Saturday, July 21, 2007

Shades of Rather

The New Republic published a pseudonymous piece this week that has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere. It appears that author "Scott Thomas" may have taken a page from our good friends at CBS with a tale that appears fake and inaccurate.

Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard has done yeoman's work in compiling and asking questions about Thomas' story. His work, in turn, has led to numerous contributions from many in positions to know of what they speak.

Some of my favorite responses include but are not limited to the following:

Military units don't blatantly disregard orders- So, it's not just a story of one soldier dancing around with human remains. Rather, it's a story of an entire military unit and its command structure defying orders and forgetting one of the main reasons why they were there.

The author doesn't know the military- This came home to me in particular with the description of the alleged soldiers mocking a female burn victim. This might happen in a high school cafeteria, but not in a war zone where men risk this same fate on a daily basis, and have seen their buddies maimed and killed. I have never heard of service people making sport of the combat wounded.

Timing is everything- This was supposedly a Saddam-era mass grave, buried underground in a desert climate for years or even decades. The human remains purportedly included "bones" that were anatomically identifiable even in fragment form — tibias, shoulder blades, pieces of hands and fingers. And then the platoon discovered "the top part of a human skull, which was almost perfectly preserved."

Now imagine what that looks like — a "perfectly preserved" piece of human skull that has been buried for no fewer than five years and perhaps many more, deep in the ground in a desert climate and surrounded by bare bone fragments. Form a mental image.

As for me--like the active duty CO writes at the Worldwide Standard--it's almost something straight out of the movies. My initial reaction when I read it was that it easily could have been something adapted from the "Deleted Scenes" feature on the 20th Anniversary edition of Oliver Stone's autobiography.

Thomas' tales are just too much in lock-step with everything bad you've already ever heard about the US Military. Not to mention, it sounds like he doesn't know a thing about driving a Bradley...

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