Literary license

Norman Mailer wannabe Scott Thomas Beauchamp admits he erred (i.e. lied) about a key part of his New Republic report about Iraq. He says that the incident in which he and his buddy mocked a disfigured woman took place not in Iraq but in Kuwait, prior to his departure for Iraq. The New Republic “sincerely regret[s] this mistake.”
Beauchamp’s misstatement amounts to much more than getting a detail wrong. The point of this incident was to show how war “degrades every part of you, and your sense of humor is no exception.” Here’s how Beauchamp says he viewed the incident (with apologies to Mailer):

Am I a monster? I have never thought of myself as a cruel person… Even as I was reveling in the laughter my words had provoked, I was simultaneously horrified and ashamed at what I had just said. In a strange way, though, I found the shame comforting. I was relieved to still be shocked by my own cruelty

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