These are difficulties the man from the country has not expected; the Law, he thinks, should surely be accessible at all times and to everyone, but as he now takes a closer look at the doorkeeper in his fur coat, with his big sharp nose and long, thin, black Tartar beard, he decides that it is better to wait until he gets permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at one side of the door. There he sits for days and years.
I do not know what Franklin Foer did to piss off the White House or the Army, or both, but the Drudge Report posted this “scoop” today, and the Rightie Blogosmear™ went b*g-f**k b*t-sh*t beerjolais karazee. (Really? Is THIS the most important story in America? Really?)
The subject: Three .pdf s: Two Transcripts of a 061945SEP07* telephone call to or from combat soldier Scott Thomas Beauchamp, USRA, with the editors of The New Republic — a magazine with a circulation of perhaps 65,000 — Franklin Foer, the Editor, Peter Scoblick, Executive Editor and — to quote directly from the Army’s transcript: “‘Gene’ lawyer for Scott Beauchamp, provided by The New Republic.”
[* Which I decode as September 6th, 19:45 Zulu, which is Universal Time, which is Greenwich Mean Time, or 7:45 in the evening at the Royal Observatory.]
Three documents which mysteriously vanished from the Drudge site, but reappeared on at least three Rightie sites — Michelle Malkin, The Jawa Report and the National Review Online — Two are transcripts of a phone call from the editors of The New Republic — a venerable magazine dating back a century, with a circulation of perhaps 65,000 — about a report that stirred up a blog tempest of squalling that dates back to the magical day when William Kristol’s blogger, Michael Goldfarb, declared “war” on an article in The New Republic, a magazine with a circulation of 65,000. Declared “war” with “A mission for milbloggers” on July 18, 2007.
Seriously. There was something about this “Baghdad Diarist” that pissed off SOMEBODY, somewhere in the “war” machine. Because the third document in Drudge’s “Scoop” is the supposedly secret* Army report on the investigation of the soldier who wrote the story, since the story, if true, would be a military offense, etc. etc. etc.
[* Well, having told the AP and the Washington Post and the New York Times that the report was classified, and they couldn't talk about it, etc. suddenly and mysteriously all three documents are released, TOGETHER as photo .pdf s (so's it's difficult to quote 'em) of 2+ megs apiece for 26 pages. AP:
The Associated Press has been unable to reach Beauchamp, and the Army said details of the investigation were not expected to be released. "Personnel matters are handled internally; they are not discussed publicly," said Lt. Col. Joseph M. Yoswa, an Army spokesman.
From The Associated Press August 9, 2007, 1:59AM ET; Army denounces 3 articles written by GI, by JOHN MILBURN and ELLEN SIMON]
The first two are the Army’s official transcript of the “phone call” between Private Beauchamp and The New Republic‘s editors. The third is the ‘confidential’ Army report on its internal investigation. WHY the Army would “leak” these documents to Drudge is, perhaps, far more interesting than anything that they might contain.
Here’s ANOTHER way to get to Iraq.
Tinker to Evers to Chance: William Kristol, son of Irving Kristol, was VP Dan Quayle’s chief of staff* when he was put out into “the private sector” in 1993 by Quayle’s boss’ failure to get reelected after the First Gulf War.
[* "With the election of George Bush in 1988, Kristol was given the unenviable job of handling Vice President Dan Quayle (for which the New Republic dubbed him "Dan Quayle's Brain.") -- Media Transparency]
“After the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, Kristol asked right wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch to underwrite his new conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, which, after four years in operation is still losing money, and has barely increased its circulation from its original 60,000.” –Media Transparency, 2000
It was WHILE Kristol was editing TWS that he chaired a very important policy group which still seems hardly known in general media circles, let alone common knowledge, the Partnership for a New American Century. Here’s a good introduction from Bernard Weiner, PhD., in his “A PNAC Primer“:
In the early-1990s, there was a group of ideologues and power-politicians on the fringe of the Republican Party’s far-right. The members of this group in 1997 would found The Project for the New American Century (PNAC); their aim was to prepare for the day when the Republicans regained control of the White House — and, it was hoped, the other two branches of government as well — so that their vision of how the U.S. should move in the world would be in place and ready to go, straight off-the-shelf into official policy.
