Small Wars Journal

Bloggers Raise Red Flags Over New Republic's 'Baghdad Diarist' (Updated)

Update 5: 27 July Washington Post - Army Private Discloses He Is New Republic's Baghdad Diarist by Howard Kurtz.

... The magazine's editor, Franklin Foer, disclosed in an interview that Beauchamp is married to a New Republic staffer, and that is "part of the reason why we found him to be a credible writer." Foer also said Beauchamp "has put himself in significant jeopardy" and "lost his lifeline to the rest of the world" because military officials have taken away his laptop, cellphone and e-mail privileges.

.... As both the military and the magazine investigate Beauchamp's allegations, a personal blog surfaced in which Beauchamp said last year that each morning he feels "retarded for joining the army," "a little more liberal than the day before" and "a tool for global corporations."

... Beauchamp did not provide any documentation for his three published columns. He is married to a reporter-researcher at the New Republic, Elspeth Reeve.

Beauchamp's writing was challenged by the Weekly Standard and conservative bloggers after he wrote vividly, and profanely, of soldiers mocking a woman disfigured by an injury, getting their kicks by running over dogs with Bradley Fighting Vehicles and playing with Iraqi children's skulls taken from a mass grave...

As conservative bloggers yesterday continued to challenge the veracity of Beauchamp's accounts, Foer said: "It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard's efforts to press an ideological agenda."

Weekly Standard writer Michael Goldfarb responded: "The piece struck me as implausible, and what we did is to raise questions that are completely legitimate. There's nothing ideological about raising these questions when people make claims and don't back up the charges."

27 July Real Clear Politics - Pvt. Beauchamp: In Big Trouble Either Way by Jack Kelly.

If what Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote in the New Republic isn't true, he's in trouble, and so is the magazine.

If what Pvt. Beauchamp wrote is true, he's in bigger trouble...

Now that they've demonstrated their diarist is a real soldier, the New Republic's editors feel vindicated. But the issue is not whether Pvt. Beauchamp is a soldier. It's whether he's telling the truth or not. And his story stinks to high heaven. No one else at the base ever seems to have a seen a woman who fits the description of the woman in the chow hall. No mass graves have been discovered during the time Pvt. Beauchamp has been at FOB Falcon. It is physically impossible for the driver of a Bradley to see a dog to the immediate right of his vehicle.

It would be better for Pvt. Beauchamp if he made his stories up. It breaks no military rule to BS gullible liberal journalists. But if Pvt. Beauchamp is telling the truth, he and his buddies have broken so many articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that I haven't space to list them all...

Update 4: Reaction From FOB Falcon - The Weekly Standard


We are in the midst of a formal investigation into the allegations Pvt Beauchamp has made. That's all I can say for now.



Major Kirk Luedeke

Public Affairs Officer

4th IBCT, 1st ID


Update 3: I'll Return an Author - Scott Thomas Beauchamp Blog (and one who most certainly needs an editor - oh that's right - he found one):

bavarian stories in some sort of rounded metaphysical order...personality death stories intersecting with poesy home memory reflections. You begin with a place and an action and let it carry in every direction till the words are vibrating on the page, dripping in thick robust delapidated barnhouses of adjectives and time for the subtle gray faced calculations of a PERFORMED intimacy...go...but remember what Kerouac forgot: revision is spontaneous also.

a brief coming back to america introduction, stories about soldiers, prositutes, innocent students rendered featherless by dark rivets of experience and the decadence of human pursuits in every vein...and then there's the veins...follow 'em.

Cut your wrist let it bleed onto the paper in unique soulpatterns of mindthoughts. after the coming back to america introduction theres sgt. Leclaire with his dick blown off and the house 12 working girl with her stuff blown out in the other direction and both lost darkeyes brooding on prisonfleshes of human animal bodies the bridge across being only that connection spark instant also lost as quickly. a revery of mothertalk and love looks back in the soft american night. the awol in bamberg lying to make himself into someone who can actually touch another persons lips to his heart to feel. a grandma memeory of cracked heavy crystal balls and smoke serpitine around stacks of tarot cards. the smell of the antiseptic physical therapy room filled with limbless veterans, some missing half a face, and one wearing a god bless america t-shirt...of course this was all before the war, but the war is closer here and an everlengthening shadow over my half closed eyes...but this is all in our time, here and coming back to america...

