Are these guys for real? It’s not shocking that The New Republic would fight the backlash against its paper by attacking those who attack them but please, at least put some honesty into the article. Instead we get Jonathan Chait shifting blame for the whole Scott Beauchamp ordeal on neoconservatism:
It’s hard to believe that, not so long ago, neoconservative foreign policy thinking overflowed with ideas and idealism. The descent has been steep, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the pages of The Weekly Standard—particularly in William Kristol’s editorials, which have come to consist of stubborn denials of any bad news, diatribes about internal enemies, and harangues against the cowardice of Republican dissenters.
Instead of admitting that they screwed up royally in their desire to show that Iraq was so bad that it made our young soldiers into bloodthirsty robots, he instead faults the Weekly Standard, and William Kristol specifically, for daring to investigate their article.
Kristol’s sensibility is perfectly summed up in one representative passage from a recent issue. The topic was The New Republic’s decision to publish an essay by Scott Beauchamp, an American soldier serving in Iraq, detailing some repugnant acts he said he and his comrades committed. Legitimate questions have been raised about this essay’s veracity. (We’ve been publishing updates on our continuing efforts to get answers to them at tnr.com.) But Kristol rushed past these questions, immediately declaring the piece a "fiction."
Kristol did not rush past the legitimate questions on the writers essays. Instead he, along with his magazine, have taken each of those questions point by point and proved that they indeed are fiction. There was no rush to judgement here. Current and former military recognized immediately that what was spewing from Beauchamps pen was utter foolishness. The military did it’s own investigation and found not one single person to corroberate his stories. Beauchamp himself admitted he made it all up, after he changed one stories location to Kuwait of course, which rendered the whole stories premise that Iraq was doing harm to our soldiers psyche moot.
And TNR’s "continuing efforts to get answers?" You’ve received all the answers Jonathan, but you wish to ignore them. Or maybe your goal is to wait it out until Scott comes home and is out of the military. At which point the second act of the play will proceed with Scott telling the world he was tortured by the Army to admit he lied in his articles. The articles were all true you see.
Offering up his interpretation of why tnr would publish such slanders, he concluded, in an editorial titled, "They Don’t Really Support the Troops":
Having turned against a war that some of them supported, the left is now turning against the troops they claim still to support. They sense that history is progressing away from them—that these soldiers, fighting courageously in a just cause, could still win the war, that they are proud of their service, and that they will be future leaders of this country.
Jonathan, Scott’s articles are the most pure examples of the point William is making here. He wrote them to smear our troops. His blog prior to joining the Army tells of his plans to join all to legitimize his future anti-war endeavors. But you and your editors didn’t pick any of that out because you WANTED his stories to be true. You did some incompetent fact-checking, you ignored that one of the fact checkers is romantically attached to the writer, and then you printed it all. There is no excuse for this behavior. Except maybe the fact that your paper wanted to attack the men and women of our Armed Forces who have proven your side wrong over and over and over again. You prove them wrong by making them out to be ignorant children. Hell, his articles could of the screenplay to Three Kings II.
In just two sentences, this passage provides a full summary of the decrepit intellectual state of neoconservatism. First, there is Kristol’s curious premise that tnr only published this essay because we have "turned against" the war. If Beauchamp’s writings were tnr’s attempt to discredit the war, why would his first contribution describe a pro-American Iraqi boy savagely mutilated by insurgents? For that matter, why would we work to undermine the war by publishing a first-person account on the magazine’s back page rather than taking the more straightforward step of, say, editorializing for withdrawal?
Funny stuff. He tries to use one supposed "pro-war" story as proof that TNR isn’t really against the war, isn’t really holding hands with the Jane Fonda’s and the Cindy Sheehan’s. Of course he leaves out the fact that every single other event described by Scott portrayed our troops in a very bad light.
Then he gets into the name calling bit with "decrepit intellectual state of neoconservatism."
Which explains what exactly? That we were wrong to question this obvious fable from Scott Beauchamp and the paper that decided to publish it? We were wrong to question why this paper would decide to publish it in the first place?
The notion that tnr published a Diarist merely for the edification of readers, rather than to advance a political agenda, did not occur to Kristol, because he could not imagine doing any such thing himself.
Puhlease. Ed Morrissey:
Let’s take a look at the rest of their articles highlighted on their front page to see whether they express a political point of view, or are merely edifying:
America’s Hypocritical Impulse To Spread Freedom And Democracy Mitt Romney’s Flimsy Iowa Victory The U.S. Must Act in Darfur–Right Now How Political Psychology Explains Bush’s Ghastly Success Are Terrorists Soldiers or Criminals?
My goodness! How dare Kristol assume a political purpose for TNR’s editorial decisions!
So to get their readers thinking it doesn’t matter if what they publish is true or not All Jonathan is doing here is writing thousands of words to avoid the main point. That main point being TNR failed to fact-check and verify Scott’s stories. They published in a rush to push an ideology made famous by the left. The vilification of the soldier who is fighting a war they disagree with. It was done in Vietnam and their attempts to do the same thing here are quite transparent. But I would add one more motive, money. They decided to push an ideology that will bring back the readers who left them when they supported the war. Mick Stockinger:
Its clear from Kristol’s piece that he is speaking of larger motivations than merely printing Beauchamp’s diary entries. Before, during and after the invasion of Iraq, TNR defended it, and lost 40% of their circulation as a reward. The Nation, which held the ideological line, saw a corresponding massive increase in its circulation. Franklin Foer was brought in to realign the editorial policy with the left’s new dogmatism.
The left always gets angry when they do clumsy sleight-of-hand and get called on it.
Check out Confederate Yankee for a great fisking of this piece of trash from TNR.
While not related to this TNR article, this bit of news is related to the Scott Beauchamp saga. Neo in the comment section pointed me to this comment left at QandO Blog:
I checked out his AKO account back when he first introduced himself. I found that he was listed as a PV2 and much was made of the fact by others that he had been a PFC but must have been busted to PV2 prior to his journey into journalism.
I checked his AKO information a few days ago. It still lists his unit as 1/18th however his rank is now listed as PV1.
So that, at least to me, answers the question of what punishment he got. Looks like an ART 15, reduction in rank to PV1, and who knows if he got extra duty or loss of any more pay.
Yet TNR still stands behind their man until proven wrong (at least proven wrong in thier books which would mean that Beauchamp would have to have a political conversion to a republican)
What’s that? Two – three years in the Army and he has found himself at the same rank as when he graduated boot camp. Real winner TNR found there.