This PNAC group was led by such heavy hitters as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, James Woolsey, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, James Bolton, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, William Bennett, Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, most of whom were movers-and-shakers in previous Administrations, then in power-exile, as it were, while Clinton was in the White House. But even given their reputations and clout, the views of this group were regarded as too extreme to be taken seriously by the mainstream conservatives that controlled the Republican Party. [...]
This happened with the Supreme Court’s selection of George W. Bush in 2000. The “outsiders” from PNAC were now powerful “insiders,” placed in important positions from which they could exert maximum pressure on U.S. policy: Cheney is Vice President, Rumsfeld is Defense Secretary, Wolfowitz is Deputy Defense Secretary, I. Lewis Libby is Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Elliot Abrams is in charge of Middle East policy at the National Security Council, Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department, John Bolton is Undersecretary of State, Richard Perle is chair of the Defense Policy advisory board at the Pentagon, former CIA director James Woolsey is on that panel as well, etc. etc. (PNAC’s chairman, Bill Kristol, is the editor of The Weekly Standard.) In short, PNAC had a lock on military policy-creation in the Bush Administration.
But, in order to unleash their foreign/military campaigns without taking all sorts of flak from the traditional wing of the conservative GOP — which was more isolationist, more opposed to expanding the role of the federal government, more opposed to military adventurism abroad — they needed a context that would permit them free rein. The events of 9/11 rode to their rescue. (In one of their major reports, written in 2000, they noted that “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”)
The Bush Administration used those acts of terrorism — and the fear generated in the general populace — as their cover for enacting all sorts of draconian measures domestically (the Patriot Act, drafted earlier, was rushed through Congress in the days following 9/11; few members even read it) and as their rationalization for launching military campaigns abroad.
It’s actually better planned than that. If Americans had looked deeply enough they would have found the rationale for war in the Middle East laid out in The Project for the New American Century’s 1997 “Statement of Principles.” The group is neither a secret cabal nor its goals any conspiracy theory. It was run out of Kristol’s Weekly Standard Office, and is online.
No. William Kristol is NOT dissociated from this war in any wise (indeed, TWS’ blog is fundamentally devoted to cheerleading for this war — a war that Kristol had more than a little hand in fomenting) , nor, as I noted on October 8, is Michael Goldfarb’s background exactly simon-pure (“Everybody Needs A Hobby“):
- UPDATE 4:00 AM PDT:
Just stumbled on this, which is rather interesting:
Michael Goldfarb’s 2005 bio when he was working for Freedom House, Inc. immediately prior to going to work for the Weekly Standard:
“Michael Goldfarb is Senior Press Officer at Freedom House. He has worked as a reporter in Israel for United Press International and as a writer for Time.com, the Web site of Time magazine. He serves as a Middle East analyst for Freedom in the World.”
- And then, this, from Media Transparency:
April 4, 2006
Freedom House receiving US government money “for clandestine activities inside Iran”
… On March 30, 2005 the Financial Times (London) reported that at a speech at New York’s Freedom House, Bush “stepped into an intense debate among democracy activists in the US and Iran over how US dollars should be used to carry out the administration’s policy of promoting freedom in the Islamic republic.” Freedom House is one of the organizations that is receiving money from the Bush Administration “for clandestine activities inside Iran,” according to the Financial Times.
[CORRECTION: The 'Freedom House' Michael Goldfarb is NOT the same person as the Weekly Standard's. We apologize for the error, but leave the piece intact in the interests of accuracy. HVS.]
So, little Billy Kristol — whose questionable magazine is LOSING over $1 million a year, according to The New Yorker — in a process the New York Times likens to “putting money down a rathole” — and his flunky Goldfarb, who is eerily associated with clandestine activities in Iran, have been flogging this story since July, and, clearly the Army is willing to leak information to keep it going. What degree of intimacy can the educated reader infer in all of this?
Why does Rupert Murdoch consider losing millions of dollars on a magazine that’s never been profitable in its first twelve years of existence a good investment?
