Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote compelling stories of atrocities conducted by the United States military in Iraq. Stories of soldier wearing the body parts of the civilians they slaughtered and the like became wonderful propaganda fodder for the Democratic Party’s cut and run movement. There was only one thing wrong with this compelling prose—IT WAS ALL FICTION. And now that he has admitted his horrible lies against our fine heros, everyone realizes that Beauchamp was full of crap–er–well except for the editors of the New Republic who still doesn’t buy that he was lying. That’s OK guys, I have friends who still think that the Dodgers won in 1954.
New Republic author tells U.S. Army investigators under oath that he made up stories.
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.” 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. Nothing public has been heard from Beauchamp since his statement standing by his stories, which was posted on the New Republic website at 6:30 a.m. on July 26. In their August 2 statement, the New Republic’s editors complained that the military investigation was “short-circuiting” TNR’s own fact-checking efforts. “Beauchamp,” they said, “had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters. If further substantive information comes to light, TNR will, of course, share it with you.” Now that the military investigation has concluded, the great unanswered question in the affair is this: Did Scott Thomas Beauchamp lie under oath to U.S. Army investigators, or did he lie to his editors at the New Republic? Beauchamp has recanted under oath. Does the New Republic still stand by his stories? Michael Goldfarb is online editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD. UPDATE The editors of the New Republic have responded :
A STATEMENT ON SCOTT THOMAS BEAUCHAMP: We’ve talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account as detailed in our statement. When we called Army spokesman Major Steven F. Lamb and asked about an anonymously sourced allegation that Beauchamp had recanted his articles in a sworn statement, he told us, “I have no knowledge of that.” He added, “If someone is speaking anonymously [to The Weekly Standard], they are on their own.” When we pressed Lamb for details on the Army investigation, he told us, “We don’t go into the details of how we conduct our investigations.
. Three points: (1) They neglected to report that the Army has concluded its investigation and found Beauchamp’s stories to be false. As Major Lamb, the very officer they quote, has said in an authorized statement: “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.” (2) Does the failure of the New Republic to report the Army’s conclusions mean that the editors believe the Army investigators are wrong about Beauchamp? (3) We have full confidence in our reporting that Pvt Beauchamp recanted under oath in the course of the investigation. Is the New Republic claiming that Pvt Beauchamp made no such admission to Army investigators? Is Beauchamp?