The Magazine

They Don't Really Support the Troops

The latest from the New Republic and the Nation.

Jul 30, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 43 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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My colleague Michael Goldfarb raised questions about this account in a July 18 post on THE WEEKLY STANDARD website, asking for assistance from soldiers and veterans in assessing the truth of the stories told by "Scott Thomas." Within a day, dozens of active duty soldiers and veterans had come forward to point out errors, implausibility, and indeed the well-nigh-impossibility (in the case of the Bradley) of what was claimed. The editors of the New Republic provided to Goldfarb a couple of allegedly corroborating details--for example, the name of the Forward Operating Base, FOB Falcon, where the taunting of the badly disfigured female IED victim was said to have taken place. Soldiers who served at the base have come forward to say no such woman has been seen there. As we go to press on July 20, the New Republic has said they are investigating their own story, and the mainstream media seem to be hoping against hope that they won't have to cover yet another embarrassing episode of journalistic malpractice.

We at THE WEEKLY STANDARD are well aware that editors make mistakes. We have made our share. But what is revealing about this mistake is that the editors must have wanted to suspend their disbelief in tales of gross misconduct by American troops. How else could they have published such a farrago of dubious tales?

Having turned against a war that some of them supported, the left is now turning against the troops they claim still to support. They sense that history is progressing away from them--that these soldiers, fighting courageously in a just cause, could still win the war, that they are proud of their service, and that they will be future leaders of this country. They are not "Shock Troops." They are our best and bravest, fighting for all of us against a brutal enemy in a difficult and frustrating war. They are the 9/11 generation. The left slanders them. We support them. More than that, we admire them.

--William Kristol