Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Battle of Beauchamp ends in pyrrhic victory

By Libby

I'm having a hard time focusing on politics today as I got some worrisome news about my Dad last night and I'm on pins and needles pacing around waiting to hear what the doctor says but I see that rumor has it,
Beauchamp recanted, so I suppose I should make some remark on it. My first reaction -- who cares? I always thought this was fake controversy anyway that should never should have been blown so out of proportion by the ridiculous amount of attention the wingers gave it.

John Cole sums up the whole fiasco well but I would disagree with his update.
One last thing- in the comments, someone suggested his Officers coerced him into signing the statement (if, in fact, there is one). I reject that. I don’t think that is fair- there is no evidence that his Officers would do something like that, and that is a smear, unlike Beauchamp’s writings of various minor misdeeds done by anonymous people. We can easily find out who his officers are, and claiming they would do something like that is a direct attack on their honor. I think if he signed a sworn statement, you have to take him at his word.

Shakes sums up my feelings on that.
Treating his recantation as gospel seems rather foolish. Clearly he's lying to someone, but I certainly wouldn't presume to state with any certainty to whom. I'd guess that everyone's getting "a smidgen of truth" and "a smidgen of untruth" and a helping of something that blurs the lines between the two.

Like most things in life, it's very unlikely to be so convenient, so pat, so black-and-white, as we're now meant to believe.

My gut feeling is the guy probably embellished the story but it had some germ of truth in it. I've certainly seen YouTubes and other videos over the last five years that showed conduct such as Beauchamp spoke of. Whatever his motives were, he surely never expected the response he got from the wingoshpere. I expect it falls along the lines of "throwaway post syndrome." If he thought it was going to scruntinized so minutely and that hordes of raging rightys were going to be contacting his commanding officiers he probably wouldn't have written it. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he recanted, if not under direct threats by his superiors, simply to restore his rights to communciate with his family and to end the endless inquiries.

The wingosphere will now be insufferably pleased with themselves for "debunking" a thoroughly inconsequential piece that would never have received more than an afternoon's attention otherwise. In the process, they put Beauchamp's entire unit through the hell of an interminably long inquiry by the various levels of brass. I doubt if Beauchamp's fellow soldiers are going to thank them for it. But what do the Rager's care -- they feel like "real journalists" because they figured out how to harass the military press office and got people to focus on a trivial matter, which got every man on the unit hauled into the office at least twice to be questioned by their superiors as well. Call me crazy, but I doubt that did much for the unit's morale. In fact, I would think it did more damage than simply ignoring the piece would have done.

But the mighty Righty Ragers got their man and what changed? Nothing that I can see. A quick look at this morning's headlines says the suicide bombers are still bombing, our soldiers are still dying, the rockets are still flying, our military brass still can't account for 190,000 weapons they passed out to our "new allies" inside and outside the insurgency and Maliki's government is still falling apart. But all is well in the Rager's camp because they took down one of our own guys who dared to "smear" the troops with a war story. Way to go...

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