October 26, 2007

The Never-Ending Story

Franklin Foer, Peter Scoblic, Jason Zengerle and other senior editors at The New Republic can't quite seem to get their hands on enough information to complete their investigation into the Scott Thomas Beauchamp "Shock Troops" story published in mid-July.

As someone who has had a bit of success in separating the facts from the fiction in this and other instances of questionable media content, I can offer them some free consulting advice to expedite their final report.

In yesterday's Washington Post interview with Howard Kurtz, Franklin Foer made the following claim:

Despite the contentious conversation, Foer continued to defend the article days later. He did so again yesterday, reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.

While Beauchamp "didn't stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn't recant his stories," Foer said in an interview. "He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him."

We'll overlook the fact that his commanding officer was not in the room. We'll also overlook the fact that the enlisted squad leader actually sided with Foer and Scoblic in their argument that TNR should be allowed to control the narrative and cancel interviews with both Newsweek and the Post. And we'll overlook that the only obvious duress in the transcript was Foer using the emotional blackmail regarding Beauchamp's wife and the further strong-arm tactics of reminding Beauchamp that if he recanted, any future career of his as a writer is over.

We'll ignore all that for now, because want to get to the truth.

So let's focus on this part of the claim:

...reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.

There are 58 pages of sworn statements currently under legal review at Central Command's FOIA Office in Tampa that seem to directly disagree with that assertion, so let's get the facts as we know them out in the open.

To date, The New Republic has been very vague about the specific claims of these anonymous soldiers, including how many soldiers support each allegation, what their relative positions are within the company or incident that puts them in a position to support their allegations and what, precisely, they said in support of their allegations. I think that it is quite reasonable for the editors to release the full claims, if not the names of the claimant.

In addition, specific questions about each anecdote need to be answered for these claims to be regarded as truthful.

The Burned Woman Claim
In relation to the "burned woman" story, where Beauchamp claims to have verbally abused the apparent survivor of an IED attack in a dining facility that the author claims was especially crowded at that time, readers deserve to know: what was the date of the assault?

We don't need the specific day, but a week-long range—say, the first week of May, or the last week of September—that we can then compare that against the records of every known civilian contractor and military serviceperson on that base at the time, if nesessary.

The magazine cannot find asking for that detail of their sources to be objectionable, if they do still in fact maintain that she is real. The formal military investigation interviewed seven of Beauchamp's fellow soldiers and friends (and lists their names), and states they have never seen such a woman.

As a result the official report concluded that this story is "a tale completely fabricated by Private Beauchamp." If Franklin Foer and the other editors of TNR wish to contend this story is in fact true, they need to provide specific evidence stating why they think it is true, starting with when this supposedly took place.

The Skull Story
The second anecdote in "Shock Troops," was the one that triggered the formal military investigation as it involved the alleged desecration of human remains by U.S. soldiers. The author wrote:

...And, eventually, we reached the bones. All children's bones: tiny cracked tibias and shoulder blades. We found pieces of hands and fingers. We found skull fragments. No one cared to speculate what, exactly, had happened here, but it was clearly a Saddam-era dumping ground of some sort.

One private, infamous as a joker and troublemaker, found the top part of a human skull, which was almost perfectly preserved. It even had chunks of hair, which were stiff and matted down with dirt. He squealed as he placed it on his head like a crown. It was a perfect fit. As he marched around with the skull on his head, people dropped shovels and sandbags, folding in half with laughter. No one thought to tell him to stop. No one was disgusted. Me included.

The private wore the skull for the rest of the day and night. Even on a mission, he put his helmet over the skull. He observed that he was grateful his hair had just been cut--since it would make it easier to pick out the pieces of rotting flesh that were digging into his head.

The formal investigation relates a different reality.

Upon initial reconnaissance of the area that would become Combat Outpost Ellis, Captain Erik Pribyla reported seeing a "skull and what appeared to be a human femur" at the site. PFC Tracy King recovered the skull (I'd further note that in the wording of the report, the skull seems to be referred to as an intact skull, not fragments) and buried the remains with as much dignity as possible. The other bones recovered were apparently animal bones mixed in with household trash, and were "commonly found on Iraqi farmsteads in trash piles where they are dumped after a meal."

If Foer wishes to maintain that Beauchamp's anecdote is true and that his "other soldiers" support the claim, he needs to provide us with some concrete evidence that there were human remains recovered during the digging process.

To date, the only verified human bones near COP Ellis were those two found on the surface. As only a skull and femur were recovered, it would seem to suggest that they may have come from a body located elsewhere, perhaps the victim of sectarian violence. According to the report Beauchamp's sworn statement says he admits only seeing animal bones.

