Patterico's Pontifications

10/26/2007

TNR, Beauchamp & the Army

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 11:23 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

The New Republic has clarified its position:

“A Scott Beauchamp Update

Since our last statement on “Shock Troops,” a Diarist by Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp that we published in our July 23 issue, we have continued our investigation into the article’s veracity. On Wednesday, for a brief period, The Drudge Report posted several documents from the Army’s own investigation into Beauchamp’s claims. Among those documents was a transcript of a phone conversation that TNR Editor Franklin Foer and TNR Executive Editor J. Peter Scoblic had with Beauchamp on September 6—the first time the Army had granted TNR permission to speak with Beauchamp since it cut off outside contact with him on July 26. During this conversation, Beauchamp refused to discuss his article at all: “I’m not going to talk to anyone about anything,” he said. In light of that phone call, some have asked why The New Republic has not retracted “Shock Troops.”

The answer is simple: Since this controversy began, The New Republic’s sole objective has been to uncover the truth. As Scoblic said during the September 6 conversation: “[A]ll we want out of this, and the only way that it is going to end, is if we have the truth. And if it’s—if it’s certain parts of the story are bullshit, then we’ll end that way. If it’s proven to be true, it will end that way. But it’s only going to end with the truth.” The September 6 exchange was extremely frustrating; however, it was frustrating precisely because it did not add any new information to our investigation. Beauchamp’s refusal to defend himself certainly raised serious doubts. That said, Beauchamp’s words were being monitored: His squad leader was in the room as he spoke to us, as was a public affairs specialist, and it is now clear that the Army was recording the conversation for its files.

The next day, via his wife, we learned that Beauchamp did want to stand by his stories and wanted to communicate with us again. Two-and-a-half weeks later, Beauchamp telephoned Foer at home and, in an unmonitored conversation, told him that he continued to stand by every aspect of his story, except for the one inaccuracy he had previously admitted. He also told Foer that in the September 6 call he had spoken under duress, with the implicit threat that he would lose all the freedoms and privileges that his commanding officer had recently restored if he discussed the story with us.

On September 14, we also spoke at length with Major John Cross, who led the Army’s investigation into the Beauchamp case. Contrary to reports in The Weekly Standard and other outlets, Cross explicitly said that Beauchamp “did not recant” his article in the sworn statements he had given the Army. Moreover, although the Army’s investigation—which declared that the claims in “Shock Troops” were false—purported to be conclusive, Cross conceded that there were at least a dozen soldiers in Beauchamp’s platoon whom he had not interviewed. TNR pressed for clarification:

Scoblic: So you didn’t get statements from everyone in his platoon, then?

Cross: We got statements from everyone in his platoon that was available that day we were conducting the investigation.

Scoblic: At a later point did you follow up with any of the people that weren’t available that day?

Cross: No.

Faced with the fact that Beauchamp stood by his story and the fact that the Army investigation had serious gaps—as well as the fact that our earlier reporting had uncovered significant evidence corroborating Beauchamp’s accounts—The New Republic decided to continue its investigation. On August 10, we had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of the Army for all documents pertaining to its investigation of Beauchamp, particularly any statements Beauchamp had signed. But it was not until October 10 that Central Command informed us that the FOIA request was finally under review by the appropriate office. We also repeatedly tried to get these documents directly from the First Infantry Division, to which Beauchamp is assigned, but we were told that they could be released only through a FOIA request. We also tried to get the statements from Beauchamp himself. However, when Beauchamp requested a copy of his own statements from an Army legal adviser, he was told that he first had to coordinate any dissemination of them with Army public affairs.

It was as we were awaiting the documentary record of the Army’s investigation that the Army leaked several documents, including the September 6 transcript, to The Drudge Report, which incorrectly reported that the documents show that Beauchamp had recanted. In fact, they show no such thing, and Drudge soon removed the supporting documents from its website, and later its entire report.

