The Blog of War

Friday, December 14, 2007


Controversies erupted recently, at both the liberal New Republic and conservative National Review Online, involving soldiers-turned-writers whose work contained now-admitted inaccuracies. Military historian Robert Bateman weighs in on the history of war stories as told by warriors.

Comments [1]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I am glad Robert Bateman was so even-handed in his criticism. I am confident neither reporter will continue to work as a reporter.

His comparison of Beauchamp to Vonnegut is interesting but my mind leapt to such authors as Twain, Hemingway and, even, Jim Lehrer, all of whom plied the reporter’s trade, with varying degrees of respect for the truth, no doubt, but always with a respect for the power of language. This is why we continue to read them.

History is replete with reporters, editors, publishers and, now, media moguls who have played fast and loose with the truth and it is right to call them to account when they are passing off their literary or their political efforts as the objective truth.

When a private individual communicates, without the caveat of “reporting”, we all know to judge veracity far more on the literary or political scales.

Bateman’s criticism of the estrangement between the world of journalism and the world of the troops is spot on. How can you live in America and not know a single soldier?

Two of my brothers were soldiers, one detached with tanks against most of my friends at the time.

Dec. 19 2007 02:10 AM

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