Lots and lots of email regarding this post yesterday in which a reader suggested we should lay off the troubled soldier and my own post responding to the charge that I was some how pulling my punches re: TNR. A few reactions:
Lay off Beauchamp?
We’ll talk later, after his book comes out, “My Life As A Soldier: How I Was Betrayed By The United States Army”.
“What I read was not the words of a kid trying to escape responsibility. What I read was the words of a soldier who has screwed up and hurt his comrades.”
What? All he’s doing is trying to escape responsibility. If he took responsibility he would either admit he lied or provide them the modicum of proof that they were asking for. He did neither. He just stalled and avoided every question by neither confirming or denying it, instead saying he just wanted it to end. As far as hurting his comrades…I agree. He hurt them on purpose. He called them dog killers, baby skull wearers and disfigured woman mockers.
Also, where does your e-mailer come up with the stuff about hellish punishment and the option of a dishonorable discharge?
I agree we should let him do his job as a soldier and admire his choice to volunteer to put himself in harm’s way, for whatever reason. I hope he comes home safe and sound and with a chest full of medals, but let’s not feel sorry for a liar who abused people’s trust, cost people a lot of time and energy, smeared his fellow soldiers and probably cost people their jobs…just so he could get published to further his career as a writer.
I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think of Gaius Baltar.
I totally agree with your reader who wrote that Scott Beauchamp has become TNR’s scapegoat. He has also become a squared away soldier who has been through hell. Redemption is a wonderful thing. It has a way of putting things into perspective for you. I should know. I fell asleep on guard duty one night while was in the Army. I was caught and had to pay the penalty for my actions. I can honesty say that had I not went through that ordeal I wouldn’t have made some of the advancements during active duty I made. I got a second chance and I made the best of it. Beauchamp deserves a second chance. Maybe he’ll make the best of it as well. I never thought I’d feel this way but after reading Michael Yon’s latest piece on this and then reading your, “Lay off Beauchamp” post, I’ve evolved in my thinking. Beauchamp is fighting for his country, voluntarily, and deserves our support. He has paid his debt. But TNR hasn’t and that is were we should pick up. Lay off Beauchamp.
Jonah: What the reader wrote sounds almost like what Matt Burden at Blackfive wrote a couple of weeks ago. Mike Yon seems to agree, at least from what I read in Steve Spruiell’s post. The supposed grownups at TNR bear much of the blame. The fact that Beauchamp chose to stay says something we should pay attention to. Plus, aren’t “apologies” from wrongdoers so common that they’re almost meaningless? The first thing people seem to want is an apology for bad behavior. Actions from so many public people who get caught never seem to speak louder than words.
if Beauchamp were just someone who had screwed up and hurt his comrades, why would he not admit it? He’s still trying to have it both ways. He wants his comrades to believe he’s sorry he
exaggerated things; he wants his wife and TNR to believe he’s being pressured by the military not to reveal the truth. That’s why he will neither retract his statements nor stand by them. His position is not respectable. Neither is it fair to TNR, to his fellow soldiers or to the public. He’s a long way from coming clean.