Re the infamous mat incident:
I'm generally content to wait, but developments have been instructive the past couple of days. We've had one passing statement purportedly from the vice president of the parent company of discount-mats.com. Where did this parent company come from? The quondam mom and pop Web business is sprouting executives faster than weeds after a spring rain.
As a former military person and a former PR puke, I found the statement and press release on the 1st Cavalry's Web site
very interesting. It was interesting for what it said, and what it did not say.
Here, for the first time, we have independent confirmation that a Sgt. Hess actually exists, and actually serves with the 1st Cavalry in Iraq. We discover too that he was not seeking mattresses for poor weary soldiers, and appears to have been acting in the line of duty: a very important hint. We have a very responsible statement regarding freedom of speech from the division press office. That in itself is less than a ringing endorsement of the Sergeant's action in making this alleged communication known to anybody but his superior officers.
Thirty-five years after my discharge, my grip of the UCMJ
is certainly shaky. Both it and its application may have changed since my day. Back then, anyone who disclosed any part of such a communication to the outside world would have been in very serious trouble.
I imagine the Sergeant will be able to enjoy his rank and 15 minutes of fame until the noise dies away. Perhaps he can while away the time considering whether he wants to take the fall for this little escapade himself, or whether he wants to finger other people to placate the military pussycat who is now playing with him. The prospect of stockade time, like that of beheading in a former era, concentrates the mind wonderfully.
So much for that end. Some reporter with enterprise (if such beings still exist) might get busy in Wisconsin and tidy up the problem of this now it's here, now it isn't company and its multiplying executive suite. With some real crust, a reporter could probably get the name of the alleged perp and get the real deal from him/her on deep background. It should at least be possible to get third-party confirmation that a perp exists.
Facts, world, facts, please. Self-referencing, circular referencing, successions of emails are not facts. We have one fact now. May we have the rest?
Late News, 2/1/07. From an ambivalent righty site
. The sprawling executive suite seems to have shrunk to a mom-and-pop business. Possibly, a pop business. Not only has the executive suite shrunk, so has the payroll, which may be non-existent. The source is highly biased against the world at large, but Muslims especially, so make the appropriate deductions. Note that even this late news is now a week old.
Two questions remain. First, how did our publicity-hound cavalry sergeant wind up at this Web site, of all places? It doesn't seem that easy to google, even with all the hype. Second, the entire context of the story seems to be right-wing journalistic /blogospheric masturbation. It ain't got legs, as they say. I'm keeping an eye on it out of pure morbid curiosity (wondering when and if Snopes will back off) but why are they staying with it?