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Beauchamp: Fact or Fiction?

12:17 PM, Jul 27, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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When the mainstream press first picked up the story of "Scott Thomas", aka Pvt Scotty Beauchamp, New Republic editor Frank Foer told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz that

"The Standard raises some important questions about the piece, and we're investigating them.'

'Who is "Scott Thomas"?' was not one of those questions we asked 10 days ago. Instead, they were as follows:

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?

Those questions remain unanswered by either the New Republic or the now revealed author of the Baghdad Diarist, Beauchamp. Still, Foer tells Kurtz in today's Washington Post that

"It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard's efforts to press an ideological agenda."

The only agenda we have as regards Beauchamp is the truth of his allegations. Foer stated a week ago that his magazine had launched an investigation and already had "nothing to undermine--and much to corroborate--the author's descriptions." But the magazine has yet to produce anything to corroborate Beauchamp's descriptions.

Meanwhile, bloggers and readers have cast further doubt on every element of Beauchamp's narrative, and the military has launched its own investigation. The only question left to be answered is whose rigorous fact-checking will get to the bottom of the story first, the New Republic's or the U.S. Army's?

Recommended reading on Scotty Beauchamp:
Dean Barnett
John Podhoretz
Outside the Wire
Ace of Spades
Hot Air
Little Green Footballs