Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why the Truth Matters

Scott Thomas Beauchamp would appear to be in a bunch of hot water under the Uniform Code of Military Justice no matter how this ends. His behavior throughout casts a poor light on himself, his uniform, and his obligations under the law to report misconduct if witnessed.

Consider the possibility that he lied and/or exaggerated in his stories. As such, he could have violated UCMJ Article 99, which is a court martial offense for submitting false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces. Grim has more on the matter, including the limitations on such a matter. Making a false statement is another potential cause of action.
Any person subject to this chapter who, with intent to deceive, signs any false record, return, regulation, order, or other official document, knowing it to be false, or makes any other false official statement knowing it to be false, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
His blog and TNR postings are not official statements so his possible problem under this provision would come from statements made in the course of the ongoing investigation.

Still another possibility is that he could be charged for committing fraud against the United States.

If he's telling the truth, he could again run into trouble under the UCMJ because he failed to inform his superiors of the alleged incidents such that they would run an investigation to determine the veracity of said claims. Such a failure could be construed as a failure to obey an order or regulation, as well as conduct unbecoming an officer or the catchall provision. All of those charges are court martial offenses.

It remains to be seen how the investigation will turn out, but Beauchamp is definitely in for a tough time.

Greyhawk notes that all of this is in the hands of his superior officers, but his personal opinion of him is that he's stepped in it either way - if he lied, or if he failed to report the incidents as they happened up the chain of command.

Bryan writes of why all this matters. Michael Goldfarb notes that the Left is trying to call Beauchamp a whistle blower. That's rich - and would insinuate that Beauchamp considered his commanding officers would not pursue the matter or perhaps condoned such behavior. Those are quite interesting allegations indeed, and it's an odd defense especially considering that Beauchamp participated and claimed to make the egregious statements about the woman who was severely burned by an IED in the dining facility at FOB Falcon.
But now the DailyKos has put forward what is surely the most disturbing defense of the Baghdad Diarist--that those who are questioning Beauchamp's credibility do so as part of a larger effort of "intimidating whistleblowers." But Beauchamp is no whistleblower...he claims to have been a participant in every grotesque tail he recounts. If Lynndie England had penned an anonymous account of her crimes at Abu Ghraib, would the left have defended her as a whistleblower? Of course, not. They'd have demanded that she reveal herself and face the consequences of her actions.

If Beauchamp's story is true--and at this point we have no reason to believe the stories he's told are any different from the vivid fictional accounts of life in Baghdad that he was writing before he was deployed--then he is not a whistleblower, he's a disgrace to the uniform. A whistleblower is an employee who reports the misconduct of his employer--but the Army didn't order Thomas to ridicule an IED victim or to desecrate corpses. If Beauchamp did those things at all, he did them of his own volition.

So one wonders, why is it that the left not only wants the stories to be true, but wants to afford Beauchamp the same status as Joe Darby, the man who blew the whistle on the goings on at Abu Ghraib. The first question is fairly easy to answer--lefty bloggers believe the soldiers are both victims and perpetrators of the violence in Iraq, and Beauchamp's tales perfectly conform to that narrative. But I've failed to come up with an answer to the second question. Whether the stories are true or not, Beauchamp is no kind of hero.
Six Meat Buffet take on the serious and not so serious aspects of all this.

So what does TNR do in all this? They take a page out of the CBS playbook and go on the offensive, despite the fact that the facts are not exactly running in their favor. They'd much rather claim that this is all trumped up by conservatives or those with an agenda, saying as much with a straight face, even as they have their own agenda to push. Flopping Aces has more on TNR pushback.

notes that the chickenhawk meme is making another run at this story, which is especially interesting because the most ardent critics of Beauchamp's story started with the milbloggers - Beauchamp's fellow soldiers and comrades in arms. Other people who served in the US Armed Forces and found that his stories were not believable or trustworthy.

Others blogging: Dan Riehl, Heading Right, Say Anything.

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