For the second time in a week, I think Charles Krauthammer is more right than not. Shudder the thought. Much as I hate to side with the pro-war crowd on something pertaining to Iraq, Krauthammer pretty much has the idea here. This should give you the gist of it.
Except that it is now revealed that the mess-hall incident happened before he even got to the war. On which point, the whole story — and the whole morality tale it was meant to suggest — collapses.
Now, granted, I think Krauthammer takes a running dive over the too-far cliff when he says:
Why did the New Republic run it? Because it fits perfectly into the most virulent narrative of the antiwar left. The Iraq war — “George Bush’s war,” as even Hillary Clinton, along with countless others who had actually endorsed the war, now calls it — has caused not only the sorrow and destruction that we read about every day. It has, most perniciously, caused invisible damage — now made visible by the soul-searching of one brave and gifted private: It has perverted and corrupted the young soldiers who went to Iraq, and now return morally ruined. Young soldiers like Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
The problem with that little bit of over the top: it’s totally disingenuous. TNR supported the war. Krauthammer, as a contributing editor, doubtless knows this. It’s more recent editorial position on the war, as Ross Douthat has pointed out, is to not really have a position at all, but I would argue that putting the publication on the side of the “virulent” left is taking it way, way too far.
On the other hand, I also think that people like Matthew Yglesias, linked two sentences prior, are going way too far to defend TNR for refusing to apologize when, as Krauthammer rightly points out, their so-called “minor detail” in fact completely alters the narrative.