End of the Road

At the height of the Beauchamp affair, his First Sergeant, 1SG Hatley, did something that I thought was unbelievable- wrote an open letter discussing one of his soldiers. Here is a snippet of that widely distributed letter written by 1SG Hatley:

I’m not in the habit of answering these email’s. It would be far too many. I appreciate all the support from home and I can assure you that not a single word of this was true. We’ve been fighting this fight for quite some time. Numerous soldiers within my unit have served on several deployments and this is my third year as a First Sergeant in this unit. My soldiers conduct is consistently honorable. This soldier has other underlining issues which I’m sure will come out in the course of the investigation. No one at any of the post we live at or frequent, remotely fit the descriptions of any of the persons depicted in this young man’s fairy tale. I can’t and won’t divulge any information regarding this soldier, but I do sincerely appreciate all the support from the people back home. Again, this young man has a vivid imagination and I promise you that this by no means reflects the truth of what is happening here.

As an NCO at one time myself, I could not believe he openly would discuss one of his soldiers with someone outside the chain of command, let alone to disparage him. What kind of NCO does that?

This kind:

A senior enlisted Army soldier was convicted on Wednesday of killing four handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi men with pistol shots to the backs of their heads shortly after arresting them in Baghdad two years ago, The Associated Press reported.

A military jury in Germany, where his unit is deployed, found the soldier, Master Sgt. John E. Hatley, guilty of premeditated murder in the deaths of the men, whom he and several other members of his unit had detained after a firefight with insurgents in Baghdad in spring 2007, according to testimony in the case.

Meanwhile, Scott Beauchamp, the one with the “underlining issues” and the “vivid imagination,” is still serving his country honorably. 1SG Hatley will be serving life in jail.

But none of them would ever run over a dog. That isn’t SOP.

*** Update ****

This Stars and Stripes piece just reiterates what a horrible tragedy this is for everyone involved. The soldiers, their families, and the men they killed. Just awful.

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126 replies
  1. 1
    demkat620 says:

    So, where does Scott Beuachamp go to get his reputation back?

  2. 2
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @demkat620:

    I’m running the sand table simulations right now and will let you know the results when I’m through.

  3. 3
    AhabTRuler says:

    So, where does Scott Beuachamp go to get his reputation back?

    Reputations are ephemeral things, but the Army is forever.

  4. 4
    Seebach says:

    Olbermann is on teh fire. Bombastic and insufferable as he may be, he is saying what needs to be said, and very well, at that.

  5. 5
    colleeniem says:

    @Seebach: Amen. I get so annoyed with Keith sometimes, but his special comment was bang on.

  6. 6
    cyntax says:

    Hah. Payback’s a motherf^cker prisoner Hatley.

    It’s kind of scary that this guy made 1st SG; just shows you how shallow the Army’s bench must be these days (these last few years really).

    I’m not saying senior NCOs are all angels, but the ones I had would never have tried one of their subordinates in the court of public opinion.

  7. 7
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    Every now and again, justice manages to stagger unmolested from the kitchen just long enough to be served.

    I’m looking forward to the "I read these morons so you don’t have to" follow-up.

  8. 8
    kid bitzer says:

    yeah, paybacks, i guess, yeah.

    but the whole damned thing is just sad. just a damned shame from start to finish.

    beauchamp, hatley, at least four iraqi guys–these lives would not have been scarred in these ways if george bush had not decided to use the united states army as his own personal bodyguard to satisfy his vanity and the honor of the bush family criminal syndicate.

    even hatley–you know, a lot of young hotheads grow up in the states, maybe do a few stupid things in their 20s, and grow out of it. never kill anyone. never have to live with being a murderer.

    but when someone decides to start wars for their own vanity, and sends young hot-head kids off to kill people in a foreign country, and then that someone gets bored and abandons the entire army overseas because he is too ashamed to withdraw them and admit he fucked up–when young kids get stuck over there, then doing stupid hothead things isn’t just knocking over mail-boxes. it’s killing people.

    fuck bush. may he be spit upon by all decent people for the rest of his life.

  9. 9
    John Cole says:

    You guys are missing the point, I think. Go re-read Shock Troops, which was in press at the same time of these murders:

    Am I a monster? I have never thought of myself as a cruel person. Indeed, I have always had compassion for those with disabilities. I once worked at a summer camp for developmentally disabled children, and, in college, I devoted hours every week to helping a student with cerebral palsy perform basic tasks like typing, eating, and going to the bathroom. Even as I was reveling in the laughter my words had provoked, I was simultaneously horrified and ashamed at what I had just said. In a strange way, though, I found the shame comforting. I was relieved to still be shocked by my own cruelty–to still be able to recognize that the things we soldiers found funny were not, in fact, funny.

    What was in Shock Troops were several benign stories about GI’s and how they cope with the crap they see. Nothing more, nothing less. But to the defenders of the narrative, this was too much- the fiction that our troops are nothing but angels had to be upheld, so they had to try to ruin soldier over a bunch of things that pale in comparison to executing four handcuffed men by a river.

  10. 10
    Ed Marshall says:

    Yeah, John, but the fucked up thing is I think those morons would be outraged if somehow someone proved that they ran over a dog and would silently (or maybe not so silently) approve of the murders.

  11. 11
    Booger says:

    F*ckety f*ck. F*ck all. Unbef*ckinglievable.

  12. 12
    wonkie says:

    Well, this is what I think:

    He needs to learn how to use an apostrophe to indicate a possessive and he needs to learn to NOT use one in a plural.

    I guess he will have time in prison to study.

  13. 13
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    No, they are not perfect. Far from it. They are human beings, and when we look at it in the cold light of day they are kids, with guns. No amount of training is going to relieve them of revenge, which is a powerful emotion. There is no winner and loser in this scenario. Some troops did what they thought they could do in a time of war, a soldier with a conscience reported it. I keep saying this, and I keep getting shouted down. But has anyone, anyone thought about what went on in previous wars? Were there any prosecutions then? I am all for transparency, I am all for honesty, but when some mother fucker is out to kill you, is it surprising that perhaps you make a mistake? I am not excusing anything that anyone did. But put yourselves in thier shoes for a second and then judge. Perhaps they were just murderers, perhaps not. But I think that all of us arm chair quarter backs aught to sit and take stock. We will never know what we would do in their situation.

  14. 14
    Bill H says:

    Meanwhile, at Camp Pendleton here in San Diego, there have been half a dozen similar trials of Marines for shooting unarmed civilian Iraqis. Every one of them has resulted in a "not guilty" verdict. Military juries have said "we understand the pressures." Civilian juries have said, "We are not willing to judge actions of our soldiers." The actions have been well defined and clear cut, including women and children. "Not guilty."

  15. 15
    JL says:

    @John Cole: I’m terribly uncomfortable to write this, but most of the folks in Germany during the twenties, thirties and forties were really nice folks who were taken in. They thought they were the abused and only tried to protect themselves. Dogs in Iraq were equated to nothing more than the filth that attacked us. It’s crazy I know but for some that’s how they thought.

  16. 16
    Incertus says:

    @Polish the Guillotines:

    I’m looking forward to the "I read these morons so you don’t have to" follow-up.

    I doubt there will be one–I don’t see too many right-wingers ever willing to eat shit, and this is a truckload of it. The big names, at the very least, will act like they never talked about Beauchamp in the first place, much less talked bad about him.

  17. 17
    JL says:

    John, this is an amazing post and I understand that we have to face out demons but one cute picture of Tunch would help.
    FYI Before I read your recent post, I was speaking with a friend about a book she just read called "The Zookeepers Daughter". It’s a book about taking in animals during WWII.

  18. 18
    Jay B. says:

    But put yourselves in thier shoes for a second and then judge.

    Yeah, if there were only some kind of tribunal who might make such determinations based on law, their military experience and the case at hand. But until some impartial kind of person, or people, make a "judgement" like that, it’ll be really hard to determine just what happened in the fog of war and raging hormones.

  19. 19
    soonergrunt says:

    A few thoughts about Prisoner Hatley (Prisoner being his correct MOS and title, now).
    I came late to the Beauchamp affair. I read Shock Troops, and was angry. I was angry that someone would put down the things that we occasionally go through, because I knew they would not be understood in the context in which they took place, but I also knew they were honestly felt and honestly expressed. Most soldiers experience some form of depersonalization of the enemy and others, but the chain of command has the responsibility to monitor and fight against this. It’s how we keep from committing My Lai.

    My last tour in Afghanistan, my First Sergeant was a homicide investigator in civilian life. He would stress to all of us that "it’s not personal. It’s never personal. Maintain your bearing and your honor." He ensured that we NCOs worked very hard to ensure that our men would still respect themselves and be worthy of the respect of others when we came home. "Those who would fight monsters yadda yadda yadda" he would say, but we all got the point.
    When I read Hatley’s open letter, I knew that Hatley was a wrong guy. The kinds of problems and issues that Beauchamp wrote about could’ve only become real issues in a unit that allows its soldiers to openly depersonalize the enemy and civilians. I wondered what the hell else was going on in that unit, and thought that I hadn’t heard the end of it.

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    one cute picture of Tunch would help.

    He should have one horn growing from or taped to his forehead. A boing-boing/balloon juice uni-tunch chaser.

  21. 21
    Pennypacker says:

    Bob Owens will tell you he had special conversations with 1SG Hatley and that the military court must have made some mistake.

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    so they had to try to ruin soldier over a bunch of things that pale in comparison to executing four handcuffed men by a river.

    You have to remember, the Right considered Dogs more important then Iraqis.

    Still do, as a matter of fact.

