Thursday, October 25, 2007

Seeing the Elephant

Michael Yon has a close encounter with the Talented Mr. Beauchamp. Yon's politely asks the detractors to back off:

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.

The commander said I was welcome to talk with Beauchamp, but clearly he did not want anyone else coming at his soldier. LTC Glaze told me that at least one blog had even called for Beauchamp to be killed, which seems rather extreme even on a very bad day. LTC Glaze wants to keep Beauchamp, and hopes folks will let it rest. I’m with LTC Glaze on this: it’s time to let Beauchamp get back to the war. The young soldier learned his lessons. He paid enough to earn his second chance that he must know he will never get a third.

All of which manages to inspire this odd sort of response:

There's a lesson to be learned here alright but it's for the armchair warriors who think they had any right to judge Beauchamp in the first place. The humiliation belongs to those who mercilessly attacked an active duty soldier for telling a war story -- and it makes no difference whether it was true or not. Even if he made the whole thing up, he earned that right by being there and fighting for his country.

Emphasis added. It reminds me of the story of my friend's divorce, where the judge asked the poetess wife why she could not reconcile with the journalist husband. Caught off-guard by the question, she floundered a bit, then blurted out, "because he believes in an ultimate reality, and I don't."

Nowadays, I suppose, they'd have stayed married, since reality doesn't matter to journalism, either. As long as you've satisfied some faction that you've earned the right to lie indiscriminately.

Meanwhile, on the anti-war side, it really is that ugly.