans who would have adopted the baby.

But I didn't know until afterwards, I was too engrossed in my own son to pay much attention. I did nothing wrong yet I still feel such regret.
How dare you call me willfully ignorant. I doubt you will even read this, and if you did doubt an apology would ever grace your lips. Believe me, you have no idea the things that are possible, especially in the third world where life is cheap.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 4, 2007 09:05 PM

Oaxaca, why don't you go back into the archives of this very blog and see how CY proves conclusively that Beauchamp could not possibly have told the truth?

Then I shall accept an apology from you.

As for what I have done... I am not going to get into a "holier than thou" contest, and you're showing your own colors by attempting to draw me into such. Since you cannot disprove my statements, you are attacking me personally.

Begone, troll!

Posted by: C-C-G at December 4, 2007 09:09 PM

oaxaca - I can readily believe your assurances that you would not be able to hold your own in a discussion thread over at TNR. I'm not sure what that proves since I also suspect you wouldn't do any better with fifth graders.

It is totally meaningless and absurd to be drawing some sort of parallel between what you witnessed in your work assignments in some third world location and fabricated stories published in a prominent magazine for the sole purpose of denigrating American soldiers.

Posted by: Terry at December 4, 2007 09:14 PM

Mickey NTH, I never said anything about the US military being at fault in the slightest. Did you even read what I wrote, or did you read what you wanted to think I wrote? I said Beauchamp was at fault foremost, for being either an ass or a liar. I also said TNR was wrong to publish this last piece, my main point is I don't care anymore and am not sure why so many of you do to the extent that you seem to. The TNR readers took Foer to task from day one on this issue, we are sick to death of it, especially when it becomes simply an issue to bash people's politics over the head with. Martin Peretz, the recent owner, has and continues to be a vigorous supporter of the war. TNR is not this one story, can't you realize that?
You know, I really enjoy the dialogs between Jonah Goldberg of NRO and Peter Beinert of TNR.
I won't condemn NRO because of one part time blog writer who lied or exagerrated about Beirut. That would be infantile. As I said, if Beauchamp lied, he betrayed his wife, his wife's employer, and his fellow troops. If he didn't he is an ass who should be ignored at best, punished at worst. End of story. Why he wasn't dishonorably discharged is a different issue, I would hope the US military ain't that hard up for troops. But since they didn't and he remains a soldier the US military doesn't seem to be that concerned by it either.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 4, 2007 09:24 PM

Bob, the fact that you are not addressing the NRO/Smith issue is driving the idiots at Sadly,No completely insane.

Please keep up the good work.

Posted by: marc at December 4, 2007 09:24 PM

I do find this thread very amusing. I have been a consistent war supporter for years, but have always been hobbled by the hosanna chorus of see no wrongs done by President Bush.

How thick are you people? Beauchamp is a serving soldier, he betrayed his wife, his fellow soldiers, and TNR. Foer trusted a serving soldier, and in the wake of Abu Ghraib, is what he really wrote so shocking. Beauchamp denigrated first and foremost himself.

Answer me, why hasn't Beauchamp been discharged for conduct unbecoming? None of you can answer because you are all doubtless brain dead. I have tried to engage in a meaningful conversation but with the hosanna chorus it just ain't possible. You would not last a week doing what I do.

Holier than thou, damn right I am. I take pride in my service to the worlds poor.

I find it stunning that not a one of you felt the least bit of sympathy for that dead baby girl to at least mention it before you got on with your ad hominem attacks. Honestly, you are all a bunch of heartless bastards, self righteous and pathetic. Don't worry, I will be gone, and gone for good. I can't waste my time with you people.

Feel free to rip me, claim I made up everything, I don't care. I know what matters, and I know by next week all of this will be forgotten by you and I.

Ask yourself one question though, what have you done for the poor of the world today. Myself, I know I did my share. So ultimately, when I die I can look God in the face. He will forgive me for losing patience with fools such as yourselves. YOu can say you blogged and pretended that mattered. Zaijian, Hasta Luego, Auf Wiedersehen. Unlike you idiots, I speak 4 languages.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 4, 2007 09:40 PM

Oaxaca, next time you're in your Bible, check out the following verses:

Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Proverbs 27:2: "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips."

Matthew 23:12: "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

And probably the best one...

Matthew 6:5: "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward."

Oh, one more thing. Don't try to act self-righteous around a preacher's kid, lay preacher, and theology student. You typically get your head handed to you.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 4, 2007 09:54 PM

This holiday season, the editors at TNR have provided all of us with a remarkable lesson on the value of the common man.

While journalists increasingly aspire to heroic "sticking it to the man" and "screwing the right-wing conspiracy" greatness, tossing ethics, boring objective reporting, fact-checking and other tired and unrewarding distractions, countless people in our daily experience patiently carry out their seemingly uninteresting tasks. Their humble, consistent efforts make our life experience so much greater.

Seriously said, how many people do each of us ignore each day that do presumably boring, undynamic yet probably quite necessary functions? I see the same guy cleaning our restrooms daily who always has the best attitude and does a damn good job cleaning. Another female security guard at our front gate always puts you in a good mood with her pleasant yet diligent effort.

I going to make sure I find a way to thank these sincere "people of quality" that make our country great. Forget these ethically bankrupt journalistic poseurs in a dying profession this holiday season and do something nice for those who tirelessly do truly outstanding, unremarkable work.

Posted by: redherkey at December 4, 2007 11:11 PM
I going to make sure I find a way to thank these sincere "people of quality" that make our country great.

Shake their hand, look them straight in the eye, and say "thank you."

Really, it works. And it's worth more than even Bill Gates' fortune.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 4, 2007 11:15 PM


What you are doing is good work and I applaud you. The problem with what you have written in your comments is that you conflate evil and wrong deeds that have nothing to do with the subject matter at hand.


Posted by: Mark at December 4, 2007 11:26 PM

oaxaca, if you are still here,

1) thank heaven that unlike TNR this blog allows


aaaah! (carriage returns don't show on the TNR site)

2) your support for the war is noted. criticism of beauchamp noted. criticism of tnr noted.

3) what i think we are left with is, tempest in a teapot, there are bigger fish, even the bad acts described by beauchamp, if true, are petty stuff compared with your 3W experiences, and one of tnr's FAILs was to consider them worth posting on.

this is all pretty true.

4) what you fail to consider is: we feel that the meritorious observations you make are better made by tnr. the fact that they prefer to expose dog-slicing and skull-play means either:

a) they have no values

b) their values say that minor bad acts that reflect badly on the US/US military are more significant and newsworthy than major bad acts that do not reflect badly on the US/US military, or that reflect badly on #Wers who are supposed to be victims all the time but never perpetrators of evil.

5) thank you for your fine service on behalf of the world's downtrodden (although there are no doubt poor people in the US who could also use your help).

i think this should lead you to agree with us that tnr's actions have harmed the US by lying/error, and the world's poor by omission/neglect.

furthermore i think you would agree that tnr has not only shown FAIL in the original harms as above, but by their bad attitude in handling it.

6) many die-hard posters on tnr think they are doing something good but are only enabling the tnr FAIL. they are doing harm in this way. also, though you may feel you have gotten short shrift here, i think you have been treated better than the tnr reader die-hards treat "nonsubscribing wingnut smegma-heads," if you get me.

7) i also agree that boasting of one's philanthropies is in questionable taste, at least to followers of Judaeo-Christian ethics, except perhaps inasmuch as it serves to encourage others. many people here do wonderful things for others and will never speak of it.

Posted by: nichevo at December 4, 2007 11:32 PM

At a young age I learned this very important thing: make friends with janitors, lunch ladies, and paperboys. Tell them all "thank you" whenever you can. Having been two of the three helped quite a bit in learning that.

I really cannot tell you just how many time those two little words spoken in a heart-felt and serious way either made my day or the person I spoke them to.

In that vein -

CY, for all you do - Thank you.

Thank you to all other commentors for your efforts on these pages...yes, even the trolls :)

Posted by: Mark at December 4, 2007 11:34 PM

Mark, you were a lunch lady?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I second the thanks to CY, and extend it not only to the commenters, but also to the lurkers... if you have a job, no matter what it is, you help society at large. Thank you.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 4, 2007 11:38 PM

Come on, CCG - the outfits (and hairnets) were cool...and the extra cookies, mmmmmmm

Posted by: mark at December 4, 2007 11:55 PM


"This story is far from over, folks."

I certainly agree that it shouldn't be over yet, because the most revealing paragraph in Foer's apologia has gotten almost no attention:

Naturally we wanted to learn more about the dog-hunting and the skullĖalthough, in hindsight, the genesis of these anecdotes in such a nonchalant aside should have provoked greater suspicion. Beauchamp revised the piece, and we sanded down the prose. A month after he submitted the first draft, after several revisions, it entered into galleys.

TNR clearly had a far more active role in shaping Beauchamp's "diaries" then they have previously been willing to admit. Indeed, I suspect Foer was too caught up in his effort to demonstrate how seriously TNR took its responsibilities (layers of editors hard at work!) to realize how damaging an admission he's made. Not only did Beauchamp write up 2 of the 3 most inflammatory anecdotes in "Shock Troops" at TNR's specific behest, TNR participated heavily in developing the very piece that set off the alarm bells -- from two snippets that Beauchamp himself barely mentioned in the effort he originally submitted.

One can only imagine what sort of "dialogue between soldiers in a guard tower" TNR actually rejected outright. I don't doubt it was quite a task to transform Beauchamp's Hemingway into "the introspective writings of a low-ranking soldier" describing "the plight of sensitive young soldiers on the front line." No wonder the end results were so badly written! There's plenty that makes no logical sense in Beauchamp's earlier essays too (the putatatively well-received "James Bond" story in particular), and I see no reason not to suspect heavy handed editorial intervention there as well. This was clearly an agenda driven process, regardless of whether it was also politically motivated or not.

These stories derive from an author in search of a publisher, and a publisher willing to take advantage of a young soldier's amibitions: After a month of sanding and multiple rewrites, Beauchamp finally produced the piece that TNR wanted him to write. The misbegotten editorial judgment which spawned this hoax, and the editorial dishonesty of trying to pass off the resulting work as an unadulterated 1st person narrative from the front, are ultimately more damning than the prevarication which has characterized Foer's attempt at damage control.

Posted by: JM Hanes at December 5, 2007 02:42 AM

digitusmedius takes "the right wing" to task for "pure speculation" on TNR's stories. Well, duh. The Bradley rep clearly doesn't know what happened in Iraq, and states that fact. But digitusmedius, dahling, the same is true of you. And me. All of us. Absent speculation we all would remain mute.

Granted, speculation should be based on evidence, and rational interpretation of the facts at hand.
You don't provide any evidence. At all. None. The basic dialog with you goes like this:

Commenters: provide facts based on personal and extensive knowledge of military tactics, Bradley performance, ammo, firearms, identified sources, etc. etc. etc. that strongly suggest TNR is shovelling guano.

You: a) Bush is the devil; b) you lying scum!; c) prove it didn't happen; d) Abu Graib; e) hey, nice shoes; f) bite me. When challenged, change the subject. If further challenged, whine. Repeat as necessary.


Posted by: Mikey at December 5, 2007 04:01 AM

Then why are you even bringing up the Mexican police, Chinese criminal gangs, or the fact that the third world isn't a nice place? What the devil does that have to do with Pvt. Beauchamp's fantasy stories unless you are trying to conflate the US Army with the Mexican police or a criminal gang? What does that have to do with the fact that TNR printed those fantasies without checking and then spent over four months in denial before issuing a non-apology apology? You worked in the third world? Bully for you; and that has something to do with this subject - how?

Try being a little less strident, a little less holier-than-thou, but above all, try making a point!

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 5, 2007 06:18 AM

JM Hanes,

I have been saying that all along too. Just posted at TNR (please, folks, their sloppy site has a long delay before posts appear), and I have posted other places, that square backed bullet nonsense most probably came from the TNR offices, not Baghdad.

As someone who has had experience being "interviewed" under the guise of a date, then being written about without foreknowledge or permission, to include a fabricated quote and plenty of fabricated details, all from TNR, by a writer/researcher who is now an assistant editor, I think that I can assure you that there is a HUGE difference between the story you read and the information that they began with.

BTW, Eve Fairbanks (who I am referring to above) is a Yale educated and trained reporter, the Foer excuse of PV1 Beauchamp not having that training falls a bit flat.

Also, Foer's ignorance is glairing when he did not know the driver's license organ doner thing was a freaking joke!? To top it off, he sounds like he lifted quite similar words from another 'blogger who doubted that bit and checked out Iraqi driver's licenses for organ doner status (they don't have one). Wasn't that Blackfive who researched that? I should look it up, or someone else can compare and contrast. BTW, in my head I said "are you freaking kidding me, you think that is serious" when I red the 'blogger complaint about the DL comment as if it were serious.