  23. 23
    Nick says:

    I was an enlisted man from 75-78. The guys who came in 2 years before me told me about the draftees and their FTA attitude. At that time, in my unit (a detached MP company near Camp David), we had literally a handful of Christian fundamentalists in our company. The rest of us were drunks and/or stoners (this was before they instituted drug testing).

    The impression I get from reports I read is that over the past 30 years the Army has significantly increased its population of right wing Christians. Can anyone tell me whether I’m correct in that, or is it just a false impression?

    I note this, because I’ve been comparing the Christianity I learned as a Roman Catholic altarboy (who never received the Sacramental Penis), and the Christianity which allows unnecessary wars, waterboarding, and greed as a virtue. I’ve seen some ugly things in life, and am a bit of a cynic, but I still gauge morality by the lodestone of the Sermon on the Mount. It’s pretty clear that the Christianity of the right wing doesn’t measure morality the same way.

    And that seems to be the nub of many of the differences between liberals and conservatives these days.

    And BTW–there’s the right way, the wrong way, the Army way, and now, sadly, Hatley’s way.

  24. 24
    Zifnab says:

    @Pennypacker: Norm Coleman will tell you the jury count was rigged and he wants a revote.

    That’s just how the GOP rolls these days. Shame, because with the high level of bullshit Prisoner Hatley was spouting, he could have gone a long was in the Republican Party. Congressman Hatley, Senator Hatley, President Hatley? He could have taken Sarah Palin as his running mate.

  25. 25
    jenniebee says:

    @John Cole: worse than that, John. (damn you!) Scott Beauchamp was documenting the slow process of moral callousing that led to the executions. Hatley is responsible for the immediate decision to commit a monstrous act, but he also acted as an agent in his own degradation to the point at which that action seemed reasonable by doing what he could to shatter the mirror (damn you!) Scott Beauchamp was holding up to Hatley’s own face.

    It’s really a quite excellently plotted tragedy.

  26. 26
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    As simply as I can put it, I was never in combat so I cannot comment on their thoughts. Anyone who has ever been in combat can. I have done training exercises sure, but even when I knew 42 Commando were coming over that hill to kill me I knew they weren’t going to "kill" me. I would like those who have been in a true combat situation to chime in on this cause other than that as I said we are all arm chair quarterbacks.

  27. 27
    JL says:

    I’m sad cause we are sending soldiers to fight an enemy they can’t identify. How do we as a nation, rehabilitate them?

  28. 28
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    It would never have occurred to me during my time as an NCO in the Navy, to discuss any failings of my sailors with anyone outside of the service. The only people I ever discussed them with inside the service were officers and NCO’s senior to me who were directly above me in the chain of command.
    As an ex-NCO and as someone who has been shot at, I believe that Hatley was shit as an NCO. It speaks ill of the Army that they did not remove Hatley from the unit when he wrote that email. An NCO can make or break the unit in their charge. The Army allowed Hatley to break his.

  29. 29
    jenniebee says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I came late to the Beauchamp affair. I read Shock Troops, and was angry. I was angry that someone would put down the things that we occasionally go through, because I knew they would not be understood in the context in which they took place

    You’d be surprised. Beauchamp’s principle audience didn’t receive his writing in the spirit of shock that our soldiers aren’t saints. It was more of a report from the front that confirmed what the anti-war crowd had been saying all along: that war has costs for the winners too, that it isn’t all parades and glory, that it brings out things in those who fight it that both they and society at large would do better to leave undeveloped. That made us anti-American and traitors and not supporting the troops, etc… Fun times all around, really.

  30. 30

    As simply as I can put it, I was never in combat so I cannot comment on their thoughts. Anyone who has ever been in combat can. I have done training exercises sure, but even when I knew 42 Commando were coming over that hill to kill me I knew they weren’t going to "kill" me. I would like those who have been in a true combat situation to chime in on this cause other than that as I said we are all arm chair quarterbacks.

    I think an Army court-martial is qualified to judge Hartley. And they have. A jury of fellow soldiers have judged him, and found him guilty.

  31. 31
    tavella says:

    And of course, the Wikipedia version is pretty much pure quill the wingnut version of it.

  32. 32
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    @Incertus:

    I doubt there will be one

    Neither do I. I was just kinda hoping out loud.

  33. 33
    JL says:

    @soonergrunt: Thank you for your comment.
    Are you really a sooner?

  34. 34
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Wow. I don’t know what to say, and that’s very rare. What a sad, sad, story. Where is Beauchamp these days?

    OK, I have one teeny tiny snark (said in my best Rachel voice): See what happens when you let straight people into the army??????

    /snark.

  35. 35
    soonergrunt says:

    @Nick
    I’ve been in the Regular Army and the National Guard a little over 20 years. It’s not my experience that the Army is overrun, or even heavily populated by Christian Fundamentalists. Army Chaplains are still trained to be counselors to one and all, and even the ones from the more conservative denominations are relatively laid back.

    @JL
    I’ve lived here in Oklahoma since 1996 when I got out of the Army. My parents had moved here while I was serving, and I needed someplace to stay for a few weeks while I looked for a job. I intended to get out of this big flat empty state as soon as possible and get back to my mountains in Colorado. Well. I went to OU full time for three years, and now part time off and on since then. Someday I may actually graduate like my wife did. One of my kids was born here, and the other one has never lived anywhere else since he was two. Yeah, I’m a Sooner now. I live in the City. You?

  36. 36
    jcricket says:

    Obviously this is good news for John McCain. It also validates our invasion of Iraq and Dick Cheney’s statements about Obama making America less safe by prosecuting military war criminals.

    Something like that.

  37. 37
    cyntax says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    I think your sympathy is well placed, and an important consideration in a protracted conflict carried out in the midst of a civilian population. These sorts of conflicts present the maximum moral hazard for a military, and require constant vigilance on the part of the soldiers. And this moral vigilance may at times compete with the attention needed simply to survive.

    However the idea that only those who’ve been in combat can understand it seems strange to me (having been in combat), and I think it does a disservice to both veterans and civilians. This idea about the unknowability of the experience can in some ways absolve civilians from trying to understand it (and by extension us) and this in turn can place a kind of gulf between military experience and civilian life. That perceived gulf (which we in the military often believe too) can make reintegration harder and might make civilians less likely to consider the consequences of going to war.

    I think if people try hard, they’ll get close enough to the experience.

    [And then there’s the whole issue of how would our justice system function if you could only understand/judge that which you yourself have done.]

  38. 38
    Ed Marshall says:

    Someone needs to edit that wiki page. I tried and I can’t keep the snark level down, it’s a moral failing.

  39. 39
    gbear says:

    Hate to do this to the most on-topic thread I’ve seen here in ages, but I must, I must:

    Script for a proposed political PSA in Oregon (via C&L):

    OPEN ON A YOUNG MULATTO FEMALE DOCTOR.
    Thank you for ending slavery.

    A WOMAN EXECUTIVE STANDING IN FRONT OF HER DESK.
    Thank you for giving women the right to vote.

    A MAN ON CANNON BEACH WITH HIS KIDS AND THEIR DOG PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND.
    Thank you for opening our State beaches to the public.

    AN OLD COUPLE IN THE PARK.
    Thank you for lowering our taxes.

    A THIRTY-SOMETHING WHITE MALE STANDING OUTSIDE HIS STOREFRONT.
    Thank you for helping me start my own business.

    A BLACK FEMALE JUDGE IN FRONT OF A COURTHOUSE.
    Thank you for passing the Civil Rights act of 1964.

    A FAMILY STANDING OUTSIDE THEIR FARMHOUSE.
    Thank you for making America the land of opportunity.

    A WOMAN SMILING DOWN AT HER NEW CHILD. PUSH IN ON CHILD’S FACE. BURN TO WHITE.
    FEMALE VO: There are so many things we have to be thankful for, thanks to the Republican Party.

    SUPER: THANK YOU REPUBLICANS.LEGAL:

    PAID FOR BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF OREGON.

  40. 40
    Kirk Spencer says:

    It may seem a digression, but I had a similar reaction to the release of the so-called torture memos. See, I read them, and then I sat back and PAID ATTENTION, and saw something non-obvious.

    Four memos saying "these acts aren’t torture", which included stripping them naked in the presence of female staff, waterboarding, and a few other behaviors. The dates on those memos are August 1, 2002; May 10, 2005; May 10, 2005; and May 30, 2005.

    The non-obvious thing? Abu Ghraib.

    The Army started its investigation in 2003, and the Big Splash was in January of 2004. For those who can’t see it, that’s more than a year after OLC said this was OK. In January of 2005 Specialist Graner was convicted. On May 4 Specialist England’s plea bargain was nullified because the judge found it likely she knew the behavior was wrong. On May 5, General Karpinski became Colonel Karpinski. Five days after that, two more memos were written saying, "this stuff is OK." The last memo is at the end of the same month.

    But Abu Ghraib was ‘just some bad apples, and poor command at the Brigade level.’

  41. 41
    Ed Marshall says:

    If you don’t know how to edit wikipedia, just rough it out here and I’ll pretty it up with references and format. I’m just stuck for pouring anything out but bile on the mob that went after Beauchamp and the brass that helped them.

  42. 42
    Jon H says:

    @Bill H: " Every one of them has resulted in a "not guilty" verdict."

    My recollection was that the Marines convicted some, but then a jerkoff Marine up the chain of command let them off.

  43. 43
    wilfred says:

    I could not believe that Hatley was Beauchamp’s First Sergeant. I’ll have to change my definitive example of cosmic irony.

    @Jon H:

    It was General Mattis.

  44. 44
    KCinDC says:

    It’s hard to believe that something using the word "mulatto" isn’t a parody.

  45. 45
    JL says:

    @soonergrunt: I lived in Dallas for five years and have several relatives that went to UT so not a sooner. Tulsa is one of the prettiest sites to camp at though.

  46. 46
    Mike in NC says:

    The impression I get from reports I read is that over the past 30 years the Army has significantly increased its population of right wing Christians. Can anyone tell me whether I’m correct in that, or is it just a false impression?

    Yes, that’s correct. Plus Colorado Springs is a haven for the evangelicals and they’ve had a huge influence on the USAF Academy. Lots of bad publicity the past few years, and some lawsuits over their trying to coerce cadets into joining them.

    Was never as bad in the Navy during active duty in the mid-80s. There were a couple of times I had to tell holy rollers to politely piss off.

  47. 47
    D-Chance. says:

    The "Hatley" count on Owens’ site is 3 (according to his search function). Last entry was from 09/2008. Total cowardice.

    But, what can you expect from scum like CY?

  48. 48
    WMass says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    Soldiers certainly deserve some understanding of what they are experiencing, the stress they are under. But that does not in any way excuse the cold blooded murder of four people. The circumstances might mitigate the punishment to a certain degree, maybe from life to twenty years perhaps. We all have primal urges that the vast majority of us resist, whether its’ to strangle some complete fucking asshole or to grab the ass of some ridiculously hot woman. You know why we resist them? Because we are sentient humans, not fucking animals. I don’t have any problem with requiring that the personnel who serve in our armed forces never murder people in cold blood. Even in the horror of war, that doesn’t seem like an unreasonable rule.

  49. 49

    John: Thank you for this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are doing a signal service here.

  50. 50
    Zifnab says:

    @soonergrunt: Omg, learn to win a bowl game. Go Horns.

  51. 51
    tavella says:

    Yeah, I pondered editing it, and then pondered just tagging "In 2009, five members of Beauchamp’s unit, including his sergeant, were convinced of murdering four bound Iraqi prisoners" onto the end, but I’m sure it would just get deleted.

  52. 52
    soonergrunt says:

    I took the liberty of bringing the Scott Thomas Beauchamp page up to date.
    Some Wiki maven might want to clean up my work. Or better yet, make a new page about the murderers and link the Beauchamp page to it.
    Added new section "Conviction of members of Beauchamp’s unit for war crimes"

  53. 53
    Ed Marshall says:

    You rock, soonergrunt.

  54. 54
    Nick says:

    Is there a point at which American misconduct (torture, killing perhaps a million Iraqis–many of them innocent) precludes complaint about terrorist attacks on our citizens?

    If we are the kind of people who torture and who kill innocent people–without taking action to address these crimes–then on what basis can we complain when others torture and murder our citizens, whether in war or by terrorist attack? We will set the standard with our response as a nation to these outrages.

    I know some people want to make a distinction between war and terrorism, such that killing innocent Iraqi civilians via stealth bomber is acceptable whereas killing innocent American citizens by commercial jet is not acceptable. But if war is just the extension of politics, isn’t terrorism also a violent extension of politics, an extension used by parties which cannot prevail in conventional warfare?

    I realize I’m going all Ward Churchill and hating America here. But I believe in cause and effect. And while I understand Hume’s argument that the connection between cause and effect can’t be proven, I still figure there are reasons why the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 instead of Sweden or Norway. And I don’t think it’s because we had taller buildings.

  55. 55
    Ed Marshall says:

    I had less acerbic (and less accurate) titles for my new entry than "Conviction of members of Beauchamp’s unit for war crimes" but kept devolving there after into attacks on the 101st keyboarders. I think your entry may stick because it’s blunt, real, and unavoidable.

  56. 56
    soonergrunt says:

    I wonder how long it will last.
    Of course, the moment it’s changed, I’m going to POV the whole page…

  57. 57
    AhabTRuler says:

    But if war is just the extension of politics

    This is an overused and misunderstood partial quote from a controversial and misunderstood author. I plead only that one use caution when invoking it.

  58. 58
    DougJ says:

    Wow.

  59. 59
    DougJ says:

    And of course I don’t mean that in a good way.

  60. 60
    AhabTRuler says:

    On War[1:1; link]
    24. War is a mere continuation of policy by other means.

    We see, therefore, that war is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means. All beyond this which is strictly peculiar to war relates merely to the peculiar nature of the means which it uses. That the tendencies and views of policy shall not be incompatible with these means, the art of war in general and the commander in each particular case may demand, and this claim is truly not a trifling one. But however powerfully this may react on political views in particular cases, still it must always be regarded as only a modification of them; for the political view is the object, war is the means, and the means must always include the object in our conception.

  61. 61
    hamletta says:

    Y’all are some beautiful cats.

    I think this is an important reminder that when we send people to war, we’re not only risking their lives and limbs, but their very souls.

    The architects of this war—the Cheneys, the Perles, the Wolfowitzes—they just boggle me. Did they not have mothers? Did they not pay attention to their religious instruction? Did they not learn anything in kindergarten? Were they raised by wolves?

    How could they treat their fellow human beings like the little plastic pieces on a Risk board?

    I’m less surprised that Hatley lost his humanity than that Beauchamp retained his.

  62. 62
    soonergrunt says:

    @hamletta
    Retaining one’s humanity is not particularly difficult. I noted above about my old First Sergeant, and his reminders to maintain our honor.
    Well, it’s more than that, and less at the same time. The vast majority of soldiers who go to war come home and return to their lives with their honor and their souls intact.
    There’s something missing from guys like Prisoner Hatley. Something vital to social commerce. I don’t know any other way to put it, I’m afraid.

    I tell my soldiers the same thing I was told as a young private:
    "You don’t want to do anything that your mother or wife would be embarrassed to hear people whispering about at church. You want to be worthy of your children’s love and respect.
    Last but not least is this: You know right from wrong. Do the right thing, and I’ll stand with you through the fires of all deepest hell. Do the wrong thing, and I’ll fuck you to death with your own rifle."

  63. 63
    Nick says:

    "[T]he political view is the object, war is the means, and the means must always include the object in our conception."

    I think the IRA had a political view as its object in its terrorist attacks; similarly the Palestinians have political goals in mind in their attacks, and, to the extend we can believe his communiques, Osama bin Laden had political goals in mind with his attacks.

    But those observations by themselves don’t address the dreaded moral equivalency issue–is a terrorist attack in furtherance of political goals more immoral than killing innocent people in an unnecessary war (this presumes that Iraq was an illegal war of aggression)? Can a nation which tolerates torture later complain of an illegal terrorist attack on it’s torture-tolerating populace by a group directly or indirectly victimized by the torture?

    The British, by my assessment, took actions military, political, and economic which led to the suffering and death of many Irish Catholics. Do they have a right to complain when ‘the chickens come home to roost"?

    Similarly, the Israelis have taken actions leading to the suffering and death of Palestinians.

    As for the U.S., it’s actions against Muslims seem more diffuse in their presenting a justification for an attack by one group pretending to represent the grievances of all Muslims. But to the extent those grievances are real….

    Again, does there come a point at which our conduct as a nation diminishes our complaint when other people retaliate, whether by terrorism or other method?

    Or are Americans so blameless that we can reasonably expect no backlash against our actions?

  64. 64
    Bill H says:

    @Jon H:

    Well, all I can say is that I live in San Diego and have followed as carefully as I could without attending the trials. I have been waiting for so much as one guilty verdict and have seen nothing but plea bargains and "not guilty" verdicts. The plea bargains have been walks in exchange for testimony, except for a few minor prison terms which have been thrown out. It may be those which you are thinking of.

  65. 65
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Nick: Well, the same author would also tell you that the defense is the stronger form of warfare, and that the political considerations of prolonging conflict fall more heavily on the aggressor nation.

    In that sense, morality and justification are secondary, insofar as the threat becomes existential. However, the existence of the US is not at stake, only its imperial power and, perhaps, its way of life/standard of living. Furthermore, as has been demonstrated, opponents have a far more difficult time attacking the US than attacking our forces exposed overseas.

  66. 66
    BDeevDad says:

    I’m waiting for the New Republic to change their mind again.

    Beuller, Beuller…..crickets….

  67. 67
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Pennypacker:

    Snortle.

  68. 68
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Dennis-SGMM:

    I was going to say I wonder if he was disciplined. Then I remembered that it seems he’s been promoted.

  69. 69
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Pennypacker:

    Wow, I went over there and checked on the last thing Owens had to say about Hatley, in September ’08. And sure enough, he announces he’s interviewed a jillion people and even has "affidavits in my hand!" or well, photocopies on CD, from soldiers denying any dog running over a’tall, harumph!

    It was bittersweet to see the notes Vietnam historian Keith Nolan posted in response (see comments section), full of reason and common sense. Of course he was trashed and berated and dismissed, as he was every time he tried to set the record straight at a wingnut website. Owens was his usual ignorant, belligerent self.

    The reason it was bittersweet to read Keith’s comments was because he passed away in February. The Vietnam veterans he wrote about (in a dozen or so books) cared so much they set up a memorial page here.

  70. 70
    Graham says:

    In Hatley’s final statement to court:

    "I’ve served my country for half my life which I think is the most honourable profession in the world. My soldiers are like my sons and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them."

    Which is presumably why he ordered two of his "sons" to commit cold blooded murder for which they now rot in prison, and on a less tragic note why he was so willing to publicly trash another "son", Beauchamp.

  71. 71
    JenJen says:

    And to this day, from Malkin and her lot, we hear crickets.

    The entire Beauchamp issue angered me to my core at the time, it really did. But now? I’m livid, disgusted, and leaning toward faithless in our institutions.

  72. 72
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    Where’s Darrell when you need him?

    I’d really like to see his reaction to this.

  73. 73
    theAmericanist says:

    I’m one of the folks who argued in various threads that Beauchamp’s account wasn’t credible.

    I still think that.

    It is a good thing that Hatley and others were convicted, and an even better thing that America prosecutes our soldiers for crimes like this. (Somebody should impeach Bybee, btw.)

    But before folks go into "I told you so" mode, ya might recognize that there was — and IS — a difference between the war stories that Beauchamp told, and the fact of a crime like this.

    People like me didn’t believe Beauchamp, but NOT because we think American soldiers are incapable of crimes.

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but I didn’t believe him cuz his stories sounded like bullshit. I’ve heard surprising stories that turned out to be true, but the lack of credibility gets doubled when the guy who published ’em swallowed ’em whole. I never trusted the New Republic to have checked ’em out.

    They DIDN’T check ’em out, as the story developed, and nobody ever came forward to back up any of it. That’s a pretty stark contrast with how these REAL crimes were treated, don’t ya think?

    Keep your eyes on the prize, folks: that Hatley et al committed and were convicted of war crimes tends more to disprove Beauchamp’s bullshit, than to prove it happened.

  74. 74
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @theAmericanist: waitaminute. The individuals whom Beauchamp said were doing things have been convicted of doing some of the things Beauchamp said they were doing. So obviously Beauchamp was lying?

    Hello, Mr. Orwell.

  75. 75
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    LOL I guess we did hear from Darrell, after all.

    Clearly, the fact that Beauchamp’s detractors were convicted of doing things he said he witnessed in Iraq PROVES that he was lying! And that, by extension, vindicates the Sergeant’s criticism of Beauchamp, even though he was convicted, too.

  76. 76
    theAmericanist says:

    Kirk: When did Beauchamp say that his NCOs were executing prisoners?

  77. 77
    Nikki says:

    I think Kirk and Scruffy are missing the Americanist’s point. That these guys were convicted of crimes that were eons worse than what Beauchamp said they were doing, proves that Beauchamp was lying. Don’t you get it?

  78. 78
    theAmericanist says:

    Nikki — no, that’s not what I’m saying.

    I’m pointing out that these guys were convicted of crimes doesn’t prove that Beauchamp was telling the truth.

    To the extent the war stories reflect on the crimes, the fact that the Army did the right thing by convicting soldiers of crimes, suggests the OPPOSITE of what most folks took as the obvious lesson from their credulity regarding Beauchamp: that soldiers in a war zone become callous and the Army will excuse it and cover it up.

    Those of us who concluded that Beauchamp was exaggerating ("waist-deep" sewage in a desert?) and making stuff up (just how DO you manuever a tracked vehicle like that?) and just plain icky (the kid’s skull on a guy’s head?), not to mention REMF crap (mocking a wounded soldier BEFORE he went into combat), didn’t doubt him cuz we believe that soldiers in a war zone don’t get callous.

    Speaking for myself, I didn’t believe his stories cuz he didn’t sound like any actual combat vet I’ve ever known.

    Not the same as the way the Army reacted to these crimes, now is it?

  79. 79
    Rick Taylor says:

    What’s disheartening about the right wing is so often they don’t live up to their own professed values. A lot of the talk of supporting the troops is propping up their own image of themselves as patriotic and supporting a narrative. When confronted with a flesh and blood soldier who doesn’t fit the narrative they’re trying to form, so many of them don’t hesitate to slime him, to call for his court marshal, to go into full attack mode. They didn’t even hesitate, and they showed not the slightest respect for his service.

  80. 80

    TheAmericanist: Considering that what Beauchamp reported was a lot milder than what we now know they actually did, don’t you realize how silly you sound? Or is destroying Beauchamp no matter what still Job One with the Neo-Con(federate) crowd?

  81. 81
    numbskull says:

    theAmericanist, it appears that you’re arguing that since four soldiers were convicted of murder, the Army does not cover up "callous behavior."

    I mean, I’m a numbskull, but what’s your excuse?

    Do you not understand that there’s a whole lot of "callous behavior" between running over a dog and execution-style murder? That a lot this stuff isn’t investigated, some of it’s not even chargeable offenses, and that only the worst and most obvious might be investigated?

  82. 82
    theAmericanist says:

    Rick: you really don’t understand this.

    For one thing, I’m not even remotely right wing, not that this is about me. So it’s waaay too easy to say that anybody who didn’t believe Beauchamp was right wing, and even worse to say figure that we didn’t believe him cuz he didn’t fit some ideal of a soldier.

    The problem here is the opposite — the New Republic, for example, unquestionably bought Beauchamp’s bullshit war stories without checking ’em, because, I think it’s reasonable to conclude, his wife was one of their fact checkers.

    TNR was one of the cheerleaders for the war, after all, so it sorta confounds the idea that the "right wing" was rejecting this guy because he didn’t fit their ideal.

    What troubled me then, and troubles me now, is the way folks who opposed the war instantly bought Beauchamp’s bullshit stories, and tried to make much larger (and worse) points from ’em.

    Those of us who write for a living, and ESPECIALLY folks who have done reporting, ought to have instantly recognized that Beauchamp had a truly distorted idea of what reporting IS — he honestly thought that exaggeration, and outright fabrication, is what it was all about. (Whether he was right that this is what TNR has become known for is a different question.) "It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen", the line from Cuckoo’s Nest, about sums up his defenders.

    When I was a reporter, I was in an editorial meeting once before (over my protests) we ran an interview with a Honduran activist who said in passing that American soldiers had committed rapes. I had a fit, because the interview had simply moved on to the next question — without asking: Where? When? Who did it — if you don’t know names, what units, what information do you have on who was there at the time?

    THAT is how to treat stories like this: you check ’em out.

    There is something deeply disturbing about the tendency of folks on the left to buy into every atrocity attributed to our military — and it is OURS, you know — without bothering to seek proof, and then to point to a conviction, fercryinoutloud, as evidence of a coverup.

    It’s better to genuinely hold our military to a higher standard — which is not what Beauchamp, and the left’s reaction to him, was about. Folks who believed him took him at his word, and couldn’t care less that literally nothing he said checked out.

    Folks who doubted him watched the Army to see that they did — what they in fact DID do, prosecuting and convicting soldiers for crimes.

    And I note again: Beauchamp never said that his NCOs were killing prisoners.

    That you guys can’t tell the difference between bullshit stories and crimes, is kinda significant.

    And, hell, remember what some of us said at the time: God help the GENUINE whistleblower, after the damage Beauchamp did.

    Thank God the Army holds itself to higher standards than TNR holds its writers — or that y’all expect of OUR military.

  83. 83
    John Cole says:

    Theamericanist- I was in the Army. I shot boar hogs at gunnery. Does this count as an “atrocity?” We made fun of a Turk with a hairlip we saw in downtown Fulda while we were getting shitcanned. If asked to, I could not prove either event, and I wasn’t even at war.

    They happened, though, and they aren’t any big deal, and neither is running over a dog or making fun of someone with burns.

    You are being quite silly. Young men, when in groups, do all sorts of things- group “norms” change quite significantly.

  84. 84
    John Cole says:

    And if you can not fathom the broad distinction between the minor event of running over a stray in Iraq and the on-the-spot execution of four Iraqis and figure out why one was prosecuted and another was met with shrugs of “I don’t know what you are talking about” when the troops were asked, you have bigger issues.

  85. 85
    theAmericanist says:

    Ohfercryintoutloud: this isn’t THAT complex.

    Read carefully: that Hatley was convicted doesn’t prove the Beauchamp was telling the truth.

    You can say the conviction makes you more confident that Beauchamp was telling the truth. You can even legitimately say that it makes folks who rejected Beauchamp because they insisted that our soldiers don’t act like that look bad.

    But BECAUSE there is a difference between executing prisoners and swerving a tracked vehicle to hit a dog, or finding "waist-deep" sewage flowing in a desert, and so on, if you won’t make distinctions, you can’t make sense.

    Put it this way: if Beauchamp was the great truth teller he claimed to be — and which you guys insist he is — then why didn’t he tell us about the executions?

    Why was he telling us bullshit stories of how hard he was (in which, among other things, he confused BEFORE and AFTER he had been in combat, not to mention when he was in Kuwait and when he was in Iraq), instead of how his NCOs had executed prisoners?

    It’s pretty friggin’ obvious you guys don’t know the difference between a set of made-up "look how badass I am" war stories run by a magazine that didn’t check ’em, and a real atrocity that the US Army prosecuted.

  86. 86
    John Cole says:

    Read carefully: that Hatley was convicted doesn’t prove the Beauchamp was telling the truth.

    Can you show me where I argued that it did? That would be swell.

  87. 87
    Svensker says:

    @theAmericanist:

    Put it this way: if Beauchamp was the great truth teller he claimed to be—and which you guys insist he is—then why didn’t he tell us about the executions?

    I’m confused. The executions did happen — there were bodies, and there were convictions. But Beauchamp didn’t mention them — so he’s a liar because he didn’t?

    Your logic is pretzling me. Beauchamp’s stories may or may not have been true. The only thing we know now is that one of the guys who swore up and down that the stories weren’t true has just been convicted of murder. Doesn’t prove anything, but certainly casts doubt on the swearer’s reliability.

  88. 88
    k says:

    "JL said:
    John, this is an amazing post and I understand that we have to face out demons but one cute picture of Tunch would help.
    FYI Before I read your recent post, I was speaking with a friend about a book she just read called "The Zookeepers Daughter". It’s a book about taking in animals during WWII."

    Your friend hasn’t read far enough in yet – it’s actually about how they hid people who would otherwise be sent to the camps at the zoo.

  89. 89
    tavella says:

    The changes got rolled back — amusingly because of ‘insinuation’. Insinuate, nothing; I’m comfortable with saying that the unit was so off the rails that members were murdering prisoners.

    I rolled back the rollback, but I’m sure it will get deleted again; there’s obviously wingnuts keeping close watch on the page.

  90. 90

    […] coda of the Beauchamp Affair: A senior enlisted Army soldier was convicted on Wednesday of killing four handcuffed and […]

  91. 91
    theAmericanist says:

    LOL — when you start thinking in pretzels, it helps to straighten out your thinking.

    JC’s post sez that he was surprised when Beauchamp’s NCO wrote an open letter dissing one of his soldiers, and wondered ‘what kind of an NCO does that?’ Then he answers his own question — the kind of NCO who gets convicted of executing prisoners.

    So far, fair enough: it’s legit to be skeptical that the two are entirely connected, but since the same guy did both, it’s silly to argue that they’re NOT connected at all: he IS that kind of guy, on both counts.

    But JC is kinda tying the doughy knot, when he says it would be swell if I could show him where he argued that Hatley’s conviction shows that Beauchamp was telling the truth. In fact, all JC said was that Hatley had defended his guys against Beauchamp’s bullshit, then turns out to have been a guy who AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME had executed prisoners, claiming (in JC’s words) "But none of [Beauchamp’s unit] would ever run over a dog."

    There’s a bunch of things wrong with that logic, so bear with me a second: first, JC believed Beauchamp, and I did not. But he’s real confused about WHY.

    On the running over a dog story, I for one never doubted that pissed off, jumpy soldiers might do it — but I recall that TNR didn’t check out the story before they published it, then tried to do it after, only to have the Bradley’s manufacturer say that there is no way that the vehicle could do what Beauchamp claims it did without breaking down.

    It also struck me at the time that guys in combat tend to be kinda protective about their equipment — yanking a tracked vehicle all over the road trying to crush a dog, said the manufacturer, would likely cause the machine to fail, which just might leave it a sitting duck.

    So it was one more piece of evidence that Beauchamp was full of shit. Why JC brings it up as if it tends to prove that Hatley was lying about Beauchamp is baffling.

    I’d also suggest — you guys really have an odd emotional investment in the distraction of Beauchamp’s credibility — that it actually seems less likely that an NCO who would execute prisoners would tolerate that sorta thing. As I understand it, the prosecution’s case against Hatley dealt with the fact of the crime (he killed these guys), including motive: it was a kind of criminal efficiency — kill ’em now, and they won’t be released to try to kill us later.

    Not entirely compatible with letting soldiers damage a Bradley, don’t ya think?

    Second, JC sorta kinda concedes my main point, which is that the NCO conviction doesn’t prove the Beauchamp was telling the truth.

    So it is a bit disingenuous to pretend that JC is arguing that I’m wrong, when he’s conceded that I’m right.

    The next thing to remember is what reporters (even, imagine! magazine writers) are supposed to be doing, when they are publishing stuff that is ostensibly non-fiction.

    I don’t remember anymore exactly when Beauchamp was in Iraq, in Hatley’s unit. But it was at least quite close to the time the executions happened, even if he wasn’t there at the time: and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was there — and yet instead of telling us a true story that would check out, he told us bullshit stories that didn’t.

    It was part of MY skepticism about Beauchamp, that his stories didn’t sound at all like either true "I have seen the elephant" combat tales, NOR an honest, courageous whistleblower.

    Contrast, for example, the utter absence of Ernie Pyle in his combat tales: pretty much all of Beauchamp’s stories were ‘look at me, how hard I am’. JC may disagree, but Beauchamp’s mocking the disfigured soldier was the one that first rang false to me — IF he knew her, IF she was in on the joke, maybe.

    But I found it hard to believe that a new guy would get away with mocking a wounded veteran like that without several of her comrades responding pretty directly — so I found it hard to believe that a new guy would even TRY.

    And then when folks tried (as TNR did not) to track down the story, NOT ONE person could vouch for Beauchamp’s story of a facially disfigured American woman where he was, when he said the story happened. It’s not like there are that many facially disfigured American women coming out of Iraq in a particular time frame and a specific place that folks would confuse ’em.

    So why are you guys still buying Beauchamp’s bullshit?

    Last point, again: if Beauchamp was the bold truthteller y’all think he was, why didn’t he tell us about his NCO executing prisoners?

    The same logic applies: just as Hatley’s conviction doesn’t prove that Beauchamp was telling the truth, that Beauchamp didn’t tell us about the executions doesn’t mean he was lying about all his bullshit stories.

    But it DOES mean that he can’t possibly have been the bad-ass truthteller TNR posed him to be (which you guys are defending, including JC), because he didn’t report the most important story he knew.

    I think the best you can say is that Hatley’s conviction proves two things about the Army: first, that there are crimes in war, and second, that America convicts those who commit ’em.

    I don’t think you can draw ANY conclusions about Beauchamp’s credibility from Hatley’s conviction, EXCEPT that it tends to prove that the Army doesn’t cover up crimes.

    Folks who, as JC is doing, try to backtrack from Hatley’s conviction to Beauchamp’s credibility, e.g., scoffing "…none of them would ever run over a dog" are compounding the original mistake: there isn’t a scrap of evidence that Beauchamp was telling the truth.

    And that the Army just convicted his NCO of murder demonstrates it has more credibility than Beauchamp.

  92. 92
    Andrew says:

    It also struck me at the time that guys in combat tend to be kinda protective about their equipment—yanking a tracked vehicle all over the road trying to crush a dog, said the manufacturer, would likely cause the machine to fail, which just might leave it a sitting duck.

    I don’t know about Beauchamp’s credibility but yours just hit zero.

  93. 93
    Jay B. says:

    And that the Army just convicted his NCO of murder demonstrates it has more credibility than Beauchamp.

    Oh Jesus. The same Army that covered up My Lai? The one that ran Abu Gharib? That Army?

    You’ve been bitching throughout the entire thread that we’re suckers for believing Buchamp (regardless of whether we did, or cared about the stories he wrote), yet it’s the Army’s credibility that checks out because it prosecuted this murder?

    On the unchecked atrocity scale, Scott Buchamp’s memoirs are penny-ante bullshit compared to the record of the U.S. Army. And that’s no slam on the people who serve in the Army. It’s the fact of a bureaucracy that has political pressures and kills people as a raison d’etre.

  94. 94
    Rick Taylor says:

    @theAmericanist:

    For one thing, I’m not even remotely right wing, not that this is about me. So it’s waaay too easy to say that anybody who didn’t believe Beauchamp was right wing, and even worse to say figure that we didn’t believe him cuz he didn’t fit some ideal of a soldier.

    I didn’t mean to apply my comments to everyone who took Beauchamp’s accounts with a grain of salt. That seems reasonable to me. Whenever someone says something that comfortably fits your world view and it’s just their account of what happened you have to be cautious. Honestly I didn’t pay much attention to him before the reaction on the right; I don’t think there was much reaction at all on the left before the some on the right chimed in, which is ironic. Regardless, I’m only referring specifically to those who slimed him, who questioned his patriotism, or even worse, talked about sending letters to see if they could get him court-martialed.

  95. 95
    theAmericanist says:

    LOL — cuz you figure that tracked vehicles respond well to zigzagging?

    JC sez (as an example of his ‘thinking’): "I shot boar hogs at gunnery."

    I don’t doubt it. But if you told me that you shot running hogs while you were hollering directions to a blindfolded guy driving a Hummer, then I’d start to wonder if you just might be exaggerating a bit.

    And if you added you’d seen waist-high flowing sewage in a desert, that would add to my reservations about whether I could put much confidence in every detail of your veracity.

    And IF at the point, you’d evidently concluded that I’d believe anything, so you told me that you knew a guy who dug up a kid’s skull and put it on his head like a yamulke, which didn’t bother you because you’re so bad-ass you mocked a woman with a disfigured face… well, I might start asking: um, when did this happen? Where?

    And if at THAT point, none of your stories checked out, I’d be conscious of two distinctions that are key to fact-checking: one is, can your stories be affirmatively proven?

    Like you say, sometimes something happens, like making fun of a guy at Fulda, but the incident can’t be pinned down. Doesn’t mean it’s false, but it does mean its credibility depends on the REST of your credibility.

    So the other is, do those parts of your tales that CAN be verified, actually check out? If it turns out that your records showed you were never in Fulda, or only BEFORE you told me the story happened, but the way you told it to me made it clear that it was critical that something else had happened first: I would stop believing you.

    Everybody knows that the first big chunk that fell out of Beauchamp’s credibility was an incident that he claimed happened in Iraq, after he’d been in combat, which it turned out could only have happened BEFORE he’d even been to Iraq, while he was still in Kuwait.

    So it’s hard to argue that this guy is credible and good with critical details. In fact, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t full of shit: he claimed that combat made him hard and callous, but even on its own terms, the story he told on himself showed that he was an asshole before combat.

    So — which TNR didn’t do — a reasonable person (that is, somebody who isn’t emotionally committed to believing the guy, for some reason) would raise the bar a little bit, give him less of the benefit of the doubt on stuff that’s easy to check out.

    Like I said, I’d find it easy to believe that JC shot hogs. I’d find it a little harder to believe he’d shot ’em from a Bradley that was tracking ’em, swerving from side to side, with the driver necessarily making turns based on the directions somebody else was calling out, since a Bradley driver can’t see what is going under the tracks. So if JC told me a story like that, I’d start asking questions…

    And when those questions got asked of Beauchamp, not only did positive evidence he was full of shit appear (Kuwait, not Iraq, before, not after), but also negative evidence: NOBODY saw this disfigured woman? NO record of her at the time, in the place that Beauchamp said she was?

    Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

    JC — face it, you admitted I’m right, that Hatley’s conviction doesn’t prove Beauchamp was telling the truth. Give it up.

  96. 96
    theAmericanist says:

    As for My Lai, my point is that Beauchamp evidently had a chance to be Hugh Thompson: but he decided to be Baron Munchausen — and you guys all encouraged him.

