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.

Friday, August 10, 2007

And The Band Played On ...

The New Republic is a sinking ship, and the only rats left on board are the ones picking up the band instruments to play on, "just to keep people from panicking." But, as Allah observes, it is not helping their cause at all.

The New Republic, yesterday afternoon:

For several weeks now, questions have been raised about Scott Beauchamp's Baghdad Diarist "Shock Troops." While many of these questions have been formulated by people with ideological agendas, we recognize that there are legitimate concerns about journalistic accuracy. We at The New Republic take these concerns extremely seriously. This is why we have sought to re-report the story, in the process speaking with five soldiers in Beauchamp's company who substantiate the events described in Beauchamp's essay.

Indeed, we continue to investigate the anecdotes recounted in the Baghdad Diarist. Unfortunately, our efforts have been severely hampered by the U.S. Army. Although the Army says it has investigated Beauchamp's article and has found it to be false, it has refused our--and others'--requests to share any information or evidence from its investigation. What's more, the Army has rejected our requests to speak to Beauchamp himself, on the grounds that it wants "to protect his privacy."

At the same time the military has stonewalled our efforts to get to the truth, it has leaked damaging information about Beauchamp to conservative bloggers. Earlier this week, The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb published a report, based on a single anonymous "military source close to the investigation," entitled "Beauchamp Recants," claiming that Beauchamp "signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods--fabrications containing only 'a smidgen of truth,' in the words of our source."

Here's what we know: On July 26, Beauchamp told us that he signed several statements under what he described as pressure from the Army. He told us that these statements did not contradict his articles. Moreover, on the same day he signed these statements for the Army, he gave us a statement standing behind his articles, which we published at tnr.com. Goldfarb has written, "It's pretty clear the New Republic is standing by a story that even the author does not stand by." In fact, it is our understanding that Beauchamp continues to stand by his stories and insists that he has not recanted them. The Army, meanwhile, has refused our requests to see copies of the statements it obtained from Beauchamp--or even to publicly acknowledge that they exist.

Scott Beauchamp is currently a 23-year-old soldier in Iraq who, for the past 15 days, has been prevented by the military from communicating with the outside world, aside from three brief and closely monitored phone calls to family members. Our investigation has not thus far uncovered factual evidence (aside from one key detail) to discount his personal dispatches. And we cannot simply dismiss the corroborating accounts of the five soldiers with whom we spoke. (You can read our findings

Except the "corroboration" they speak of is not as cut-and-dry as they say it is. the Army has stated they do not have five witnesses that can verify his story. They have five people TOTAL that can verify pieces of his story, and one of them has been cited three times. Neither the Army or the New Republic have chosen to reveal any of the other solder's names, and we're not willing to take them at face value that these soldiers are not personal friends of Private Beauchamp who are helping the New Republic spin this.

Today, the US Army responded to The New Republic's assertions through the Weekly Standard. Colonel Steven Boylan sent word to Bill Roggio, who is a well-known embed in Iraq, and reports dispatches for the Weekly Standard:

His commands investigation is complete. At this time, there is no formal what we call Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) actions being taken. However, there are other Administrative actions or what we call Non-Judicial Punishment that can be taken if the command deems appropriate. These are again administrative in nature and as such are not releasable to the public by law.

We are not stonewalling anyone. There are official statements that are out there are on the record from several of us and nothing has changed.

We are not preventing him from speaking to TNR or anyone. He has full access to the Morale Welfare and Recreation phones that all the other members of the unit are free to use. It is my understanding that he has been informed of the requests to speak to various members of the media, both traditional and non-traditional and has declined. That is his right.

We will not nor can we force a Soldier to talk to the media or his family or anyone really for that matter in these types of issues.

We fully understand the issues on this. What everyone must understand is that we will not breach the rights of the Soldier and this is where this is at this point.

In this aspect of the alternative media's investigation, it must be respected that he chooses to remain silent. However it is time for the New Republic to admit that in their slip-shod practice of fact-checking, they may have been misled. It makes no sense for them to continue spinning this, or pulling a double down. Come out and at least make that admission. It is not an admission the Weekly Standard or any milbloggers are right. It is simply admitting that some things are a bit hinky in the story, and might be completely fabricated, at worst; embellished, at best.

Personally, I believe he is avoiding contact in an attempt to find a way out of the mess he is in. But that is another point altogether. Our point -- MY point -- from the start has been the journalistic practices at the New Republic that has dropped them in hot water, again. Such practices have to be abandoned, and never returned to, if the New Republic is to have any credibility left by the end of this decade. Right now, their chances are not much better than the Titanic's after it hit the iceberg, and the bow is close to slipping below the water.



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