Where to go for info about a possible media myth

If you’ve been thinking that I haven’t been blogging very vigorously the last couple of days, you’re right. I’ve had a big work project, that started out grim and got rather interesting, and I’ve been getting ready for a trip. I’ll probably blog during the trip, so I’m not signing off here, but blogging will inevitably be lighter. The upside, though, is that Don Quixote has valiantly offered (no, the truth is that I bullied him to volunteer) to take over some blogging duties while I’m away. Since DQ’s posts are invariably interesting, intelligent, thought provoking, and trigger the highest numbers of comments this blog sees, please don’t take the lighter number of posts as a reason to drift away. (I’m begging here. I always feel abandoned when my numbers drop dramatically, even if I’m the one doing the abandoning by going away for a while.)

Anyway, since this is a busy day, I haven’t had much time to post. I’ve still been reading, though, and the most interesting story I’m reading about is The New Republic‘s report “Shock Troops,” written under the nom de plume Scott Thomas, and purporting to be a soldier’s first hand description of various uncivilized acts by American troops, ranging from the schoolyard (teasing someone scarred by an IED), to the cruel (using large fighting vehicles to kill dogs), to the macabre (wearing a child’s skull as a decorative hat).

The story has the smell of propaganda about it, no matter how you look at it. Each story, on its face, is illogical. Considering that all troops face the daily risk of severe IED injuries, the likelihood that they would tease someone who falls into the “there but for the grace of God go I” category seems small. While fighting vehicles are powerful, if they’re big, they lack maneuverability. What are the odds, then, that they could be used as effective kill weapons against swift, agile dogs? And the wearing a child’s skull story as a decorative hat? I’ve heard of whistling past the graveyard, but it would be one sick puppy with too much time on his hands who would take a smelly, dusty, broken skull, work hard to affix it to his headgear, and then dance around it. That’s Marilyn Manson, not U.S. Military, kind of stuff.

But don’t take my sense of logic as your guide on this one. A lot of people with actual knowledge about the situation in Iraq, about wounded troops and contractors, about tanks, about provocateurs, etc., have been writing. Here are four of my favorite links:

Michael Goldfarb’s The New Republic’s “Shock Troops”: Fact or Fiction?

Ray Robison’s Who is TNR’s mysterious author ‘Scott Thomas’?

Power Line’s Fact or Fiction : An Update

Also, as always, Michelle Malkin is completely au courant, and keeps adding more and more links to debunking stories.

I really wonder if The New Republic is having another Stephen Glass moment. If so, this is more reprehensible than any of the silly things Stephen Glass did, since it libels all of our military forces and, with the baby skull story, puts them at ever greater risk of animus from the local Iraqi population.

I know that I blog anonymously, but I’m just advancing my opinions. It seems to me that if you put forward those types of inflammatory facts, you need to come out and face those you’ve accused, so that they have a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves by challenging your facts and understanding your motives.


2 Responses

  1. I suspect a familiar pattern is arising, about how the war in Iraq is a brutalizing experience for U.S. troops.

    This appeared in The Nation written by a Muslim apologist and the daughter of Sami Al-Arian, a jihadist now incarcerated:


  2. […] wanted to tip you off to updates about the Scott Thomas story that I blogged about right before I left.  It’s beginning to sound more and more like  a fake.  See here and […]

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