The New Republic is deeply frustrated by the Army’s behavior. TNR has endeavored with good faith to discover whether Beauchamp’s article contained inaccuracies and has repeatedly requested that the Army provide us with documentary evidence that it was fabricated or embellished. Instead of doing this, the Army leaked selective parts of the record—including a conversation that Beauchamp had with his lawyer—continuing a months-long pattern by which the Army has leaked information and misinformation to conservative bloggers while failing to help us with simple requests for documents.

We have worked hard to re-report this piece and will continue to do so. But this process has involved maddening delays compounded by bad faith on the part of at least some officials in the Army. Our investigation has taken far longer than we would like, but it is our obligation and promise to deliver a full account of our findings.

–The Editors”

I’ll leave it to others like Patterico, WLS, and Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee to parse this statement. As I read it, the implication is that other soldiers support Beauchamp’s story but they haven’t been interviewed. In addition, TNR won’t decide who to believe as long as Beauchamp and his wife tell TNR something different than Beauchamp says when he’s with Army personnel.

To summarize: Beauchamp tells different stories to different people and now he’s unwilling to stand by his story except in private phone calls with his wife and TNR. That doesn’t make Beauchamp sound like a truth-teller or even a whistle-blower. It makes him sound stuck in the middle and he can’t get out.

— DRJ

74 Responses to “TNR, Beauchamp & the Army”

  1. TNR’s tactic seems to be to throw up more smoke to hide the fact that they lost credibility long ago. TNR was claiming that they could not talk to Beauchamp long after they in fact already had. Given that, there is no reason to credit any of their claims.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  2. Yon’s statement that STB’s tryingto make good appears to have been false.

    Too bad. Hope he likes burning off that latrines…

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  3. Gee – I wonder if Ellie’s (alleged) email to Foer that he relayed as saying “the most important thing in the world to her is for you not to recant” put STB in a bind? Not that Foer would have wanted that. Good lord, no wonder the alphies of the world think Beauchump’s being waterboarded. It’s because of disingenuous slime like Foer et al, who could teach the military a thing or two about covering ass. Maybe they learned it from a TANG Memo to File.

    rhodeymark (4f2403)

  4. TNR was claiming that they could not talk to Beauchamp long after they in fact already had.

    Good point.

    The charge Beauchamp “tried to hide his identity” now seems unreasonable, though. Matt Drudge hid his source’s identity and most salient revelations are off-the-record or culled from unseen, unavailable work-product.

    steve (0e1a2e)

  5. “as long as Beauchamp and his wife tell TNR something different than Beauchamp says when he’s with Army personnel.”

    Thats not quite an accurate way of putting it.
    He seems to stand by his story when speaking freely, and says nothing when being monitored.
    He has not, as far as I can see, ever said “something different” – i.e retracted his story (except for the Iraq-Kuwait locale of the disfigured woman).

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  6. The General Counsel of a Fortune 50 corporation (and himself a trial lawyer alumnus of a major Wall Street firm) once told me that the definition of a litigator was, “Someone who could make people on a jury believe that bullshit tastes like vanilla ice cream.”

    Foer’s conduct and TNR’s statements make me think that they’re trying to be “litigators”. On the other hand, I simply think of them as pathetic jerks trying to peddle vanilla ice cream, without much success–and for good reason. People can smell the product.

    Mike Myers (d015a6)

  7. What a mess! From the above I offer two observations.
    (1) “Maj Cross explicitly said that Beauchamp “did not recant” his article in the sworn statements he had given the Army.”
    (a) Does Maj Cross verify this account? His statement says that he briefly spoke with Beauchamp to see if he wished to waive his rights that he invoked after his second statement, but doesn’t reflect what TNR claims.
    (b) The way that the military does a letter of counseling is to have the counselee sign the letter acknowledging receipt. They are not obligated to make a statement but are allowed to write a rebuttal for the record. (Army process may differ slightly but the idea is the same).
    (c) Beauchamp did sign the document but in the copy published to the internet there was no rebuttal. Lt Col Glaze issued the letter of counseling and is the same Colonel that Yon quoted (I think that is correct.)
    (2) According to Maj Cross’s report no one backed up the original claims Beauchamp made which makes the latest TNR claim very suspect.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  8. JoeCitizen, the persons claiming that Beauchamp defends his pieces in other phone calls are the same people who have already lied to us about their inability to talk to Beauchamp.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  9. Feor said he hadn’t been able to talk to Beauchamp on August 10th.