  97. 97
    Jay B. says:

    and you guys all encouraged him.

    Yeah, THAT checks out. Who, exactly? I think the official stance of this site (and most on the left) was "who cares? it could have happened, as meaningless cruelty happens in war. it might not have in this case. i don’t like or trust the New Republic anyway."

    The importance you’re giving to Buchamp extends to the molecular level and does nothing but make you look like an obsessive moron. The murder conviction doesn’t do anything to make Buchamp look worse, that’s for sure. But instead, you claim otherwise and when you decide to pull assertions out of your ass like "and you guys encouraged him", it tends to make you LESS CREDIBLE than you might otherwise be.

    Moreover, your credulity toward the official statements of the Army (and its military contractors) doesn’t speak well to your journalistic sensibilities either.

  98. 98
    theAmericanist says:

    ROFL — hit a nerve, JB?

    When I noted that convicting an NCO for murder tends to increase the Army’s credibility, he responds with My Lai and Abu Ghraib…. but he sez, no, he’s not buying into anything, except that "the murder conviction doesn’t do anything to make Beauchamp look worse…"

    LOL — you keep saying that you don’t actually believe Beauchamp, except you doubt his critics, and anyway it could have happened (so it must be true, as i noted), and when challenged you just say, besides, he’s not important…

    QED.

    In my experience — evidently greater’n yours — defense contractors are more credible when they note that the equipment they sell the taxpayer can NOT do certain things well, like zig zag at speed without breaking down.

    Describing a circumstance in which a Bradley would break down in combat is precisely the sort of high maintence cost that, like a lack of capability, is a fact against interest for a defense contractor, and thus tends to reinforce credibility the way a self-serving statement would not.

    Really, that’s the best you can come up with?

  99. 99
    JM says:

    But if you told me that you shot running hogs while you were hollering directions to a blindfolded guy driving a Hummer, then I’d start to wonder if you just might be exaggerating a bit.

    Why? There’s all kinds of crazy crap on youtube, filmed by the soldiers themselves. Why would that strain credulity?

    And if you added you’d seen waist-high flowing sewage in a desert, that would add to my reservations about whether I could put much confidence in every detail of your veracity.

    Again, why is that supposed to be weird? I’ve seen a sewage flood in a Mexican town that was more or less in the desert.

    And IF at the point, you’d evidently concluded that I’d believe anything, so you told me that you knew a guy who dug up a kid’s skull and put it on his head like a yamulke, which didn’t bother you because you’re so bad-ass you mocked a woman with a disfigured face… well, I might start asking: um, when did this happen? Where?

    I once met a Gulf War I vet who claimed that he had survived that war only because he pulled a similar stunt (involving a severed foot), because after that everyone thought he was crazy.

    Find something significant to bitch about. Otherwise, you just look like you have issues.

  100. 100
    JM says:

    Yeah, THAT checks out. Who, exactly?

    The liberals in his head that torment him so.

  101. 101
    roseyv says:

    I think Kirk and Scruffy are missing the Americanist’s point. That these guys were convicted of crimes that were eons worse than what Beauchamp said they were doing, proves that Beauchamp was lying. Don’t you get it?

    Actually, what he’s saying (and it was pretty clear to me) is that just because the guy who called Beauchamp a liar was subsequently charged with a crime (unrelated to any crimes Beauchamp originally referred to), that doesn’t mean that Beauchamp was telling the truth about the things he actually claimed had occurred, which is absolutely correct. If I falsely accuse you of punching me in the face, and later you burn some other guy’s house down, that doesn’t prove that you punched me in the face. In fact, even if you really did punch me in the face, your subsequently burning the other guy’s house down still doesn’t prove that you punched me, nor should anyone imagine that it does.

    I don’t know whether what Beauchamp wrote was true or not, but Americanist is actually quite correct.

    The idea that his point is “silly” is kind of going over my head. If we’ve actually reached a point where rejecting basic logic as “silly” because it doesn’t support the argument we’re making, I’m frankly a little nervous.

  102. 102
    Phil says:

    I’ve posted here very seldom, so I realize I’ve no special credibility, but I do think you guys are being rather hard on theAmericanist. No one has actually rebutted his well-made points. I grew up politically during Vietnam, and I remain an unrepentant lefty, so I’m predisposed to believe stories of army atrocities. But… the truth is the truth. I paid no particular attention to the Beauchamp story at the time, beyond a vague assumption that, the more the wingers whined, the more likely it was that his story was true. It needn’t be though; certainly TNR has near-zero credibility anymore, but it’s not logically impossible for a conservative to do actual investigative, fact-based reporting. (Just unlikely!) Anyway, hasn’t Beauchamp been superseded by events? Even if his account was exaggerated or utter bullshit, the "cosmic irony" (as a previous poster put it) remains intact. I can’t imagine we’ll be hearing much from the right about this particular talking point anymore.

    And, way OT, @soonergrunt, my wife and I found ourselves unexpectedly in OKC a few years back and fell in love with it (well, I did; my wife was more in "serious like" than love, but still…) I’ve thought I was being all cool and in-crowdy referring to OKC, but I note that you just call it the City. Does OKC mark me as a tourist wannabe?

  103. 103
    JM says:

    The idea that his point is “silly” is kind of going over my head.

    Obviously.

    The author has already pointed out that americanist is arguing with something he didn’t say. That’s not logical, that’s stupid. Americanist has since dragged that stupidity out to the point of being neurotic about it.

    Beauchamp’s comrades were exactly as he described them. Now we know. That was the point.

  104. 104
    Jay B. says:

    When I noted that convicting an NCO for murder tends to increase the Army’s credibility, he responds with My Lai and Abu Ghraib….

    As evidence that despite the Army’s better moments, they lie about worse things than you accuse Buchamp of doing. As in, they often do a CYA briefing on things like Buchamp and deny it — but at the same time, when someone is caught on a murder rap, they have to prosecute it. This happens every day in politics. The Army also has politics and responds to political pressures. Skepticism should be always engaged (as you plainly use with Buchamp, but plainly DO NOT with the Army’s claims.).

    In my experience—evidently greater’n yours—defense contractors are more credible when they note that the equipment they sell the taxpayer can NOT do certain things well, like zig zag at speed without breaking down.

    But then you don’t understand things like "context". They usually would be credible when they explain limitations, but maybe not when the truth might get them in trouble with their client. I don’t know. Things like this happen every day. Maybe your experience differs.

    As for Buchamp, I didn’t say if I believed him or not. But I do doubt the motives — or, in your case, the counter evidence — of his detractors. Beyond that, it IS plausible, but so are parts of your case. Finally, IT DOESN’T matter. All of these things are true and none of them conflict with one another — you were the one who claimed that we "encouraged" it. So other than judging by your cockeyed notion that a murder conviction proves Buchamp is a liar, I don’t really understand what you are so confused about.

  105. 105
    TenguPhule says:

    And that the Army just convicted his NCO of murder demonstrates it has more credibility than Beauchamp.

    Uh, no.

    You are making a logical fallacy here.

  106. 106
    JM says:

    No one has actually rebutted his well-made points.

    You mean when he attacked a straw man with an argument from incredulity fallacy? Or was it when he insisted that all confused stories are evidence that the opposite must be true?

    Yeah, those really stumped us.

  107. 107
    John Cole says:

    My consistent position on this has been that there is no way to know whether or not the stories in shock troops are 100% accurate or not even remotely true. My own personal opinion is that probably some of it is true, some of it embellished- the kind of “war story” that routinely gets a little bit better each telling. Funny why things like that are often called “war stories.”

    What I do know for sure is that it can not be definitively proved that these events did or did not happen. Even more, I am 100% confident that the belief that they did not happen because our troops are perfect is absurd. I am likewise convinced that the Powerline’s sand table exercises do not prove anything, and I am 100% convinced that after you threaten an entire company with punitive action and a media shitstorm, none of them are going to admit to a god damned thing. This is especially true if members of your unit are already aware of the cold-blooded murder of prisoners some several months before Shock Troops was published. My personal favorite was the line of arguments that said ‘this can not happen because it is not SOP.’ Neither is executing prisoners.

    I am also 100% confident that anyone who says you can’t run over a dog with a track vehicle is wrong, and liveleak can show you all sorts of sick shit if you want to look. And anyone who believes that our armored vehicles might fall apart from swerving on a road is just too gullible for words and has never spent minute one in a track.

    So here is where we are. We are told to believe that there is no way the relatively benign events described in shock troops are absolutely false. Why? Just because! But we know for a fact that one of the people sliming Beauchamp was just convicted of a far worse crime than insulting someone with burns. How? If they wouldn’t run over a dog, certainly they would not execute four prisoners. AMIRITE?

    Also, fuck Michael Goldfarb. Did he enlist yet?

  108. 108
    TenguPhule says:

    Those of us who concluded that Beauchamp was exaggerating ("waist-deep" sewage in a desert?)

    Somebody obviously wasn’t paying attention to the reports from Iraq about the total breakdown of their infrastructure.

    Also, after reports of literally raining shit indoors, anything less then that is quite believable.

  109. 109
    TenguPhule says:

    Also, fuck Michael Goldfarb. Did he enlist yet?

    Not with those anal cysts he’s got.

  110. 110
    Uncle Ned says:

    The whole point of the hyperventilating right-wing noise machine’s attack on Beauchamp was to disavow his credibility and smear him, not because he may or may not have been telling tall tales, but because they saw any criticism and/or negative reporting on the war in Iraq as traitorous and providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Their vicious and disturbing media assault on this young soldier went way beyond fact-checking the veracity of his war stories published in TNR. They started stalking this young warrior and trying to get him court martialed.

