August 11, 2007

The Right to Remain Silent

It appears that Bill Roggio and I were working parallel paths in running down--or perhaps over--the claims made in The New Republic's latest Scott Beauchamp defense, which consists of failing to take responsibility for their repeated editorial failings, and attempting to blame-shift all their ills on to the Army:

...we continue to investigate the anecdotes recounted in the Baghdad Diarist. Unfortunately, our efforts have been severely hampered by the U.S. Army. Although the Army says it has investigated Beauchamp's article and has found it to be false, it has refused our--and others'--requests to share any information or evidence from its investigation. What's more, the Army has rejected our requests to speak to Beauchamp himself, on the grounds that it wants "to protect his privacy."

But that isn't exactly the truth, is it? The Army has a legal obligation not to release the investigation's findings, with confidentiality being Beauchamp's right. Funny, how TNR decided not to publish that little detail.

As for who Beauchamp communicates with and why, Roggio reports:

I recently emailed Col. Steve Boylan asking for whatever information he could provide regarding the status of the investigation of Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Here is his response:

His commands investigation is complete. At this time, there is no formal what we call Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) actions being taken. However, there are other Administrative actions or what we call Non-Judicial Punishment that can be taken if the command deems appropriate. These are again administrative in nature and as such are not releasable to the public by law.

We are not stonewalling anyone. There are official statements that are out there are on the record from several of us and nothing has changed.

We are not preventing him from speaking to TNR or anyone. He has full access to the Morale Welfare and Recreation phones that all the other members of the unit are free to use. It is my understanding that he has been informed of the requests to speak to various members of the media, both traditional and non-traditional and has declined. That is his right.

We will not nor can we force a Soldier to talk to the media or his family or anyone really for that matter in these types of issues.

We fully understand the issues on this. What everyone must understand is that we will not breach the rights of the Soldier and this is where this is at this point.

I contacted Major Steven Lamb this afternoon to once more ask about about Beauchamp's ability to communicate. You may remember that five days ago he had stated that:

...the PAO system is only responding to specific inquiries, and little more is expected to be released unless PV-2 Beauchamp decides to discuss the matter further, which he is free to do.

I wanted to check in, to see if that was still the case.

It is:

All Soldiers have access to make morale calls however Beauchamp is not conducting interviews right now in order to protect his privacy and rights.

It would appear that Beauchamp has the ability to make calls, but no desire to speak any further with the media at this time, including The New Republic.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 11, 2007 10:02 PM

its just a flesh wound.
alright, we'll call it a draw.

For reference watch this youTube clip.

Posted by: scott thomas at August 11, 2007 10:16 PM

In other words, Beauchamp can tell all, but won't.
Only the Army is prohibited from telling all.

I see a future as a Democratic Senator for Beauchamp.

Posted by: GeorgeH at August 11, 2007 10:17 PM

If he hadn't sworn about his conduct under oath, I'm sure Bochie would be seeking the same kind of privacy that Broadway Joe Wilson and Vanity Flame sought.

TNR has absolutely no reason to be disingenuous at this point. Expecting the stories to be true at this point is about as likely as expecting monkeys to fly out of Foer's ass. Foer seems like a pretty demented character, though, so I would not put that out of the realm of possibilities and liberals kepp claiming colorful and wide ranging sex practices, so you never know. The same sex practices are automatically wrong if engaged in by conservatives, however.

Stop lying TNR.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 12, 2007 12:38 AM

Wanna bet TNR burns Beauchamp to save its own skin?

Posted by: Joanne at August 12, 2007 03:16 AM

TNR is so dense and ignorant about how the military works they still don't get it.

A formal investigation occurred on the charges Beauchamp levied in his articles. Beauchamp fully recanted and noone else in his unit came forward and said they did occur.
Therefore the Army had no Judicially punishable crimes to investigate/prosecute.

Now they have given back to the unit to work as a Non-Judicial punishment (Article 15) so Beauchamps commander is deciding what to do with him.