    I thought the phone call took place on Sept 9.

    alphie (99bc18)

  10. STB’s ability to call his wife (and say something different than what was said when talking to Foer), suggests that STB can make un-monitored calls.

    Why didn’t he call Foer?

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  11. Woah, Scott:

    Two-and-a-half weeks later, Beauchamp telephoned Foer at home and, in an unmonitored conversation, told him that he continued to stand by every aspect of his story…

    Don’t disappear down that rabbit hole completely.

    alphie (99bc18)

  12. Joe Citizen #5:

    He has not, as far as I can see, ever said “something different” – i.e retracted his story (except for the Iraq-Kuwait locale of the disfigured woman).

    That sounds like something different to me and apparently it did to you, too, since you mentioned it. It’s also a big difference since it undercut the point of Beauchamp’s TNR story.

    In addition, I find it hard to believe Beauchamp is still in the Army and not facing charges (or assisting the Army in bringing charges against others) if he’s still claiming all his stories are true.

    DRJ (207a4b)

  13. Also, in the transcript, PV1 Beauchamp said he wanted to talk to the press (Newsweek and Wash. Post) to show that he was not being sequestered. The TNR Editors had been saying that PV1 Beauchamp was being prevented by the Army from giving any interviews. Not looking at the transcript at the moment, but I thought his squad leader said something like agreeing with the editors about not talking to other press.

    Sounds kinda sloppy after a long day. Apologies for any confusion.

    Guy Montag (e098ab)

  14. I’m more than a little disgusted with everyone involved in this entire affair. That now includes the Army for leaking Beauchamp’s (semi?) private conversations (what is the legal status of those conversations if Beauchamp knew they were being recorded/transcribed?). I realise the Army has a PR interest in discrediting Beauchamp’s “stories”, but I prefer they didn’t do so in this manner.

    For the record, I haven’t read any of Beauchamp’s writings; have no more interest in doing so now than I did before; and like most other commenters I think Beauchamp fabricated/exaggerated his accounts to boost their sensationalist value. But even if the worst of Beachamp’s accounts turns out to be true – who cares? Most of it seems to be just callous “gallows humor” type stories – with young men in a war zone this is surprising why?

    Bob Loblaw (23d1c4)

  15. The most obnoxious part of TNR’s statement is that they accuse the Army of acting in “bad faith” while insisting that they themselves only act in “good faith.” Was it really “good faith” to take the word of one lone soldier, edited by his wife, who made outlandish smears on our troops, a central one of which has been demonstrated to be patently false? And I am sorry, but given the choice between believing the Army or believing TNR on whether or not there was corroboration of Beauchamp’s story by his fellow soliders, I’ll believe the Army up and until TNR produces eyewitnesses willing to come forth and testify under oath.

    JVW (951b34)

  16. Foer to Mortals – You are all Idiots. Only I know the TRUTH!

    Do not question ME! Do not ask me why I did not mention that I had spoken to Beauchamp in a super secret phone conversation for which I cannot provide a transcript in which he reaffirmed his entire diary except crispy critter woman’s location when I spoke to the NY Observer and the WaPo two days ago. The phone call may have slipped my mind and such minor details are unimportant to the overall story.

    Don’t you see, the ARMY is preventing the TRUTH from coming out here. Ignore the fact that we cannot prove the stories are true because those are just niggling details you mortals keep getting hung up on.

    Ignore the fact that Beauchamp admitted to the Army only seeing animal bones unearthed in preparing his camp in Iraq and did not witness any Bradleys running over dogs. Minor details only. I know what he told me on our super secret phone call for which I cannot provide a transcript.

    DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  17. Say, has anybody read Ace on the TNR statement, the PDF excerpt that has Beauchamp recanting the non-Burned Woman stories and Bryan Preston weighing in on all this today yet?

    Paul (f4626d)

  18. That now includes the Army for leaking Beauchamp’s (semi?) private conversations

    What is your proof that the Army leaked it as opposed to Beauchamp or his wife?

    dave (c60ba5)

  19. Why in the world would Foer not record all of his conversations with Beauchamp at this point? Why would he expect anybody to take his word about what Beauchamp said to him in a private conversation?

    PatHMV (0b955c)

  20. I made this point to Patterico on Wednesday when he posted the new development first:

    Foer telling Beauchamp the “most important thing to his wife was that he say to them he didn’t recant to the Army” completely poisoned the well for the remainder of the conversation.

    This is a woman that he married after an extraordinarly short courtship, which began while he was already engaged to a girl from his hometown, with his new wife being an employee at a magazine he idolized and wanted to be a part of. I think I’ve read that she is also pregnant.

    And, Foer tells him that the most important thing to her is that he stand by his story.

    Well, that sort of puts a gloss on TNR’s claim that he emailed his wife the next day to say he was standing by his story.

    F*ck TNR’s editors.

    WLS (bafbcb)

  21. When the Army read Beauchamp his rights he backed down real quick. He’s lucky not to have been charged with conduct prejudicial to the good of the service.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  22. Here’s a link to a visual aid on Foer’s current predicament.

    http://exurbanleague.com/2007/10/26/digging-for-foer.aspx

    WLS (bafbcb)

  23. I gotta say one thing about those editors at TNR, they are piss poor at damage control.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  24. daley,

    Are you suggesting right wing bloggers and the US Army are good at damage control?

    That they somehow look good during this Beauchamp saga?

    alphie (99bc18)

  25. Here’s a link to a visual aid on Foer’s current predicament.

    Gives a whole new definition to “core drilling.”

    Paul (f4626d)

  26. Say, did anybody hear a jackass braying in the distance?

    Paul (f4626d)

  27. #18 Dave: Fair point. Hopefully my assumption will prove wrong.

    Bob Loblaw (23d1c4)

  28. I wonder if Frankie just created another investigative opportunity for Beauchamp with the Army with his public statement today. The Army probably doesn’t give a shit what Foer says, but they may have an interest in whether Beauchamp lied to them during their investigation.

    Whether or not the super secret phone call took place as Foer related in the update, he just threw Beauchamp under the bus. Saying he couldn’t stand by his articles and therefore neither could TNR after the 9/6 conference call would have been simpler and cleaner for everyone, but TNR didn’t have the balls for that.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  29. Haha, Daley,

    Congress approves (or rejects) the promotion of every officer in the U.S. military.

    What officer in the U.S. Army would be interested in ending their career to pursue further investigations into this tawdry fiasco?

    I imagine any more mistreatment of Beauchamp will earn some unlucky Col. a trip to testify before Congress.

    alphie (99bc18)

  30. daleyrocks, I keep hearing a jackass braying in the distance; can you hear it?

    Paul (f4626d)

  31. Alphie, you are back to inventing nonsense in support of your bizarre fantasies.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  32. SPQR,

    There are about 850 slots in the entire U.S. military for Generals and Admirals. Up or out is the brutal game played to get one of them.

    One blot on your record and it’s game over…and with the charges just leveled by TNR…Beauchamp has become radioactive.

    alphie (99bc18)

  33. Now you are just changing your story once caught out. Like you always do, Alphie. Your BS got old years ago.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  34. There it is again! SPQR, can you hear what I’m hearing? That disconsolate braying off in the distance?

    Paul (f4626d)

  35. Story stays the same, SPQR.

    Pandering to the far right with half-truths and omissions is one thing, might be able to get away with it.

    An official investigation into bullying an enlisted man is a career ender.

