Fact or Fiction?
A mission for the blogosphere.
6:18 PM, Jul 18, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Again, American troops might be capable of such behavior. But most incidents of soldiers taking such war "trophies," to be blunt, involve dead enemy fighters, not massacred children. The questions pile up. Would a child's skull fit on the head of fully-grown man? Would pieces of flesh and hair still remain so long after the fact? Would American soldiers fail to report the discovery of a mass grave? Are there really units corrupt enough for a private to dare do such a thing for a day and a night?
Finally, the author tells of a friend who drives a Bradley armored vehicle and has a penchant for careening around the streets of Baghdad in the hope of causing as much destruction--and killing as many stray dogs--as possible.
One simple fact renders this tale highly implausible. Such erratic driving is likely to greatly increase a vehicle's exposure to roadside bombs, which insurgents frequently hide in the corpses of animals, or beside trash-strewn curbs.
We contacted the New Republic in order to get any information that might help us to verify the authenticity of "Thomas"'s disturbing account, and the magazine, while insisting that it had promised to protect the identity of the author to shield him from retribution by the military, did provide us with some additional details. "Scott Thomas" claims that the incident at the chow hall occurred at Forward Operating Base Falcon. And the mass grave, he says, was discovered a couple miles south of Baghdad International Airport in farmland. We have also contacted the Pentagon in the hopes of getting more information to either corroborate or disprove "Thomas"'s account.
But we believe that the best chance for getting at the truth is likely to come from the combined efforts of the blogosphere, which has, in the past, proven adept at determining the reliability of such claims. To that end we'd encourage the milblogging community to do some digging of their own, and individual soldiers and veterans to come forward with relevant information--either about the specific events or their plausibility in general.
Does anyone who has served at FOB Falcon remember hearing about or seeing the humiliation of this woman? Do they know her name and how we might get in contact with her to confirm the author's account of the events that day?
Is anyone familiar with a combat outpost a few miles south of the Baghdad airport where a mass grave of Iraqi children was discovered? What about the other parts of the story? And does anyone else know of Bradleys careening wildly through the streets of Baghdad?