A number of commentators agree with me that, if the New Republic’s “Baghdad Diarist,” about evil (hmm, yes, that’s the right word-they play with the skull of a child, run over dogs, and mock a woman with war injuries) U.S. soldiers in Iraq turns out to be a hoax, the magazine would prove to have been vulnerable to the jokester because of the left’s real attitude about the troops. By the way, the “Baghdad Diarist” scandal is now a certified topic of conversation-the New York Times has covered it. TNR editor Franklin Foer says he is trying to contact the diarist to verify the story (isn’t that traditionally done before publication?), but that demands of combat (and presumably mocking war casualties) make that task take longer than he might wish.
Bill Kristol sees the Baghdad Diarist as revealing the ugly truth behind the left’s support the troops mantra:
“What is revealing about [the New Republic’s decision to publish this story] 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.”
The Weekly Standard in general has been excellent on the Baghdad Diarist.
Over at The National Review, Thomas W. Smith, who has served in the military, thinks the diarist’s musings “actually read like musings of some bored and dull-witted 7th-grader passing notes to his buddies” than something a soldier would write.
Questions about the mad diarist must have TNR editors remembering the unpleasant story of Stephen Glass, who fabricated stories. One was a right wing cult that worshiped George H.W. Bush. Gotta say the guys at TNR have always been hard to fool. It takes a mastermind.
The Staunch Republican gambit: Here’s another case of media bias that relies on a common ruse.