If The New Republic wants to continue insisting this story is accurate, perhaps they could start by having their soldiers explaining, in detail, how a soldier could wear "the top part of a human skull" under the form-fitting pads of MICH helmets while out on patrol without their squad leaders finding out.

The Bradley Story
Frankly, there is nothing at all that Foer's batch of anonymous corroborating soldiers could do to provide any credibility the dog-killing Bradley driver story. The geography of the land around COP Ellis, the handling characteristics of tracked vehicles, and the physics of the driver's visibility make this claim all but impossible. The editors of The New Republic even made a deceptive attempt to use an armored vehicle company expert to spin this claim, but that didn't turn out very well when he found out the whole story, which leads me to another point.

What About TNR's Other Hidden Experts?
In addition to the anonymous soldiers Franklin Foer claims still support the allegations made in "Shock Troops," TNR has still refused to name the civilian experts which the magazine claims provide technical arguments supporting the possibility that these allegations are true. As we found when we interviewed the Bradley Vehicle company spokesmen, it appears TNR asked purposefully vague questions, which led to predictably vague answers, which the New Republic then claimed as proof the stories were real.

As their civilian experts face no possible penalty from the military, it is incumbent upon Franklin Foer to reveal specifically what questions were asked of them, provide specifically what their answers are, and of course, tell us who these experts are.

And Yet...
Remarkably, even after the release of a formal, thoroughly-documented U.S. Army investigation two days ago which concludes the stories published in "Shock Troops" were false, and the release at the same time of a transcript that shows the author of the piece will not stand behind his story and wished to simply walk away from it seven weeks ago, the editors of The New Republic have not retracted the story, nor have they yet resigned.

What Could They Be Waiting On?
The answer is revealed in the transcript of the September 7 call, where Franklin Foer and Peter Scoblic repeatedly focus on getting the two sworn statements signed by Scott Beauchamp—to the point of conferencing in his TNR-appointed lawyer—to try to get Beauchamp to release them.

I'm not sure what Foer thinks he will find in those two sworn statements by Beauchamp that will carry more weight than the sworn statements of every other soldier interviewed during the course of the investigation that refute the allegations in "Shock Troops."

There is nothing in those statements that can vindicate The New Republic's utter lack of fact-checking this story prior to publication, and then deceiving their readership about this failure even as they are forced to shift a key "fact" to another country and time. Nor is there anything in Beauchamp's statement that can justify the attempt of TNR to unethically spin the testimony of experts that they apparently keep in the dark about the nature of the work for which they were being consulted.

Beauchamp's fiction was long ago superseded by the duplicity and unethical behavior of the senior editors of The New Republic.

Two sworn statements cannot erase that stain to the credibility of The New Republic that has been created by editors who refused to concede the reality that they uncritically allowed the publication of obvious fiction. Nor can these documents excuse the editorial failures and ethical breaches of the magazine's senior editors that seem rooted in their inablity to face valid questions brought about by some of their most vocal critics over differences of political ideology.

On September 7, Executive Editor Peter Scoblic asked Scott Beauchamp if he would object to The New Republic fully retracting not only "Shock Troops," but alsohis previous articles, "War Bonds," and "Dead of Night." Beauchamp did not object.

Exactly seven weeks later, the deceptions of the editors and author still remain unaddressed.

Update: "The Editors" of TNR have once again posted on the "Shock Troops" controversy, and they are still standing behind the story because they claim that Beauchamp called Franklin Foer at home two weeks after the recorded call and stood by everything:

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.

So if we are to beleive "The Editors," Scott Beauchamp called Franklin Foer at home two weeks after the transcribed call and claimed that he "continued to stand by every aspect of his story, except for the one inaccuracy he had previously admitted." That "inaccuracy," of course, being the placement of a woman that nobody else has ever seen in a different country (Kuwait) and time (pre-combat) than the country in which she had not been seen in previously (Iraq).

Sadly, this claimed conversation comes at a time when Beauchamp seemed to have rededicated himself to his fellow soldiers and has been making a concerted effort to re-earn their trust. If true, it would certainly damage the hopes his superior officers had of rehabilitating an already problematic Army career.

Update: Someone get Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger a stick. He's going to need it to scrape Franklin Foer off his shoe.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 26, 2007 12:29 PM

Didn't I also read that Beauchamp's wife is no longer with TNR? Where does her leaving fit into the timeline of that threat?

Posted by: Phoenix at October 26, 2007 12:42 PM
What Could They Be Waiting On?

We've seen it before -- they're trying to locate their corroborating witness.

Posted by: capitano at October 26, 2007 12:57 PM

I've always wondered why liberals keep lying. I think I figured it out. No matter how blatant the lie those with a severe case of BDS will believe it. There are plenty of people inflicted with this disease and they are consumers. TNR believes there are enough of them to keep the magazine going.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at October 26, 2007 01:24 PM

Foer is the print equivalent of Ted Rall. Totally lacking in any manhood whatsoever. Using Beauchamp's wife's job status at TNR to threaten him strikes the right note with these guys: totally gutless. These TNR boys had better be very careful what they say about the Army officers who investigated this case, because they just might be opening themselves up to defamation suits. Finally, I agree with Mark Steyn: WHEN is the Canadian family who owns TNR going to fire these guys?

Posted by: Teutonic Tribe Medicine Man at October 26, 2007 01:26 PM

This is the best part of TNR's post:

"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."

Funny how everything's common denominator is something that can't be provable. All they have is their imagination.

Posted by: NJ at October 26, 2007 01:28 PM

We've created a helpful infographic showing how far TNR editor Franklin Foer has dug himself and his editorial staff:

Posted by: ExurbanJon at October 26, 2007 01:30 PM

As much as I like Mark Steyn, I can't buy his claim that the Asper (sp?) family, Canadians who own TNR, are marvelous people. Don't they own a magazine that has spread malicious lies about troops? How is that marvelous?

I for one want to see their name connected at the hip with this mess. It should be the AsperFoerBeauchamp debacle.

Posted by: tfdad at October 26, 2007 01:45 PM

Keep kickin' them to the curb!!!!

Posted by: T.Ferg at October 26, 2007 01:56 PM

I'm not sure what Foer thinks he will find in those two sworn statements by Beauchamp that will carry more weight than the sworn statements of every other soldier interviewed during the course of the investigation that refute the allegations in "Shock Troops."

They think they will find an abscence of the words: I recant, or I do not stand by theses stories.

They are attempting to do what Mary Mapes did when she says, I am being condemned for using faxed copies of documents.

In short they are changing the subject by implying that the right wing smear machine or whatever they call us has falsely said that Beuchamp recanted when he simply said something else.

To them if they can make it about what Beuchamp did or did not say to the Army they hope they can deflect attention from themselves.

Weak and desperate, but what did you expect?

Posted by: J. Lichty at October 26, 2007 02:40 PM

Has anyone asked the Army whether TNR has received the FOIA docs it requested?

To my mind, this has all the earmarks of a "preemptive leak", meant to provide TNR the opportunity to huff, puff and change the subject to the leak.

Posted by: JeanneB at October 26, 2007 02:40 PM

JeanneB, to get documents one must first file FOIA requests. Among many questions unanswered by TNR is if or when they filed such. Word is, they haven't... If they haven't, that makes their claims that the Army is obstructing them quite the lie doesn't it?

Posted by: Laughing Wolf at October 26, 2007 02:44 PM

Perhaps it's not too surprising, but Andrew Sullivan buys the latest TNR posting on the Beauchamp affair lock, stock and barrel. He doesn't understand how the "right wing blogosphere" can have any concerns with what Beauchamp wrote, which he characterizes as "...these typical shenanigans..." of our soldiers, and not be really upset at true outrages of soldier brutality.

Posted by: Terry at October 26, 2007 03:04 PM

"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."

BUT, BUT, BUT...I thought TNR said the Army was muzzling STB and keeping him from communicating with the outside world?

Another TNR lie, Also they kept this lie going knowing it was untrue because they asked STB to cancel interviews with other news outlets.

Posted by: Timber at October 26, 2007 03:07 PM

Bob, possibility STB sent the doc's to Drudge? just tossing it out there.

Posted by: Boss429 at October 26, 2007 03:15 PM

While he's at it, could Foer let us know where to buy square backed ammo? I've fact-checked and fact-checked, and can't find it anywhere. Maybe his multiple layers can help.

Posted by: mrobvious at October 26, 2007 03:16 PM
Bob, possibility STB sent the doc's to Drudge? just tossing it out there.

I'd say that possibility is exceedingly slim, verging on none.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 26, 2007 03:28 PM

Wait, if STB recanted his confession (as Foer says he did in the private conversation), shouldn't the army re-open the investigation? He could still be in big trouble!

Posted by: Stacy In Tucson at October 26, 2007 03:29 PM

1. Ownership of TNR is behind their staff 100% and their position is safe because they are rich.

2. Scott Beauchamp is working both sides of the street. He hopes to get rich.

3.His unit officers are being good guys and are accepting his manipulations because they are good guys. They won't get rich.

