Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Scott Thomas Beauchamp

A story that I've been following since this summer was that of a 24 year old soldier who was able to publish a series of reports from the theatre in Iraq. The series was presented in The New Republic magazine.

The author is Scott Thomas Beauchamp and the last entry contained three examples of how war had dehumanized him and his buddies. He wrote about:
  • Soldiers mocking a woman (either a fellow soldier or a contractor - the author wasn't sure) who had been disfigured by an IED
  • A soldier wearing the skull bone of a child as a yarmulke underneath his helmet
  • A Bradley Fighting Vehicle driver who intentionally ran over dogs with his equipment

Some in the conservative side of the blogosphere started poking holes in the story and after four and a half months, the editor of the magazine, Franklin Foer, said at the end of a fourteen page post that the magazine could no longer stand by the author's stories.

What I find quite amazing in this all is the support that people have for the American soldier in general. Attached to Foer's retraction, which takes thirteen pages to justify his magazine's shoddy reporting and fact-checking and to blame the Army for stonewalling, there are 419 comments. While I did not read every comment, of those I saw not one was supportive of the magazine. It is clear that readers took this series as a swipe at American soldiers in general and were not happy that the magazine sensationalized events in order to make the soldiers look bad.

Here are a few tips to the media:

Iraq is not Vietnam.

Our soldiers are not known for having "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun."

Iraq will not be remembered as a Fiasco.

The American people love their soldiers and do not take kindly to their being slandered.

And one last thing: grow up!

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