And WHY pick on one COMBAT soldier in Iraq?
And what of the private, stuck in combat in Iraq in all of this? Cannon fodder and rightie blog tabloid fodder, although the anger is now personally directed at the editor of The New Republic, Franklin Foer*, a long-time TNR staffer at a magazine with a circulation of 65,000.
[*Note: since I began composing this piece, Wednesday, at about 3 PM, PDT, Foer now tells the New York Observer that the documents "could have only come from the Army." And The Washington Post's Howard "Shill" Kurtz, has jumped on it in today's WaPo gifting Drudge's weird 'journalism' a 'legitimacy' that he still sorely lacks -- HW]
Listen to the END of the phone call to a soldier who had written three anonymous diaries from Iraq in a magazine with a circulation of perhaps 65,000:
At the same time, though … I am going to say at the same time, though – this is the last statement I’m giving any media outlet, any media source whatsoever. This is it. I’ll get you the documents you want. All I’m saying … my final statement is this is spun out of control in a way that has distracted me from my job and more importantly distracted me from helping protect the people around me. The fellow Soldiers around me who I love and respect and that’s way more important to me and if it requires an amount of dedication that I can’t give to it if I’m caught up in all this. So I’m going to have to — and I know it hurts … it hurts people personally , and I know it’s going to hurt my wife and I regret that, but it’s something that I have to do because it’s my job, and I swore to do it. And it’s more important to protect the people around me than to … be involved in all of this. I cannot do it, so I am not going to make any more statements to the media. I’m going to have to end the phone call …
And then this is appended, weirdly to the end of the Army transcript:
I don’t want to do any more interviews. I want to concentrate on my job as a Soldier right now. It’s more important to me and not only that — but it’s more important to my country and the other Soldiers around me. And that’s what I’m going to do.
What the hell has so pissed off the Army in all this? We know that they hide the bodies (as the Soviets used to do, coming back from Afghanistan.) New York Observer:
Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, said in an interview that the documents Matt Drudge posted this afternoon–and removed several hours later without explanation–could have only come from the Army.
Mr. Foer said he called TNR’s contact there, Major Kirk Luedeke, as soon as the documents appeared on Drudge’s Web site. According to Mr. Foer, Major Luedeke told him that the Army was “investigating the source of the leak,” though they did not explicitly take responsibility for it.
“It’s maddening to see the Army selectively leak to the Drudge Report things that we’ve been trying to obtain from them through Freedom of Information Act requests,” Mr. Foer said. “This fits a pattern in this case where the army has leaked a lot of stuff to right wing blogs.”
Mr. Foer said TNR had been trying since July to get access to some of the documents Mr. Drudge posted, but that the Army had not cooperated.
Among these was the Army’s final report on its investigation into Mr. Beauchamp’s TNR pieces. The report concludes that portions of those pieces had been “completely fabricated.”
Media Mob has sent e-mails to Mr. Drudge and Major Luedeke seeking comment; updates to come if either responds.
The mood in the Blogosmear was ecstatic. Bob Owens, a/k/a BPBob, The Confederate Yankee, the Carolina Fabulist was beside himself with glee:
Boom: Drudge Scoops Docs to Sink TNR
Drudge scooped me (arrgghhh!) with two documents related to the Beauchamp/TNR story. I had asked for in a FOIA request submitted more than a month ago to the U.S. Army. Those documents including a transcript of the call between Scott Beauchamp, TNR editor Franklin Foer, and TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic on September 7. I first wrote about the conversation itself previously.
The other document was the Army’s official report, which I first discussed with the investigating officer, Major John Cross, on September 10.
Knowing the documents exist is one thing; having them is quite another. Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.
How did we get from there to here? What is the Army doing with our tax dollars that it has time to engage in these PR games?
At some point, if not from the beginning, the Army has been involved in this thing. Remember, General Petraeus’ — the Theater Commander’s — PAO (Public Affairs Officer), Col. Stephen Boylan, is so intensely interested in managing news in the blogosphere that he emailed Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly, unsolicited, when Drum noted that “surge” casualty numbers were above the same figures for the same months of the previous year, 2006.
