August 25, 2007

Trash from Horton

Trashing the trashers who trash the trashers who trashed the trasher that trashed the military? Convoluted? Yes! Inaccurate? No! Let me explain.

In Harper's Magazine an article dated yesterday (August 24, 2007) and authored by Scott Horton (What is it with these fellows named Scott? Except Scott Johnson of Powerline of course!) appears that takes on the neo-con publications and news sources that have trashed The New Republic's reporting by one Scott Thomas (in real life, the husband of a TNR Staffer Scott Thomas Beauchamp). Thomas wrote an article of dubious (nay, not dubious, outright falsehood it seems) truth regarding the depredations by members of his unit in Iraq. I've reported on this in the past (here and here and my blogging partner Woody here, and others here and here and from fellow Munuvian Ace of Spades HQ here). Horton begins his trashing of the neo-cons thusly:

Over the last two weeks there was a flap over a piece published in The New Republic by an American soldier in Iraq named Scott Beauchamp. He described a number of gruesome scenes, some of which did not portray his fellow soldiers in the best of light. The piece drew ferocious blow-back from the Neocon war party, whose hallmark is complete control over the news on the ground and from the front ranks in Iraq. They viewed the report as a violation of their sacred monopoly and were determined to destroy Beauchamp and to lash out at The New Republic.

I have no idea whether Beauchamp’s story was accurate. But at this point I have seen enough of the Neocon corner’s war fables to immediately discount anything that emerges from it.

No idea "whether Beauchamp's story was accurate? Well wow and gee willikers Howdy, this here Horton fellow apparantly either can't read, or is so wrapped up in his own partisan shell that he can't make heads or tales of what is so patently ridiculous that even non veterans of Iraq had difficulty buying it. Not only that, but Messr. Beauchamp has "retracted" his story with the Army. It seems as though our essayest Horton (I wonder if he ever did hear the Who?) reads but understands only what he want's to.

I've bashed the Republicans and conservatives often enough so that I can honestly say that I think I can tell a scoundrel when I read one, but if seems if Mr. Horton lacks that particular ability. He relates a situation where he says that he is personally knowledgable about mis-reporting in the "neo-con Corner."

One example: back last spring, when I was living in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, I sat in the evening reading a report by one of the core Neocon pack. He was reporting from Baghdad, and recounted a day he had spent out on a patrol with U.S. troops on Haifa Street. He described a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community. Children were out playing on the street. Men and women were out going about their daily business. Well, in fact I had been forced to spend the day “in the submarine,” as they say, missing appointments I had in town. Why? This bucolic, marvelous Haifa Street that he described had erupted in gun battles the entire day. In the view of my security guards, with which I readily concurred, it was too unsafe. And yes, I could hear the gunfire and watch some of the exchanges from my position. No American patrol had passed by and there were certainly no children playing in the street. This was the point when I realized that many of these accounts were pure fabrications."
Horton obviously wants us to believe, though he doesn't say, that both his experience and the "neo-con" report occurred on the same day, on the same street during the same time frame. That may or may not have been the case for I've heard many stories about peaceful scenes that were later pictures of hell. Mr. Horton, does the difference between 8:00:00 AM and 8:46:41 AM on September 11, 2001 on a certain densly populated island in New York ring a bell? If he is accurate, and the two "images" are the same at the same time on the same day in the same place then certainly the author of the "bucolic" scene deserves condemnation of the worst kind. But, notice that Mr. Horton does not name the day of the so called fictious story or the author of the false scene. Why would that be Mr. Horton? If you know of it, and don't reveal it one has to wonder why. Maybe you just didn't think it important? This could be your chance at immortality Mr. Horton... go on, tell us who, when, and what exactly happened and I'll be one of the very first to condem the scoundrel.

But, I digress.

What’s interesting about this whole affair is not the Beauchamp story, but the response to it from William Kristol, the Weekly Standard, and their quite amazing ability to exercise total command and control over the public affairs operations at the Pentagon throughout the process.
Oh, yes, I've heard about all the amazing powers of William Kristol and his ability to mesmerize the PAO at the Pentagon. Not only that, but he is controling my typing even as I post this AND controling the minds of all those that read this post and (shudder) believe!

Horton then brings up Jonathan Chait as a witness for the prosecution:

The best volley in this exchange so far was fired yesterday by Jonathan Chait. He titles his piece “The Thuggery of William Kristol” [I won't link to Chait, if you really want to, go and Goggle it.] and he goes straight for the jugular:

Offering up [Kristol’s] 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.”

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?"

Well, Mr. Chait, I can surmise that he discussed the boy being "savagely mutilated" to lend credence to his faux-reporting.

Horton ends his piece with this little bit of trash:

"...his comments left me thinking back to Bush’s awful Weimar speech from yesterday. Did Bill Kristol have a hand in that atrocity as well? In any event, that speech was clearly stained with Neocon DNA."
Ohhh Mr. Horton. You are sooooo clever aren't you?

There you have it folks, the brilliant left as exemplified by Messrs. Horton and Chait, are supporting the faux-reporting of Scott Thomas Beauchamp, admitted and proven liar. This then, ends my trashing of the trashers (Horton and Chait) who trash the trashers (Kristol) who trashed the trasher(Beauchamp) that trashed the military. Now does my opening sentence make more sense?

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Posted by GM Roper at August 25, 2007 03:20 PM | TrackBack

Blackfive and Mudville Gazette have duly acknowledged that soldiers do wrong things in war zones. I do not find it surprising, though it saddens me. But I start from the understanding that these soldiers are people like me, some worse, many much better, but all prone to the same angers, pettiness, and vengefulness that is the unfortunate lot of fallen man.

I am usually irritated and even angry at liberals who expect that a report of some bad or even criminal act by an American soldier invalidates the whole enterprise. But on reflection it saddens me. How sad to be so shallow of personality and fearful of real consequences that they think that any bad news should disillusion conservatives.

I am not disillusioned. When we proposed to go to war I knew that this meant actions that were not only regrettable but even criminal on the part of some American soldiers. I knew this going in, and believed that justice was on our side in spite of it. There is a naive myth on the left that conservatives cling to some false picture of a 100% virtuous America, and if they could just explode that somehow we would have the scales fall from our eyes and forswear the liberation of Iraq.

Conservatives are difficult to disillusion, not because - as is widely accused - we deny reality, but because we have already taken the uncomfortable facts into account. Of course there will be reports of Americans doing terrible things. Some of them will be enemy propaganda, some will be exaggerations and misrepresentations, and some will be true. I knew that going in.

This has been a war that has the balance of justice behind it so fully that it would be necessary even if it were done badly, clumsily, and cruelly. I don't believe that it has been anywhere near as bad, clumsy, and cruel as our enemies, domestic and foreign, make it out to be, but even if it were, I would support it. Those who would intentionally target innocents to prevent justice may not be 100% evil - every human being clings to some scrap of moral justification - but they are evil enough that they cannot be reasoned with, and must be physically prevented from expanding their evil. This is a sad but true thing.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at August 25, 2007 08:54 PM

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