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A Week Later...

12:25 PM, Jul 24, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The New York Times runs a piece today examining the questions surrounding the "Scott Thomas" story that appeared in the New Republic last week. New Republic editor Frank Foer told the Times reporter,

"Now that these questions have been raised, we've launched an inquiry. We're putting the full resources of the magazine to look into the story," Mr. Foer said. "It's taking me a little bit longer than I wish it did. The author, not to mention some of the participants in the anecdotes he described, are active duty soldiers and they're on 20-hour active combat missions sometimes, and it's very difficult for me to get them all on the phone to ask them the questions that I'd like to ask."...

The magazine granted anonymity to the writer to keep him from being punished by his military superiors and to allow him to write candidly, Mr. Foer said. He said that he had met the writer and that he knows with "near certainty" that he is, in fact, a soldier.

Foer has since revised and extended his remarks, posting a note at TNR's blog saying that the magazine does, in fact, know with "absolute certainty" that "Scott Thomas" is a soldier serving in Iraq, but he does not dispute that the Times reported accurately on its conversation with him.

Meanwhile, it's been a week since we first contacted the New Republic with our questions about this piece, and, to date, the magazine has failed to produce a single piece of evidence that corroborates "Thomas"'s account. In that time, not a single person has stepped forward to say that they remember a woman, described by "Thomas" as horribly disfigured by an IED, at FOB Falcon. In fact, many have written in to say that they remember no such woman at the base in the past two years--and one would think that such a woman would be seared into the memory, as it were.

Further, not a single person has come forward to corroborate the existence of a mass grave as described by "Thomas," containing the remains of murdered children. One person reported the possible existence of an unmarked children's cemetery in the area described by "Thomas", but he also reported that the remains were properly handled and reinterred at another site--that the events described by "Thomas" could not have transpired as reported.

And finally, numerous experts and soldiers have written in to question "Thomas"'s account of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle careening around the streets of Baghdad in an attempt to kill as many stray dogs as possible. These experts tell us that the account could not have happened as "Thomas" describes owing to the mechanics of the vehicle and the position of the driver. Do soldiers kill dogs? On occasion, yes. Do they kill them in this fashion, not according to anyone who has come forward in the past week.

Doubts have also been raised about previous stories written by "Thomas" for the New Republic, most notably the claim that his men stopped their Humvee in knee-deep sewage to change a tire. According to experts and soldiers who have written in to us, the Humvee is equipped with run-flat tires that would make such an operation completely unnecessary.

The bottom line is that many legitimate questions have been raised and the New Republic must now provide evidence to support "Thomas"'s charges. We await the results of their investigation.