    I mean, come on, isn’t it just a little fucking ironic that the authority figure so many right-wing crazies appealed to to smear Beauchamp, ISG Hatley, turned out not to be some A-number-one, gee-GI-Joe super-duper good guy of a top-kick sergeant, but was in fact a murdering war criminal of an asshole? I could maybe–maybe–excuse a couple of Privates if they freak out and execute a prisoner or two during the heat of battle (but would still want them brought to justice), but there’s no earthly excuse for a 1SG to exhibit this kind of criminal behavior.

    I’m a former soldier and I found Beauchamp’s story to be the typical embellishments of a young trooper who was probably mixing truths with a healthy does of bullshit, but nothing he wrote in his piece warranted the kind of vicious assault on his character and personal life that the hyperventilating right-wing noise machine–chickenshit chickenhawks and wackos one and all–unleashed on him.

    Meanwhile, in the very same infantry company as Beauchamp were several very real scumbag war criminals who didn’t get even one iota of the vicious media attacks that Beauchamp received. Oh, how convenient, right? Did Ace of Spades or Bob "the babbling fucking Idiot" Owens go after 1SG Hatley with as much venom and gusto as they did Beauchamp? Of course not.

    So screw you, Americanist–I don’t "get" your point and there are still no compelling excuses I’ve heard yet for the order of magnitude of the vicious attacks on Beauchamp or his possibly half-baked war stories. Moreover, I still have yet to understand just how these right-wing crazies "supported" the troops as much as they so valiantly and grandiloquently claimed after the way they treated this young warrior Beauchamp who, liar or not, was serving his country in a war most right-wing blogger dingbats wouldn’t go near if they were drafted.

  111. 111
    theAmericanist says:

    Man, you guys are downright pathological about missing the point.

    "Beauchamp’s comrades were exactly as he described them. Now we know. That was the point."

    Not so — and in an important way. We do NOT know that Beauchamp’s unit was the way he described ’em.

    As a couple folks pointed out, as a matter of logic it doesn’t show anything about whether Beauchamp was lying, that his NCO said he was lying but was then himself convicted of an unrelated crime.

    Yet JC had a half-assed point (which, like most of you, he gets all passive-aggressive about) that it DOES show that the NCO was the sort of guy who would publicly say one of his soldiers was lying, AND that the NCO was also a guy who would execute prisoners.

    But JC takes for granted, precisely what is most important: which is it?

    EITHER this unit was so fucked up that somebody could dig up a grave and wear skull fragments on his head, and as Beauchamp tells us, this didn’t phase anybody because as one of them he was so hard that he, himself, would mock a woman with a melted face…

    OR this was a unit that, whatever else is true, was not that undisciplined — and yet executed prisoners.

    Which is it?

    Those are radically different kinds of problems: equally criminal, but not the same. On the one hand, the unit might have been so undisciplined that executing prisoners (and expecting that nobody would investigate) was okay, on the other hand the unit might have been so hard core than the NCO and others would execute prisoners and expect that would be the end of it.

    In BOTH cases, the Army acquits itself well: these guys were convicted. But those are still two different kinds of problems.

    YMMV, but I figure a wholly undisciplined unit is much worse. If Beauchamp wasn’t full of shit, it’d be a far worse indictment of the Army that a combat unit could be desecrating graves, abusing equipment (and thus, risking lives), and so on, all the way to executing prisoners, WITHOUT being yanked off the line and locked down, pending investigation.

    I suppose it’s possible the investigation that led to Hatley’s conviction was started when they checked to find out Beauchamp was lying: anybody know? Cuz SOMEBODY backed up the charges against the NCO — while NOBODY backed up Beauchamp’s bullshit.

    On the other hand, it is I think far more plausible (and logical) that Beauchamp was full of shit, AND YET several guys in his unit committed crimes at a time when Beauchamp certainly could have known about ’em.

    And I note nobody is claiming that it was Beauchamp who told the truth about the executions. Perhaps it was some of the guys who JC accuses of admitting nothing about Beauchamp’s bullshit, who took the far more serious step of telling the truth about the NCO’s crime?

    Remember, it’s NOT logical to conclude that Beauchamp was telling the truth about all his war stories (I note JC reminds himself to mutter that, well, um, maybe they WERE exaggerated), and yet somehow Beauchamp didn’t tell us anything about the executions — under a pen-name, no less.

    That’s one helluva distinction to elide — and Beauchamp is the key to it: an undisciplined unit, with an NCO that committed a crime? Or a disciplined one?

    Folks who are smart (and honest) enough to admit facts in evidence that are against their interest, generally have more credibility — and better focus — then those who won’t.

    Critics of the war who nevertheless recognized that Beauchamp was full of it, have a better claim on credibility than the passive/aggressive "he was either telling the truth or he doesn’t matter" rationalizations you guys are trying to pull.

    And — it misses the point.

    There is a HUGE difference between the Army tolerating an undisciplined unit that commits crimes, and a disciplined unit that executed prisoners. Beauchamp boils down to a guy who COULD have been Hugh Thompson, but decided to be Baron Munchausen.

    Likewise, if you guys weren’t so insistent on tying this to Beauchamp (as JC did, which is why I showed up here), you’d be better able to focus on the crimes that actually happened, without the distraction of TNR’s bullshit.

    And I actually agree with most of what Uncle Ned sez — just not on Beauchamp.

  112. 112
    John Cole says:

    That last comment made absolutely no sense, Americanist. No one is claiming that because this guy was convicted, it means the things Beauchamp described happened. No one.

  113. 113
    theAmericanist says:

    LOL — see what I mean by passive-aggressive?

    If you AGREE with me that Hatley’s conviction adds nothing to Beauchamp’s credibility, why did you post about the irony that Hatley was convicted of executing prisoners, after defending his men because "none of them would ever run over a dog…"?

    And why are you giving me grief on a point you claim to AGREE with?

  114. 114
    Uncle Ned says:

    My goodness, the logical fallacies theAmericanist has unloaded in this thread are piling up like shit in an outhouse.

  115. 115
    Juan Ensalada says:

    @Uncle Ned,

    Face it, there are whacked-out chicken-shit, chicken-hawk conservatives who secretly believe that executing Iraqis, Afghanis, and other brown- and black-skinned peoples is pretty much OK, so long as they don’t get caught. Some probably even think that this shit-bird First Sergeant deserves a medal, rather than a prison cell at Fort Leavenworth, along with a full-time job at hard labor breaking big rocks into little rocks.

    Because of that, it seems that nobody who attacked a hapless and hopeless know-nothing Private Beauchamp will ever go back to correct the record. “Can’t look back. Gotta move forward, blah, blah, blah.” The only thing more gutless than prick wanna-be journos ruining this guy’s life in the first place is prick wanna-be journos failing to correct the record afterwards. But what do you expect from war bloggers, whose creations are nothing more than keyboard-spewed, shit-filled hate and venom from the rear echelon of their own rear echelons.

    -Juan Ensalada

  116. 116
    John Cole says:

    I

    with me that Hatley’s conviction adds nothing to Beauchamp’s credibility, why did you post about the irony that Hatley was convicted of executing prisoners, after defending his men because “none of them would ever run over a dog…”?

    My God.

    I want you to read this slowly, with your lips moving, if necessary:

    1.) 1SG Hatley was ONE OF THE MEN USED TO SMEAR BEAUCHAMP as not credible. They published a letter in which he stated none of his troops have ever done anything wrong ever, and that Beauchamp has psychological issues. He wrote that letter a few months after EXECUTING FOUR PRISONERS. God knows what else he has done.

    2.) One of the arguments made that the stories were false is that our soldiers would never ever ever in a million years run over a dog or make fun of a burn victim or play with bones. Now anyone who knows anything about human beings, let alone soldiers, knows what a load of crap that is- our soldiers are Americans, and like all Americans, there are some good ones and some bad ones. As my Drill Sergeant was fond of saying when reminding us to keep our wall lockers secured, “There was a thief in your Sunday School class.” So not only is that argument laughable, but now we have the fact that soldiers in Beauchamps exact unit engaged in behavior that was FAR, FAR WORSE than running over a stray dog.

  117. 117
    theAmericanist says:

    Wow — JC, there’s a reading comprehension issue here, but it ain’t mine.

    You keep insisting that you never said stuff that I refute — and then you keep repeating reasons why I felt it was worth refuting that stuff.

    There are fallacies and folly all over what you just posted: don’t you read your stuff first?

    You keep conceding the central point, that it is TRUE: the fact that Hatley executed prisoners does not prove that Beauchamp told the truth.

    But it’s not at all clear that you believe that, even though you repeat it. Hell, you keep referring back to … something, about it, as if you can’t quite convince yourself, which doubtless explains why you’re arguing a point with me, that you claim to agree with.

    As for the rest, you’re basically hallucinating. Just to pick one:

    "One of the arguments made that the stories were false is that our soldiers would never ever ever in a million years run over a dog…"

    As a rule, avoid the passive voice. I pointed to this argument above — and, if you can READ, dude, you’ll note that what made me doubt this story wasn’t that soldiers wouldn’t ever run over a dog, it was the way Beauchamp told the story: the Bradley zigsagging around, the way TNR accepted it without checking, the way — only AFTER it was challenged — they did a desultory call to the manufacturer, who turned out to have said exactly the opposite: a Bradley couldn’t do this without breaking down.

    You’ve keep dragging a straw man around, and it’s getting pretty ragged.

    You’re so distracted by the fact that Beauchamp had critics you don’t agree with, that you’ve lost all perspective on whether he was full of shit or not.

    Hell, you can’t even keep straight whether or not you believe him — or whether or not that’s important.

    That’s what I keep pointing to is a kind of classic passive/aggressive thing: you’re essentially insisting that either Beauchamp was telling the truth, or else he doesn’t matter.

