Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yet He Fights for Us

Michael Yon raises a good point about "Shock Troops" author Beauchamp:

Lapses of judgment are bound to happen, and accountability is critical, but that’s not the same thing as pulling out the hanging rope every time a soldier makes a mistake.

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.

Either Beauchamp earns the respect of his platoon and erases the stain of tarnishing their reputations as a writer or he does not. If he earns the respect of his fellow soldiers, the case is closed in regard to Beauchamp. If he finishes his term of service without earning their respect, that is punishment enough, I think. And either way, as a civilian I admire him for sticking with his unit when he could have gotten out.

I remember thinking at the time that it was the decent thing for him to stay in Iraq to fight, and it erased a whole lot of anger that I had for him in this whole incident. I wish I had blogged on that thought, but the role of one of our liberal media outlets in eagerly believing the tales and then publishing the lies with hardly any effort to check his claims, plus the eagerness of the anti-war side to believe every bit, was still too strong to have my more generous impulse win out and emerge. I'm still mad about the publishing angle and the happy reception it got in the anti-war camp.

So I'm glad Yon reminds me that Beauchamp, in the end, is fighting in Iraq and risks his life to defend us all despite his rocky start as a soldier.

I hope he comes home safe and sound, with the respect of his fellow soldiers for a job well done. And I'm sorry it took Yon's story to prompt me to write this.