Friday, November 02, 2007


Let's have some more fun with that ol' "chickenhawk meme," shall we? This is one of the unthinking anti-war left's favorite playtoys these days. Nobody should advocate for a U.S. military presence in Iraq unless he personally goes and takes part in it (or orders his closest living relative of eligible military age to do so).

Scott Beauchamp is a soldier serving in Iraq. But when he puts down his gun and picks up a laptop computer, and types an article for a major national publication, and gets paid for it, he's a journalist, not a soldier.

And when in that capacity he tells lies, and passes them off as truths, he is putting the honor and reputation of every working journalist on the line. When work like his is exposed as a sham, the damage is done not to soldiers, but to writers, to honest writers who go out and convince people to be interviewed with the understanding that their stories will be told without twists and perversions.

Yet plenty of people who ought to know better cannot seem to resist defending Beauchamp's right to do what he is alleged to have done. They see only the people who oppose them in the political debates, or the blog wars, not the facts of the case. So they reflexively rally to support whatever their opponents attack.

As a working journalist, I say, you have no right to involve my profession in your petty crusades, unless you risk a share of the shame of what you advocate -- the right of a journalist to tell convenient lies. Unless you have a press pass and a byline, butt out! You bedwetter, namby-pamby, gutless deadline-dodgers.