Oh, did anybody notice the 'nice touch' that Mr. Foer used to burn PV1 Beauchamp's Platoon Seargent? He would not name the guy out of respect for him asking for his name not be used, he might as well given the paragraph and line number from the MTOE for the guy.

BTW Bob, I did like that you addressed the NRO/Smith issue, but being as harsh on them for coming out and addressing things right away as you have on TNR is a little too much.

I am pretty darn certain that the stories submitted are seriously different than the ones that were printed and a lot of the stuff everybody is complaining about was done in DC, not Iraq/Kuwait/Germany.

Posted by: Guy Montag at December 5, 2007 07:03 AM

As a soldier, what bothers me the most was that in Frank Foer's long excuse of an explanation, I don't see the words "sorry" or "apologize" anywhere. This is especially rich since Mr. Foer once demanded that his detractors apologize over the issue (as well as dozens of other pundits, btw. Look here for example).

All he had to do was print a one page piece claiming "we no longer have confidence in our source, and are sorry for misleading the public."

Also, I want to answer Carol Herman:

Beauchamp? What happens when his tongue starts to wag? Or his computer starts to function?

He probably already has his computer back, but even if he doesn't there are dozens of ways he could have communicated with TNR. Buy an Iraqi cell phone. Use the AT&T phones on FOB Falcon, use the MWR computers. Even if Beauchamp was still under 100% communications restriction (which is unlikely) he could still send an old-fashioned letter through the US mail (you don't even need a stamp when sending from Iraq).

But he chose not to do so, and I know why. Because his stories were simply impossible. No, it's not the most important story of the war, but it is just one of many fake stories I've seen over the years. This one just got more publicity, that's all.

Posted by: John Rohan at December 5, 2007 10:48 AM

nichevo, great post in actually addressing what I said and not what you imagine I said. TNR has a subscriber base of 60,000 people, probably less than a magazine devoted to Ferret owners. We are talking about 60,000 worldwide. Understandably they don't have a Baghdad bureau, and given their limited revenues took a journalistic shortcut by relying on a fact checker who was dating the author of the story. No question, Foer f'ed up. Again, we are talking about a magazine with 60,000 subscribers. National Review just got hosed by one of their own bloggers who point blank made up things in Lebanon. Why anyone would lie about scum like Hamas is beyond me? Tell the truth about them, but now the issue becomes NRO's lies and not the villainy of Hamas. I don't think that should be so.

I won't get caught up in pointing fingers at NRO, they were betrayed. I am certain that TNR has values. Not to long ago Victor D. Hanson wrote an article in TNR (you know, the historian who is quoted by Dick Cheney) about how to win the war. I am happy (unlike some others) that TNR commissioned the piece.

TNR has f'ed up about other issues. Joshua Kurlanzick not long ago talked about the Chinese people's reluctance to speak about the Cultural Revolution. Bullocks. He went up to english speaking chinese strangers and asked them about it, naturally they were reluctant to talk about it. Learn Mandarin and you will find Chinese people there who won't shut up about it. Should Foer have been fired over that? I accepted they didn't have the resources, that Kurlanzick did believe what he wrote, he was just wrong, and I pointed out how he was wrong. Basically, I was the only person in the world who called him on it.

My point is TNR often will publish articles bridging all sides of the spectrum, they are a small magazine with very finite resources. Don't make this more than it is.

I got all holier than thou because of people saying TNR readers live in a cocoon, if so our cocoon encompasses the whole world.

Anyway, nichevo, excellent posting. (unlike CCG who thinks quoting scripture takes the place of helping people in the real world)

By the way, that priest who was arrested was released because of bunch of us down here wrote Human rights watch, who in turn pressured Calderon who ordered him released. Yes, I helped cause the release of an unjustly prisoned Catholic priest (being american and taking pictures of the prison he was held does make a difference)

and just how many political prisoners has CCG helped release lately? Oh right, none.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 11:09 AM

ccg, if you want to make a difference, besides condescendingly thanking the guy who cleans your companies toilets (oh yeah, that will make his day, who needs food when they can shake your hand) write Mattel and demand they hire a Mandarin speaking American to accompany an American quality control inspector to spot check the factories so our children won't be potentially poisoned (talk about penny wise, pound foolish by Mattel). Get enough people to write and maybe Mattel will pay attention.

Mikey NTH, my point is that an article in a magazine with 60,000 readers is not worth wasting time and effort over. Far better to pay attention to the recent Chinese party conference wherein the last of the Liberal, reformist Shanghai faction has been pretty much purged, replaced by hardliners. Wen Jiabao, the PM whom I had some hopes for, seems to be seriously undercut. If you recall (which of course you don't) Wen was Zhao Ziyangs right hand man until Zhao was purged for supporting the students in Tiananmen prior to the massacre in 1989. What is your thoughts about this? None I am sure, since you equate the scribblings of a little jerk in a magazine with 60,000 subscribers to be of more import than the sudden recent lurch to darkness in the most populous country in the world. One thousand postings about that article. If I recall a mere dozen in the TNR article about this issue. Way to stay informed dude. And how many articles here about that?

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 12:34 PM


Agreed on just about all of your points in this comment. However, the issue many, including me, have with your previous postings is that you've conflated issues that have nothing to do with each other.

The point to this TNR/FF/STB issue is not whether or not TNR is a 'small mag' that has 'limited resources', but has done lots of good stuff (and still does). The point is the STB stories were fabricated, Foer obfuscated and stalled, then Foer came out with a 14-page mealy-mouthed apology that contained NO apology. STB/FF/TNR violated basic journalistic ethics with the printing of the first Diarist story. Compounded their mistake with two more stories. Then, FF put up a huge show of "re-reporting" previously "thoroughly fact-checked" stories. Then absolutely and abysmally failed to take responsibility for that failure.

I have no problem with TNR continuing to be produced...I have a HUGE problem with FF being at the helm.

I applaud you and your service to the downtrodden. I anguish along with you on the suffering of innocents. BUT, your experiences/exploits are NOT the point of THIS discussion. Pointing to instances of "bad behaviour" and equating them to completely different instances of "bad behaviour" does not wash. If you want to discuss what you do and have seen...then set up your own blog and do first-hand reporting from Oaxaca, MX (or wherever you happen to be doing your good works). If you don't have internet access/electricity/etc., then find a way to get your info to someone that does! Put your apples there and talk about the oranges here and elsewhere.

Blowing your own horn in your comments tends to bring people's hackles up. I don't work in the 3rd World...but, just to let you know some of my "good deeds", here's the toot: I have a full time job, a debilitating disease, and, yet, I volunteer hundreds of hours each year doing what I can for people with that same disease.


Posted by: Mark at December 5, 2007 12:44 PM

The issue at hand is TNR's defamation of America's soldiers. What good things Oaxaca has or hasn't done are utterly irrelevant. Also irrelevant is whether there are worse things going on around the world. The point is that TNR published those lies, and then obfuscated and stonewalled in defense of those lies. To paraphrase a very old comment, "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up."

Posted by: pst314 at December 5, 2007 12:59 PM

Mark, thank you for an excellent posting. I suppose I should try to separate the wheat (you, nichevo, from the chaff: CCG). As a longtime reader of TNR I got disgusted by the well over 1000 posts by people who only know TNR from this, labelling TNR readers as cocoon dwelling idiots.

My point is that running over dogs, mocking a woman, or playing with body parts (fabricated or otherwise) does not rise to the level of horror worth commenting on, certainly not to this extent. I mention my own experiences to state the actions are bfd. The actions themselves, true or not, are truly small potatoes. That soldier who raped the iraqi girl and killed her family (which in no way reflects on anyone else but him) is a story conversely I wish had been made up, same with Abu Ghraib. But those were not made up, is it really so hard to imagine a non military guy like Foer falling for Beuchamp's? As I said I think Foer messed up. Should he be fired, that is up to CanWest. As a subscriber I mostly stick around for the threads (which can be very funny).

Today there is an excellent article about Chavez. One poster, emigdio, lives there and has an excellent blog. with a birds eye view there. In it he labels Chavez a fat man in a palace. His blog places his own life (albeit only in a minor fashion) in jeopardy. Without TNR I would not have known of this blog, and certainly not from a website like this one.

And I do hope the STB story (the first) about the Iraqi boy whose toungue was cut out because he fraternized with Americans was fabricated. Nobody though questioned that story, or said that was impossible, because sadly that is all too believable. When I read that I was filled with both determination (we have to defeat those bastards who would do such a thing) with dread (how can you defeat them if they come from a society where that is accepted?) so I don't think TNR violated any ethics when they published that story (and even you would have to admit it would be pretty damn horrific and damn difficult to have to verity that one). Can you elaborate how that first story violated ethics?

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 01:28 PM

pst314. sure, why should anyones personal experience come into play on whether or not someone elses recollections are valid? As I have said one hundred times, Foer most likely got hosed by a soldier, who is presently still actively serving in Iraq. What freaking cover up exists? Did Foer shut down the comments section? Did he issue a "no Comment" to the story? First people said STB was not a real soldier, Foer provided the real soldiers name, then people said the soldier was lying, and now Foer says he can not verify the story absolutely. What coverup?

Foers crime? Trusting the veracity of a uniformed American soldier in wartime. Or has every American soldier who has talked about wartime misdeeds lied? Or should we ignore every allegation of misdeeds unless there is video evidence?

And what of STB? Why has he not been dishonorably discharged considering what you call his crime (defaming his fellow soldiers). Could it be the Military considers the episode small potatoes and not worth the aggravation?

I am sorry, but I take the Military's own response to STB to hold a hell of a lot more worth than anything anyone here screeds about.

Yes, I am a terrible person agreeing with the military and not some hacks whose contribution to the betterment of the world is to post blogs.

Or is the Military wrong in its response to STB?
No, wait, TNR was wrong to trust a soldier whom they had no reason to believe would lie, but the US Military is right to continue to trust a soldier who has been shown to be a liar? How do you knuckleheads square that? I square it because I agree with the military that this is no b.f.d.

Can anyone refute my question?

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 02:40 PM

STB was busted in rank as a result of his actions. The military did not discharge him because lying to civilian media is not a felony offense (lying on sworn statements would be be).

Foer has covered up, and continues to cover-up the ID of everyone they say supported their case, military and civilian. He has covered up testimony for people that is the opposite of what he would like to hear.

He has not been an honest broker at all during this debacle.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at December 5, 2007 02:49 PM

yeah, busted in rank one grade, which can happen for a whole host of offenses. Yet he still serves in Iraq. For what its worth, I agree he should be busted, for nothing if not making fun (allegedly) of a crippled woman and then going public with it. Definitely worthy of an ass whipping. Personally, I wouldn't want him in my unit, but the Military knows what they are doing, and there must be a reason they didn't ship his ass stateside. The military continues to trust him with the lives of his fellow soldiers, so they must see in him much more than I do. Again, this is why I came to the conclusion this is just no b.f.d. And if the other soldiers in his unit felt all that defamed I imagine the military would have transferred his ass because his getting "accidently" left behind after a patrol would be all too likely. Again, I imagine his fellow soldiers also consider it to be no b.f.d. I am sure they give him shit, but he deserves that.

When STB and his fellow soldiers are out of Iraq and discharged from the military, when there exists no threat from any higher ups (I sure as hell wouldn't admit to being part of anything that is alleged) then TNR had damn well better come up with an honest accounting of this. If not then demand Foers head. What the world can't wait six months (or however long) Something tells me you won't forget to remind TNR.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 03:19 PM

STB is out of Iraq, and has been for weeks. The picture of he and his wife at the Washington Post in Kurtz's article was taken during his homecoming.

Frankly, what the military thinks of him once they found his stories to be without merit according to their formal investigation is not my primary area of concern; my area of concern is, and has been for a while, whether or not Franklin Foer and the editors of The New Republic have given an open and honest accounting of their role in reporting and re-reporting this story.

That answer, to the best I can determine, is no.

We know for a fact that in early August TNR editor Jason Zengerle was told by a major in Kuwait that the burned woman story was an urban legend or myth. Foer is yet to mention this, or any other claims that contradict his preferred narrative, including those by one of his own now named experts.

Foer has refused to release the names of the civilian experts that he claims support his version of events. There is no logical reason to refuse to provide this information if he is conducting an honest investigation.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at December 5, 2007 04:17 PM

CY, at least I gotta give you kudos for answering without the invective (which frankly annoyed the hell out of me) of many of the posters on the fog of war thread. As I said before, I don't take everything TNR says at face value, I myself caught them a number of times in mistakes (mostly related to the political state in China, names mistaken or dates wrong, etc.). There was no thousands of postings full of flaming invective demanding anyones head then, and I dare say that issue is of more import to America's future then STB will ever be.

You seem to forget there were 3 stories by STB, the first one (the hook) was about the boy I mentioned above. The second (dogs of war) or (the line) was about how packs of dogs feasted on the dead bodies dumped by the side of the road, and how people were afraid lest they be boobytrapped to move them. Was that a line? I don't know, it was certainly plausible. Then came the sinker, the 3rd story. By that time, Foer made the all too human mistake of trusting STB, and when the shit storm came circled the wagons. As a long time reader I had seen the story played out to death and then some, it stopped holding interest for me after Jonah Goldberg dissected the issue months ago on "what's your problem."

The essential difference between you and I (and given the intelligence of your answer, which addresses my points) is that you believe this is a firing offense. I don't for the same reason I don't think Katheryn Lopez should be fired, their fundamental flaw was in trusting people whom did not deserve to be trusted. Beyond that, it is not my call since I don't own either NRO or TNR. At most, as a subscriber I can cancel my subscription to make my displeasure known. I won't because to me TNR is like a stable of fine horses, but once in a while you gotta expect to step in some horseshit. I also suppose I feel too much sympathy for some people, and feel uncomfortable calling for people's heads. If you think Foer should be fired for breaching of journalistic ethics, I have no argument with you. If you think he should be fired because he allowed a posting of a political position with which you disagree with, which has apparently been shown to be fabricated (or even not) then of course I have an argument with you. Ugly truth is superior to pretty lies, but we must be careful in our search for ugly truths we don't produce ugly lies. From your responses I think it is the former, from a lot of the flaming posters on the fog of war thread, I think it is the latter. As I said before, I have to separate the wheat from the chaff better.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 05:07 PM


You are fixating on the wrong villain at his point in the story. STB is not the issue. I agree with you that the military has handled him. I believe he is back in Germany now and not in Iraq. Anyone with more solid knowledge, please correct. The problem is with FF. As soon as he heard of the questions raised or, at the very least, found out about the change in venue for the 'melted woman', he should have conditionally retracted all of STB's stories. Not doing so damaged himself (Foer) and TNR as a whole. The STB issue is done and the question now is how Foer (TNR) handled the questions raised about the stories and the imbedded slandering of troops.

The ethical lapse that is most glaring for the first story is: STB's wife (maybe girlfriend at the time) fact-checked that article. That is a gross violation of ďconflict of interestĒ. If you check JM Hanesí and Guy Montagís comments above, you will see more examples of Foerís Ďdesireí (my word) for the stories to be true and how that is also significant issue. If you want more, then read the 14 pages of drivel Foer put out as conditional apology/retraction.

My profession is in auditing. As such, I cannot perform my duties if I have an independence issue. For example, if I own stock in a company Iím scheduled to audit, I canít do the audit. If Foer still wanted to print the stories his best option was to have the fact-checking done by an outsider. If he would have done that, Iím very positive at least the last two articles would never have seen the pages of TNR.

CY has already addressed the cover-up. Iíll simply add: four + months to provide a non-apology apology and conditional retraction? Compared to the NRO/Smith issue, Foerís actions and words are ridiculously LAME.

Iíve read TNR in the past, but have never subscribed. I am neither a fan nor an enemy of the mags general contents. My concern is ethics.

As for wheat and chaffÖplease give CCG a break. Iím fairly positive his irritation was with your enumeration of deeds (holier than thou appearing stuff) and conflation of issues.

Posted by: Mark at December 5, 2007 05:14 PM

good posting, I am pretty much out of the loop down here and it is rare to get chances to go online. Eh, I was irritated by the good day sir line, and then the begone troll. Thems is fighting words. Ha. It was pretty surprising though how the quality of the responses has shot way up. I was also very annoyed by a lot of the responses on the fog of war thread by non-subscribers demanding accountability for a magazine they never read, in the meantime stating that anyone who reads TNR is an idiot. Check a lot of it out and you will see what I mean.

Hey, I agree Foer f'up. They have only 60,000 subscribers so why expect that they would have such rigorous checking? Can they afford an outside auditor? I simply don't know. To be honest, you do the subscribers a favor by holding their feet to the fire if they make bad editorial decisions. If you are pissed off by TNR's moderate Liberal slant, well go elsewhere. If that (editorial accountability) is CY's intention, then he should be commended, if it is to play gotcha, you are wrong about this therefore you are wrong about x,y,z issue, then that too is nonsense.

One of my favorite things about TNR is "what is your problem" where Goldberg and Beinert discuss the issues civilly, respectfully, and often humorously. This issue has been devoid of all humor, and filled with too much anger.

I am not wedded to the idea that TNR is always right, or that I am. Not long ago I had the idea that a possible solution to the Darfur crisis is to arm and train the natives, a poster on the ground persuaded me that I was wrong, that the topography and the situation would only cause even more slaughter. TNR has fought long and hard for an end to the genocide in Darfur, a cause which I support. They are one of the few mainline groups that do this. As you can see I am also not afraid to commend good postings here when I see them.

Tdneely and Klfoster were regular posters on TNR, if they are gone they will be missed.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 5, 2007 07:07 PM
Iím fairly positive his irritation was with your enumeration of deeds (holier than thou appearing stuff) and conflation of issues.


They have only 60,000 subscribers so why expect that they would have such rigorous checking?

Confederate Yankee has one staff member: CY himself, also known as Bob. Yet he single-handedly found the truth of all of these claims. If he can do it, why can't TNR?

Posted by: C-C-G at December 5, 2007 08:12 PM

"sure, why should anyones personal experience come into play on whether or not someone elses recollections are valid?"

People would like you more if you didn't try to use bombastic self-flattery to claim moral and intellectual authority and to change the subject. Whatever good works you may have done in third-world countries, they do not make you an expert on the facts of the Beauchamp affair, and so do not qualify you to dismiss so cavalierly and rudely everything that has been uncovered by CY and others (including some milbloggers.)

Have you actually *read* CY's series of posts on the Beauchamp affair? After he (with very little effort in terms of the resources a major news organization can muster) demolished Beauchamp's claims and credibility, TNR tried to discredit Beauchamp's critics and painted them as merely political partisans.

Posted by: pst314 at December 5, 2007 10:09 PM

"My point is that running over dogs, mocking a woman, or playing with body parts (fabricated or otherwise) does not rise to the level of horror worth commenting on"

Really? Stories which defame our troops don't matter? Every unchallenged lie demoralizes American citizens (and troops!) and diminishes America's reputation around the world. I'd think that's reason enough to challege every lie. Or don't you care about the reputation of America's soldiers?

Posted by: pst314 at December 5, 2007 10:13 PM

That is actually sort of what I was thinking of. It has been mentioned elsewhere - I believe I last saw it with one of the PajamasMedia guys. I think it was the "myth about fact checkers" post. Since I've never been in the magazine publishing business, I have no idea what sort of hold these publications have on their proposed stories. Whether or not they consider them to be sacrosanct until they get them into print, I donít know. However, there are literally millions of potential fact checkers out here. Why not ask a few questions to a few of them for the plausibility of certain situations if you donít have the expertise in house? They (FF/TNR) would have saved themselves a whole lot of trouble.

Posted by: Mark at December 5, 2007 10:23 PM
Every unchallenged lie demoralizes American citizens (and troops!) and diminishes America's reputation around the world. I'd think that's reason enough to challege every lie.

Indeed, a very good reason, unless one is a rabid anti-American.

Another one can be described by paraphrasing C. S. Lewis: "Good reporting must exist, if for no other reason, because bad reporting needs to be answered."

Posted by: C-C-G at December 5, 2007 10:26 PM

"Every unchallenged lie demoralizes American citizens (and troops!) and diminishes America's reputation around the world. I'd think that's reason enough to challege every lie." Wow, that is one of the most week kneed things I have ever read. If someone lies about America you become demoralized? Grow a pair. I lived in China a long time, the lies I heard only emboldened me. In point of fact, I had a picture of the man who stood up to the tanks at Tiananmen on my wall (one of my little subversions). The only sad thing is no chinese ever recognized what it was

I can't even believe you can say that with anything approaching a straight face. You apparently know nothing about the outside world or America's standing in it if you think this nothing of a story can damage out position.

Challenge lies, certainly, but not out of cowardice or worry about what others think of us but because it is the right thing to do.

And do you think I care if anyone here likes me? I am honest and state my opinion, which is based on a lifetime of realworld experiences, unlike (I am certain CCG engorging himself on KFC believing his trite nonsense, believe I post therefore I am)

I will pay personally CCG's airfare to take a position in Iraq teaching in a local university, or other work. I can provide the names and numbers for him to do it. I doubt (am certain) he would never do it. I have the names and number because I wanted to go to Iraq, my wife threatening to leave me prevented it.

But one article from a magazine none of you read, well now, nothing is more important than that.

You should be ashamed of yourself if you think one lie could forever tarnish the American military (or even 10 million ones). The only thing that can tarnish them is their own actions.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 6, 2007 11:04 AM


Here is where you are wrong:
"You should be ashamed of yourself if you think one lie could forever tarnish the American military (or even 10 million ones). The only thing that can tarnish them is their own actions." (Sorry, I haven't figured out the block-quoting technique yet)

One lie turns into two lies which, in multiple turns, spawn millions of lies. I've been overseas twice in the last 4&1/2 years. Since I speak a bit of Italian and was in Italy, I watched their local news broadcasts, the BBC, and even some French crap in the summer of 2002. The coverage I saw there included such wonderful Italian takes as story titled "Bush - Assasino" (my spelling is probably off). I'm fully aware of the anti-American stand of most of Western Europe's 'news' organizations since I witnessed it first-hand.

This summer I traveled to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. I also know a bit of German and their coverage still included Abu Ghraib and insinuated that ALL AMERICAN SOLDIERS participated and they did so UNDER ORDERS.

The Czech Republic was an oasis for me (and actually had really good beer - Budweiser and Pilsner Urquell...the Bud is much better there). I don't know very much Czech...please and thank you is about it. But, they also had subtitles for their broadcasts in English. Much better coverage and little slant than anywhere I've been in Western Europe.

Every single lie that denigrates the US or its troops not only should be challenged but MUST be challenged. What we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is not a war for conquest but a war for alliance. To accomplish (victory) this alliance, our troops must be portrayed as wonderful human beings that are able to deal out swift death to terrible human beings. The good news is the vast majority of them really are both things. However, pieces like STB and TNR have put out are more the norm.

It appears to me that for every single good story that is reported about our troops there are 50 negatives. Case in point: how many times did the Abu Ghraib story grace the cover of the NYT (50+)? How did they cover Lt. Michael P. Murphy's Posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor presentation? He happened to be from Long Island. I believe Long Island is in the NYT home range, is it not? Answer: it didnít cover the presentation. It did have a pitifully small story a few days later that was buried, but even that took pressure from several quarters including Bill OíReilly.

You ARE correct that we should be ashamed but not for the reason you state. We should be ashamed that weíve allowed most of the US (and world) MSM to get away with sliming, lying, obfuscated, disclosing classified info, and generally denigrating this country and its military. Iím sorry TNR gets to be somewhat of a poster-child; Iíd rather it was the NYT.

Posted by: Mark at December 6, 2007 12:11 PM

oaxaca - Your daily dose of moral superiority is amusing but tiring. If you had bothered to read all of CY's reporting on TNR's Beauchamp saga you will have noted that he raised serious issues with all three stories and not just the third. You raise the issue of fact checking. That became an issue because when TNR was questioned over the veracity of the stories they stridently claimed to have refactchecked 100% of the stories and attacked the questioners. That obviously turned out not to have been the case. You also raise questions about the military's handling of STB without what appears to be knowledge of the facts ot military procedures, much like Franklin Foer. Your credibility, like his, is shaky.

You state:

You should be ashamed of yourself if you think one lie could forever tarnish the American military (or even 10 million ones). The only thing that can tarnish them is their own actions.

Oaxaca, the problem with the left is that they keep repeating lies about the conduct of American soldiers until everyone believes they are actions. Fictional massacres, torture which didn't occur, Haditha, antiwar movies, and the like. If you know people in the military or have any patriotism, you must know how disturbing these innaccurate portrayals of the military are. The propaganda, by your comments you have shown you understand the value of propaganda, content of stories such as these to our enemies is tremendous. Your ridiculous challenge to show how this story affected anything is completely beside the point. Lies need to be challenged where they occur before they become accepted as fact. John Murtha and Harry Reid are two of the biggest liars out there and they carry a lot of weight.

You also insult our blog host by complaining that you would not have learned about blogs in Venezuela on this site, but did on TNR. I can't speak to the subjects CY covers, but he is only one person. Would you learn about all the sources for in-depth coverage, even on the ground coverage of the war on terror at TNR? I think not given that they have proven that they do not know how to fact check an article about Iraq themselves.

oaxaca, you are just a credibility challenged gasbag. Come back when you have had a chance to bone up one the facts of this debacle. You don't have them.

Posted by: daleyrocks at December 6, 2007 12:16 PM

"I can't even believe you can say that with anything approaching a straight face. You apparently know nothing about the outside world or America's standing in it if you think this nothing of a story can damage out position."

Know nothing? How about many years of education in foreign languages and history, followed by years of browsing French and German periodicals, both print and online? I've seen what use some of those European news organizations make of these slanders. And I have endured numerous arrogant lectures on morality from Europeans who were indoctrinated on this propaganda.