    Look for the hot potato game to begin soon.

    alphie (99bc18)

  36. Alphie, you are literally in space. No one in the Army is concerned about how they handled Beauchamp. They had a clean investigation of an OPSEC violation with minor administrative punishment. The battalion commander is actually proud of how he handled it, thinking he may still have a chance to salvage Beauchamp’s career – with no concern about his own. TNR’s “charges” are yawners and you are off in your fantasy world again.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  37. Frankie keeps waiting for all sorts of old material from the Army and Beauchamp but doesn’t mention the possibility of getting some new sort of statment from Beauchamp during the super decret phone call for which he doesn’t have a transcript and which he also neglected to mention to the NY Observer and Howie Kurtz.

    “He(Beauchamp) also told Foer that in the September 6 call he had spoken under duress, with the implicit threat that he would lose all the freedoms and privileges that his commanding officer had recently restored if he discussed the story with us.”

    Which is exactly why Beauchamp had lined up interviews with Newsweek and another publication. Makes sense Frankie! Try again.

    And Frankie, did you address the direct contradictions between what you said Beauchamp
    told you during the super secret phone call and what he swore to the Army about the skeleton and Bradley incidents? I think I missed that part. Why don’t you ask him to go on record with a statement or a third party listening next time?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  38. Did I miss something or was alf worried about Beauchamp not making Admiral?

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  39. SteveG – I think Alf was worried about the Army ordering Beauchamp around or something. Not that that would ever happen.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  40. I think Alf was worried about the Army ordering Beauchamp around or something.

    Why would anyone think that enlisted men take orders from their officers in any branch of the military? :)

    Paul (f4626d)

  41. Good lord, what is wrong with these people? We have long since passed the put up or shut up point. To date, all that Foer has provided as evidence of the veracity of the claims and of their alleged fact checking is his word. His word, at this point, is worth less than one of those Nigerian spam e-mails.

    Beauchamp was not forbidden from contact with the outside. He chose not to speak with them.

    TNR has offered not one iota of evidence that this was fact checked or in any way true.

    The more Foer is allowed to run around in circles making shit up, it will be worse for them in the long run, but will definitely muddy the waters in the meantime.

    I cannot believe that the MSM continues to simply ignore this.

    This bullshit about the FOIA is nothing but BS. They can request all they want, but it sounds like they have requested documents that they have no right to. Beauchamp could sign a release and get all of the information they need.

    If Beauchamp was unable to contact the outside world, how had he lined up interviews with other outlets?

    Why didn’t Frankie mention this super secret cell phone call in his recent interviews?

    The are out and out lying to everyone, and they expect to get away with it. Unfortunately, they just might.

    JD (e88f7b)

  42. The are out and out lying to everyone, and they expect to get away with it. Unfortunately, they just might.

    Watch out, JD. You are dangerously close to invoking The Wrath of Patterico(tm).

    Paul (f4626d)

  43. Look, I agree with you guys, except for the end result. This is not even being mentioned in passing outside of the blogs. There is simply no momentum behind this story to push it any further. It is clear that TNR is going to delay, delay, and lie until this gets tiresome and goes away. Heads should roll. But I doubt they will.

    JD (e88f7b)

  44. In two years Beauchamp will be out of the service and trying to hock his great American novel and/or hitting the talk show circuit trying to make some fast cash by claiming he was a victim.

    dave (e548e6)

  45. If Beauchamp was unable to contact the outside world, how had he lined up interviews with other outlets?

    He was never denied access to his wife and family. I have no doubt, Elle, with Beauchamp’s approval, set up the interviews.

    dave (e548e6)

  46. dave – From my understanding, and I could be wrong, he was not denied access to anyone. He chose to not speak with TNR. Regardless, since his wife worked there, I doubt this topic never came up.

    Does Frankie know that Beauchamp can get in far more trouble for giving a false official statement than for the underlying actions?

