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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Scott Thomas, John Kerry and the lies people tell

[Constant Updates below]

So the mystery may be solved, but the questions remain.

The history of this story is at the link above. Long story short for those that do not wish to click, Scott Thomas is a soldier that spoke out at TNR about horrible atrocities committed in Iraq, one of which was about a "mass grave", I bring this one up, because it is one that could be and has been completely shown as a fabrication already, which in my mind, brings the credibility of all his "stories" into question.

About six months into our deployment, we were assigned a new area to patrol, southwest of Baghdad. We spent a few weeks constructing a combat outpost, and, in the process, we did a lot of digging. At first, we found only household objects like silverware and cups. Then we dug deeper and found children’s clothes: sandals, sweatpants, sweaters. Like a strange archeological dig of the recent past, the deeper we went, the more personal the objects we discovered. And, eventually, we reached the bones. All children’s bones: tiny cracked tibias and shoulder blades. We found pieces of hands and fingers. We found skull fragments. No one cared to speculate what, exactly, had happened here, but it was clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground of some sort.

One private, infamous as a joker and troublemaker, found the top part of a human skull, which was almost perfectly preserved. It even had chunks of hair, which were stiff and matted down with dirt. He squealed as he placed it on his head like a crown. It was a perfect fit. As he marched around with the skull on his head, people dropped shovels and sandbags, folding in half with laughter. No one thought to tell him to stop. No one was disgusted. Me included.

The private wore the skull for the rest of the day and night. Even on a mission, he put his helmet over the skull. He observed that he was grateful his hair had just been cut—since it would make it easier to pick out the pieces of rotting flesh that were digging into his head.
(Link to this quote)

Problem is, although there are many mass graves in Iraq, guess what? THIS one doesn't exist.

Hot Air makes this point, in response to TNR's claim that it is taking them so long to "investigate" the claims of Scott Thomas:

He’s Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division. He’s also calling most of his critics chickenhawks, even though most of his critics a) served in the military and/or b) have been to Iraq or c) both. The pre-amble to Pvt Thomas’ letter is one more exercise in silliness from TNR:

Although the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published, we have decided to go back and, to the extent possible, re-report every detail. This process takes considerable time, as the primary subjects are on another continent, with intermittent access to phones and email. Thus far we’ve found nothing to disprove the facts in the article; we will release the full results of our search when it is completed.

It’s actually not that complicated, guys. Was there or was there not a mass grave that contained the bones of children underneath everyday, mundane household items? If there was, Pvt Thomas’ writings could be true, but if there wasn’t — and we know that there wasn’t — then they can’t be true. Are the Iraqi police the only ones who use Glocks in Iraq? If they are, his writings could be true. If they’re not — in a country awash in weapons, they’re not — his writings contain fabulism.

That’s the bottom line. There’s no need to blame the lack of a good fact check a week after the saga erupted on the difficulty of tracking down witnesses to all the events Thomas claims to have witnessed. All one needs to do is check the basic checkable facts he reports. That wasn’t done before publication, and hasn’t been done yet.

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(Continued from above)

So, do you wonder how Bryan of Hot Air knows this? Simple. Soldiers IN Iraq have been fact checking Scott Thomas themselves and nope, no mass grave.

From our previous piece on this:

Hat Tip to QandO for the link to Matt Sanchez, where the FOB Falcon Responds:

Via Matt Sanchez, we've recieved this statement from Major Kirk Luedeke, the Public Affairs Officer at FOB Falcon, the base where "Scott Thomas" claims that he and his buddies ridiculed a woman who was badly disfigured by an IED blast (no one has yet come forward to claim they either have seen or heard of such a woman at the base, despite "Thomas"'s claim that she was a regular).

Hey Matt:

Here are the facts as best I have established them, along with the actions I have taken here at Falcon.

1. I was notified of the New Republic blog entries yesterday (Friday) by documentarian JD Johannes, who had spent time with us as an embed in May. He was concerned about the reports, but also expressed doubt in their veracity. He provided the New Republic and Weekly Standard response to the blog entry links.

2. I was able to immediately refute the assertion that a mass graveyard of children's skeletons was found; an event such as this would have been reported during the construction of Coalition Outpost Ellis, the only such COP that exists in the area the blogger described (rural, south of BIAP).

3. The stories of the burned woman and hitting dogs with Bradleys can't be as decisively disputed, however, I have not encountered a woman matching that description at any time on Falcon since arriving here on 17 Feb. You would think that someone with such visible wounds would stand out in memorable fashion. This doesn't mean that she wasn't a visitor at some point, but I find the account of Soldiers mocking her dubious at best.

4. I immediately notified MAJ Lamb of MND-B PAO, who advised me to send him the link and pertinent information on the New Republic's blog posts, which I did. He informed me of his intent to engage the CENTCOM blog team to see if they could take action, and at the very least, make them aware of the situation.

5. I contacted the only unit in our brigade that has Bradleys, 1-18 IN, and advised their XO of the situation, recommending that they talk to their Soldiers about Army values and the Warrior ethos, reminding them of the rules for blogging in uniform and also reminding them of integrity and telling the truth. The bottom line: If you put something out there you should be willing to put your name next to it and stand by it. That he and New Rpublic are insisting on anonymity is very telling here.

Per COL Boylan's request, I have prepared the following:

1. There was no mass grave found during the construction of any of our coalition outposts in the Rashid District at any time. Such a discovery would have prompted an investigation and close attention paid at levels higher than ours to making sure that the victims were properly interred and attempts would have been made to determine their identities. It is difficult to fathom that a unit's leadership would condone Soldiers disrespecting the remains of anyone in the fashion described.

2. Due to the threat of IEDs, our combat vehicles are driven professionally and in control at all times. To be driving erratically so as to hit dogs or other things would be to put the entire vehicle's crew at risk and would be gross dereliction of duty by the noncommissioned officer or officer in charge of the vehicle. Drivers aren't allowed to simply free-wheel their vehicles however they see fit, and they are *not* allowed to be moved anywhere with out a vehicle commander present to supervise the movement. Therefore- claims of vehicles leaving the roadways to hit animals are highly dubious, given the very real threat of IEDs and normal standards of conduct.

3. As for the alleged woman with severe burn scars, we have nobody matching that description here at FOB Falcon. As Soldiers, we practice the value of Respect: "Treat people as you want to be treated." If the blogger and his friends can't live the Army value of respect, I have little doubt that someone around them who does would have made an on-the-spot correction. The Falcon dining facility is not a spacious one. Anyone being rude, loud or raucous calls immediate attention to himself. It is hard to fathom that anyone would be able to get away with such callous behavior without somebody intervening and stopping it from happening.

Major Kirk Luedeke
Public Affairs Officer
4th IBCT, 1st ID

No mass grave, which now leads us all to question the veracity of every single statement made by "Scott Thomas", one lie proved, brings into question every word he says.

Serious questions deserve serious answers and serious allegations deserve serious investigations.

So, here we are today, we now know who Scott Thomas is, we know for a fact that at least one of his statements was completely false.

So is Scott Thomas the next John Kerry?

Lets take a look.

Again from Hot Air We look at Scott Thomas and his old blog writings:

Update (AP): Here’s his old blog. Per Bad Candy, of particular interest is the entry from May 8, 2006. He’s not in Iraq at this point (i.e., as of May 8, 2006), I don’t think: his sidebar bio says he’s training in Germany and he cops to being in Amsterdam three weeks later, but I guess it’s possible (is it?) that he was in Iraq and then went to Europe in the intervening time. Either way, the May 8 item can only be one of two things: an exercise in creative fiction that looks exactly like the sort of thing he wrote for TNR or a bit of reportage of an actual incident — in which a U.S. commander ordered the murder of children. Which is it?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, so the plot thickens.

Read through his old blog for yourself, there is some interesting things over there.

Make sure you go over to Hot Air to, he has continuous updates on this and the more we see the more we have our answer... yes, Scott Thomas might just be the next John Kerry.

Via Michelle Malkin we see a specific entry in the Scott Thomas blog that may shine a light on all of this, the title alone says it all "ill return to america an author", written on April 26, 2006.

Bad people do bad things. Some human beings do horrendously bad things and no one claims that just because someone is a soldier, they are not capable of evil. Soldiers are human beings too.

But to lie about incidents to deliberately make our troops look bad goes farther than that, that is a betrayal to every soldiers that watched or watches your back in combat. A betrayal to every good military member out there.

John Kerry did it to his comrades and now this Scott Thomas has decided to do it to his.

He should be ashamed of himself, was the truth not"bad" enough for him that he had to fabricate stories that can be so easily debunked?

I am sure there will be much more to this post as I go through entry by entry but as of September of 2006, Scott Thomas has in his profile that he was still in Germany.

While I do that, you might want to see what others are saying about this, via memeorandum.

Gateway Pundit, Argghhh, QandO, The Jawa Report, Black Five, LGF, Power Line, Townhall, Dean Barnett, OpFor.

[Update] Looks like Hot Air beat me to this post, actually Dan Riehl did.:

Case in point of how life imitates art: Dan Riehl flags his April 26, 2006 post — preciously titled “ill return to america an author” — and finds something familiar:

a grandma memeory of cracked heavy crystal balls and smoke serpitine around stacks of tarot cards. the smell of the antiseptic physical therapy room filled with limbless veterans, some missing half a face, and one wearing a god bless america t-shirt…of course this was all before the war, but the war is closer here and an everlengthening shadow over my half closed eyes…but this is all in our time, here and coming back to america…

The “God Bless America” shirt is a nice hacky touch, but note the boldface. “[N]early half her face was severely scarred. Or, rather, it had more or less melted, along with all the hair on that side of her head,” he wrote in his latest dispatch for TNR about the mysterious woman in the “chow hall.” He saw half-faces in his fever dreams before the war and sure enough, by god, he saw ‘em again for real when he was there. Maybe he’s just clairvoyant?

