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The Best and Worst of Beauchamp

7:28 PM, Jul 26, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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As usual, Confederate Yankee provides the best wrap-up of the days events. Ace has broken his own major story today, and finds himself in a beef with the Corner's John Podhoretz for his troubles. Hot Air and Michelle Malkin are also digging into Beauchamp's relationship with TNR.

Elsewhere, Riehl World View is putting together a nice collection of Beauchamp's previous clips, which as we pointed out below, do little to support his claim that he now finds himself in "an ideological battle that I never wanted to join." And a veteran of the 1-18th Infantry defends the honor of his former unit from Beauchamp's charges.

Dean Barnett finds something to pity in this "not-particularly-reliable narrator":

The war-bound artiste had a decided predisposition to what kind of stories he was going to tell. Following in Swofford's and Stone's footsteps, he was going to document the absurdity and barbarism of war. It's a measure of Beauchamp's immaturity that he decided what his autobiographical story would be before he actually lived it. This is one seriously pitiable individual.

And Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog wants to court martial Beauchamp "for pretentious writing unbecoming an enlisted man."

Still, as much information has been brought to light today about the Baghdad Diarist, the most important questions remain unanswered. Did Beauchamp report accurately what he had seen and done in Iraq, or is his work embellished or outright fiction?

We do know that Beauchamp worked on Howard Dean's presidential campaign, that he edited a liberal student magazine in college, and that he marched with pro-choice demonstrators in 2004. Further, we know that he enlisted in the military "just to write a book" about his experience--not the noblest of reasons, but neither does it discredit his work. Writing under a pseudonym, though, did prevent readers from understanding that his perspective was not merely that of a soldier on the ground, but of a political activist.

Still, while Beauchamp is entitled to his opinions, he isn't entitled to his own facts. This cliche is a favorite on the left, and they ought to hold one of their own to the same standard. There remains a shortage of corroborating witnesses or evidence, and his putting his name to the story does nothing to fill that void--if anything, his penchant for creative writing as revealed on his blog only casts further doubt. Beauchamp was, after all, writing vivid accounts of the hardship and suffering on the mean streets of Baghdad before he even arrived in the country...

On the street below the mans brown face dissolves into a thick red mist. The lights in the cities houses shut off in unison. Elecricity rationing. Water rationing too. You ever tried to survive for more than a few hours in hundred and twenty degree weather without water? In the streets the kids bodies start convulsing in semi-orgasmic rhythms. Their pants fill up with shit and piss and the smart ones sneak out to the fields to hidden caches of water jugs and trinkets of candy from the american soldiers.
"See that sarge, kids digging or something?"
"Well, better safe then sorry. Cap his ass Leclaire."
"You sure sarge?"
"Well, im either right or wrong. And if I'm wrong im still right because i could have been right even though i was wrong."
They watch the sliver of red sun fall slower and slower, silhouetting the little barbarians falling bodies. The Chaplain turns and walks back towards the FOB in contemplation. Gotta rack out early tonight. Handing out bibles in the marketplace tomorrow, early. Unintelligible rap blares out of the open doors of the HUMVEE.