    JD (e88f7b)

  47. In two years Beauchamp will be out of the service and trying to hock his great American novel and/or hitting the talk show circuit trying to make some fast cash by claiming he was a victim.

    AT which point the Army – still having some small say in STB for the next, say, 16 years or so – will grab him by the scruff of his neck, nail him for lying and giving a false statement, and toss him in a cell.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  48. If the truth is to be found, it will probably take a Grand Jury to do it.
    I, frankly, couldn’t care less. I stopped believing anything in TNR years ago (I even question the page numbers, their veracity is so questionable).
    STB has made his bed, and now he has to answer to his mates. It might get uncomfortable being on point for his entire tour.
    Poor Baby!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  49. Their perfidy and mendacity is right there, for all to see. But, we know that the media and the Left (usually redundant) will refuse to believe their own lying eyes.

    JD (e88f7b)

  50. “Was it really “good faith” to take the word of one lone soldier, edited by his wife, who made outlandish smears on our troops”

    Actually, I don’t think the “smears” were all that outlandish. As others have noted, this is not behavior that is all that unexpected – certainly not to anyone who has ever spent time around a college frat house. Take similar-aged young men, put them in an intensly stressful situation, and this type of “humor” is not unexpected, nor is it particularly outrageous.

    And no, I don’t fault TNR for taking his word at face value. He was a soldier serving his country, they had some personal knowledge of him, thus probably trust, based on employing his fiancee – then wife. And the subject of his diaries were inherintly difficult to fact-check.

    ” given the choice between believing the Army or believing TNR…I’ll believe the Army”

    I wish I could agree that that would be the prudent stand to take. Unfortunatly, the military has its own PR machine, and has a proven record in this war of fabricating stories to make themselves and their soldiers look good. Remember Tillman, and Jessica Lynch.

    Sad to say, the military deserves less credibility on these types of matters than does TNR.

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  51. Joe Citizen – He is not in a college frat house. He is a soldier in the US military. There is a fuck lot of things that could happen in a frat house that are simply not tolerated in the military.

    Were they such great big deals? Not individually. But that does not matter, since they were all freaking made up.

    If you are willing to believe TNR based on Frankie Foer’s word, over that of the US Military, then you are a reprehensible person as well. Period.

    JD (e88f7b)

  52. BTW – You are not sad to say that. Your whole freaking post was leading up to that.

    JD (e88f7b)

  53. JoeCitizen – Who are the famous others in your comment?
    “As others have noted”

    Beauchamp essentially implicated his entire platoon in improper conduct, not just “humor.” The Bradley manufacturer stated the maneuvers described in Beauchamps articles were impossible. The glocks described in one of his earlier pieces do not use square backed ammunition. The pieces were not humor, they were fabrication. Did you not read anything by anyone familiar with military matters or did you stick to pure lefty sites with no experience?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  54. daleyrox – “others” genrally refers to those caricatures of conservatives that they argue with in their heads. The people that still think Beauchamp was telling the truth are in need of help, but are likely beyond help from the pharmaceutical industry.

    JD (e88f7b)

  55. Their perfidy and mendacity is right there, for all to see. But, we know that the media and the Left (usually redundant) will refuse to believe their own lying eyes.

    Admit it, JD.

    You just watned an excuse to use “perfidy” and “mendacity” in a sentence.

    :)

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  56. JD – The others in Joe’s post I think refers to progs with no knowledge of the military, but I might be wrong. That’s why I asked for clarification.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  57. JoeCitizen, to date, it is Foer’s claims that don’t stand up – not the Army’s. Your attempt to claim that TNR has more credibility than the Army fails the laugh test.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  58. If you want to see the general antics of that magazine, just check out the fabrications by Eve Fairbanks, Assistant Editor at TNR.

    Her stuff reads the same as the Beauchamp fables, she was outed about it and the magazine ignored it. Never got any traction.

    Lee Seigel decided to mess with a widely read Leftist, so that story did get traction and he got busted.

    This Beauchamp thing is outside of their script and getting sloppy.

    Guy (3674d6)

  59. Didn’t Mr. Foer tell Mr. Kurtz that the 6 September PV1 Beauchamp call had his “commanding officer” in the room?

    Somehow, when a transcript showing that it was just PV1 Beauchamp’s Squad Leader in the room the Foer story changed.

    Good thing (for Foer) The Washington Post did not quote him too much or we might have found a bunch of items like that.

    Guy (3674d6)

  60. SPQR and Paul,

    Please don’t respond to alphie unless you think he is making a valid point worth responding to.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  61. “BTW – You are not sad to say that.
    Your whole freaking post was leading up to that.”

    JD,
    I was not engaging in stream-of-consciousness writing. I do admit that I reached my conclusion, in my own mind, before I started writing the comment.

    Yes, I am sad to say that the military has serious credibility problems on matter like this.
    It should be, and for the most part is, an institution built around the notion of honor and integrity. Maybe it is understandable that they, like so many other institutions, dedicate resources to image-projection, even to the point of deception. They’ve been caught red-handed at it, more often than TNR has been, so I dont see how anyone could believe them, other than on the basis of wishful thinking. And thats kinda sad.

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  62. Patterico, so its your position to shun Alphie rather than ban him? Fine, if that’s how you want it.

    JoeCitizen, you keep repeating this but your claim is not valid for two reasons. First, in this matter, it is TNR that has been caught in deception regarding Beauchamp, not the Army. Second, the issue is not the credibility of the Army, they published no stories, but that of TNR and their writer Beauchamp. So your mantra is unconvincing.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  63. “JoeCitizen – Who are the famous others in your comment?
    “As others have noted””

    Daleyrocks,

    My comment was about other commenters, at least one in this thread, and many others on other sites, who also feel that the events, if they happened, were not outrageous. It was not a judgement regarding the question of whether they happened or not, but rather the seriousness of the events if they did happen.
    Written in response to the characterization of the charges as “smears”, and “outrageous”.

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  64. Scott Jacobs – Those are 2 of my favorite words, and they just fit so well in this story.

    JoeCitizen – They were outrageous. That is unaccpetable behavior for the men and women in uniform. The events are even more outrageous since they were completely fabricated, but that is beside the point, huh?

    Steven Glass. Foer. Fairbanks. Beauchamp. All TNR. All proven liars. That is just off the top of my head, and that is a big number for an organization of that size.

    JD (e88f7b)

  65. SPQR,

    I am not yet prepared to jump on board that ship with you. You seem to be working off conclusions that I don’t think I can accept yet.

    TNR claims that Beauchamp has refused to back down from his story. Is that true? I don’t know, but it seems a fair bet that it is the case. TNR would be really cooking their own goose if Beauchamp surfaced some day and said that he retracted his story, then TNR claimed he didn’t.

    But then we have these “analyses” going round claiming that he “recanted”. Who to believe?

    The Army investigation seems to have concluded that Beauchamp’s story were pretty much completely false.

    I don’t know if Beauchamp is lying, or if the Army reached the conclusion it wanted by doing just the type of investigation that would lead them there.
    I dont see how TNR is lying though….

    “…the issue is not the credibility of the Army, they published no stories…”

    Well, we see the results of their investigation. Is it spin, or is it the truth? Their credibility becomes a factor the minute you ask that question.

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  66. Any person that is willing to take the word of Beauchamp and Foer over that of the US military is not worth any of our time.

    JD (e88f7b)

  67. JoeCitizen, we are going to have to agree to disagree on who is more credible, TNR or the U.S. Army. I can’t do anything but laugh derisively in response to your point that TNR has a better history of truthfulness than the Army. Don’t worry though, Stephen Glass has your back.

    JVW (951b34)

  68. P.S. — But just to be fair I will say it one more time: As soon as TNR puts forth the soldiers who have allegedly corroborated Beauchamp’s stories, I will reevaluate my position on the matter.