Sooner or later you'll see I'm right.

Posted by: glenn at October 26, 2007 03:49 PM

I could see Ellie sending it to drudge, she was fired...

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at October 26, 2007 03:55 PM

Two things that strike me about TNR's latest posting... First of all they are criticizing the Army for not proving that something didn't happen. They said that the Army hasn't provided any proof that the allegations are false. Shouldn't it be TNR's responsibility to proove that it did happen? How does the Army prove a negative?

Second, the only proof there is of Foer and Beauchamp's private conversation is the word of TNR editors who have already lied about the "facts" in this story.

I guess the editors at TNR haven't heard about the first rule of holes... When trying to get out of one... stop digging.

Jim C

Posted by: Jim C at October 26, 2007 04:21 PM

If TNR actually believes the stories they published are true then they why aren't they condemning the actions described in these reports and calling for the prosecution of these individuals as they did with the misconduct of the Abu Ghareh prison guards? If these things happened the soldiers involved should be prosecuted. If they didn't TNR needs to fess up on their screw up in reporting an explosive but anonymously sourced and thinly supported story.
It seems pretty clear to even the most casual observer where the truty lies. I wonder how much longer TNR thinks they can keep this up?

Posted by: crazy at October 26, 2007 04:31 PM

I don't know what is and anti-war liberals having this huge desire to make things looks so much worse here than they truly are...well...yeah...i know the reason...but you would think they would at least try to make up stuff that is believable. I have a co-worker out here that is very liberal and very illegal-Iraq-war-spouter (yet she don't mind making some bucks off of it, so I guess she isn't that much against it) and in her blog on MySpace yesterday we had to reprimand her big time for total fabrications, flat out lies and major OPSEC violations. Just one example is minutes after an attack on our base she is blogging about it to the world and her version is no where near reality which is a huge security risk especially when she starts telling of protective measures and movements in place for our safety. Thankfully she will be gone in 1 month, but it wouldn't suprise me one bit if she didn't become the latest "phony soldier" who is the darling of the left. I'll be keeping an eye on her after she leaves in case she does though.

Posted by: CajunTiger at October 26, 2007 04:34 PM

Bob or Laughing Wolf,

You could file a FOIA request seeking the log of FOIA requests to discover whether TNR has filed a request.

Posted by: Karl at October 26, 2007 04:40 PM


If I were TNR, I would have filed the FOIA's, and written them in such a way--or asked for information I know is restricted from FOIA's--in order to make sure I was denied. With denial comes justification (in their minds).

Then, when the Army has denied certain aspects of the FOIA's, use that denial as a way to show that TNR is once again having their investigation "stonewalled" by the Army. Cry "foul" and say now we'll never know because the Army is holding documents. So, there is nothing more that can be done--we know we were right, but now we can't prove it--and let's move on...

Trust me, it's been done before in other FOIA's (but not mine).

As you know, I'm very familiar with FOIA's in federal circles. However, I haven't seen a copy of their FOIA requests--so if you get a copy of TNR's FOIA requests, send it over to me. I'll give it a look and let you know what I think they might be doing.

But if it were me, that's how I would bail out of the TNR hellhole. It's just stupid, shallow, and twisted enough for them to try to use it to justify their actions in their own minds and save themselves in the eyes of the conspiracy-blinded readers they have left.

Posted by: WB at October 26, 2007 04:50 PM

As I mentioned in my humble blog yesterday, Foer also uttered a new lie to Kurtz, and one that's trivial to disprove. He said that Beauchamp was intimidated in the leaked call (the one that Foer and Scoblic kept under wraps as part of their cover-up, until it slipped away) because his commanding officer was there. But the transcript itself (1.pdf from Drudge) makes it clear who was there... a staff sergeant squad leader, and a sp/4 -- the rank Beauchamp himself would be by now if he could only stop screwing up -- from PAO. I mean, PAO didn't even care enough to send a second lieutenant.

Yes, privates are intimidated by staff sergeants, but then they get out of basic and get over it. Scott got out of basic ages ago and he's since been reamed out by every rank from other privates to full bird colonel, so he's not too likely to be very intimidated by his squad leader.

You don't have to serve in the military to know who is an officer and who isn't. I had it figured out by age seven or so. But Fabricating Franklin Foer is completely incurious about the military -- he knows he hates it, and the people in it, and that's all he needs to know.

