Okay, this rebuttal is not convincing to me.  And here’s why.

Scott Thomas Beauchamp is a U.S. Army private serving in Iraq. He came to THE NEW REPUBLIC‘s attention through Elspeth Reeve, a TNR reporter-researcher, whom he later married. Over the course of the war, we have tried to provide our readers with a sense of Iraq as it is seen by the troops. Usually, these stories have been written by journalists who have traveled to Iraq and interviewed soldiers there, but last January Beauchamp sent us a first-person vignette that seemed a powerful contribution to the genre. It told the story of a young Iraqi boy who befriended American troops and subsequently had his tongue cut out by insurgents. Conservatives and liberals alike praised this essay.

We granted Beauchamp a pseudonym so that he could write honestly and candidly about his emotions and experiences, even as he continued to serve in the armed forces and participate in combat operations. 

In other words, they aided him in violating Army regulations.   There was a huge kurflufle a few months ago about the military reinforcing regulations that said that soldiers had to clear any outside communications — especially blogs and communications with the press — through their unit.  Beauchamp knew that.  TNR knew that.  That is why they hid.  There was nothing altruistic about it.  Beauchamp simply knew he was breaking regulations and didn’t want to get caught.  And potentially violate OPSEC to boot.

All of Beauchamp’s essays were fact-checked before publication. We checked the plausibility of details with experts, contacted a corroborating witness, and pressed the author for further details.

(My emphasis.)

They next admit that one of the stories was a lie.  It happened, but it happened before he ever went to Iraq, and in fact wasn’t even in the same country.  On the next story:

On the phone, this soldier later told us that he had witnessed another soldier wearing the skull fragment just as Beauchamp recounted: “It fit like a yarmulke,” he said.

Same soldier you asked before you ran the story?  The one who now has a vested interest in CYA?  On the third story:

On this topic, one soldier who witnessed the incident described by Beauchamp, wrote in an e-mail:

Same soldier you asked before you ran the story?  Why are we even asking these questions?

(All of the soldiers we interviewed who had first-hand knowledge of the episodes requested anonymity.)

Thaaaats right.  Gotta make sure that no one can fact check you, even though people like Matt Sanchez are asking anyone in the unit they can find (and he’s asked over 50) and no one can find these five you are talking about?


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