    [And yeah, here is where alphie chimes in to claim that the solider would immediate be demoted/bullied/shot by their commanding officers if they were named. Horsepucky.]

    JVW (951b34)

  69. JoeCitizen, you’ve bent yourself literally backwards to put the burden of proof onto the Army when they did not have that burden. The Army isn’t publishing magazines so they have no burden to prove or disprove the Beauchamp pieces. Its the TNR that has failed to back up their work.

    Meanwhile, Beauchamp has publically recanted part of the articles incontrovertibly, and we have these vague unsubstantiated claims that Beauchamp has gone both directions on what remains of his articles. Given that the TNR does not enjoy a presumption in their favor, they don’t end up winning because of the inconsistency in Beauchamp.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  70. SPQR,

    I don’t see it being about “winning”, although I guess that is what the blogswarms are all about.

    I dont feel I am putting the burden all on the Army. I just make the case that they are no more entitled (by their past actions) to a presumption of absolute truth-telling than anyone else in this episode.

    Nor Beauchamp – I think he should stand up publicly and defend his reports or else retract them.

    I read the recent documents, and it sounds to me that TNR was trying to handle this properly. Obviously they could never be in a position to absolutely fact-check the diary of a soldier in a war zone. They felt they had reason to trust his veracity, and they seem willing to atleast hold off on denouncing him until they have proof that he lied, or he recants. One should expect that from a publication, especially given the fact that he would be attacked whether the stories were true or not.

    If it turns out that he was a complete fabulist, then they will end up looking bad, having been taken for a ride. Thats life.

    Lets face it. Here in blog world, we read reports every single day, loudly trumpeted by partisans on either side, that turn out to be bs. TNR should operate on a higher standard, no doubt, but it is kinda ironic to see so many completely untrustworthy blogs (not referencing this one) and commenters complain about what might be a false or exaggerated story.

    Or rallying to the defense of the Army PR machine that told much larger scale whoppers during the course of this war.

    To wit: “Any person that is willing to take the word of Beauchamp and Foer over that of the US military is not worth any of our time.”

    I repeat. I would love to be in the position of being able to trust what my military says. But how can any rational person do that after the documented examples of their fabrications?

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  71. Joe Citizen,

    Rational people make rational decisions. To condemn the entire military because of instances of wrongful conduct – conduct that was typically exposed by someone within the military and punished by the military – is not what I would call rational.

    Furthermore, how many journalists has TNR employed vs how many soldiers are in the Army? On a percentage basis, which entity do you think has had the most “documented examples of their fabrications”?

    DRJ (207a4b)

  72. So the Army has a list of soldiers it interviewed who all said that everything Beauchamp said was either completely fabricated or, in the case of the bones, a small nugget of truth (they found some bones) twisted into a completely fabricated story.

    And Foer’s response is “Well, these soldiers that we interviewed whose names we can’t release still stand by the story!” What are their names Franklin? We’ll never know. Franklin’s Unknown Soldiers, fighting for truth and justice. Somewhere. With their name tags blanked out and always wearing ski masks. Because it’s all a cover-up, man, and besides, Franklin Foer can’t torpedo his career by admitting that he got Glassed, again. The man would never find gainful journalistic employment again, unless the HuffPo pays a salary these days. Come to think of it, that would neither be gainful nor journalistic employment either.

    The Braying One’s posts as usual show a complete acceptance of the assertions of Franklin Foer at face value and complete rejection of the Army’s far more credible evidence based on nothing other than the Braying One’s ideological bent.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  73. So instead of reviewing the available facts of the matter, Joe Citizen has decided that because the Army has apparently chronically “lied in the past” (when?) that The New Republic’s story and the Army’s are of equal credibility.

    All I can say to that is, we need to start teaching logic in public schools again, because we’ve got ourselves a country that doesn’t understand basic critical thinking.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  74. All I can say to that is, we need to start teaching logic in public schools again, because we’ve got ourselves a country that doesn’t understand basic critical thinking.

    No kidding.

    Paul (66339f)


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