We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We have avoided saying much about this pathetic story, and TNR's pathetic way of handling the con job they wanted so much to believe. Yes indeed, more "fake but accurate" from the Left.
Today, however, Democracy Project has posted a piece on the subject by the Rev. Paul W. McNellis, S.J. which is the essay I wished I could have written and which I think is the final word on the subject.
He can await his discharge and then return to testify before Congress as the victim veteran in the “proud of being ashamed” mode. He might even run for Congress himself. He wouldn’t be the first.
Or, he can use his remaining time in the military to earn an honorable discharge. He could try to leave the military as a better man than when he entered. There are hints from his blog that he was already moving in that direction.
I would urge Pvt. Beauchamp to look at those in his unit, some of whom he surely respects and admires. Imitate them, and in the process you will become a better soldier, a better friend, a better husband, one day a better father, and...in the end, a better writer.
That will also leave you with something far better than the anemic sense of shame you describe; it will leave you with a sense of honor. And though TNR may no longer be interested in what you write, you will surely have become a better man.
I am more than willing to let military justice wheels turn to grind like the mill of the Gods: slow, but fine.
What I do not like is the lack of any accountability from TNR or, indeed, from the civilian side of things. If you knowingly publish false information about the armed forces you are committing a crime, which gets worse during active operations.
If, however, TNR actually believed what it was publishing, then it was not properly reporting a war crime which is also a crime.
Journalism does not gain one any added powers to skip by the law as the right to a free press is held by the People, not by the press. And free speech does have limitations upon it, and there is responsibility upon what is published and disseminated via the right to a free press. There is no third option in this nor any set of circumstances I can think of which would let TNR off the hook. Yet everyone wants to concentrate upon Beauchamp and no one upon the wrongs committed by action and inaction of TNR.
This is how we lose the right of free speech: by not holding it accountable to the laws held in our society. Apparently accountability is now beyond the realm of what we can expect from anyone... and that will as surely lead to a loss of liberty as being overly restrictive like the PC crowd would like. If we cannot do that as a society - hold up basic standards so as to operate as a society - then we will have lost the concept of actions having consequences and no law will be worth enforcing. They are damned hard laws to uphold, which makes the few times they are enforced all the more difficult to do. This, to my eyes, raises to that standard.
On occasion, usually at social events I like to be superficial so I can fit in with the "booboisie" (thank you H.L. Mencken).
I mention this since I am about to judge a book by it's cover. Last week on the blog Lucianne a picture of Pvt. Beauchamp was run with the caption "Enough said"
The picture could have been one of any number of fragrant San Fransisco, "don't ask, don't tell" Village People.
Judging only from the picture and a few other implications regarding the Pvt. my guess would be that if the Pvt returns to a unit it will be in the Mission District of San Fransisco.
My bet is he gets out of uniform as quickly as possible, making rounds on every show his agent can book and continue the burlesque he has made of his life to date. Or not to date , that is the question.
All the right notes ajacksonian. Responsibility, accountability, consequences. Concepts and values which are becoming more and more rare, most especially in journalism.
I agree that TNR should be held accountable in some fashion but we both know that will not happen, at least not in a legalistic sense.
But then one value which you did not mention, is integrity. Meaning that TNR should as a minimum, apologize to the public for betraying its trust. But then, they've been there and done that and it doesn't appear to have made much difference.