As far as the threat (apparently subsequently carried out) to Elspeth Reeve is concerned, it's hard to feel very sorry for a woman foolish enough to let herself be used by both Foer and Beauchamp. Beauchamp may have some potential, but Foer -- in bringing this up -- demonstrates an incredible degree of pettiness and moral turpitude. Men don't settle differences with men by hiding behind their women. But Fabricating Franklin does. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien at October 26, 2007 04:57 PM


If any of the guys in Beauchamp's unit believes TNR's latest, they just put his life in danger.

Not because they'd shoot him - but if they don't trust him .....

Let's see Foer's phone records .... if Beauchamp called them or Foer called Beauchamp, there should be phone records.

And if Foer can't produce them - - - HE ought to be hung.

Posted by: BD at October 26, 2007 05:00 PM

And if the Army was really smart they'ed get Pvt Beauchamp out of Iraq RIGHT NOW, so he doesn't get killed in action.

Posted by: glenn at October 26, 2007 05:25 PM

Beauchamp won't get fragged. Nobody would bother.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 26, 2007 05:34 PM

First off, given the utter ignorance about the military being displayed by TNR's editors, one suspects that "commanding officer" here is supposed to mean "boss."

Thus, a sergeant is a "commanding officer," as is a general, or a colonel, or a captain.

Second, one suspects that Foer trading away Beauchamp's life for "preserving" TNR's credibility would be a no-brainer. Indeed, this "leak" plays quite well for TNR.

If Beauchamp were killed on patrol, one suspects that it'd be portrayed as a deliberate Army attempt to silence him (comparable to the charges about Tillman). If his buddies let him walk into an IED, then it's proof that the Army's made up of the sorts who would make fun of a disfigured woman.

If Beauchamp were released from the military, he'd then have the choice of coming across as a liar to someone. My guess is that Foer and company would make it worth Beauchamp's while to claim it was Army pressure that made him issue a non-recanting recant.

If Beauchamp sticks by the Army, then Foer and company, who are far better known to other magazine writers, would use this to blacklist him from the field. (This is implied in the first transcript, when they ask him what he is going to do, if he intends to continue writing.)

All in all, Scott Thomas Beauchamp's managed to back himself into an ugly corner. And he's no one to blame but himself.

Posted by: Lurking Observer at October 26, 2007 06:05 PM

What happened to the Ted Rall reader (5:34)?

Posted by: David Jay at October 26, 2007 06:18 PM

I don't know how they did it, but I just watched this play out in a movie on the IFC channel. In the end all the reporters and editors sign an apology. Oh wait, that was the Stephan Glass story, not the Beauchamp story. There are just so many of these making up the news stories today that it is hard to keep them all straight.

Posted by: Mekan at October 26, 2007 06:28 PM

Well, look at it this way: This may be the last semi-mainstream publishing job the TNR editors ever get. They need to stretch this gig for as many paychecks as they can.

Posted by: Randy at October 26, 2007 06:31 PM

Almost forgot....I bet Beauchamp knows what Knight Ridder is.

Posted by: Mekan at October 26, 2007 06:32 PM

Bob - fine work! - I paypalled a thank you. I have a son in the Army and this means a lot

Posted by: Frank G at October 26, 2007 07:49 PM

If true, it would certainly damage the hopes his superior officers had of rehabilitating an already problematic Army career.

Of course this post should end with completely unfounded speculation and opinion...which is pretty much the hallmark of this "story."

Posted by: Xanthippas at October 26, 2007 08:20 PM

I'm a little confused by TNR's infantile attitude that it's the Army that has to this and the Army that has to that, while TNR screwed their readership withholding all kinds of crap.

The IRONY of someone in the Army having to leak stuff to get the truth out because the so-called truth tellers are hiding it is hilarious.

I am betting Michael Yon's post just messed with TNR bad. They are setting STB up to take the hit and rehabilitate Foer.

See, Foer blew his opportunity to throw STB under a train so they are working towards setting it up for a second chance at the train throwing.

Their stonewalling and then this tardy response was ONLY and effort to put on record that STB called Foer alone and stood by the story - if STB finally does recant? TNR and Foer will say STB has been lying to TNR and STB all this time and they were brave people sticking by what they thought was an honorable soldiers word, aka - not their fault.

But what is truly knee slappingingly funny, is that they put their faith to save their asses in a man who would laugh at a suffering injured women and enjoy killing dogs and wearing the remains of the dead.

Posted by: Timber at October 26, 2007 08:57 PM

One certain take-away from this TNR experience that competent journalists should remember is that they shouldn't Greenwald by attributing anything to "anonymous sources." Anonymous sources are increasingly figments of incompetent journalists imaginations to help prop up bogus arguments.