So please save your "I can't believe". Your ignorance (or is it dishonesty?) is only exceeded by your arrogance.

"But one article from a magazine none of you read"

What makes you think that? Some of us DO read it (I, for one, subscribed for many years) and many of us followed the blog links to read everything that TNR published on Beauchamp. But of course you know the postings and comments on this blog that this is true, so why are you again uttering a falsehood?

"The only thing that can tarnish them is their own actions."

Then I guess there is no need for libel laws? No need to challenge lies? If you really believe that lies don't need to be challenged in order to protect reputations, then you are clinically stupid, but I suspect that you don't really believe this and are just lying. An experiment: Let's all start spreading vicious, defamatory stories about oaxaca and see whether he objects.

"Challenge lies, certainly, but not out of cowardice"

Who are you calling a coward, you trollish clown?

As for your supposed respect for the American military, you sure don't sound like it. I suspect that it is entirely a sham intended to deceive the readers of this blog.

Posted by: pst314 at December 6, 2007 01:19 PM

"I want to mention that I have spent over 10 years living and working in the third world"

Everything oaxaca says boils down to insult and self-aggandizement. I've know people who did aid work in the third world, and none of them behaved like a bombastic bully. I have met such clowns, though, and they tended to be adolescents, losers, and partisan hacks. Adults who actually do something useful generally don't behave like that. Some of my military friends refer to oaxaca's style of personal interaction as "I've got the biggest dick in the house, so kneel down and worship me." Such an attitude doesn't tend to garner much respect from actual men.

Posted by: pst314 at December 6, 2007 01:33 PM

the issue, again, is this is a nothing of a story from a magazine that has 60,000 subscribers, which would have been forgotten about long ago if not constantly talked about.

Where is the real reporting about the ongoing negotiations between the Chinese, Iranians, and North Koreans wherein the Iranians are buying the nuclear information from the North Koreans. Why are there no articles about the busloads of Iranian "businessmen" who land in Beijing and are taken to North Korea? Doesn't anybody find it suspicious that around the time that Sinopec signed the largest natural gas deal with Iran the Iranians stopped their nuclear program. hmmm...

No, we are to believe the Iranians stopped their nuclear program out of the goodness of their hearts, when instead the Chinese simply said "why risk invasion, sell us gas cheap and we will let you deal with the North Koreans?"

Now the US has an egg on their face when the NIE was published because we touted the Iranians own non-existent program. The Iranians ain't stupid, why spend the time and money on research when you can just buy it? Mark my words, in 2009 or 2010 the Iranians will have a nuke, North Korean built. But no, why should we investigate this. STB lied!
If you want you can read about this it is in the Daily Telegraph. They, at least, know what is important.

If the NYTimes or CBS news had put out the STB story then I agree challenge away, a vanity publication with 60,000 subscribers ain't worth the time, especially if you picked up and read something the lies in things like China Daily. You people are picking over a misquito bite when a goddamn tiger is bearing down on you.

So when a North Korean built, Iranian purchased, terrorist smuggled bomb goes off in the US and if I am in that city, my last thought won't be STB lied, but I goddamn knew it.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 6, 2007 01:33 PM

pst you really are an sad. I reference my experiences in the rest of the world because they have taught me a thing or two about the world. You insult me because you yourself have done nothing. You have known people who did work, but you yourself have not done anything. I am sick of people whose idea of supporting the troops is to run their mouths, instead of either joining them, or going there to work.

Isn't is the least bit interesting that the email address for the Iranian Ambassador in North Korea is : MGANJIDOOST@IRANCHINA.ORG hmmm...

Some people here give concise, intelligent answers. Others feel they must engage in insult when they are bested. I don't know pst, talking to you is like talking to a 4 year old, without the 4 year olds cuteness.

Be honest, do you know a godddamn thing about the China-Iran-North Korean situation? Can you even name (without looking up on google) the names of the principal players? Oh, no, that doesn't matter you rely on CY to tell you all about the world, having no information to contribute yourself.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 6, 2007 01:45 PM

I would like to add again how superior the posting of nichevo is. He addressed the issue and got in some well timed digs at me.

Of course I am a pompous gasbag, this is the internet folks where our pompous gasbags can be set free, that doesn't mean I am wrong. Does anyone here really care about STB or TNR? No, for too many people this is just so much gotcha. You are wrong about this therefore I am right about everything. (I will give CY credit, I mean this is his job, and some of the other posters as well because they back up themselves with intelligent postings) Jonah Goldberg nailed this months ago, now it feels like it is just dancing on the grave. Foer was an idiot for even bringing it up again, calling a person on the same lie a thousandth time gets a little redundant don't you think?

I agree, challenge lies, but not at the expense of taking time to search for more important truths. There are things that are far more important, which get little press. Like last years Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit where the Chinese and Russian leaders pointedly welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 6, 2007 02:04 PM

oaxaca - This thread is not about China or Iran or North Korea or about your accomplishments as much as you would like to deflect the conversation in that direction.

The only point I see you consistently making is that it doen't matter that TNR published lies about the behavior of American soldiers because their circulation is only 60,000. I'm sorry, but that's not acceptable to me or to I believe a lot of the readers of this blog and many others. It's true there are others stories out there worth focusing on, but that is no excuse for ignoring this one.

One of your other consistent complaints seems to be that only paying subscribers should be able to register displeasure over TNR's journalistic malpractice. Grow up and welcome to the internet as you so nicely pointed out in your most recent comment. Your attempts to control the discussion fool nobody.

Posted by: daleyrocks at December 6, 2007 03:03 PM

All this time, and still not a shred of fact. You must be nearly crazy with futile exhaustion.

Posted by: oogabooga!!! at December 6, 2007 03:54 PM


daleyrocks has again said the pertinent point. And, according to your recent posts, I suppose I now am considered chaff in your eyes. (Personally, I don't mind being chaff... :)

You want to bring up Iran/NK/China connections here? In this thread? NO, those topics are not the subject material. You want CY to bring them up, fine. Ask him to put up a post or compose one yourself and submit it to him. Ask him nicely if he would post it for you. Do not be surprised if he 1) tells you to go hang because it is HIS blog, not yours OR 2) refuses to post it because you don't have proper documentation OR 3) puts it up with a HUGE disclaimer OR 4) puts it up in with massive edits AND the HUGE disclaimer OR 5) puts it up in total (with small disclaimer) OR 6) some other option I didn't think of on the fly.

Otherwise, stick to the subject matter at hand - journalistic ethics - honor - right&wrong - etc.

If you fail to do stick with whatever thread's subject matter in the future I, for one, will ignore your posts in the future. This is my last response directly to you unless you follow that code.

Buena suerte

Posted by: Mark at December 6, 2007 03:54 PM


CY, I hope I have not overstepped my bounds with the above...

Posted by: Mark at December 6, 2007 03:57 PM

Mark, you are absolutely right, it is not my blog and I was wrong to suggest that at this we have reached the point that we are basically dancing on Foers grave, that I should never disagree with anything anyone says here because that is just not acceptable, and that the punishment for disagreeing is banishment. OK, I consider myself banished.

One last thing, today in TNR they have a pro-Hillary piece called Hero-schmero, which has been universally panned by every subscriber. One poster tuvent08 said: I agree with the consensus position. This article is illogical, contrarian drivel. It perfectly captures the worst impulses of a magazine like Harper's - substance free, to clever by half nonsense. Some future suggestions: "How our country's addiction to oil is a good thing" "How the invasion of Iraq was actually executed competently and why we just don't realize it yet" "Thoughts on Bill Kristol: What if he's actually right about everything?" This is almost more Oniony than the Clinton camp's "Kindergarden" press release.

Disagee with it if you want, but the posters at TNR are a hell of lot more amusing and freethinking than you robots here. The sad thing I agree with you that Foer screwed up, but I don't agree strong enough. OK, go back to your hosanna chorus, secure in your convictions that you are never wrong, I have been banished by you, to which you all will gleefully say: good riddance, we are cold and frightened.

Posted by: oaxaca at December 6, 2007 06:57 PM

Oaxaca, for me, a trip to Iraq would be the equivalent of a death sentence. You see, I am a class B hemophiliac. Going to any third world country is essentially suicide for one in my position.

I suggest you spend some time in soul-searching.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 6, 2007 08:02 PM

CCG - Did you notice that for the morally superior posture oaxaca keeps assuming, he strangely can't bring himself to honestly describe the arguments or positions of others. Dishonesty is not a trait to be admired in people holding themselves out as models of humanity and humility to be emulated.

Personally, he sounds like he's related to someone at TNR the way he is defending them.

Posted by: daleyrocks at December 6, 2007 09:33 PM

I guess the view is distorted from the top of a self-made pedestal, Daley.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 6, 2007 09:48 PM

daley and CCG:

I submit, he does bring up good points. The problem with them is that they aren't the subject of the thread. Argue/discuss as you wish, but stay within the thread is all I ask. This mental leapfrog and equating FF/TNR/STB's bad stuff by pointing to other bad stuff is nothing more than facile re-direction.

I have no problem with talking about such salient things as "China is on its way to destroying the (fill in the blank)" or "NK/IRAN/China" nuke issues. Just not within completely unrelated posts. Why can he not understand that?

Adressing his issue of "small potatos"... we've got to start correcting this stuff somewhere. I sure wish it could be the NYT or NBC/CBS/ABC or any other of the 'mainstream monster media'. Heck, I even have a few problems with FSN...very few, but still some issues.

Unfortunately for TNR, they were the ones to print the STB stuff...and then FF's drivel apolgia...which only furthered his error. I wonder if oaxaca even read the 14 pages? I did and upwards of the first 270 posts. And I actually feel a bit sorry for FF. All he did was complicate the problem for himself and TNR with that load of manure.

I would have considered cutting him some slack if he would have simply stated "sorry, we screwed up...we apologize to each and every member of the US military, past-present-and future...this will NOT happen again". With his 14 pages he nailed his own coffin shut.

Posted by: Mark at December 6, 2007 11:07 PM

Mark, one also has to ask the question, if Oaxaca really doesn't care about Foer and Beauchamp and TNR, why is he spending so much time and effort in this particular thread? There are other threads here he could have commented on just as easily.

Methinks he doth protest his "disinterest" far too loudly.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 7, 2007 12:02 AM

Mark and CCG - I agree oaxaca is spending a lot of time on a throw away matter for him given the weightier concerns of the world and his mission to save it that are pressing in on him. He also seems to be a very avid reader of TNR, being able to cite its contents in his comments. Perhaps I was mistaken in my comment about him being related to someone who works there. Maybe he works there himself.

Posted by: daleyrocks at December 7, 2007 12:09 AM

Good points, CCG and daleyrocks. Possibly a bit snarky, but well deserved. After re-reading his recent stuff again, I find his OT info to be nothing but mis-direction and attempts at subject changing. I don't have a problem with the subject matter he proposes...just not in this thread. Maybe he's just a "high-quality spammer", I don't know. For the life of me, I thought several of us had very gently pointed out what was bothering us in his posts...others, not so gently. Is this what debate and discussion has come to? It makes me weep for the good old days of Lincoln-Douglas in high-school. *realization* That's it!!! He's running a "squirrel case"...circular argument with repetitive info. Man, am I out of practice or what!? (shakes head sadly)

Posted by: Mark at December 7, 2007 04:44 AM

Mark, Daley, what Oaxaca was attempting to do is perform what passes for thought among lefties. It was first explained by the one and only Thomas Sowell... I'll paraphrase as best I can.

Modern leftism/liberalism is based on the concept of "Good People." Basically, the leftymedia has convinced a significant segment of the population that if you want to be a Good Person, you must believe what other Good People believe... and the Good People are always folks like Algore, Barbra, Hanoi Jane, etc. It's actually an old advertising trick, like putting athletes on cereal boxes to give the idea that if you eat the cereal you'll immediately become a star athlete.

Anyway, Oaxaca was probably posting all that blather to establish his credentials as a Good Person, after which he no doubt expected us to agree with him--since whatever a Good Person says simply has to be right in the lefty worldview. He may even have successfully used that trick on TNR's forum, Kos, or DU.

What he failed to reckon with is that conservatives are interested in facts, not fame. And we're not so shallow as to believe that just because someone does Good Things in third-world countries he's automatically an expert on everything... assuming that Oaxaca actually did those things in those countries; for all we truly know he could be a pimple-faced 13-year-old typing on his computer in his room.

I suspect if he reads this he'll come back with a whining diatribe against me, but I can handle it.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 7, 2007 10:02 AM

Agreed. The universal curse/blessing of the internet is..."implied anonymity".

Personally, if anyone has a beef about my opinions or statements, they can contact me directly. The information is available...

right there ↓

Posted by: Mark at December 7, 2007 11:55 AM

Considering how dishonest oaxaca continues to be, using ad hominem attacks, changing the subject, and so on, why should we believe anything he says about himself?

Posted by: pst314 at December 10, 2007 01:02 PM