And this same PAO Col. Boylan personally confirmed the results of the Army’s investigation to blogger Bob Owens, when the Washington Post and the New York Times — and even The Weekly Standard! — could only get as high as Boylan’s subordinate, Major Steven F. Lamb.
Here were the leaked documents today:
- Beauchamp 6 sept 07 phone transcript Part i. 7 pages 2.3 meg
- Beauchamp 6 sept 07 phone transcript Part ii, 9 pages 2.8 meg
- 31 July Army Investigation Memorandum – 10 pages 3.0 meg
So, the point is what? To punish a private who dared to write about the war? (And no, Virginia, we still don’t know what the truth of it is, we only know the ARMY’s and The Weekly Standard’s and Michael Goldfarb’s and Michelle Malkin’s and The National Review Online’s and Faux Nooz’s and RedState‘s and The Jawa Report’s and BlackFive‘s and on and on and so on and so forth, as though sheer screeching would force the Universe to back down and make a monkey a daffodil just to shut them up).
But facts, as John Adams noted during the Boston Massacre trial, are stubborn things.
The FACT is that the rightie blogosmear was entirely too willing to play the role of Winged Monkeys to Michael Goldfarb’s Wicked Witch of the West.
And who, in the Pentagon or the West Wing was playing L. Frank Baum, scripting this fabulist nonsense? Somebody: some skulking coward who remains (understandably) anonymous, giving Goldfarb his marching orders, and leaking classified material to Bob Owens, and to Matt Drudge.
What would you care to wager that the Army’s “investigation” of who leaked comes to naught? No: is there any DOUBT that this is official policy? Officially aided and abetted?
The fact is that Michael Goldfarb and William Kristol have entirely enough suspicious connections to this whole Spookocracy of the PNAC bunch that this whole mess stinks to high heaven. It would stink on ice.
What of this McCarthyesque attack on The New Republic, and specifically ONE editor, Franklin Foer? And the Army’s obviously coercive tactics in getting the soldier, Scott Beauchamp to “officially” state what seems unlikely for a college newspaper editor and journalist to have written on his own, in exceedingly cornball language?
What HAS been established?
That The (money-losing) Weekly Standard and the U.S. Army have taken an unseemly interest in promoting what is fundamentally a NON-story seen in the most favorable light to TWS and the Army, and in forcing the private in question to “recant,” and in keeping up the drumbeat for the FIRING of a NAMED editor — something that I have never seen in media in the past thirty plus years of professional engagement with same.
This stinks to high heaven. What the HELL are our Army officers doing wasting time and resources killing a story whose gruesomeness (if not particulars) has been and will continue to be echoed in other reports, since BAD THINGS HAPPEN in war, and even the Good Guys occasionally do monstrous things?
Like The Weekly Standard (whose appellation as “Good Guys” is extremely questionable) and the Army, whose appellation is increasingly so. We are not dealing, evidently, with a Uniform Code of Military Justice, but, rather, an Inquisition to keep the “facts” as what they’d like to hear.*
[* Compare with the "war porn" controversy of a couple years ago, when a site that traded free access to porn in return for pics to prove that the soldier in question was ACTUALLY in combat and not lying, which upset the Army greatly and caused a big chunk of the generalized media to put "war" and "porn" together to come up with the disgusting implicit absurd notion that people were masturbating to the photos of war atrocities! Do you know what happened? It wasn't much followed up on. THAT "rest of the story" will be covered here later in the week. -- HW]
Even knowing how poorly “cooking the facts” has served us in this unending quagmire, lo, these four and soon five long years later, they still spend their time managing DOMESTIC news, rather than focusing on their mission in Iraq!
Here’s the most chilling bit of the phone transcript (courtesy of the Leaky Army and their “confidential” investigation, via Matt Drudge):
[New Republic Editor] Foer: Before we start this conversation, I just wanted to ask, Are you in the room with anyone?
[Writer/Soldier] Beauchamp: Yeah-I’m on speakerphone.
Foer: Okay. Who are you in the room with?
Beauchamp: My squad leader, um, and a (background voice) specialist.
