Friday, July 27, 2007

tragedy of beauchamp

i've become a fan of memeorandum. i check it at least once a day so i can see what other bloggers are getting all huffy about. i don't wanna miss out on anything big and lose my official blogger credentials. a nice thing about memeorandum is that it not only tells me what other political blogs are writing about, it also tends to link to smaller more obscure blogs (like mine!) as well as the big ones.

but the best thing about memeorandum is that it can be a really good way to see, sometimes rather starkly, the divisions between left blogistan and right blogistan. maybe the site was originally conceived of to provide links to differing perspectives on a single issue, but a lot of times you can see quite clearly that the left blogs are focusing on different stuff than the right blogs. as the links on the right demonstrate, i read more left blogs than right. i feel bad about that sometimes, so memeorandum can also help to see what those other guys are freaking out about.

yesterday, however, really took the cake. check it out, the top quarter of the memeorandum page was about this beauchamp issue. pretty much all the blogs involved were right wing sites (including some of the leading lights of right blogistan). the only left blogistan sites listed under the beauchamp heading were just making fun of the righties.

what? you never heard of mr. beauchamp? well, aside from the increasingly marginalized fan base for reactionary blogs and the shrinking readership of the new republic, almost no one has. sadly no has the most succinct overview. but really it's hard to express the absurdity of this entire matter. the consistently pro-iraq war new republic published a series of articles by an anonymous soldier recounting his experiences in iraq. because his articles didn't give an 100% positive account, the wingers decided that the anonymous soldier was fake, and they claimed to have the facts to prove it! as they posted evidence that the soldier was made up, they inadvertently confirmed key bits of his story. then the soldier disclosed his identity and went public, thus proving that he was real and that the bloggers who said he was not were wrong.

i think that normal people would have stopped at this point. i mean, we all get stuff wrong now and then. they started with a hypothesis (fake soldier) and, it turns out, that hypothesis was proven false (real soldier). mea culpa et cetera. it really isn't all that hard. but these guys just couldn't seem to drop it. instead they shift gears and declare that beauchamp (the now non-anonymous soldier) must be destroyed and so they set out to smear him, his patriotism, his honesty, his military service, pretty much everything. what started as a comedy is now turning into a tragedy.

for me, this whole thing just confirms that a lot of the bigwigs of right blogistan (i'm referring to people like malkin, ace, the folks of hotair, townhall, powerline, the corner, etc.) are quickly losing touch with reality. they seem to view beauchamp as some kind of serious threat to public support for the war. thus, to bolster support for the war with the public, they must go after beauchamp in a way that gives new meaning to the phrase "ad hominem attack." except that there isn't much public support for the war left to bolster. and the average american doesn't know who beauchamp is, much less care what he says or doesn't say about iraq.

we all have our own little worlds. i spend a lot of time thinking, talking and writing about things that loom large in my life. but i also realize that not everyone else lives in my world. in fact, no one else does entirely. the stuff i obsess about isn't necessarily important to other people. and in a lot of cases my issues don't come up at all in their lives. recognizing that is called "maintaining a sense of perspective."

the tragedy of the beauchamp matter is not just that this poor soldier is going to have every aspect of his life smeared mercilessly by a group of people who claim to "support the troops", but that it demonstrates the sad delusions of the smearers themselves. they seem to have absolutely no sense of perspective. are they really so far gone that they actually think that beauchamp is important? and even if he was, is it so hard to conceive that every individual in iraq has a different story to tell from a different perspective? if they realized that, they wouldn't view beauchamp as any threat. his is just another perspective of the conflict. one perspective among hundreds of thousands (or millions, if you're willing to consider the perspective of non-americans), the viewpoints of all the people who are there now and have been there for the past four years.