The Michael Bellesiles Saga Continues

Jim Lindgren is continuing to research Bellesiles news claims over at Volokh:

I have now read through every DoD casualty report from last fall for both Iraq and Afghanistan and news obituaries for most of them, and I have found none that was even remotely possible as the case that Bellesiles wrote about in the Chronicle. This post discusses the serious questions this raises for the veracity of Bellesiles account.

Go read the whole thing. Lindgren boils it down to this:

That leaves two Iraqi War deaths by hostile small arms fire during his course, one on Nov. 4 and another on Nov. 22. The newspaper accounts of both deaths do indicate a sniper as the killer, but both deaths are reported as occurring on the same day as the soldiers were shot, so they cannot be the source of Bellesiles’s tale of a wounded soldier languishing for weeks, at one point perhaps too injured to be flown to Germany.

I’m still finding it difficult to believe he’s crazy enough to still be spinning tales from whole cloth, but I don’t rule out the possibility that he is a pathological liar.

4 thoughts on “The Michael Bellesiles Saga Continues”

  1. His story actually reminds me of a USMA classmate of mine who was shot in the neck by a sniper in Iraq and left paralyzed. He was flown back to the US, where he was taken off life support about four months later, and was survived by two brothers. Unfortunately for Bellesiles, this particular incident occurred in 2007 (shot in May, died in September), he was from Oregon, and he wasn’t an enlisted soldier (although I may have just assumed this last point from my brief reading of the article). Who knows, maybe he just wrote a little historical fiction based on this or a similar story. That being said, it’s probably not the best idea for a discredited historian with a past history of stretching or inventing facts to support a bogus thesis.

  2. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible his student lied to him.

  3. I would like to cut him some slack myself, but as a supposed historian, especially one with his past history, a little fact checking would be in order before publishing a student’s unverified story…

  4. His past-proven expertise at lying and whole-cloth fabricating voids his “Benefit of the Doubt” card.
    Also the whole use of the JD Salinger bit and the war-porn/war-torn psychodrama.

Comments are closed.