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The New Republic Speaks

Well, we know where they stand now, and it ain't with the U.S. Army:

Since our last statement on "Shock Troops," a Diarist by Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp that we published in our July 23 issue, we have continued our investigation into the article's veracity. On Wednesday, for a brief period, The Drudge Report posted several documents from the Army's own investigation into Beauchamp's claims. Among those documents was a transcript of a phone conversation that TNR Editor Franklin Foer and TNR Executive Editor J. Peter Scoblic had with Beauchamp on September 6--the first time the Army had granted TNR permission to speak with Beauchamp since it cut off outside contact with him on July 26. During this conversation, Beauchamp refused to discuss his article at all: "I'm not going to talk to anyone about anything," he said. In light of that phone call, some have asked why The New Republic has not retracted "Shock Troops."

The answer is simple: Since this controversy began, The New Republic's sole objective has been to uncover the truth. As Scoblic said during the September 6 conversation: "[A]ll we want out of this, and the only way that it is going to end, is if we have the truth. And if it's--if it's certain parts of the story are bullshit, then we'll end that way. If it's proven to be true, it will end that way. But it's only going to end with the truth." The September 6 exchange was extremely frustrating; however, it was frustrating precisely because it did not add any new information to our investigation. Beauchamp's refusal to defend himself certainly raised serious doubts. That said, Beauchamp's words were being monitored: His squad leader was in the room as he spoke to us, as was a public affairs specialist, and it is now clear that the Army was recording the conversation for its files.

The next day, via his wife, we learned that Beauchamp did want to stand by his stories and wanted to communicate with us again. Two-and-a-half weeks later, Beauchamp telephoned Foer at home and, in an unmonitored conversation, told him that he continued to stand by every aspect of his story, except for the one inaccuracy he had previously admitted. He also told Foer that in the September 6 call he had spoken under duress, with the implicit threat that he would lose all the freedoms and privileges that his commanding officer had recently restored if he discussed the story with us.

Go on to read about how everything wrong with this story is the fault of the Army and right wing bloggers. Gee, guys, I am convinced. Beauchamp says the story is still good. Case closed. No consideration whatsoever that so many things in the stories have been contradicted by facts. Nope. Beauchamp says it is all good. Yeah, the soldier wearing a child's skull under his helmet all day, soldiers mercilessly taunting a disfigured woman in the chow hall, the Bradleys that can do manuevers that those familiar with them say are not possible -- these all have to be taken as fact until proven otherwise.

I am with Peggy Noonan on this one (link via Lucianne) when she wrote the following:

To read the Thomas pieces was, simply, to doubt them. And to wonder if its editors had ever actually met a soldier on his way to or from Iraq, or talked to any human being involved in the modern military.

Update: Victor Davis Hanson explains what is wrong with the behavior of the editors of TNR.
Unfortunately, journalism does not have the luxury to operate in a courtroom, where evidence is weighed and a jury decides the preponderance of proof over months. Instead, if a story is of doubtful veracity, and can't be or won't be supported in its entirety by the author, then the editors, for the sake of the magazine and its other dutiful employees, must distance themselves and apologize to the readers, and do so within a reasonable amount of time.

They can point out that there are few or many errors, or that the errors are or are not of a magnitude to impugn the entire story, but these sorts of judgements must be made rather quickly once an author does not supply the editors with supporting documentation or a reasonable willingness to defend his own work.

Mr. Beauchamp may think most of his story was factual, and that only a few tiny details were exaggerated to sex up the narrative's appeal, but that is still not quite good enough. He either stands by its entirety or confesses he can't; and if he can't (for whatever reason) do the latter, then the editors must explain why they too won't--even if that decision is embarrassing to themselves, delights their adversaries, and causes enormous pain to Mr. Beauchamp's wife and friends.

Update II: Absolutely devastating. Read it all.


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Comments (26)

But, but, but...Di... (Below threshold)
epador:

But, but, but...

Didn't Troll Nation tell us they really supported the war and the military?

... and those transcripts, ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

... and those transcripts, where Beauchamp basically admitted he got caught in a string of lies and TNR imemdiately backed off finding out that "truth" which they said was so important?

The sheer arrogance, that TNR thinks they can skate over this bilgewater is insolence on an epic scale.

Well of course the fact tha... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Well of course the fact that the Army found all the tales to be crap means....? Beauchamp admitted them as being so. Now does that mean he lied to Army investigators and his chain of command? Sounds like punishment under article 15 of the UCMJ.

The key was the call to his... (Below threshold)

The key was the call to his wife.

"You listen to me Scott, you either call my editor and insist that those stories were 100% true, or you'll be lookin for a new polace to live when you get discharged."

