The New Republic, phony soldiers, & genuine chutzpah

posted at 5:43 pm on October 2, 2007 by Bryan

File this under: How did this get past the editors? Oh, right, this is The New Republic we’re talking about, where editors don’t actually, you know, edit.

Is The New Republic dumb enough to weigh in on the Rush Limbaugh “phony soldiers” phony controversy? Why yes, yes it is. Eve Fairbanks, thankyouverymuch for inserting The New Republic and its unique history regarding phoniness into this story. You would have been wiser to do what your editor did a couple of weeks ago and just stay under your desk.

Fairbanks’ post over at TNR’s The Plank begins:

I can’t help but find it incredibly karmically satisfying that Rush Limbaugh is getting spoon-fed a little bit of the same bitter medicine Democrats swallowed when MoveOn dared to call someone wearing a military uniform less than honest.

“…karmically satisfying.” “…bitter medicine.” “…less than honest.” You know, when I read The New Republic, and I read those three phrases in The New Republic, Rush Limbaugh is not the first name that springs to mind. There are at least two that preceed him. One is Scott Thomas Beauchamp. The other is Franklin Foer. Both have been less than honest, one has already swallowed some bitter medicine and there is bitter medicine in store for the other, and it will be karmically satisfying when that medicine is administered.

We continue:

Now, what Rush did was worse — he called the many Iraq war veterans who consult with antiwar Democrats “phony troops”

Actually, no he didn’t. He called phony soldiers like Jesse MacBeth and a fabulist whom the editors at TNR know quite well “phony soldiers” because that’s what they are. The phony soldiers fall into three categories: Those who claim to serve but never did; those who claim personal knowledge of US atrocities that never happened and who turn out to have inflated their own service records, if they served at all; and those who use their own military service records either to smear the military themselves or to vouch for others who smear the military and turn out to be liars. TNR’s own Scott Thomas Beauchamp falls into the latter category. TNR’s Eve Fairbanks is not only evidently unaware of how dangerous it is for someone writing for TNR to weigh in on this subject — blowback, indeed — but she’s unaware and probably willfully so that the entire accusation against Rush is false to its roots.

Not that writing falsehoods evidently matters a great deal to anyone at The New Republic. How’s that final report on Beauchamp going, Mr. Foer?

The phony soldiers phenomenon, and its cousin the liberal soldier who puffs up his record to make himself seem more authoritative in matters of war and peace, has become pernicious. The entire Democrat party and its ideological allies are evidently swooning from it. Call it Winter Soldier Syndrome. Or call it Harkin’s Disease.

But back to The Plank’s mistaken dive into the Limbaugh affair.

From the above sentence, Fairbanks strings together a bit of cheerleading for Dingy Harry Reid, and then closes her original post with this.

In these difficult days we find our scraps of pleasure where we can.

Indeed we do. And, Ms. Fairbanks, you have just supplied quite a bit of pleasure to everyone who has been waiting for more than two months now for your magazine to deliver its final verdict on the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair.

Did you know that TNR’s Eve Fairbanks has her own entry in the Urban Dictionary. Until tonight, I didn’t. Here it is.

1. Fairbanksing

A gratuitous fabrication in a story when the truth would have served just fine.

“…gratuitous fabrication…” Well, that explains why she works at TNR.

Ironically, the narrative of veterans lobbying either for or against the Iraq war is a subject she has covered before. Just last week, as a matter of fact. Given the potential for such a story to backfire on TNR, you’d think they would be hesitant to touch this subject at all.

Each veterans’ group claims to represent the opinion not just of certain veterans but of “Iraq vets” as a whole class. This is partly a political tactic–who would listen to a group called “A Few Iraq Veterans for Freedom”?–but it also reflects the veterans’ sincere conviction that their stance reflects the only honest conclusion to be drawn from the Iraq experience. Some Iraq vets I talked to were even skeptical that their political opponents could actually be real veterans. “A lot of those people weren’t Iraq or Afghanistan vets,” said VoteVets member Andrew Horne of the men and women at the VFF rally. “I know they’re wearing the shirts, but I saw a lot of guys who were older than my Dad.”

Lefty vets questioning pro-war vets’ authenticity. Interesting.

(thanks to Chris R.)

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How’s that epiphany working out for you, MB4?

JannyMae on October 3, 2007 at 4:05 PM

I’ll say this again: having served does NOT make you immune to criticism should you a) lie; b) besmirch your comrades; c) disavow your nation. It is the fact that millions serve honorably that we need to stand up and point out the few who do these things.

Even if Scott Beauchamp brings us the head of Osama Bin Laden, it does not change the fact that he lied.

We have an obligation as a society to “weed out all the non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve,” as R. Lee Ermey would say. Collectively, we should honor all vets, including those who question the reasons for the wars they fight. But the moment any of them becomes a liar or says treasonous things, it should be pointed out clearly.

otcconan on October 3, 2007 at 4:05 PM

How’s that epiphany working out for you, MB4?

JannyMae on October 3, 2007 at 4:05 PM

An epiphany about having another stalker?

Maybe you and Mcguyver could go on a date or something and become fixated on each other instead of little ‘ol me.

MB4 on October 3, 2007 at 4:26 PM

Lefty vets questioning pro-war vets’ authenticity. Interesting.

That’s something I’d not thought much about until this Rush thing, but then I remembered audio I’d heard of Clifton Hicks talking about pro-war Iraq vets.

I’ve got a link to the audio here:

The quote in question goes like this:

“[to paraphrase interviewer: some veterans think that the anti-war folks are damaging morale] Hicks: “[derisive laughter] That’s a damn foolish lie. I’d like to actually meet those two so-called soldiers and find out what they do in Iraq. I bet they pump gas and scrub mess hall floors. They — they — don’t know what they’re talking about. The only people you’ll ever see doing stuff like that are the — these National Guard types who are safe and don’t even know what an Iraqi looks like.”

CourtZero on October 3, 2007 at 4:57 PM


I have to ask.

What medical precautions do you take to keep from being driven insane reading TNR?

It always makes me gassy and Mylanta just doesn’t do the job.


GT on October 3, 2007 at 5:47 PM

In related news… Liberals are so gosh-darn thoughtful they’re incapable of thinking in anything less than doctorate theses, whereas conservatives can only chant simplistic slogans.

Ghostbuster on October 3, 2007 at 7:10 PM

Okay, I’m late to the party here and enjoy a nice cold glass of bitters along with the next guy–but I don’t see where TNR has lost significant credibility among the people who read TNR. We get the idea, but not other folks–and they’re still eating this stuff up.
It’s like listening to that tirade ex-Pres. Clinton unloaded last week, about “swiftboating” and similar garbage–the narrative is built, and it’s not being changed.
So how is anything along this line going to hurt TNR, or enforce any accountability, much more than it is at this point?

Chap on October 3, 2007 at 11:36 PM

So how is anything along this line going to hurt TNR, or enforce any accountability, much more than it is at this point?
Chap on October 3, 2007 at 11:36 PM

It at least provide therapy for some who shall go unnamed.

Mcguyver on October 4, 2007 at 1:05 AM