Scott Thomas

SCOTT THOMAS….Have you been following the Scott Thomas story? He’s a pseudonymous soldier in Iraq who wrote a couple of columns for TNR describing the ways in which war robs us of our humanity. One soldier dug up a skull and wore it on his head. Another one amused himself by running over dogs in his Bradley. Thomas himself mocked a woman who had been disfigured by an IED.

Conservative sites went crazy. Thomas didn’t really exist. His stories were made up. The left hates the troops. Etc. etc.

The whole thing has been kind of weird. Needless to say, Thomas does exist (he went public this morning on TNR’s blog) and so far nobody has any evidence that he’s made anything up. What’s more, his point is, if anything, so common as to be almost banal. So why the hysteria? I guess Andrew Sullivan has the best take on it:

Mainly, it seems to me, the conservative blogosphere has taken such an almighty empirical beating this last year that they have an overwhelming psychic need to lash out at those still clinging to sanity on the war. This Scott Thomas story is a godsend for these people, a beautiful distraction from the reality they refuse to face.

It combines all the usual Weimar themes out there: treasonous MSM journalists, treasonous soldiers, stories of atrocities that undermine morale (regardless of whether they’re true or not), and blanket ideological denial. We have to understand that some people still do not believe that the U.S. is torturing or has tortured detainees, still do not believe that torture or murder or rape occurred at Abu Ghraib, still believe that everyone at Gitmo is a dangerous terrorist captured by US forces, and still believe we’re winning in Iraq.

Like a Kabuki story, though, you can already see how this is going to play out. Not only will Thomas’s character be dragged savagely through the mud (Michelle Malkin is leading the charge over at her site), but eventually some small part of Thomas’s account will turn out to be slightly exaggerated and the right will erupt in righteous fervor. They were right all along! Thomas did make up his stories! The left does hate the troops! The war is going swimmingly! At least, it would be if the MSM weren’t undermining it at every turn.

Etc. etc. It’s almost like we don’t even have to bother with real life anymore.