Foer: Okay. Are there any sorts of restrictions on what you can discuss?
Beauchamp: (muffled talk in the background) Other than OPSEC violations, I can talk about anything I want.
Yeah. Right. Sure. “Uncoerced phone call,” right? (And the Army was not only taping, but TRANSCRIBING it! Privacy? Sure. Honesty? Naturally. Free exchange? Of COURSE!)
Heads should roll, all right. But not Beauchamp’s and not Foer’s.*
[ *Sidenote: these yahoos have consistently waved the specter of Stephen Glass, a "journalist" who got caught writing fictional stories in The New Republic TWO YEARS before Franklin Foer ever worked for the magazine, as EVIDENCE of some kind of nefarious nebulous something-or-other in their smear game. This meaningless slur has been echoed by "mainstream" journalists of equal contradistinction.]
How about whoever in the Pentagon or the West Wing or BOTH, who decided to “support our troops” by using one solitary combat soldier in the manner that sadistic teenage boys tear the wings off of common house flies for amusement?
Those are the criminals who deserve our attention.
And that is the kind of blinkered thinking that has created, maintained and — to their eternal shame — expanded this morass that only, increasingly, those hard-core ideologues of the PNAC group continue to support and defend.
Facts are stubborn things.
Even more stubborn than William Kristol, Dick Cheney, the U.S. Army, and Michael Goldfarb & his blogging enablers have been in foisting this nonsense on us as the most important story in America.
About a story in a magazine with a circulation of perhaps 65,000
“What do you want to know now?” asks the doorkeeper; “you are insatiable.” “Everyone strives to reach the Law,” says the man, “so how does it happen that for all these many years no one but myself has ever begged for admittance?” The doorkeeper recognizes that the man has reached his end, and, to let his failing senses catch the words, roars in his ear: “No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it.”
UPDATE 8:29 AM PDT: Greg Sargent at The Horse’s Mouth seemingly has found a smoking gun in his post “Army Acknowledges Leaking Beauchamp Docs To Drudge, Promises Investigation“ but a closer inspection reveals nothing new. The reasoning illuminates the conclusions reached above, using different reasoning and parts of the Howard Kurtz column noted above. Still, good catch, Greg! The Army has tacitly admitted that they are the source of the leak.
Several blogs have noted that Drudge mysteriously removed the links to the documents in question, but has yet to explain the sudden disappearance.
UPDATE 2 — 9:44 AM PDT: And call me Cassandra, Part MCXVI … Glenn Greenwald in Salon has (finally) noticed that the military and the Rightie Blogosmear™ and Right Wing media are getting extremely chummy.
This just happens to be the thesis of this blog entry, and of several that I’ve written over the past four months. But now that the SALON blogger has noticed, it must be real, right?
Of COURSE. Read Greenwald here:
As I continue to revel in my status as a second-class citizen.
Because it’s not how well you write, nor how trenchant your analysis. It’s WHO YOU KNOW that counts. Ah, meritocracy! The mirage of wide-eyed youth and feeble-mindedness.
UPDATE 3 — 5:36 PM PDT: here’s my comment on Howard Kurtz’ story in the Washington Post today:
Is anyone going to ask the REAL questions?
WHO benefits from the firing of Franklin Foer (the Weekly Standard has been the coordinator and cheerleading corps for this long, minor dustup)? Has anyone ever seen such a coordinated call for the ouster of ONE editor? Can anyone EVER recall such a focused and concerted attack occurring spontaneously?
And WHY is the Army leaking secret documents to keep this story alive? (The New Republic has a circulation of perhaps 65,000 and new Canadian owners.)
The snarkiness of Bill Kristol’s money-pit is understandable, but WHY is the Army involved, with Petraeus’ chief PAO, Col. Boylan confirming the story to a blogger — that HOWIE reported, after being spoon-fed it by Michael Goldfarb at TWS?
And, if the Army is this concerned, could they be leaking documents and transcripts without White House approval? It’s been going since mid-July. We’ve already been through the “Move-On” wars and it’s forgotten.
WHY is one article from July STILL so “important”? To Whom?
