The New Republic’s July 23 issue
A U.S. Army private who alleged in New Republic magazine columns that he engaged in cruel behavior in Iraq along with other American soldiers has signed a sworn statement admitting all three of his pieces were fabrications, according to the Weekly Standard.
An unnamed military source close to the investigation said the articles by Pvt. Thomas Beauchamp contained only “a smidgen of truth.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Multi National Division-Baghdad, Maj. Steven F. Lamb, said separately in a statement that after an investigation, the allegations made by Beauchamp “were found to be false.”
“His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims,” Lamb said, according to the Weekly Standard.
Along with two “Baghdad Diarist” columns, the New Republic published an article in the July 23 issue titled “Shock Troops” – a collection of first-person “vignettes” that described the cruelty of the author and fellow soldiers.
The New Republic said the aim of the article was to depict “the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war.”
In response to the Weekly Standard’s claim that Beauchamp recanted, the New Republic issued a statement today saying it had “talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account. …”
The New Republic said that when the magazine contacted Lamb about the allegation Beauchamp had recanted, the military spokesman said, “I have no knowledge of that.”
“If someone is speaking anonymously [to the Weekly Standard], they are on their own,” he said.
The military source told the Weekly Standard Beauchamp’s recantation was volunteered on the first day of the military’s investigation. At the same time, July 26, the New Republic posted a statement on its website from Beauchamp saying, “I’m willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name.”
Since release of that statement, no word has been heard from Beauchamp.
The Weekly Standard noted that in the New Republic’s Aug. 2 statement, editors complained that the military investigation was “short-circuiting” the magazine’s own fact-checking efforts.
“Beauchamp,” they said, “had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters. If further substantive information comes to light, TNR will, of course, share it with you.”
In the Aug. 2 statement, however, the New Republic’s editors admitted one of the anecdotes Beauchamp stood by in its entirety took place (if at all) in Kuwait, before his tour of duty in Iraq began.
Beauchamp had claimed that in a mess hall in Iraq, he and a comrade publicly humiliated a woman whose face had been “melted” by an IED.