Courtesy of Instapundit, I found this very interesting take on Scott Thomas, alleged soldier and pure BS artist, over at John Barnes' blog. Regulars may remember John Barnes from this post, and when it comes to communications you really should pay attention to him. His fiction isn't too shabby either... His conjecture is just that, but you have to admit, he makes a good case for it. I've already said my piece here; Jimbo has a good beat down here (and I hope that if the POS is at Falcon, that JD Johannes finds him); and, Blackfive sounds off here. Given the stonewalling and such going on with TNR (and supporters), I am not ready to call check fire on this one. Frankly, I think we need to arclight TBR and Scott Thomas.
UPDATE: Greyhawk has some words of wisdom here and Confederate Yankee some thoughts here, while JD offers a way to prove or disprove that the person is a soldier at Falcon here. My thoughts are as follows:
1. I've already said what I thought of the person, and question the stories strongly. Are there jerks and worse in uniform? Yes. There is always at least one in any group (civilian, military, or other) that if you don't stay on them they will goof off, jerk off, and frell-up pretty much 24-7. The military, however, has rules against that and rules about being silent so that they can get away with stuff. There are sometimes worse -- Uncle Jimbo made a good point with Leavenworth and some of those who reside within the prison. The difference is, our side finds and prosecutes those who do truly bad things, while the enemy rewards and promotes those who torture, rape, murder the innocent, etc. Terrorists do not follow the Geneva Conventions, anything we would recognize as remotely approaching the UCMJ, or any norm of civilized behavior. They delight in bringing harm to innocents, while we put our own in greater danger to minimize the chance of harming innocents.
2. This story is going to play well with certain bigots. As I pointed out in a comment to a post below, there is an unfortunately large group out there who see those in the military as sub-human, sub-literate, ill-educated, poor, disadvantaged, taken-advantage-of, etc. animals who can only be expected to torture, rape, and murder since that is what they do for a living. That such a mindset is the same as those of race haters is a point that eludes them, and that most (IMO) lack the intellectual honesty, moral courage, introspection, and fundamental integrity to realize it. I mean, everyone knows that (insert racial group here in place of the word soldiers) are just animals, barely controlled... This series on TNR plays right into that bigotry, and confirms it in the worst possible way.
3. As others have pointed out, this is a win/win for the bigots and the terrorists. For those who find their prejudices vindicated, the vindication is good. If the writer does turn out to be a soldier and is brought up on charges or otherwise disciplined, then "the man" is trying to cover up, lie, etc. and yet another bit of prejudice is confirmed. If the writer is exposed as a fake, it will become a matter of "fake but accurate" and again prejudice will triumph over fact. Facts don't matter, only the feelings. In any case chosen, those serving are slandered and maligned, the enemy Bush is discredited, and the psyop/information warfare goals of the terrorists are advanced. Worst yet, as Grim points out in this post and the comments, the Republic is weakened because the military is politicized yet a bit more. Perhaps the most damning thing is that the political class (on all sides) fails to realize this and do anything about it, or encourages it as a means of securing power no matter the harm to the Republic.
4. If there is focus on if the writer is a soldier or not, it can be used to discredit new media. Right now, there are a number of groups out there who seek to do this, for they are hurt financially, politically, and otherwise by the rise of the new media. Anything that can be used to discredit new media -- particularly milbloggers -- will be used and used to the max.
All that said, I agree with Greyhawk's basics. The New Republic either has been hoaxed, or it actively condones and conspires in support of illegal activities. Scott Thomas is not a whistle-blower -- they are someone who is openly bragging about committing illegal activities and/or conspiring to cover up same. If Scott Thomas is a soldier, then they -- and the people they describe -- need to be held accountable.
It has long been the position of this blog that if those in the military are found guilty of crimes, then let justice be done. In the case of rape, murder, and such, the authors have called for the full force of the law to be applied if the defendents are indeed guilty. If Scott Thomas and those he describes are soldiers, then there needs to be a full investigation, prosecution as warranted, and let justice be done. If Scott Thomas is not a soldier, there needs to be a full investigation, prosecution or other actions to correct the situation taken, and let justice be done. Most of all, let the Truth be out, for good or ill.
UPDATE II: Uh Huh, Right. I'll bet they never intended it to end up like this...