What the hell is wrong with The New Republic?

In case you've missed the latest kerfuffle going on at the hawkish center-lefty rag that was once the proud home of fabulist Stephen Glass and remains the home of sockpuppet master Lee Siegel, conservatives are going nutz over a series of articles by an pseudonymous TNR contributor, touted as the "Baghdad Diarist" and purported to be an American solider serving in Iraq.

The author, who used the pen name Scott Thomas, has written three articles for the magazine since February, describing gruesome incidents in Iraq [including soldiers openly mocking a disfigured woman on their base and a private wearing a found piece of a child’s skull under his helmet]. Last week, The Weekly Standard questioned the veracity of the New Republic articles and invited readers with knowledge about the military or Baghdad to comment.

…Franklin Foer, the editor of The New Republic, will not reveal the author’s identity but says the magazine is investigating the accuracy of his articles.
Hey, swell idea. In fact, it would have been an even better idea to investigate the accuracy of the articles before publishing them.

Mr. Foer said … he had met the writer and that he knows with “near certainty” that he is, in fact, a soldier.
WTF?! Near certainty?! You've got to be fucking kidding me. I've gotten emails from people purporting to be American soldiers (or soldiers' friends/relatives) wanting messages published, and, unless I could independently confirm they were soldiers (as I could here, for example), I didn’t publish them. I would expect The New Republic to have at least the same standards, for crying out loud.

That's just basic, decent journalism.

Beyond that, there's the little issue of the American rightwing having been baselessly asserting that lefties are hostile to the troops for at least my entire life (as I was born at the tail end of the Vietnam War), a screeching din that has reached a fevered pitch during the current conflict, with anyone who fails to support the war and its architects being deemed a troops-hating traitor. Ergo, I almost can't think of a stupider thing to do than breathe even the merest hint of veracity into those claims by publishing a bunch of concocted horseshit that will be used to smear antiwar advocates for who knows how long.

If, in fact, that's what happened, it will also certainly be used to subvert via doubt any discussion of genuine despicable and criminal behavior among a minority of troops, which absolutely does need to be addressed. So I damn sure wish that Foer would have been certain, not "near certain," before he went to press with stories of soldiers who kill dogs for fun. Of course, now that he's admitted uncertainty, I don't know what will ever convince conservatives who are rightfully questioning the authenticity of the "Baghdad Diarist" that he's a real soldier, even if he is—short of his revealing himself, which I presume is very unlikely.

And, by the way, the irony of this clusterfuck emanating from the war-supporting New Republic is just bloody splendid. Thanks for fucking the antiwar left from both ends, you douchehounds.

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