Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Scott Thomas" Exposed

Yes, his identity is now known, and plenty of bloggers are weighing in. Scott @ PowerLine weighs in on the news. So does Michelle Malkin and she has tons of links. Among them are not only other bloggers, like the milbloggers that savaged the veracity of the man's claim, but also to Pvt. Beauchamp's MySpace page, and some of his other writings. Additionally, it has also been discovered that Pvt. Beauchamp is engaged to Elspeth Reeve -- a New Republic staffer. Michelle and Scott both picked up on Pvt. Beauchamp's response to his critics:

It’s been maddening, to say the least, to see the plausibility of events that I witnessed questioned by people who have never served in Iraq. I was initially reluctant to take the time out of my already insane schedule fighting an actual war in order to play some role in an ideological battle that I never wanted to join. That being said, my character, my experiences, and those of my comrades in arms have been called into question, and I believe that it is important to stand by my writing under my real name.

To Pvt. Beauchamp, who deserves a response for this bit of obtuse snobbery:

We do not need to serve in Iraq to know how nutty, chaotic, and sometimes cruel war is. What is being assaulted is the veracity of the charges you have leveled at your fellow comrades. While making fun of a disfigured woman is certainly not a crime, it lacks the complete professionalism that a soldier should possess. As for the other two incidents stated in "Shock Troops," indeed there were crimes committed. The desecration of the graveyard is disgusting, and leads to conduct unbecoming. As for the Bradley incident, the driver ought to know better. The lives of his crew are in his hands, and such behavior puts the entire team in danger. Or did you miss the idea of "teamwork" in Basic training? As for the use of your real name, it is nice to see you have crawled out from underneath your rock, and accepted the fact you should have been writing under it to begin with, as the military has ordered it's soldiers to do.

But Pvt. Beauchamp is not the issue here. The New Republic is. Out of the hundreds of troops in Iraq that do blog, that do write for periodicals and papers, the New Republic acted in a lazty fashion in choosing this particular soldier. Furthermore, they accepted his word, and what little proof provided by him, to corroborate claims he made. There was virtually no fact-checking donw whatsoever on his claims. Michael Goldfarb still has some questions, and Major Luedeke sent him a response this morning:


We are in the midst of a formal investigation into the allegations Pvt Beauchamp has made. That’s all I can say for now.



Major Kirk Luedeke
Public Affairs Officer
4th IBCT, 1st ID

Before I cite the questions Mr. Goldfarb has, I would like to cite his thoughts regarding this revelation today:

It's good to finally know the author's name, but there is nothing here to confirm the events as described by Beauchamp. Right now, we have no reason to believe that his stories are anything other than what we first suspected them to be: a "pastiche of the 'This is no bullshit . . . stories soldiers like to tell."

If the stories are true, we regret that Beauchamp has been forced to take "time out of his already insane schedule" of ridiculing IED victims, desecrating children's corpses, and killing stray dogs to "play some role in an ideological battle that I never wanted to join." But, as Dean Barnett
points out this seems more than a little disingenuous considering that his blog reveals that he joined this war "just to write a book" and that he "misses political arguments. There seems to be a consensus with all the boys overseas...we laugh harder at CSPAN than comedy central. Silly republicans."

That Beauchamp chose to reveal himself at this point also seems a bit disingenuous, since the military has already launched an investigation and, courtesy of JD Johannes, we'd already
identified his unit four days ago. If we'd gotten that much information, it was only a matter of time before somebody besides his editors started asking him "hard questions."

Whatever Pvt. Beauchamps blatantly obvious ideology is regarding the war, or politics back here at home, I am sickened by the fact that his whole idea of signing up in the military was to write a book. Men and women join for a host of different reasons, but "just to write a book" has to be one of the most asinine reasons I have ever heard. Now, to Mr. Goldfarb's questions:

1) Dates. When did he mock the woman at the mess hall? When was the soldier wearing and playing with the child's skull? With dates, these incidents can be verified.

2) Names. He can argue that he would get the dog-killer in trouble by naming him, but how about the names of soldiers who witnessed the event at the mess hall and those who saw the guy with the kid's skull? Real live witnesses can verify the incidents.

The name of the bradley driver will be given to military investigators as that is the most serious charge he listed in "Shock Troops." again, reckless driving in a hostile area leads to soldiers getting injured or killed. But Mr. Goldfarb is correct about those questions. They will be verified with both names and dates. Pvt. Beauchamp's word cannot simply be taken at face value.

The real loser in all of this is the New Republic and their credibility. As yet, his claims remain unproven. If it is discovered that Pvt. Beauchamp lied or embellished any of his tales, they will be the ones with egg all over their face. It will also draw some scrutiny in their editorial practices, and raise questions of ideological bias. (Not that we already did not know which way they leaned, but to take a soldier that shares the same bias, and allow him to embellish stories of abuse, disrespect, and recklessness in a theater of combat just does not paint them in a rosy picture.)



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