Perhaps TNR should fire Foer and higher someone who's at least spent a hitch in the military.

Posted by: Poppy at August 12, 2007 06:48 AM

"Wanna bet TNR burns Beauchamp to save its own skin?
Posted by: Joanne at August 12, 2007 03:16 AM "

I think they already are....they've changed the way they view his truthermusings to "anecdotes". I see that as throwing him underthebus. Its a slow slide while trying to maintain their pride.

Posted by: mrclark at August 12, 2007 08:00 AM

This is pretty much the end for TNR. Either they clean it up now or they start to be obviously - and literally - stupid.

There's no more denying. Every single significant thing they've said has been established as false.

Either Beauchamp is lying to TNR about his access to phones or TNR is lying to its readers. My guess is he told his wife they wouldn't let him use the phone, she told TNR, and of course they accepted that without verifying it because, sigh, it reflects poorly on the US military. Sound familiar?

Either Beauchump can use the phone or he can't. The Army says he can and has been able to do so but is refusing interviews. Does anyone think at this point the Army would lie about that? As high profile as this has become?

Because if you think that I have a bridge for sale.

Posted by: DaveW at August 12, 2007 09:05 AM

So, SBT can talk to anyone he wants to, but will not talk to TNR.

How about his wife? Is he talking to her, and if so, why would TNR claim he's incommunicado? They've got her right there in the office. They should ask her and then they should tell us.

Or, they should just give it up and start firing people with Foer the first out the door.

Posted by: Pablo at August 12, 2007 09:25 AM

If you compare the quote from TNR in HotAir's take-down of their latest defense with the version of it currently on TNR's web page, you'll note the ironic fact that they had to correct Beauchamp's age from 24 to 23. So, in their description of how carefully they've fact-checked everything, they couldn't even get their own source's age correct....

TNR now:

TNR then (as I'm sure directly copied-and-pasted by Bryan):

Posted by: notropis at August 12, 2007 10:40 AM

TNR as an institution may have realized early on in this whole fiasco that they'd blown it. Since then, they've been flailing around and stalling for time, balancing their reputation before their subscribers and defenders versus their reputation before the world. They couldn't be seen as going down without a fight merely because people with "ideological agendas" were "smearing" them with "reckless" charges.

People who haven't been paying close attention, who are center-left or left politically, and who don't really want to see a venerable magazine like TNR take another hit, have consistently found excuses for Foer and the rest. Yet we're approaching the last act, which was always destined to be associated with STB's confession. He could have recanted very publically, and could still. Refraining from answering TNR's calls serves a similar purpose: It gives TNR the freedom to cut him loose. Once Foer has cut STB loose, TNR is free to cut Foer loose. It could all happen at once in a single statement from Foer, as hinted at in TNR's last statement, after all of the obfuscations and bad faith pronouncements that have drawn all the attention.

Posted by: CK MacLeod at August 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Notropis: 'note the ironic fact that they had to correct Beauchamp's age from 24 to 23. So, in their description of how carefully they've fact-checked everything, they couldn't even get their own source's age correct""

How dare you sir, Beauchamp is in a war and as we all know who actually served, you do not age during wartime. I am sure TNR simply fact checked that and found that time stops in combat and thus, he is still 23. I am tired of these chickenhawks thinking they have some clue about time in a war for heavens sake!

Posted by: Poppy at August 12, 2007 11:52 AM

I think TNR already provided us their defense.

Quote: ""publishing a first-person essay from a war zone requires a measure of faith in the writer.""

FAITH: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

See, we didn't need, and didn't have, proof or evidence, we had FAITH.

Next will come the ...we 'lost FAITH' in our writer...

