Real and fake

by John Quiggin on August 29, 2008

Until now, the blogospheric fuss over former TNR diarist Scott Beauchamp has been notable only for the amount of attention paid to disputing utterly trivial anecdotes. But the Beauchamp saga has suddenly and surprisingly collided with the reality of war in Iraq, as Moon of Alabama explains.

{ 14 comments }

1

novakant 08.29.08 at 2:18 pm

It’s all the fault of the Scotch-Irish! – that’s one scary comments section they got over there.

2

Fats Durston 08.29.08 at 3:35 pm

I’m sure Powerline’s gonna break out the sandbox again, with 1/32 scale army men, and show us how this is all unpossible!

3

Roy Belmont 08.29.08 at 4:56 pm

People are rude to the cashiers at the mini-mart when gas prices go up. It’s cathartic.
Lynndie England did three years in prison and has a trashed life because she appeared in some photos that offended decent people’s sensibilities. Even though she didn’t perpetrate anything.
The higher-ups who arranged those photos, arranged the perpetration of the horrific acts the photographs are evidence of, walked.
She was sacrificed, because it’s cathartic.
Whoever did what, in whatever circumstances, concentrating on the lowest end of the totem pole, the accessible named villainous, gives a free pass to the actual invisible legally-anonymous perpetrators up the chain of command.
Even busting the yawping platoons of proto-fascist commentators enables the real perps, because it dissipates accusatory energy.
The noise masks the signal.
Where does this originate?
Busting the obvious actors, for all their culpability, isn’t getting the job done.
As awful as these individual acts were and are, the siege of Falujah as an entire act is is profoundly more evil.
The war machinery made some pre-disposed individuals into sanctioned psychotic killing machines. Replicants, ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny.
Proving that to exactly who is going to change exactly what?
But it is cathartic, and catharsis is nearly everything now.

4

abb1 08.29.08 at 5:03 pm

The Troops works in mysterious ways. That is NOT a reason to stop worshiping It, I tell you; that is exactly the reason to worship It and be fearful of offending It even more…

5

Jack 08.29.08 at 5:24 pm

DSquared is the local expert on it being the fault of the Scots Irish so maybe he can explain how the theory supports the contention in the Alabama Moon comments that the link is obvious because the malefactors are called Leahy and Mayo.

6

novakant 08.29.08 at 5:51 pm

To be honest, I had never heard of the term Scotch/Scots-Irish before in my life, which made it all the more hilarious. Such feelings seem to run rather deep, cf. Classic Movie Line No. 35, lol.

7

Tyrone Slothrop 08.29.08 at 6:53 pm

How odd that these revelations haven’t become a blogtastic furor yet.

8

Neal 08.29.08 at 7:23 pm

Hey now. Describing how your buddies ran over dogs is way worse than ordering them to execute detainees.

9

bored observer 08.29.08 at 7:38 pm

There is a literature on Scots Irish history and violence in the American south. I haven’t read it but here’s one example.
Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South.

I remember reading about a study of one country in the deep south with a population descended from the immigrants from the one area of scotland.
same shit. Across racial lines

10

Donald Johnson 08.29.08 at 8:17 pm

Neil Sheehan’s book on Vietnam spends a fair amount of time talking about the Scots Irish.

“Albion’s Seed” does so as well, though iirc the author (forgot the name) said the term is inaccurate.

11

Donald Johnson 08.29.08 at 8:27 pm

Scotch Irish, I mean–I’m always getting confused on the spelling. I believe James Webb also wrote a book on this group.

As for the “scary” comment section, I had the impression it was going to be one commenter after another blaming everything on that ethnic group (which I have in my family tree, btw). Not really.

12

bored observer 08.29.08 at 9:53 pm

No not really.
I assume JQ found Bernard via Laura Rozen, and I’m surprised she linked to him at all, though in this case it makes some sense. She does link to Helena Cobban sometimes, if not often. And not often enough.

13

J Thomas 08.30.08 at 4:25 pm

I can’t tell whether the scotch/irish thing is parody or real. There have been serious claims that our viking/scots/irish/welsh background is responsible for our cowboy foreign policy.

But are these people serious? I just can’t tell. Are they being racist or are they pretending to be racist as some sort of satire?

14

Steve-MD/DC 08.31.08 at 8:49 pm

FYI, on the Scott Beauchamp story itself, Spencer Ackerman did a follow-up interview with him and wife Elspeth Reeve* in the September 2008 issue of Radar magazine. I’d call it more of an analysis of media (mis)behavior than anything else.

*(Journalist Ms. Reeve was an intern at The New Republic who, with well intentioned but naive enthusiasm, recommended that TNR publish frontline accounts from her then-future husband.)

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