Monday, August 06, 2007

ScottScam: TNR's Crumbling Credibility Continues

Bob Owens continues to track down whether the dining hall incident involving a burned contractor or soldier could have occurred as Pvt2 Scott Thomas Beauchamp claims. He's run into a problem - for TNR that is.

No one in the US Army can find any evidence that there was a woman who fits the description. Bob continues to email various Army public affairs officials and they continue to report that all signs point to this being nothing more than an urban legend or myth.

With TNR on a planned vacation, I don't expect much to come out supporting their version of events as was originally published. That's a big problem for TNR, as the evidence piling up by milbloggers and others who are doing all the legwork to confirm or deny the existence of the stories proffered by Pvt2 Beauchamp are going to further diminish TNR's already poor reputation going foward.

Well, it looks like the US military isn't standing pat, and a source close to the investigation has provided Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard with a potential coup de gras:
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."

The magazine's editors admitted on August 2 that one of the anecdotes Beauchamp stood by in its entirety--meant to illustrate the "morally and emotionally distorting effects of war"--took place (if at all) in Kuwait, before his tour of duty in Iraq began, and not, as he had claimed, in his mess hall in Iraq. That event was the public humiliation by Beauchamp and a comrade of a woman whose face had been "melted" by an IED.
If Beauchamp has indeed recanted, we're left with someone still lying about what happened - and TNR has a mess on its hands. Do they burn their sources and try to salvage what's left, or do they try and let things drop. I sense that they're going to let them drop as quickly and quietly as they can muster, though I don't think that bloggers will let this go silently. Allah at Hot Air comes to a similar conclusion.

Could Beauchamp still be lying about his stories - to avoid what he perceived at the time to be a worse fate with the US Army? If that's proven, then Beauchamp could face more severe charges for lying under oath. TNR holds the key here - and are they willing to prove that Beauchamp is telling the truth in their Shock Troops pieces or did the Army indeed refute the allegations and the recantation was the cherry on top of this sorry state of affairs?

Those questions sadly go unanswered - but would shed much light on this whole situation.

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