Maybe I'm missing it, but w... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Maybe I'm missing it, but where did Beauchamp admit "he got caught in a string of lies" or "admitted them as being [crap]"?

When asked about retraction, he does say,

"I mean, I can try to get you sworn statements. I can do that and help you guys out as much as I can, but like I said the timeline is going to be probably not what you want."

Is there something I'm missing?

A cerebral cortex?... (Below threshold)
Master Shake:

A cerebral cortex?

<a href="http://upload.wiki... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Lookin good, MS! Not too bright, but who needs to be with those.

"Is there something I'm mis... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

"Is there something I'm missing?"

You mean besides common sense, an ability to extract meaning from context, or a realization of when a fight is hopeless and should not be attempted for fear of making yourself look like an idiot?

Probably. Quite a bit more, I am sure.

Sigh. I'm not "fighting," ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Sigh. I'm not "fighting," I'm looking for the source of these assertions. If Beauchamp has admitted these things, I have not yet seen it in the documents (I've only read the excerpts on Hot Air), and I'm wondering where people are getting that from. Is it inference, or is there something more explicit?

Disclaimer: I do doubt the content of Beauchamp's stories, based on everything we know. I am not making the assertion that anything he wrote is true.

why is anyone surprised at ... (Below threshold)
vespasio:

why is anyone surprised at this? TNR just took a page right out of the clinton playbook: when busted, just deny deny deny. then, while continuing denying, make it known that "dark forces" are arrayed against you. ergo, any further questions must therefore be in service of those sinister forces, and the person asking those questions is by definition a bad, evil individual.

then stress that you just want to "move on", because after all, the matter was settled long ago. or are you one of those nutcase evil people obsessed with your sinsiter quest to smear an innocent politician/organization/magazine?

A little lefty propaganda..... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

A little lefty propaganda..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTW0y6kazWM

oh yeah more verse dedicated to those of you who pray for our bunker buster attack on Iran
(c'mon you geezers know this song)

"Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more! yoh,"


No matter how you want to s... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

No matter how you want to spin, TNR has stooped into the sewage level with Dan Rather and New York Time. Unfortunately that the mode of operation on the left these days is to lie and smear. Liberal folks need to clean up their side instead of trying to distract and spin.

"Disclaimer: I do doubt ... (Below threshold)

"Disclaimer: I do doubt the content of Beauchamp's stories, based on everything we know. I am not making the assertion that anything he wrote is true."

So in other words, you're arguing semantics and nitpicking, which you are wont to do at times. And you're the one telling people to be careful what fights they pick.

Sometimes things are what they are. Sometimes people try to explain them. Sometimes they fail.

That's where you step in. I'm already bored.

Wondering where CanWest is ... (Below threshold)

Wondering where CanWest is on this and if they are shy about offending franchise players like E J Dionne and Peter Beinart?

Or is this Rathergate redux in slow (print) motion?

So in other words, you'r... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So in other words, you're arguing semantics and nitpicking, which you are wont to do at times.

You're right, sometimes I do that. But not here, I was actually trying to figure out if I missed something. I'm not really arguing anything.

This is not good for TNR:</... (Below threshold)

This is not good for TNR:

http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/009829.php

The cross on their public comments is going to be, as Emmet Tyrell likes to say, Nasty, Brutish and Short.

The sheer arrogance, tha... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

The sheer arrogance, that TNR thinks they can skate over this bilgewater is insolence on an epic scale.
I give you mantis, that's why they think they can skate over this. They don't care what you think, you're never going to buy their magazine anyway. Lefties don't read news for information, they read it for affirmation.

You have to understand, it's a religion.
Look at how they handle dissent. If you disagree you're evil, it's not a disagreement over policy, it's good versus evil. They don't have a god, they do have plenty of prophets (Gore for example) and both high and low clergy (politicians and "journalists" respectively, but sometimes "journos" become high clergy or even prophets, like Dan Rather) and who is the most hated by them? Apostates, check out how Bjorn Lombord is treated since he actually tried to prove to all us wingnuts that anthropomorphic global warming is real and discovered the opposite and had the temerity to actually write about that. Check out how minorities and women are treated for daring to not join the Church of Leftism that is their rightful and natural place. Notice that lefties can say the most despicable things and never, ever have any consequences.
And since most of America's lefties come from Christian households, of course they're going to base how their religion works on some sect of Christianity. Look at the way they act, all of the various Christian religions are represented in their Leftist Religion.