No shit. The guy had a crystal ball, obviously, where he saw the same woman with the badly disfigured burned face, BEFORE he even went to Iraq.

Here was his story in the TNR about this woman he first saw in a dream:

His claims start with a diarist, Scott Thomas, over at TNR, shown to us by The Weekly Standard.

We were already halfway through our meals when she arrived. After a minute or two of eating in silence, one of my friends stabbed his spoon violently into his pile of mashed potatoes and left it there.

“Man, I can’t eat like this,” he said.

“Like what?” I said. “Chow hall food getting to you?”

“No—with that fucking freak behind us!” he exclaimed, loud enough for not only her to hear us, but everyone at the surrounding tables. I looked over at the woman, and she was intently staring into each forkful of food before it entered her half-melted mouth.

“Are you kidding? I think she’s fucking hot!” I blurted out.

“What?” said my friend, half-smiling.

“Yeah man,” I continued. “I love chicks that have been intimate—with IEDs. It really turns me on—melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses . . . .”

“You’re crazy, man!” my friend said, doubling over with laughter. I took it as my cue to continue.

“In fact, I was thinking of getting some girls together and doing a photo shoot. Maybe for a calendar? ‘IED Babes.’ We could have them pose in thongs and bikinis on top of the hoods of their blown-up vehicles.”

My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing. The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall, her half-finished tray of food nearly falling to the ground.

Sounds like the same women, doesn't it? CREEPY (Twilight zone music here)

Seriously, Great catch by Dan Riehl from Riehl World View.

[Update #2] Finished reading this guys older blog, waste of time, by the time I get up here in AZ, everyone on the east coast has a three hour head start on me, but I love the weather, so deal with it I do.

I am sure that answers will be forthcoming from the military themselves now that they know who this guy really is, so we wait for updates.

In the meantime, we already know there was no mass grave (one of his accounts) and that he had visions in his dreams of a the badly scarred disfigured burned women BEFORE he went to Iraq (Correction:his blog said missing half a face, his TNR account talked about burned and disfigured) and then after he went there, his fellow soldiers made fun of her (second account).

Make of that what you will.

Two down, 1 to go. [End Update]

[Update #3] Weekly Standard still has a couple of questions, which the answer to, would clear up everything. Those answers shouldn't be hard for the author to answer.

1) Dates. When did he mock the woman at the mess hall? When was the soldier wearing and playing with the child's skull? With dates, these incidents can be verified.

2) Names. He can argue that he would get the dog-killer in trouble by naming him, but how about the names of soldiers who witnessed the event at the mess hall and those who saw the guy with the kid's skull? Real live witnesses can verify the incidents.

So, Scott Thomas, what say you?

[Update #4] Looks like shit is hitting the fan over at TNR and instead of trying to explain everything that is going on at once, visit Ace, who has the lowdown and then visit Discarded Lies.

VERY interesting to say the least.

I wonder how long it will be before TNR issues their apology, the longer they stall the harder it will be and the more it is going to hurt them.

[Update #5] Malkin has a call into TNR, check over there for updates on what she finds out.

[Update #6] I just saw a post from The Corner, written by John Podhoretz:

The issue with Scott Thomas Beauchamp isn't how he came to be published by the New Republic, or who his girlfriend-fiancee-wife might be. If TNR chose to publish his work because he had a relationship with someone on staff, so what? People are e-mailing things to me about this as though there is some dark conspiracy because social relationships may have played a role in professional advancement. The staffer whose name is being floated in connection with Beauchamp is guilty of nothing, and it's creepy that people are intimating she might be — and are already so invested in proving the truth of it that somebody may have concocted a spurious wedding registry for the two of them.

The only issue here was, and remains, whether the stories Beauchamp told in his Diarist (and in the two that preceded it) were matters of fact, or embellishments of tales he had heard around the base, or were invented out of whole cloth.

My Email to the Editor will show you why I disagree with that statement:

This post:

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Podhoretz.

If this man, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, did indeed lie and from early indications (mass grave as one example), show that he might very well have, then where TNR got their information, why they chose to run with the story without properly verifying it because of "who knew" "Scott", then it goes directly to the publications credibility.

Therefore all the questions that are being asked ARE completely relevant.

Thank you for your time,

Spree @ Wake up America

[End Update]

More from Wapo.

There will be updates so check back often.

Tracked back by:
The Cretins Among Us from Take Our Country Back...