Update 2: Re: What's That Now - NR's The Corner Key Quote:

Mark Steyn: Scott Thomas Beauchamp complains that his character has been called into question. Just for the record, here is Private Beauchamp's character in his own words:

"I think she's f*****g hot!" I blurted out.

"What?" said my friend, half-smiling.

"Yeah man," I continued. "I love chicks that have been intimate—with IEDs. It really turns me on—melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses..."

"You're crazy, man!" my friend said, doubling over with laughter. I took it as my cue to continue.

"In fact, I was thinking of getting some girls together and doing a photo shoot. Maybe for a calendar? 'IED Babes.' We could have them pose in thongs and bikinis on top of the hoods of their blown-up vehicles."

My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing. The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall, her half-finished tray of food nearly falling to the ground.

In English libel law, Private Beauchamp would be regarded as a man with no reputation to defame.

Update: For what it is worth - just posted to The New Republic's The Plank

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 —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.

--Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp

It is either quite naive or just simply false for Beauchamp to have thought that his article would not be seen as a reflection of the entire U.S. Military by many.

It is also noted here that the plausibility of the events he described were questioned by people who HAVE served and ARE serving in Iraq.

And here is the Catch-22 - Beauchamp jumps on his bandwagon about how those who doubted the validity of his account somehow questioned his character, his experiences, and those of his comrades in arms. Okay then, if the accounts are true then his character and experiences are doubly in question and deserve to be investigated.


A Statement From Scott Thomas Beauchamp - TNR

Re: What's That Now - NR's The Corner

Scott Thomas Exposed - OPFOR

Scott Thomas, Franklin Foer, and The New Republic - Beatdowns All Around - Blackfive

Doubting Thomas: Simple Questions for the New Republic - Confederate Yankee

"Scott Thomas" Steps Out of the Shadows - Michelle Malkin

Scott Thomas Speaks - Power Line

Scott Thomas Revealed - Hot Air

Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp: Still Wondering About the MFA - Blackfive

Reaction From FOB Falcon - The Weekly Standard

Source: TNR Is A Lot More Worried Than They're Letting On - Ace of Spades HQ

Sir Real Scott Thomas - Beauchamp's Blog

22 July Washington Post - Bloggers Raise Red Flags Over New Republic's 'Baghdad Diarist' by Howard Kurtz.

The column in the New Republic, described as being penned by a U.S. soldier in Iraq, is filled with tales of petty, stomach-churning behavior.

The "Baghdad Diarist," writing under the pseudonym Scott Thomas, says he was "shocked by my own cruelty" as he recounts soldiers getting their kicks by running over dogs with Bradley Fighting Vehicles and playing with Iraqi children's skulls taken from a mass grave.

But now the liberal magazine, responding to questions raised online by the Weekly Standard and other conservative Web sites, is looking into whether the soldier's account in this and two earlier columns can be substantiated...

Marine reservist and freelance journalist Matt Sanchez received this response from the 4th ICBT Public Affairs Officer to an e-mail Sanchez sent concerning the "Thomas Affair":

Major Kirk Luedeke

Public Affairs Officer

4th IBCT, 1st ID


Here are the facts as best I have established them, along with the actions I have taken here at Falcon.

1. I was notified of the New Republic blog entries yesterday (Friday) by documentarian JD Johannes, who had spent time with us as an embed in May. He was concerned about the reports, but also expressed doubt in their veracity. He provided the New Republic and Weekly Standard response to the blog entry links.

2. I was able to immediately refute the assertion that a mass graveyard of children's skeletons was found; an event such as this would have been reported during the construction of Coalition Outpost Ellis, the only such COP that exists in the area the blogger described (rural, south of BIAP).

3. The stories of the burned woman and hitting dogs with Bradleys can't be as decisively disputed, however, I have not encountered a woman matching that description at any time on Falcon since arriving here on 17 Feb. You would think that someone with such visible wounds would stand out in memorable fashion. This doesn't mean that she wasn't a visitor at some point, but I find the account of Soldiers mocking her dubious at best.

