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For the Defense


Franklin Foer stands behind his anonymous diarist:

Whenever anybody levels serious accusations against a piece published in our magazine, we take those charges seriously. Indeed, we’re in the process of investigating them. I’ve spoken extensively with the author of the piece and have communicated with other soldiers who witnessed the events described in the diarist. Thus far, these conversations have done nothing to undermine–and much to corroborate–the author’s descriptions. I will let you know more after we complete our investigation.

And, really, although I’m sure this story will continue to be flogged by people with an anti-EMM ESS EMM axe to grind, obviously it’s not as if I or anybody else who wasn’t there but is suspicious can identify any factual errors in the piece. So we’ll see if the stories can be corroborated.

The other thing to note is that nothing of any larger political consequence turns on the veracity of this soldier’s account. The war would remain an indefensible disaster if every American soldier was a saint, and conversely a just war is not undermined because some individual soldiers do bad things. There are potential questions about journalism raised if the story doesn’t check out, but as d. says evidently such questions are to not to be taken seriously when raised by people who would, say, proudly invite Judy Miller to be the keynote speaker at the launch of their new blog aggregator.

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