    What I’m saying — and you’re pointedly ignoring — is that you can’t have it both ways: either this was such an undisciplined unit, which now seems to be your argument, that you not only believe all Beauchamp’s bullshit (cuz they did far worse), OR that it was a disciplined unit (which would argue against Beauchamp) with a criminal NCO.

    Can’t be both.

    If you really meant it when you claim that Beauchamp’s claims aren’t important, you wouldn’t have so much emotionally invested in defending him against skeptics — which you obviously do.

    So why is this guy, and his bullshit claims, so important to you?

    I’m saying that this gets in the way of what IS important — in this case, that the SAME US Army that you figured conspired to cover up the proof of Beauchamp’s charges, actually convicted several soldiers of crimes — FROM THE SAME UNIT, IN THE SAME TIME FRAME.

    Y’all couldn’t miss the point more thoroughly if you were failing to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.

  118. 118
    Jay B. says:

    What I’m saying—and you’re pointedly ignoring—is that you can’t have it both ways: either this was such an undisciplined unit, which now seems to be your argument, that you not only believe all Beauchamp’s bullshit (cuz they did far worse), OR that it was a disciplined unit (which would argue against Beauchamp) with a criminal NCO.

    Can’t be both.

    On what Earth does this make sense? Of course it can be both. It’s obviously possible that they could have an undisciplined unit with a criminal NCO. It’s also possible that Beauchamp was lying and that they WERE STILL undisciplined. Or any combination of things. For example, they could have run over the dog without the fucking zigzagging. That would speak to both a lie/exaggeration AND a lack of discipline.

    If you really meant it when you claim that Beauchamp’s claims aren’t important, you wouldn’t have so much emotionally invested in defending him against skeptics—which you obviously do.

    There were communists, anti-communists and anti-anti communists during the Cold War. This is a case, for me, of being the latter type. I don’t defend communism/Beauchamp, but I find those who tirelessly (and in your case confusingly) argue that he’s somehow equally criminal as his criminal NCO (as you said: "Those are radically different kinds of problems: equally criminal, but not the same.") and that what he wrote had some larger meaning than the utterly obvious "War is hell" makes me think that those with the real vested interest are arguing in bad faith. Or some VERY weird set of ethics.

  119. 119
    theAmericanist says:

    (snort!) Man, yer past illiterate.

    I noted that it is "equally criminal" for an undisciplined unit to execute prisoners as it is for a disciplined unit — and THIS is something you dispute?

    I made the point cuz it’s far WORSE for the Army to recruit, assemble, train and deploy a criminally undisciplined unit, because of the systemic failures involved, than it is for a disciplined unit to have an NCO and a couple accomplices commit a crime — cuz those do NOT denote a systemic failure, particularly being as how the same guys that you imagine covered up peurile shit, turn out to have successfully prosecuted an actual crime.

    And you can’t even tell the difference. (Psst… if you turn the boot over and read the instructions, then you will feel a splashing sensation around your own feet….)

    There isn’t any larger meaning in Beauchamp — except, as noted, that he was full of shit.

    What DOES have a significant meaning is the "anti-anti-Communist" analogy you make, JB, to folks who recognized he was full of shit early on. It means that you are more interested in bitching about folks who were right… than doing the right thing.

    A handful of outstanding questions, for you remarkably incurious folks who keep making obvious errors:

    1) Was Beauchamp with the unit when the executions happened?

    2) Did he know about ’em — and not tell us? Or did he NOT know about ’em — which would sorta tend to reinforce his lack of credibility as an eyewitness to "war is hell", now wouldn’t it?

    3) Who fingered Hatley? You guys are saying — including JC, cuz that’s the meaning of "Haltey WAS ONE OF THE MEN SENT TO SMEAR BEAUCHAMP…" — that there was a coverup of the truth of Beauchamp’s charges. (If Beauchamp was full of shit, saying so wasn’t a smear.) So it sorta eliminates your central complaint if the guys you claim were covering up for the Army cuz Beauchamp was telling the truth, turn out to have done the much more important, and far riskier, not to mention honorable thing, in turning in Hatley, et al, ESPECIALLY if your notion is true, that "Hatley was … sent" on the smear Beauchamp mission.

    4) Was it the investigation into Beauchamp’s bullshit, that led to Hatley’s conviction?

    Like I said, folks, you can’t have it both ways: if the Army was covering up the truth of Beauchamp’s charges, it seems kinda odd that an investigation of the SAME unit and the SAME personnel would lead to a criminal conviction.

  120. 120
    John Cole says:

    Of course he was with the unit when the shootings happened.

    I’m not wasting anymore time on this with you. You don’t even know the basics about this, to include the arguments used at the time against Beauchamp. Go google some stuff.

  121. 121
    theAmericanist says:

    LOL — he was with the unit at the time, and you STILL don’t get it?

    Lord knows if anybody deserved it, it’s the New Republic, but I can’t help but note: here these guys were, amazed at their good fortune to have a freelance correspondent sending them these ‘war is all hell’, first-person stories from Iraq… all of which turned out to be bullshit.

    And YET — this guy was right there, sitting next to one of the biggest stories of the war: summary executions of prisoners by an NCO.

    ROFL — while you guys attack folks who never found Beauchamp credible in the first place.

    Honest: look at the heel of the boot, read the instructions, and see what happens.

  122. 122
    degustibus says:

    ‘thin veneer of civilization…."

  123. 123
    Rosa says:

    Thought this was an interesting article on the Hatley conviction —-sad stuff anyway you cut it.. http://www.stripes.com/article.....icle=62089

  124. 124
    soonergrunt says:

    Here’s where all of this falls down. I didn’t believe every one of the things the Beauchamp said in his articles, but I did see enough of myself and my own soldiers to see that the majority of what he was saying was more than likely truthful on some level.
    @Americanist
    An infantry unit gets its unit personality from the top. If the Commander and First Sergeant are sticklers for the letter of the regulations to the exclusion of the spirit of the regulations, then everybody will have their shit wired tight and will hate each other.
    If the command team have a lackadaisical attitude about maintenance then their vehicles will break down a lot, and they’ll have a bunch of problems with their weapons. And nobody in the unit will have a clue as to why.
    If the First Sergeant, the big dog of the unit has a callous attitude towards local civilians and a murderous attitude towards suspects or detainees then the men of the unit will as well.
    In this case, we have a First Sergeant whose attitude was such that he was the ringleader of a plot of several soldiers in the unit to murder detainees. His defense as to why he did this–to protect his men–doesn’t hide the fact that when they couldn’t produce evidence of the detainees wrongdoing, (they couldn’t do their mission to standard with respect to these detainees) they murdered them. It is little surprise that the soldiers in that unit were doing some things that are less than clean and neat and to standard.
    This same First Sergeant threw his soldier, Beauchamp, under a bus in one of the most unprofessional acts a senior NCO could commit against one of his soldiers with that email he sent out. No wonder none of the soldiers in that unit backed up Beauchamp’s stories on the record. That email also set off alarm bells for me, John, and anyone else who has ever been responsible for soldiers in the Army. This was a wrong guy. What would’ve happened with a good NCO in the original situation follows.
    Your soldier embarrases the unit with some tales, some of which are exaggerated and some of which may be false. So you scream at the soldier. You make him do push-ups and grass drills till he pukes. You put him on every shit detail under the sun. You make him write a twenty page essay on integrity and unit cohesion. But you do not EVER trash him in public. Even if you think he trashed you.
    So the statement has been made that the fact that Prisoner Hatley was convicted of murder does not mean that Beauchamp was telling the truth. That much is true, as far as it goes, but anyone familiar with the dynamics of an infantry unit will recognize the pattern, and not be surprised.
    This whole thing speaks volumes about the company commander. I wonder what his story is. I’ll bet it won’t be a paradigm of professionalism and virtue if and when it’s finally told.
    One other thing–doing a pivot turn, also called a neutral steer, in a Bradley is not difficult. It’s part of the driver’s qualification as a matter of fact. Doing it from a roll is even easier because the vehicle already has momentum. If you’re on sand or dirt and you keep doing it, you’ll dig a big-assed hole in the ground until the hull bottoms out. If you do it on reinforced concrete, you’ll probably throw a track after a couple of circles because the road wheels will bind as they’re being pulled sideways. The point is that you CAN do it. The vehicle wouldn’t be very useful if it couldn’t turn.

    @Zuzus Petals
    The Army didn’t promote Hatley. The pay grades for First Sergeant and Master Sergeant are the same, E8. First Sergeants are the senior NCOs in company-sized units, and Master Sergeants are principally staff NCOs at Battalion or higher levels. Either Hatley completed his rated First Sergeant tour and transferred up to staff before he was charged, or he was relieved of his position as First Sergeant and transferred when he was charged.

    @JL
    Either OKC or ‘the city’ is OK. People who live outside the city usually call it ‘the city.’ I spen a lot of time on the road so I’ve gotten used to calling it that. It’s when you pronounce Altus, OK as Alltis instead of Eltus or Miami, OK as Miami (like Florida) instead of Myama, or especially Durant, OK the way it’s spelled instead of Doo-rant that we know you ain’t from round these parts…queue "deulling banjos" and a toothless fat guy leering at you with "say boy, you gotta purty mouth…"

  125. 125
    soonergrunt says:

    Oh, and somebody reverted the new section on the Wiki page back on.
    There’s currently a pissing contest going on the talk page about it.
    Good times.

  126. 126

    […] ol’ hat tip to John Cole. Will the people who tried to destroy Scott Beauchamp now come forward and at least say that […]

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  2. […] coda of the Beauchamp Affair: A senior enlisted Army soldier was convicted on Wednesday of killing four handcuffed and […]

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