4. I immediately notified MAJ Lamb of MND-B PAO, who advised me to send him the link and pertinent information on the New Republic's blog posts, which I did. He informed me of his intent to engage the CENTCOM blog team to see if they could take action, and at the very least, make them aware of the situation.

5. I contacted the only unit in our brigade that has Bradleys, 1-18 IN, and advised their XO of the situation, recommending that they talk to their Soldiers about Army values and the Warrior ethos, reminding them of the rules for blogging in uniform and also reminding them of integrity and telling the truth. The bottom line: If you put something out there you should be —to put your name next to it and stand by it. That he and New Rpublic are insisting on anonymity is very telling here.

Per COL Boylan's request, I have prepared the following:

1. There was no mass grave found during the construction of any of our coalition outposts in the Rashid District at any time. Such a discovery would have prompted an investigation and close attention paid at levels higher than ours to making sure that the victims were properly interred and attempts would have been made to determine their identities. It is difficult to fathom that a unit's leadership would condone Soldiers disrespecting the remains of anyone in the fashion described.

2. Due to the threat of IEDs, our combat vehicles are driven professionally and in control at all times. To be driving erratically so as to hit dogs or other things would be to put the entire vehicle's crew at risk and would be gross dereliction of duty by the noncommissioned officer or officer in charge of the vehicle. Drivers aren't allowed to simply free-wheel their vehicles however they see fit, and they are *not* allowed to be moved anywhere with out a vehicle commander present to supervise the movement. Therefore- claims of vehicles leaving the roadways to hit animals are highly dubious, given the very real threat of IEDs and normal standards of conduct.

3. As for the alleged woman with severe burn scars, we have nobody matching that description here at FOB Falcon. As Soldiers, we practice the value of Respect: "Treat people as you want to be treated." If the blogger and his friends can't live the Army value of respect, I have little doubt that someone around them who does would have made an on-the-spot correction. The Falcon dining facility is not a spacious one. Anyone being rude, loud or raucous calls immediate attention to himself. It is hard to fathom that anyone would be able to get away with such callous behavior without somebody intervening and stopping it from happening.


"Shock Troops" - The New Republic

Note to Readers - TNR Editor

Fact or Fiction? - Weekly Standard

Stephen Glass Meets the Winter Soldiers - National Review

Who Is the 'Baghdad Diarist'? - ABC News

Who is TNR's Mysterious Author 'Scott Thomas'? - American Thinker

Johannes to Thomas, Radio Check, Over - Outside the Wire

Battle Buddies - Mudville Gazette

More Battle Buddies - Mudville Gazette

TNR Correspondent a Fake? - Blackfive

War Stories - DadManly

Doubting Thomas - Powerline

Literally: The Scott Thomas "Smoking Gun" - The Jawa Report

"Scott Thomas:" The New Winter Soldier? - Michelle Malkin

Both New Republic and Weekly Standard Missing Elementary Journalism - Democracy Project

Discuss at Small Wars Council


Man, outside of the whole "journalistic bias" aspect of this story, I really feel sad for his wife. If the story isn't true then she is married to one absolutely messed-up individual. Then again, if it is true she's probably married to someone who is GOING to be one messed-up individual...of course, those are two entirely different things if TNR put him up to that. I think that would bring a whole other dynamic to that particular relationship if that were the case

Brian H

Sun, 07/22/2007 - 11:48pm

Instantly recognizable as another "little Big Lie" attempt. In cruder terms, if you keep throwing bullshit at the wall, some of it will eventually stick.

I think the nature of the accusations should be looked at for details of how the NR's "brain" works. In this regard, I recommend going thru the material at, and then reading the analysis that follows on after the survey material. You'll see what I mean about the nature of the lies used by the NR; they follow a particular pattern that reflects the value-set of the liberal mind, not that of the conservative.

For all the complaints that liberals have made about prewar intelligence they should have tried a little harder to get the postwar stuff correct and at that they have been an absolute disaster with repeated false stories about U.S. forces in Iraq. It's really inexcusable.