This quick exercise should help many avoid this basic mistake. Repeat the following sentence five times, and then apply the same treatment whenever you read the phrase "anonymous sources" and you'll start recognizing the errors of the Greenwald method:

"It was reported by an anonymous, c'est moi, source."

If it helps, imagine Glenn Greenwald holding up his sock puppet in his right hand while posting with his left, disguising the origins of his clever and crafty support for the brilliance observations of Glenn Greenwald. Hold your own hand up while repeating that line five times, and make your hand puppet mouth the words.

Anonymous sources never, ever have material value except for serving as a tip for content which is completely and totally verified by other credible means.

Posted by: redherkey at October 26, 2007 09:01 PM

I think people are putting all the blame on TNR and letting Beauchamp off the hook here. I disagree

Posted by: docweasel at October 26, 2007 09:21 PM

Doc Weasel, your name is well chosen.

If you'd go back and read CY's earlier postings, and our comments on it--including my own humble contributions--you'd see that you are in error.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 26, 2007 09:49 PM

Franklin Foer has (DRFSDS) Dan Rather False Story Denial Syndrome.

Posted by: George at October 26, 2007 11:56 PM

Posted by redherkey at October 26, 2007 09:01 PM

So, in other words -- to FUBAR a story = to pull a Greenwald?

I buy that.

Posted by: Timber at October 27, 2007 12:04 AM

So is TNR lying, or do the editors actually think this story happened? I say they think this is what happened, and they will continue to believe it no matter what.

Posted by: Mike at October 27, 2007 12:05 AM

Franklin Foer has (DRFSDS) Dan Rather False Story Denial Syndrome.

AKA -- > BDS

Posted by: Timber at October 27, 2007 12:06 AM

One thing in the last Foer revelation on his alleged conversation with TSB at his home. He stated that TSB told him he was under duress and that his commanding officer had threatened to take away privileges.
In the transcript during the conversation in September it certainly appeared that his squad leader knew about interviews that TSB was planning on giving and if so, what was he planning on talking about to them about if not whether or not he would stand by his stories? And from his squad leaders input it seemed he was implying it would be better that the story be discussed with the outlet that first printed the stories.
Another thing that is bothersome to me professionaly. As an investigator who has conducted hundreds,if not in the thousands, of interviews and interrogations during criminal investigations I find it improbable that with all the interviews if in fact there was any substance to the claims TSB made someone would not have said something. Either out of self preservation, a guilty conscious or spite someone would have said something.
Now I will qualify that last observation with a caveat. Line officers are not trained investigators who conduct interviews on a daily basis so there is that to consider. But with 2 - 3 persons conducting interviews I would be comfortable in my last observation.

Posted by: Five_O_Adviser_n_Iraq at October 27, 2007 08:00 AM


Something that is germane to the issue is Ms Beauchamp.

They refer to her in the article and raise questions about her job future.

You pointed out that commentary on the Facebook page showed she had departed from TNR and now worked according to Patrick Gavin she now works for Mike Grunwald.

At the time of your post she was still on the masthead for TNR and she no longer is. From a goggle search to access a cached version of her history at TNR her last article was dated 6/20/07.

Since their latest update includes her in the issue, perhaps they can confirm her employment status with TNR rather than maybe just forget to report she is no longer with them.

This out to be simple. They don't need a FOIA to find out, there should be no DOD red tape to fight and they can even just have a look around the office and ask around if they need to investigate her status. Heck I am sure some of the female staff may even check for her in the little girl's room to see if she is powdering her nose or something.

Posted by: JustADude at October 27, 2007 08:40 AM

Michael Yon did an article about Beauchamp and says he is working withing his troop to maybe have his second chance.

Now from the reporting by Foer they seem to propose that he after the transcript call still is not backing down from his position, which is different from the take you get from Michael Yon.

I sure hope TNR isn't playing fast and loose with this because their report will be read by those over in Iraq and could have major impacts on how command members view Beauchamp in his efforts to rehabilitate himself among them.

Posted by: JustADude at October 27, 2007 09:03 AM

You have to wonder whether any of these folks posting silly comments have ever been in the army. It must be obvious to even the most dim that this guy is getting a lot of heat from the army and from experience I can tell you they know how to apply heat. They have also obviously been curtailing his ability to communicate. It's hard to see how that can be denied although it will be by those eager to make some kind of point regardless of how small the point is. That's the biggest mystery in all this. As a story this got a nano second of attention on the national stage, I'd say 95% of the US population have never heard of Private Beauchamp. It's going to have zero impact on the public perception of what's going on in Iraq, about which the public seems to have made up its mind. And yet still bloggers and magazines, usually conservative, are devoting millions of words to this non story. Why? What are they hoping to prove. That a paper cut is as important as an amputation.

