Friday, August 03, 2007

The New Republic Admits "Error" in Iraq Soldier Story

Avid readers of the conservative blogosphere are well aware of the suspicions raised by many bloggers regarding the truthfulness of the New Republic's "Baghdad Diarist," since revealed to be one Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp. Perhaps the most poignant and personal incident related by Beauchamp involved the merciless teasing by Beauchamp and his buddies of a female soldier, whose face had been severely disfigured by burn wound scars. Reflecting on this cruelty, Beauchamp had written:
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—to still be able to recognize that the things we soldiers found funny were not, in fact, funny.

The theme of this incident, and others related by Beauchamp in the same column, was the degree to which combat in the Iraq war had brutalized him and his comrades.

Now, however, Beauchamp has been forced by blogger scrutiny of the story to admit that the incident took place in Kuwait, before his Iraq service had even begun. The New Republic assures us that "we sincerely regret this mistake." Of course, it was a lie, not a mistake, and the fact that the incident took place in Kuwait, before combat in Iraq could possibly have brutalized Beuchamp, completely undercuts the theme of the "Baghdad Diarist" column.

Writing in The Corner at National Review, Mark Steyn, as nearly always, puts it best: "War is hell, but, if you beat up a bloke in a pub in southern England a year before D-Day, that may not be the best anecdote to prove your point."

Powerline provides a valuable blogosphere roundup of the ongoing revelations of this latest liberal press scandal. (HT: Instapundit.) The most recent development as I write this post... Matt Sanchez reports that an official investigation of Beauchamp's allegations by 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division has concluded that the allegations made by Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp have been "refuted by members of his platoon and proven to be false."

Oops. One wonders why the left has been so lathered over the prospect of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp buying The Wall Street Journal. The liberal media has proven time and time again that it can publish and broadcast hoaxes without any assistance from Mr. Murdoch.

Oh well, Private Beauchamp, nonetheless, thank you for your military service.


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