August 7, 2007

Beauchamp Recants

And it's about time. Conservative bloggers have been in the forefront of criticizing this guy and are positively gleeful at this development -- but then again, this should not be a cause for partisan rejoicing, it should be a reason for Americans in general to breathe a sigh of relief.

The men and women who serve in our military are an honorable and exceptional bunch of folks, almost by definition. Not all of them are heroes, not all of them are free from personal problems, and not all of them are warm and cuddly and full of empathy. But all of them are worthy of our respect for one reason: they have sacrificed their own freedom so that the rest of us can have ours. And all of them have gone through a relatively selective screening process -- even in a time when the military confronts some sharp personnel needs, you still can't just walk in to a recruiting office and expect to be given a uniform and three squares a day. Criminals and blithering idiots need not apply.

If Beauchamp's stories had been true, that would suggest that there was a systemic degradation in the moral fiber of the military, a dramatic decrease in the quality of people wearing the uniform. But they aren't true, and now Private Beauchamp has admitted that he lied. My strong suspicion is that this affair is not over for the unfortunate Private Beauchamp, and that he will face "conduct unbecoming" charges for having falsely cast the military specifically, and the United States generally, into disrepute.

We have enough problems to deal with, both within the military, within our society, and as part of the global stage upon which we collectively act, without having to deal with these sorts of lies. What was this guy thinking?

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