"Baghdad Diarist" Update

[Background here.]

LeMew: "Scott Thomas issues a defense of his TNR Diary. The fact that he's willing to open himself up to the inevitable wingnut smear jobs does give me more confidence in the veracity of his accounts. ...and the smears begin."

Steve Benen: "This hasn’t improved the situation; in fact, the right is now pursuing Beauchamp with renewed vigor. Malkin has gone so far as to post personal information about Beauchamp. On National Review, they seem to be having a contest to see who can hate this soldier the most."

I don't know that I agree with LeMew that Scott Thomas' self-exposure gives me more confidence in the veracity of his accounts; he clearly knew how TNR and their audience would react to his tales (whether they're true or not), so he's surely wise enough to know how the Right would react to his revealing himself, too (they're nothing if not predictable), and that their maniacal screeching would likely quickly eclipse concerns about authenticity. But, then again, maybe LeMew's right, and I'm just too cynical.

In any case, and irrespective of the truth of his stories, I still think Franklin Foer made a big mistake with his original limp defense. He should have kept his mouth shut until he was certain, and then unyieldingly stood his ground and defended the pieces, or admitted he was scammed and apologized. The muddy middle was a bad idea; any hint of vulnerability encourages the rightwing smear machine.

Yglesias seems to disagree with me on that point, and also notes that the rightwingers now attacking Scott Thomas "need to think a bit about the epistemic situation they're creating where information about Iraq that they don't want to hear—even when published in a pro-war publication—can just be immediately dismissed as fraudulent even though the misconduct it described was far, far less severe than all sorts of other well-document misconduct in Iraq."

Well, yeah. They do need to think about that. But they won't. As Steve notes, they're too preoccupied with their "need to destroy this American soldier immediately to help demonstrate how much they love the troops."

Which is why I think we should hold Foer and TNR to some account. It was obvious how all this would play out. Any of us on the Left who share the stories of antiwar soldiers, or soldiers just telling the ugly truth of war, need to be prepared. Better prepared than that, anyway.

UPDATE: Also, great post from Hilzoy.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus