“The editors” of the New Republic have posted a statement from the soldier formerly known as Scott Thomas — he now identifies himself as Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp — with this preface:
As we’ve noted in this space, some have questioned details that appeared in the Diarist “Shock Troops,” published under the pseudonym Scott Thomas. According to Major Kirk Luedeke, a public affairs officer at Forward Operating Base Falcon, a formal military investigation has also been launched into the incidents described in the piece.
Although the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published, we have decided to go back and, to the extent possible, re-report every detail. This process takes considerable time, as the primary subjects are on another continent, with intermittent access to phones and email. Thus far we’ve found nothing to disprove the facts in the article; we will release the full results of our search when it is completed.
In the meantime, the author has requested that we publish the statement below.
Scott Thomas Beauchamp writes:
My Diarist, “Shock Troops,” and the two other pieces I wrote for the New Republic have stirred more controversy than I could ever have anticipated. They were written under a pseudonym, because I wanted to write honestly about my experiences, without fear of reprisal. Unfortunately, my pseudonym has caused confusion. And there seems to be one major way in which I can clarify the debate over my pieces: I’m willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name.
I am Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division.
My pieces were always intended to provide my discreet view of the war; they were never intended as a reflection of the entire U.S. Military. I wanted Americans to have one soldier’s view of events in Iraq.
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.
Now that Beauchamp has stepped forward, the issues regarding the veracity of “Shock troops” should be resolved in short order. It is striking that Beauchamp’s statement does not add any facts to support the veracity of “Shock troops,” although his identity is certainly a start. Yesterday ABC News published an account of the contorversy by Marcus Barum. Barum’s account quotes New Republic editor Franklin Foer on the fact-checking that preceded publication of Beauchamp’s “Shock Troops” article:
As for the specific accounts in the stories, Foer said that the articles were rigorously fact-checked before they were published. “We showed the stories to people who’d been embedded in Iraq to make sure that it all smelled good. We talked to one of the members of his unit to confirm the woman, a female contractor. We talked to a medic who’d served in Iraq to make sure that a woman could be in an FOB. We spent a lot of time with him on the phone asking hard questions.”
In their preface to Beauchamp’s statement, “the editors” state that they have thus far found nothing to disprove Beauchamp’s article. They do not add, as they did earlier, that they have communicated with soldiers who have done much to corroborate the events recounted by Beauchamp. Indeed, neither Beauchamp nor “the editors” have disclosed a single fact to corroborate the article, although the disclosure of Beauchamp’s identity counts for something. I trust that all will become clear in the fullness of time.
JOHN adds: That’s right. In the meantime, Beauchamp’s concern over the “character” of his “comrades in arms” being “called into question” is touching. I’d had the impression that that was the sole purpose of his articles.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has a whole lot more on Beauchamp, who has a blog and a MySpace page. He’s a pretentious ass, and a lefty. Here he is:
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