Posted by: Poppy at August 12, 2007 11:57 AM

Hmm. One one hand, we have TNR, which has asserted that the Army is preventing Pvt. Beauchamp from speaking with them, because if he did, why, he'd confirm everything that TNR believes to be true and further, would confirm the Army's continuing repression of the truthy--er, truth--of the Army's continuing, er, repression, which is the sole factor preventing TNR from conducting the complete and unbiased reporting of the truthiness--er, truth--for which it has earned such a well-deserved reputation. True, for the Army to do as TNR wishes would violate the law and Beauchamp's privacy, but what's important here? The rule of law and the protection of an individual soldier or journalistic truthiness?

On the other hand, we have a private who has repeatedly shot himself in the foot. Could it be that he doesn't want to keep shooting himself in the foot, for his sake and that of his wife and family, even though the Army refuses to away his rifle and ammunition and refuses to shoot him itself? Not terribly truthy, that, but probably the most likely explanation.

Posted by: Mike at August 12, 2007 01:02 PM

I am sure Private Beauchamp is spending his time thoroughly documenting the facts behind his claims. Names, dates, places, pictures. You chickenhawks sure will be sorry.

Posted by: FFoer at August 12, 2007 01:59 PM

Of course, what TNR is really saying is that they're pissed that the Army won't violate Beauchamp's rights.

Of course, if the Army did violate Beauchamp's right to privacy, you know how thick the holier-than-thou sanctimony coming out of TNR and the left in general would be.

I daresay the Army is doing the right thing this time by standing behind the law. Makes TNR look like a bunch of whiners... which doesn't really take a lot of effort, since that's what they are.

Posted by: C-C-G at August 12, 2007 08:10 PM

Are these people just gonna deny deny at the expense of all credibility? It's only going to get worse for them if they keep this up.

Show some transparency TNR, maybe even bring a panel to look at your story or something. And to think I was really about to get a subscription to that magazine...

Posted by: Mark E. at August 12, 2007 11:12 PM

UCMJ 101. If his command deciedes to give ex-PFC Beauchamp non judicial punishment for his actions (Article 15):

A. He has the right to request a Court Martial in lieu of an Article 15. Remember the first episode of Band of Brothers (the boring one) where Ross from Friends tries to bust Winters for some BS and he requests a Court Martial. The down side of doing this is that Court Martial punishments are more severe.

B. He has the right to request an open public hearing, where anyone can attend. This is only a request and his command can deny him an open hearing.

As a side note, a command can also DENY a soldier's request for a closed hearing and keep it open. This is tricky because an open hearing could be considered public humiliation, a mitigating factor.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at August 13, 2007 07:54 AM

How can Rove quit before he sees this plot to fruition? Bastard.

Posted by: daleyrocks at August 13, 2007 08:30 AM

What do you people mean by "TNR is going to throw STB under the bus?" As I see it, it's the other way around. STB told TNR that he stands by his stories and then turns around and recants to the Army. Now he won't talk to TNR at all after they staked their fortunes on his story being true.

It is Scott Thomas Beauchamp who threw TNR under the bus, not the other way around.

Posted by: T.Ferg at August 13, 2007 09:13 AM

Are these people just gonna deny deny at the expense of all credibility?

Sure. It works for AP and Reuters, it will work for them.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 13, 2007 09:46 AM


1. If TNR wishes to have any hope at all of retaining some shred of credibility then TNR is going to have to name the various soldiers who supposedly "corroborated" Beauchamp's various stories.

So far TNR has made it an explicit rule to not identify anyone who has supposedly either corroborated Beauchamp or provided expert opinion, that supposedly corroborated Beauchamp.

2. Since the US military isn't impeding TNR's access to Beauchamp, which I really could see anyways once the investigation is over, then all TNR has to do is get Beauchamp to sign a physical document that states that everything he wrote is true and to post an image of that document, with signature, on the web.

That is the clearest refutation of any possible recantation by Beauchamp that's been rumored.

3. No I don't think that TNR is going to be able to pull this off. I think TNR has gotten in way over it's head and that this stuff won't die down and go away by the time TNR comes back from it's vacation.

So I think the next thing that needs to be discussed by the blogs is just what kind of punishment would be right for this kind of infraction?

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