The biggest problem? Most of them are based on the most intolerant and non-thinking Christian sects. You can see it whenever one of their prophets, clergy or tenets of faith are questioned, they go on the attack. They can never admit they're wrong, that's not just being wrong, that's admitting your religion might not be perfect, and that can't be tolerated. Compare that to some of the really, really anti-abortion Christian sects.
Also, notice the way they attempt to change the subject when their religion is questioned. Take a typical lefty's comment, "Oh yeah, well you're just talking about this to get off the subject of Iraq".
I was talking to a guy I work with about Hillary! I was saying that the Clinton Admin broke many laws but were never called to account. He said, "Well Bush (blah blah blah)" so I said, "Yeah, but I can tell you which laws Clinton broke, you can't with Bush."
And his reply? "Whenever people talk about how Bush broke the law you righties bring up Clinton."
And he said that totally without irony. To recap, we were talking about Clinton, he brought up Bush and then had the short memory to accuse me of bringing up Clinton when we were talking about Bush. That's double-think at its finest and a prerequisite for the Church of Leftism. Your memory only includes that which proves you right and never includes any of the things that have discredited such facts. So for instance, according to the Tenets of Leftism, Bush said that Saddam had bought yellowcake in Niger during his State of the Union speech, Bush brought a plastic turkey to Iraq and Bush and Cheney both said that Saddam had caused 9/11 and those facts are never to be questioned. How else can someone believe Bush is the machiavellian idiot they think he is? Also notice, they have absolutely no sense of humor about their religion. All their jokes have the same punchline "And then Bush was impeached and Cheney had a hot poker shoved in his eye and Ann Coulter sodomized Rumsfeld and Michele Malkin with ping-pong balls blood for oil Bush lied people died haliburton!!!!!!!!!!! (spittle not optional but mandatory).

I just wish they had modeled their religion on Judaism, then, they might have some sort of introspective element instead of the mindless, screeching parroting of approved talking points, the mindless, screeching "arguments" denying any non-approved facts, the calling of evil and stupid anyone who disagrees and sundry other methods of denying reality and proselysing their religion.

VeeshirWhen did Ch... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Veeshir

When did Christians make the leap to the Left?
Do you have sources to back this up? I do mean
reliable sources which can be vetted.

As I commented at that last... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

As I commented at that last link ...

From TNR:
"reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations."

There is no mythical journalist-source privilege for TNR to hide behind. TNR is stating that soldiers are telling them of UCMJ violations. You can't simply say "ooh ooh, there was a crime comitted but we won't say who told us!" Put up or shut up - and if it's found the TNR is knowingly manufacturing propaganda to aid the enemy in a time of war, PROSECUTE THEM AND THROW THEIR ASSES IN JAIL!

When did Christians make... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

When did Christians make the leap to the Left?
Do you have sources to back this up? I do mean
reliable sources which can be vetted.

I said that lefties were basing their religion (The Religion of Leftism) on Christianity, not that Christians were becoming lefties.
Except to say that most of America's lefties were raised Christian but have thrown off their parents' religion and have a new one without the Christian God. So they're not Christians (qua Christians) becoming good little followers of the Church of Leftism, they're Americans who were raised Christian who've become followers of that sect.
Most Americans are Christian or were at least raised Christian, do I need cites for that? I figured that was just common knowledge.

Where are your sources for ... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Where are your sources for alleging the Left
bases any of their ideology on Christianity.

Ummmm, myself. I tried to e... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Ummmm, myself. I tried to explain that in the first post.
I'll quote them for you.
Most of them are based on the most intolerant and non-thinking Christian sects. You can see it whenever one of their prophets, clergy or tenets of faith are questioned, they go on the attack. They can never admit they're wrong, that's not just being wrong, that's admitting your religion might not be perfect, and that can't be tolerated. Compare that to some of the really, really anti-abortion Christian sects.

If you want to dispute what I say, go ahead, it's just my opinion.

I've posted twice a simple,... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

I've posted twice a simple, direct request.
I did not ask for your opinion, I ask for the
sources you based your comments on.
But thanks any way.

I told you who the source w... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

I told you who the source was, me. I don't know how I can make it any more plain.

It was my opinion. I'm the source. My observances and my opinion. I wrote that based on what I've observed and what I believe.

I'm the source. I'm the source. I'm the source.

Is that clear enough?

I didn't say they based their ideology on Christianity, but their tactics and their way of thinking. They brook no dissent, just like many of the more intolerant Christian sects. (Notice the qualifiers before you accuse me of saying that Christianity is intolerant).

Just to recap, I'm the source. It's my opinion, and I never said that they based anything but their behavior on some of the more intolerant Christian sects.

I'm the source.

Oh, and to make sure you un... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Oh, and to make sure you understand, I'm the source.

Okay you're the source. <b... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Okay you're the source.
Thanks for verifying that.




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