Posted by: Otto at October 27, 2007 09:15 AM

Does your nano second [sic] include the op-ed in this morning's Wall Street Journal?

Posted by: A at October 27, 2007 09:45 AM


Many of us have military service, some of us are retired after many years of service.

I don't know which rock you were under but there were many national stories on this and Rush Limbaugh had it on his show for over a week with over 20 million a day listeners. Other talk shows, magazines , blogs , Drudge, news sites of the MSM and political blogs and such.

And yes it is all about perception. Those of us who proudly served in war and peace saw what happened to returning veterans of the VietNam war and have seen to posers who either never were in the service or really were for some amount of time, but then misrepresented their service accomplishments/rank/job status/training and falsely smeared the military with tales of atrocities and mis conduct that were made from whole cloth.

As veterans or current active duty we are not ever again going to remain silent and allow smears that try to do the same thing or false stories that cast a bad reputation on conduct of our men and women at arms.

Beyond that this story in particular has been debunked and now it is about the credibility of TNR who chose to take up this issue with the publication of the false stories of Beauchamp and have chosen their path of action after the issue was brought into question.

Now we are into the area beyond the story issue itself and going to the base credibility of a magazine that has had false stories in the past.

Having said that TNR's representations of positions of Beauchamp they say he is taking have major impact on his current status and well being in Iraq. Also there is potential that if more information is revealed that Beauchamp is still insisting the stories are valid and has possibly signed sworn declarations contrary to that he could be brought up on additional charges based on continued contrary claims to his statements.

We will accept valid debate on the issues relating to the military but will not take damage that is not warranted.

Combine that with some of the questionable positions taken by various political personalities and allegations such as Haditha which are pretty much falling apart we can see we have issues to stand up for and they do affect the national stage and are relevant to the war in Iraq and elsewhere.

Your minimization of the issue is pathetically wrong headed.

It may be a non issue to you, but for we veterans and active and families and friends it is an issue for us.

Even if it did not affect others in the country we will stand up for our service and our honor and we will never again stand by and see what was done to those post VietNam service members.

Posted by: JustADude at October 27, 2007 10:15 AM


The continued interest in this on-going story is due to a pattern in the MSM (of which TNR is a part) and other supposedly "honorable, truthful, intelligent" outlets, that claim to have "journalistic integrity" and purport to tell us the un-varnished truth. These outlets do indeed have an agenda. They are engaged in a battle to change the course of the direction of our society and are apparently trying to sway the masses via the discourse of their respective mediums. Well their "truths" are not always that un-varnished. When they attempt to smear our serving troops with a(false) broad brush that is damning to what Our troops are trying to accomplish,it has far reaching effects in any number of areas.
As military folks, former military, or friends/family of those; or those just plain concerned that the military is being painted as evil/incompetent by the idiots in the Senate/Congress, Code Pink,TNR, etc... Well, this is a battle; a battle of ideologies. We don't mind fighting fairly, and addressing true accounts of military misbehavior, which does (infrequently) occur, but the fake stories are much more frequent, and damning. Well, since this is a battle of not just ideologies, but of truth and lies, we just want to make sure that the lies are exposed, lest the vast majority does not accept them as truth.
Yes, STB may only be a "small, insignificant" story that 95% of the populace has never heard of, but.... "For the want of a nail"

Posted by: Jack Coonan at October 27, 2007 10:27 AM

You'll never change Otto's mind, he's a far left wing fanatical kook who's drank the kool-aid. To the military haters like Otto they'll believe any story that's negative to our troops, it's all about the narrative.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at October 27, 2007 11:44 AM

Otto, let us assume, just for the sake of the argument, that you are correct and that Beauchamp was restricted by the Army.

So friggin' what?

Two things you seem to have overlooked in your BDS-inspired zeal:

(1) Beauchamp is a member of the Army and therefore is subject to all the rules and regulations thereof, including many that do not apply to non-military citizens. That includes restrictions on communications, I believe, though I myself have never served (can't--disability--call me a chicken hawk if you wish).

(2) Beauchamp was involved in violations of the above mentioned rules and regulations, therefore his ability to communicate was restricted during the investigation, so as to keep him from deliberately muddying the waters. It is also highly probable that since his violations involved communication, that a part of his punishment involved restrictions of communications.

