So, here is Scott Horton at Harper's:
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 that's not going to deter Scott Horton from telling a war story of his own:
But at this point I have seen enough of the Neocon corner’s war fables to immediately discount anything that emerges from it. 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.
Well, who was this disgraceful excuse for a journalist? A lot of us would like to know, just as we'd have liked to know more about Beauchamp's accomplices in the morally depraved acts he boasted of committing. (You know, the fellows who made fun of that burned woman soldier - or was she a contractor? - in Iraq ... or was it Kuwait? And why have we never heard from the burned woman herself?)
Pro-war or anti-war, liberal or neocon, a journalist who falsely reports on a war does our whole Nation a disservice. As Confederate Yankee says,
We need a thorough investigation, and if the charges are accurate, this liar should be purged from his news organization and the profession altogether.
But first, we need information. ...
Strangely enough, though, Scott Horton seems to be rather quiet when asked for any identifying details that might bring this neocon fabulist to justice. Odd, that.
Bookworm Room observes
a few striking things about Horton’s red hot attack on the conservative media and on the US military. The most obvious thing is how he glosses over the core fact, which is that Beauchamp lied. Beauchamp, perhaps with help from his wife (shades of Wilson/Plame here), got himself a huge forum in a nationally respected magazine to tell lies about the American troops. There was no witch hunt here, which implies that the person being hunted is innocent. Instead, what happened was that the new media instantly exposed a con man, a scam artist, someone who in the old days would probably have been derided and shunned for what he did. ...
And all this righteous rage on Horton's part, BR says,
is manufactured. What he can’t admit apparently, even to himself, is that someone told a lie that he hoped was the truth, and that this lie was then exposed. All he can do, therefore, is create a swirling sea of anger about everything but the initial lie, in the hopes of obscuring the truth at the core of it all — Beauchamp fabricated just about everything.
Go read the full post at the link.
My own thoughts: The liberal press is trashing the military again; the phrase "like it was going out of style" springs to mind. They're going down, and they know it; the Beauchamp affair stings because it's another nail in the coffin of liberal establishment journalism. And also, at some level, I think the press realize that the public does not have an endless appetite (or even tolerance) for military-bashing and America-bashing. The shtick is getting old. So, they are getting their last licks in while they can.
I'll be sure to update if - err, I mean, when - Scott Horton comes through with the name of this journalistic malpractitioner. But for now, I'll let George Roper have the last word:
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.