Is it meaningful that Kurtz and Goldfarb “confirmed” the “Army investigation disproves” story in early August, but could only get Boylan’s subordinate, Maj. Steven Lamb to “confirm”? (The AP only got a staff sergeant PAO!)
A minor story in an extremely low-circulation magazine and a reduced-in-rank former PFC serving — in combat — in Iraq?
WHY is this news, and why is all the blog traffic only from the Usual Suspects on the Right — including several bloggers who met at the White House with Bush last month, e.g. BlackFive?
Inquiring minds want to know.
10/25/2007 8:21:31 PM
Friday UPDATE: Background and breaking links
- The New Republic has responded to the Rightie Blogoswarm, here.
- A master list of my posts from July and August are here. (to 08-14)
- Meet the new Baghdad Bob (Col. Boylan emails Kevin Drum) 09-03.
- DominoTheory 09-13 (related).
- Everybody Needs A Hobby (Goldfarb’s vendetta mapped)10-08
- Butt Plug Bob Rides Again (Confederate Yankee dismisses this blog)
- Bob Owens pooh-poohs questions about his chumminess with Col. Boylan
Saturday UPDATE: Blackfive — one of the “milblogs” invited to the meeting with Bush at the White House in September, has published the first “plausible deniability” story, seemingly to “challenge” TNR, but which, oddly, directly addresses the charges made in this post(??!?) [all RED emphasis added]:
[First comment isOctober 25, 2007 at 07:52 AM (EDT? EST?), I can't find another time stamp, BUT this is prior to TNR's Friday 10-26 blog posting. AND, seemingly prior to Glenn Greenwald's Salon posting, Thursday October 25, 2007 08:34 EST -- HW]
In consequence of transparency and potential conflicts of interest, I need to state up front that I have in the past done work for and with DoD PAO operations. It is, in fact, one of the reasons that I have a low opinion of many DoD PAO activities, operations, and even people. I have indeed met Scott Beauchamp, corresponded with his wife, and have met Major Luedeke and others mentioned in the reports and articles. With one exception, I do not plan to say anything about any of these people at this time. I note yet again that my goal in doing my embed was not to deal with this issue or the people involved; but, rather to talk about the reality of day-to-day life at COP Ellis and allow our readers to meet some of the outstanding soldiers there.
That said, I take great umbrage at the assertion, whether you choose to call it implication or statement, that the Army as a matter of policy leaked the documents to Drudge yesterday. I am particularly incensed at any direct or indirect smear aimed at Maj. Luedeke, who is one of the real good guys.
So, put up or shut up. I suspect that if and when the identity of the leaker comes out, it will be clear that this was not a nefarious plot by the Army, DoD, or macchimpyhaliburtonkbrbushhitler and company to smear the “good name and reputation” of TNR and the people within. Hard to do when you’ve done it to yourself. [...]
DoD PAO does indeed have problems and problem people. The further one goes into REMFland, the more “interesting” PAO support and activities can become. For example, I was …
Gee, they’re palsy-walsy with EVERYBODY, ain’t they? Bush and Bob Owens. And suddenly, the Army’s Public Affairs Officers are just a bunch of bad apples … just like at Abu Gharib. Gee. That wouldn’t be plausible deniability would it?
And, like all good wannabe spooks, Blackfive can’t help bragging about his secret “insider” knowledge [again EMPHASIS added]:
There’s a lot that a few of us know. But no one other that Scott Thomas Beauchamp probably knows more than Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee and Mike Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard. Drudge got the scoop (not sure if the docs were obtained legally).
To me, it’s obvious that STB was trying to avoid getting sued for fraud. And pretty damn obvious that Franklin Foer was trying to get STB to stick to his stories (the wife quote is just a hair this side of extortion)…
There is an article in today’s Washington Post that just happens to be about Beauchamp’s unit, although he isn’t named. But Lt. Col. George A. Glaze, Beauchamp’s battalion commander is quoted. The same LTC Glaze the National Review quotes here. John Cole’s take on the article at Balloon Juice may be both the funniest AND most dead-on brilliant post of the year.