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Monday, August 06, 2007

Hopefully the End to the TNR and Scott Thomas Saga

[MAJOR UPDATE] The son of a bitch recanted his stories. (Via memeorandum)

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned from a military source close to the investigation that Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp--author of the much-disputed "Shock Troops" article in the New Republic's July 23 issue as well as two previous "Baghdad Diarist" columns--signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods--fabrications containing only "a smidgen of truth," in the words of our source.

Separately, we received this statement from Major Steven F. Lamb, the deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi National Division-Baghdad:

An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims.

According to the military source, Beauchamp's recantation was volunteered on the first day of the military's investigation. So as Beauchamp was in Iraq signing an affidavit denying the truth of his stories, the New Republic was publishing a statement from him on its website on July 26, in which Beauchamp said, "I'm willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name."

TNR and Beauchamp are real pieces of work.

We brought you a piece called Serious questions deserve serious answers when it started, we continued to update, we brought you the official investigations conclusions and we recapped everything in one post to make it easy for those that were new to the story.

Today, hopefully, we see the end of the Scott Thomas and TNR saga, but who knows. (From Confederate Yankee)

Further Confirmation: No Burned Woman Here

Adding to the debunking of The New Republic's new claim that "burned contractor" story took place in Kuwait before PV-2 Scott Thomas Beauchamp deployed into a combat zone, U.S. Army Public Affairs Chief PAO for US ARCENT Kuwait LTC Andy Sams replies to an emailed inquiry about the claim:

Mr. Owens,

We have absolutely no record of this. MAJ Russo contacted Buerhing and our Area Support Group and they do not have anything either.

LTC Andy Sams

This follows an earlier refutation from Kuwait-based U.S. Army PAO Renee D. Russo at Camp Arifjan, and the discovery of the fact that Jason Zengerle, Senior Editor of The New Republic knew in advance of the publication of TNR's own investigation, which conveniently refused to address the fact that the U.S. Army has been unable to find any record of a burned female contractor at bases in Iraq or Kuwait, and considers the story "a urban legend or myth."

Read the rest of that piece...

I said at the beginning that if one of this man's stories, a man that stated on his old blog that he just wanted to be an author, was proven as false, it brings into question his credibility on all claims.

Well, the fact that even the TNR admits that after reporting the incident with the burned women, and double checking that story, only AFTER the supposedly triple checking of the story (after it had been debunked already), did they admit it never even happened in Iraq, the "author" was mistaken, it had happened in Kuwait, and now we find the women never existed in Kuwait either, except in Scott's mind.

The horror of war is bad enough, why does one sick individual have to try to make it even worse?

He received the attention he wanted, but at what expense?

What soldier would trust this man to watch his back now, in a time of war? What commander would ask any soldier to put their lives in this mans hands?

TNR, instead of admitting they trusted the wrong man, did their best to cover up his lies, what harm now has been done to their credibility?

As The Corner points out:

The New Republic has, in essence, defended the personal essay by U.S. soldier Scott Thomas Beauchamp on all grounds save one: That Beauchamp relocated to Iraq an incident in which he participated in Kuwait. In that incident, he supposedly made fun of a horribly burned woman while others laughed along.

It is now looking like that incident was entirely invented, and that The New Republic had reason to know there were problems with its veracity before it published its defense of Beauchamp.

Patterico's Pontifications asks a great question:

Beauchamp presented this appalling tale as an example of the way that war can change human beings. But it’s really an example of how he is, at his core, a jerk. The publication has admitted that it actually happened in Kuwait — before he even reached Iraq.

Not only is the guy a huge prick — someone who would mock a disfigured woman — but he’s the type of guy who falsely blames his disgusting behavior on the war.

Why wouldn’t you trust him on everything else??

P.S. There are plenty of honorable soldiers who would never behave this way even after experiencing the horrors of war. Some of them are even good writers!

Why isn’t The New Republic interestied in their stories?

I would like to point out that it was not only blogs on the right that questioned TNR's decisions and Beauchamp's claims, but MANY blogs on the left did so also.

Everyone wanted the truth about this and now it is time for TNR, who is conveniently on vacation, to come clean and admit their mistakes, or they will never be beleived again.

Keep up with reactions around the blogosphere here.

[Update] Excellent article about this over at RCP: