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August 10, 2007
Krauthammer on Beauchamp
Charles Krauthammer has a terrific column on military fabulist Scott Beauchamp and the dishonesty of the New Republic. A sample:
Amid these conflicting claims, one issue is not in dispute. When the New Republic did its initial investigation, it admitted that Beauchamp had erred on one "significant detail." The disfigured-woman incident happened not in Iraq, but in Kuwait. This has been the mantra of the anti-war left; that the Iraq war is making monsters of our "children." It is not surprising that the New Republic believed Beauchamp's tall tales. What is surprising is the manner in which the magazine has sought to cover up their incompetence and bias by casting aspersions on all who questioned the story - even the army.
That means it happened before Beauchamp arrived in Iraq. But the whole point of that story was to demonstrate how the war had turned an otherwise sensitive soul into a monster. Indeed, in the precious, highly self-conscious literary style of an aspiring writer trying out for a New Yorker gig, Beauchamp follows the terrible tale of his cruelty to the disfigured woman by asking, "Am I a monster?" And answering with satisfaction that the very fact that he could ask this question after (the reader has been led to believe) having been so hardened and brutalized by war shows that there is a kernel of humanity left in him.
But, oh, how much was lost. In the past, you see, he was a sensitive soul with "compassion for those with disabilities." In a particularly treacly passage, he tells us that he once worked in a summer camp with disabled children and in college helped a colleague with cerebral palsy. Then this delicate compassionate youth is transformed into an unfeeling animal by war.
Franklin Foer should lose his job over this incident.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky