Scott Thomas Beauchamp

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Contents

Summary

The New Republic published a series (three stories) about the war in Iraq by a Baghdad diarist, a soldier going by the name of "Scott Thomas." Questions were asked about the authenticity of the claims, most notably by Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard. Scott Thomas came forward and revealed his identity, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, and the Army investigated the matter of Beauchamp's stories. As of August 11, 2007, The New Republic stood by the Beauchamp stories they published (with an exception regarding some details).

Impact of the Original Stories

These stories, now known to be false as they were never verified, smeared and damaged the image and heroism of the U.S. military in Iraq. They were presented as rigorously verified facts by The New Republic and no retraction was given once they were found to be unverified and false. Such negative and unverifiable propaganda is used by the enemies of the United States to undermine the brave efforts of our military and to create distractions and slight-of-hand maneuvers to place 'evil' connotations on the military's efforts at fighting the enemy and restoring peace and stability to the country of Iraq. This sort of propaganda is directly used to sway public opinion in the Islamic world and to recruit new insurgents for the agenda of terrorists.

From Media Mythbusters Blog/Confederate Yankee - A Journalistic Farce - 09/20/2007:

... It has been conclusively proven that The New Republic did not fact-check a claim made in a previous “Scott Thomas” story, even though that claim was an allegation of murder. A simple Google Search would have proven the basis for the claim categorically false on the first two pages of results. It was 30 seconds they didn’t take.

... The first claim made in “Shock Troops,” was that “Thomas” and a fellow soldier verbally abused a burn victim at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Falcon because combat left them desensitized to basic human decency and dignity. After it was noted that no such woman has ever been at FOB Falcon, the story was changed to another base, in another country, at a time before the unit saw combat. This of course, completely undermines the premise of the claim, and Foer’s claim that the article had been “rigorously edited and fact-checked.” As it turns out, both military personnel and civilian contractors at the Kuwaiti base also dispute the story having occurred there, either. They state on the record that no soldier or civilian contractor matching this description has ever been at this base, and that the story is an urban legend or myth. This was told to TNR editor Jason Zengerle. Zengerle never relayed that to the readers of The New Republic. No such woman has ever been found, and yet TNR has yet to have the decency to retract this claim.

... A second claim made in “Shock Troops” by Thomas was that while his unit excavated ground for the creation of a new combat outpost, that the remains of children were uncovered, and one soldier in his unit wore part of a rotting child’s skull on his head for amusement. Neither Foer nor any other editor at TNR have been able to substantiate this claim. An official U.S Army investigation that was launched primarily because of this specific claim found no credible evidence for this or the other claims made by “Thomas.” Two months later, TNR has not issued a retraction for this claim.

... A third claim made by “Thomas” in “Shock Troops” was that a Bradley armored vehicle driver used the 25-ton tracked vehicle to crush “curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs.” Since this time, every Bradley IFV commander and driver in Alpha Company has refuted this story as part of the military investigation, and Bradley IFV experts, including active duty and retired drivers and commanders, and even the company’s spokesman, have stated that the vehicle could not perform the actions described in the story. Once again, Franklin Foer and The New Republic has had two months to substantiate this claim. They have failed, and yet still lack the decency to print a retraction.

Questions/Problems

Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote a series of brutal allegations aimed at the U.S. military in Iraq:

1. Alleged verbal abuse of a burn victim.

2. The alleged wearing of a child's skull by a soldier.

3. The alleged murdering of dogs by a soldier driving a Bradly IFV.

From Confederate Yankee - A Series of Highly Incredible Events - 07/18/2007:

The burn victim story. First, it is all but impossible for a U.S. soldier not to be able to determine the uniform differences between an active-duty soldier's unifrom and a civilian contractor's apparel. Second, it is highly unlikely that a person as horribly burned as the one described would be medically fit for active duty. Third, if two soldiers began taunting a wounded IED survivor, I think it quite likely that other soldiers would quickly and violently end their display.

The child's skull story. First, it is biologically improbable that a piece of a child's skull would fit on an adult human's head. Second, it biologically improbable that a Saddam-era mass grave in a hot desert country like Iraq would contain flesh that was still rotting. Third, it is highly unlikely that any military unit would stand for such behavior.

The dog-murdering Bradley IFV driver. The most preposterous story of all. IFV drivers don't run willy-nilly around and over everything in their path, and have to answer to his own vehicle commander, the rest of the crew, and any infantrymen carried by the vehicle if they make erratic, dangerous, and perhaps life-threatening decisions such as those claimed here. There is also the fact that Bradley's cannot slip up on a dog and run him over as claimed, and I find it highly unlikely that this Bradley is so nimble that the driver could repeatedly hit, wound and kill dogs, or that he would be allowed to repeatedly hit stationary objects, without being removed from his position by his immediate commander, his platoon commander, his company commander, or others.

Conflicting Accounts

Corrections To/Revisions of the Original Stories

October 26, 2007. The New Republic responds to documents leaked to Drudge Report.

Confederate Yankee on The New Republic October 26, 2007 statement.

Chronology

07-13-2007 Shock Troops by Scott Thomas was published at The New Republic

07-20-2007 Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee writes a letter to The New Republic questioning the claims of the Baghdad Diarist, Scott Thomas

07-26-2007 Scott Thomas revealed as Scott Thomas Beauchamp

08-07-2007 Statement from The New Republic regarding reported recantation of Beauchamp

External Links

Shock Troops Scott Thomas, The New Republic, 07/13/2007

A Series of Highly Incredible Events Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/18/2007

A Matter of Lessening Credibility Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/20/2007

New Republic: Fact or Fiction? The Weekly Standard, 07/20/2007

The Previous Libel of the New Republic's Scott Thomas Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/20/2007

Doubting Thomas: Simple Questions for the New Republic Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/23/2007

Near Certainty Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/23/2007

Two Simple Questions for Franklin Foer Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/24/2007

House of Glass Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 07/25/2007

Scott Thomas Comes Forward... And Answers Precisely Nothing Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/26/2007

Scott Thomas revealed The Plank, 07/26/2007

Scott Beauchamp's Problems Are Just Beginning Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/27/2007

Sanchez on Beauchamp Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 07/31/2007

A Community-Based Reality Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/01/2007

Breaking: Kuwait-Based Army PAO Calls Beauchamp/New Republic Claim an “Urban Legend or Myth” Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/03/2007

It’s Official: Beauchamp’s Claims Debunked by Army Internal Investigation Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/04/2007

TNR: Not Quite All the News that’s Fit to Print Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/05/2007

Beauchamp Recants The Weekly Standard, 08/06/2007

Further Confirmation: No Burned Woman Here Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/06/2007

Another Camp Arifjan Account Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 08/07/2007

It Didn't Have To Be This Way Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 08/07/2007

Suddenly Shrinking Sources Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/07/2007

Statement on reported recantation The Plank (The New Republic blog), 08/07/2007

Deceiver Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/08/2007

When Hidden Experts Are Found Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/09/2007

Stephen Glass Goes to War Charles Krauthammer (National Review Online), 08/10/2007

A Scott Beauchamp Update The New Republic, 08/10/2007

The Right to Remain Silent Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 08/11/2007

The Army Responds The Worldwide Standard, 08/11/2007

More Easily Debunked Beauchamp Fiction: It Never Ends Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/13/2007

Liar’s Parade Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/14/2007

Carrying Them Out on Their Shields Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 08/15/2007

The New Republic: Duck and Cover, Still Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee, 08/17/2007

Sucker-punched Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/20/2007

A Sorry State of Affairs Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/22/2007

The New Republic, Tom Cruise, and Post Turtles Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 08/24/2007

The Big Picture(s) Karl, Protein Wisdom/Media Mythbusters, 08/30/2007

What Else Remains Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 09/13/2007

TNR Writer: Dishonest journalists “should be named, shamed, and driven out of the profession altogether, never to write again.” Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 09/14/2007

Two Months In: Franklin Foer, Will You Honor Your Word? Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 09/18/2007

Fabulist, Junior? Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 09/18/2007

A Journalistic Farce Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 09/20/2007

Another “Beauchamp-related” Vacancy at The New Republic Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 09/24/2007

Still Waiting Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/04/2007

“Stonewall” Wasn’t Just the Name of a General Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/22/2007

Drudge posts devastating transcripts in New Republic “Shock Troops” story Lorie Byrd, Media Mythbusters, 10/24/2007

How It Ends Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/24/2007

Boom: Drudge Scoops Docs to Sink TNR Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/24/2007

Never Ascribe to Malice What Ignorance Will Explain… Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/25/2007

The New Republic's Willful Cover-Up Bob Owens, Pajama's Media, 10/25/2007

The Never-Ending Story Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/26/2007

Winds of Change Marc Danziger, Winds of Change, October 27, 2007

I’m Sorry… Was That Supposed to be Journalism? Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 10/29/2007

Sacrificial Lamb? Head Fact-checker Gone at TNR Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 11/20/2007

TNR’s Last Stand? Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 11/27/2007

TNR Folds Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 12/01/2007

The New Republic Tries to Come Clean on Beauchamp Scandal Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters/Pajamas Media, 12/02/2007

But They’re Only The Rabble: Ignore Them Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 12/04/2007

Slowly, Slowly… Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 12/04/2007

Killing Themselves Softly Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbustes, 12/05/2007

The Scott Thomas Beauchamp ” Shock Troops” Military Investigation, Statements 13 - 24 Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 01/21/2008

The Scott Thomas Beauchamp ” Shock Troops” Military Investigation, Statements 1-6, 8-12 Bob Owens, Confederate Yankee/Media Mythbusters, 01/21/2008

Footnotes

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