In short, your allegations themselves show the depths of your own ignorance.

Thank you for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 27, 2007 12:01 PM

I see that the always execrable John Cole has put up a lengthy post that attempts to parody what he thinks he has read about the Beauchamp affair, but in reality is just another typical slime job on the troops by the loony Left. Apparently, the onset of dementia that is slowly overtaking Sullivan continues to spread to other similarly situated slugs.

Posted by: Terry at October 27, 2007 12:23 PM

Why do you find his stories so unbelievable? If someone on the scene wrote a description of what American soldiers were doing in Abu Ghraib, would you have believed him? Next time, Beauchamp should bring a camera.

Posted by: Joseph Winter at October 27, 2007 12:23 PM

Well Joseph, the Winter Soldier experience from the Vietnam tells us that atrocities and gross misbehaviors are the extreme exception, rather than the Baghdad Diaries rule.

Any more Abu Ghraibs come to mind? Didn't think so.

Also, Beauchamp wrote stuff that was either physically impossible (Bradley maneuvers), or so "out there" as to be unbelievable because the "progressive" media in Iraq would have picked up on that stuff much earlier, if such happened.

I understand that to "progressives," Abu Ghraib is a holy site, and the delinquent soldiers there--discovered and prosecuted by the Army, let's not forget (except the affirmative-action female BGEN who got off with a retirement)--are considered the norm. But realize, then, that soldiers that would laff at jihadis' winkies, and put panties on their heads, would pound the snot out of some punk mocking a contractor burn victim. Not "practically fall out of his chair laughing."

All part of the neo-con warmonger make up, doncha know?

Also, plenty of pressies, contractors and soldiers over there have cameras, and cell phone cameras. Didn't help our Scottie grow, did it?

Thanks for playing.


Posted by: Rick at October 27, 2007 02:22 PM

Mr. Winter, the Army investigated thoroughly and found no one who could corroborate those stories. That's why they're unbelievable.

If you know of a soldier who can corroborate them, please post his name, rank, and unit here so that we can get in touch with him/her.

Of course, you're going to fall back on TNR's statement that they have other sources, but since they refuse to give names, and none have come forward, that's about as credible as me saying I saw the Easter Bunny.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 27, 2007 02:57 PM

Addressing the communications restrictions... I am actually very surprised any non-NCO was allowed to have a cell phone in country. I am a company grade officer over here and we had very strict rules that no one (including our commanders) were allowed to bring cell phones. It has to do with operational security.

Adressing the claims made in the stories... If any of this did happen, which NCOs were supervising? The NCOs I work with don't even allow their subordinate Soldiers to horse around on the radio, much less with a multi-million dollar piece of equipment or human bones! This young man has made a mistake in making up stories and the Army has dealt with it. If he wishes to continue to serve, I am confident the Army will let him serve out his tour.

Posted by: abqjb at October 27, 2007 04:45 PM

Why do you find his stories so unbelievable?

For me its because nobody has stepped up to collect the $1,000 reward I've been offering for a corroborating account. The offer has stood since July 19th.

If you know someone who will corroborate STB's stories, by all means tell'em to step up and take my money. The ball is in your court now.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 27, 2007 08:42 PM

But don't you see, Purple, all good lefties know that ALL the people that have confirmed the story have approached you for the reward, you've just covered it up in order to keep from having to pay out and admit you're wrong!

You're in collusion with the Army and the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Wepubwicans to take over the country through a military coup, crush all dissenting voices, and put the even eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeviler Joooooooooooooooos in positions of power.

[shaking head]

Wow. Must have channeled a "troofer" there for a moment. Sorry about that.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 27, 2007 09:45 PM

I'm curious how Otto's mind works.

Otto writes that it's "obvious" that the Army is curtailing Beauchamp's ability to communicate.

Yet, here we have Franklin Foer getting a call from Beauchamp at his home, wherein Beauchamp claims that everything he'd said was under duress.

Seems like the Army's not very good at curtailing Beauchamp's ability to communicate, if that's the case.

In which case, how come Beauchamp hasn't communicated earlier? Or to other outlets? Indeed, why wouldn't Beauchamp let the Washington Post or Newsweek know that he was being muzzled by the military?

Now, if we suppose that, in fact, Beauchamp has been muzzled, why in the world would Foer tell the world that he'd communicated w/ Beauchamp? It would seem to me that Foer just burned a source---w/ potentially nasty consequences for Beauchamp?

So, how exactly is this supposed to work, Otto?

Posted by: Lurking Observer at October 28, 2007 08:24 PM