Bellesiles writes again ... and gets pounded again
He publishes a story in the Chronicles of Higher Education about a student of his in Central Connecticut State University, whose brother enlisted in the Army, served in Iraq and was fatally shot in the head. He was too badly injured to be evacuated from Iraq, and he died weeks later. The event is described as occurring "this semester," and the student as being in his military history class.
The only Connecticut fatality in 2010 was a Marine. He died of an IED blast. In April. A person with brain injuries who cannot be evacuated, yet takes weeks to die seems a bit questionable, as well. And there seems little indication that Bellesiles taught military history at that university.
It's puzzling why Chronicles of Higher Ed wouldn't have done at least a little verification of the story. Of course they may have figured the author won the Bancroft Prize.
The name of the Marine Lance Cpl. killed is Tyler Owen Griffin, 19 years old.
Posted by: Ed at July 7, 2010 05:30 PM
Bellisiles has already been demoted to Adjunct Professor and seems to be aiming even lower. He's determined to end up teaching English as a Second Language in some obscure South American hamlet where nobody has guns or the Internet but the Narco trafficantes.
Posted by: Jim D. at July 7, 2010 05:40 PM
Injured personnel don't get left in Iraq, no matter how badly injured they are: The place is simply too dirty (from a microbiological point) for that. The injured are evacuated with the bareset minimum of life-sustaining surgery to Germany, where definitive or additional stabilizing surgery can be performed in aseptic conditions.
Bellesilies is full of shit (again). He's got issues with reality.
Posted by: Flighterdoc at July 7, 2010 05:40 PM
Aparently, Bellesiles is listed on the University's web site, contrary to some reports. The rest of the story seems just as fishy, however.
Posted by: Hartley at July 7, 2010 05:43 PM
Here you go (according to iCasualties.org):
Griffin, Tyler O.
Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Camp Lejeune, NC
Posted by: Jim D. at July 7, 2010 05:55 PM
This Tyler Owen Griffin doesn't fit the profile.
Bellesiles said Ernesto's brother Javier (names changed to protect the family) was in the Army, sent to Iraq and died by sniper fire.
Griffin was in the Marines, died in Afghanistan, from an IED.
I don't think Tyler Owen Griffin is the person Bellesiles is referring to.
Posted by: Jim D. at July 7, 2010 06:11 PM
In fact, no one from Connecticut has died in Iraq since May 30, 2008.
This is all very strange coming from a "historian".
Posted by: Jim D. at July 7, 2010 06:28 PM
Not so strange for THIS 'historian'...he's got a 'history' of making stuff up.
Posted by: Flighterdoc at July 7, 2010 06:50 PM
If you check the actual article you will find this sentence about this student.
"He made striking parallels between the resistance to allowing women to serve and our "don't ask, don't tell" policy."
I would find it more surprising that this student would just happen to bring up DADT. One should note however that people making up stories tend to add things into them that should automatically catch people's attention.
Posted by: James Gibson at July 7, 2010 09:11 PM
Come on people! We gun rights supporters have to be a whole lot more precise in our thinking and in putting our arguments forward than what I see here.
One of my sisters went to school in the middle of Virginia, another in Minnesota. I on the other was born, raised, educated and currently live in California. If I had died fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq, where would you all assume I was from? Virginia? Minnesota?
I didn't see anywhere in the articles where Connecticut was established as Javier's state of residency. Nor did I see where Ernesto's residency was established. Neither brother could be from Connecticut as far as I know.
I know that Clayton Cramer and others have established Mr. Bellesilles to be a tremendous liar, but I don't see anything in this article that necessarily proves he's lying this time.
Although, FLIGHTERDOC gives some good ammunition that I'd hang my hat on in this particular case.
Posted by: robert12 at July 8, 2010 12:18 AM
I think everyone is jumping the gun, in assuming that Bellesilles is lying. Bellesilles' own history doesn't suggest he has any great respect for the truth, but...
Perhaps the assumptions about Connecticut residency are wrong. Or maybe Bellesilles was lied to? Could not "Javier" have made up the story about his brother, to get some bothersome instructor off his back?
Posted by: Jeff Dege at July 8, 2010 03:04 PM
Well, Bellesilles might not be lying ... but you can't "jump the gun" calling him a liar given his history.
Posted by: SPQR at July 8, 2010 03:29 PM
If Bellesiles was told this fantastic story, he should have confirmed it. Especially considering his checkered history of confabulation.
His story about a wounded service member not being able to be evac'd because of wounds is total fantasy.
Posted by: Flighterdoc at July 8, 2010 06:29 PM
"I think everyone is jumping the gun, in assuming that Bellesilles is lying."
Bellesiles has earned that level of respect. The best you can say about him is that his "honest" errors always serve his personal bias.
Bellesiles is from the "fake but accurate" school of truth telling. If you jump through enough intellectual hoops (of his choosing) you have to admit that the story could possibly be true, and possibly true is as good as true. If it serves the agenda. Once you get to that place, arguments about facts only serve to distract.
Posted by: wuzzagrunt at July 9, 2010 06:56 AM
Yes, agreed. One should not "jump the gun", and initial scholarly claims by Lindgren were rather mild.
However, much further analysis, including of all DOD "casualty report[s] from last fall for both Iraq and Afghanistan and [reviewing] news obituaries for most of them" has only weakened the case that Bellesiles is recounting truth.
So law professor Jim Lindgren has just posted an update here: http://volokh.com/2010/07/09/serious-questions-about-the-veracity-of-michael-bellesiles%E2%80%99s-latest-tale/
In my view, this ADDITIONAL research on the story by Lindgren warrants an update to the original post by Mr. Hardy.
Posted by: K. D. at July 11, 2010 07:05 AM
The only wounded who stay in Iraq are those who will be returned to duty shortly.
I was seriously injured in Iraq in 2004. Severe head injury, for several weeks it was unknown if I would survive (fine now). I was sent to Baghdad, then Landstuhl, then Walter Reed. I was at Walter Reed in THREE DAYS. The medical evacuation aircraft are essentially flying hospitals.
Evacuation is sometimes delayed to allow the wounded to stabilize, but we're talking a matter of days, not weeks. As noted above, nobody wants seriously wounded troops hanging around in Iraq because of the infection risk. Google "acinetobacter".
Posted by: Mike at July 11, 2010 12:51 PM
1. Bellesiles didn't actually state that Javier wasn't moved to Germany or the US (just implied it). I mention this in my Friday post.
2. As noted by K.D. above, for my Friday post I reviewed every Iraq and Afghanistan fatality during Bellesiles's course from all states. None fits.
Professor of Law
Posted by: Jim Lindgren at July 13, 2010 05:00 PM