October 25, 2007

Yon: Beauchamp's Honor

Michael Yon dives into the Scott Beauchamp/New Republic fracas with a surprising and intriguing twist. Yon actually has come into contact with Beauchamp's unit, and finds the CO protective of the erstwhile Hemingway, and for good reason. As Yon explains, Beauchamp could have come home after insulting and humiliating his comrades with false stories of atrocities and bad behavior. Instead, Beauchamp decided to stay in Iraq to make amends:

I was at a reconciliation meeting between Sunni and Shia in the West Rashid district of Baghdad on 24 October, and it happened by complete coincidence that I was with Beauchamp’s battalion. In fact, I was with his old company commander for much of the day, although I had no idea for most of it that I was with Beauchamp’s old company commander.

At the reconciliation meeting, Beauchamp’s battalion commander, LTC George Glaze, politely introduced himself and asked who I wrote for. When I replied that I just have a little blog, the word caught his ears and he mentioned Beauchamp, who I acknowledged having heard something about. LTC Glaze seemed protective of Beauchamp, despite how the young soldier had maligned his fellow soldiers. In fact, the commander said Beauchamp, having learned his lesson, was given the chance to leave or stay. ...

Lapses of judgment are bound to happen, and accountability is critical, but that’s not the same thing as pulling out the hanging rope every time a soldier makes a mistake.

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.

That impresses me. Can you imagine going back out on patrol with the men you'd just libeled in order to grease the skids in the publishing world? If he made that choice, then he's learned a lot from his experience. It also makes me wonder about Franklin Foer's insistence that Beauchamp privately reaffirmed his stories after the transcript released on Drudge yesterday.

It will surprise no one that Yon considers TNR the real villain of this story. Be sure to read the entire post, including Yon's reasons for turning down an interview with Beauchamp. While you're there, throw a few dollars in the tip jar for a man whose journalistic ethics puts TNR to shame.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Yon: Beauchamp's Honor:

» Michael Yon on Scotty’s Second Chance from Neocon News
It’s so easy to get snarling over things like Scotty Beauchamp and TNR, but Michael Yon does a good job of reminding us that we need every soldier fighting this war that we can get, even if they’ve previously been hunting for their 15 minut... [Read More]

» The Atonement of Beauchamp-Updated from A Second Hand Conjecture
I see a young man who made a big mistake. I am a big believer in second chances. The editors of TNR have squandered their chance to fix this. Scott is doing what he needs to do, I hold no grudge. That is me yesterday talking about Scott Beauchamp in a ... [Read More]

Comments (55)

Posted by Carol Herman | October 25, 2007 11:36 AM

Wow. Michael Yon covers this war in Irak, like nobody's business!

And, Captain Ed, I agree. Beauchamp, in deciding to stay, is acting like a man. And, is willing to make amends.

It seems Franklin Foer, however, is not.

Yesterday, Mark Steyn had up a piece on this subject.

He wrote that Foer is 31 years old. And, has been at TNR since he got out of college. About 8 years. Without any other job experience. Without any clue on what's its like outside of TNR offices.

I think Foer is silent because of FEAR. He can't move. He's locked into position. Catatonic.

I'd also bet that the papers, which are legitimate, and got to Drudge, were provided by Beauchamp's attorney. With his client's permission.

Don't forget, this attorney has also dealt with Foer. And, the folks at TNR.

Steyn, meanwhile, says he knows Asper. And, the Asper Family. They own TNR. And, he recommended they step up to the plate; and to the right thing.

I don't think the military, by the way, broke the rules, to "leak" the substance of Beauchamp's report; unless it was done at the pentagon. At a level way above that which Beauchamp makes. And, where in-fighting is both terrible. And, thorough.

Gotta tell ya; I assumed that Beauchamp would have been put into the garage; to fix deflated tires. Or something like that. That he's willing to go out and BE a soldier; doing dangerous detail; tells you something about this man, that's better than Hemingway.

I also think this story was never really worth all that TNR invested into it. War's hell. We wouldn't say so, it it looked "normal. And, every day." No more treacherous than a run out of your driveway, to go and buy some milk.

By the way, Beauchamp wasn't a known writer going into this thing. He had no idea it would all blow up so spectacularly.

And, all Foer had to do? He could'a said "FICTION." "We published it because we don't have much information. And, our readers wouldn't complain over fiction like this."

Foer is frozen. He can't act. That's how insurmountable his fears became. That's my guess.

Posted by mdmhvonpa | October 25, 2007 11:37 AM

I read this ... twice. I know I cannot hold a candle to the soldiers CO and, equally, to Mr Yon. I'm getting an impression that Mike can put lipstick on a pig and make me look forward to a date with the beauty. He would make a good White House Press Secretary some day.

Posted by Otter | October 25, 2007 11:40 AM

Beauchamp, apparently, has more guts than murtha, reid, stark or harkins will every display.

Posted by BD | October 25, 2007 11:57 AM

Cap'n Ed:

Thanks for linking this. I suspect there are some on our side of the political divide who'd rather not know about the choice Beauchamp made - it doesn't fit the "white hat / black hat" mode of analysis.

I wish Beauchamp had never written a word. With that said, Beauchamp's to be commended for deciding to make amends.

May God bless & protect all our troops - including Scott Beauchamp.

Posted by eaglewings | October 25, 2007 12:03 PM

I truly hope that he has made amends and that is being accepted by his fellow soldiers. I also commend Scott for going into the lion's den. He appears to have more courage than the rag that still is pursuing the Blather, fake but true excuse.

Posted by KendraWilder | October 25, 2007 12:08 PM

Excuse me for being underwhelmed, but what Scott Beauchamp did is far beyond the pale. Somehow staying and fighting on the frontlines, during a time when terrorism in Iraq has been enormously reduced and chances are pretty darn good he'll survive, just doesn't impress me as the road to making things "right" by him.

Nope. I smell a rat. The damage that man has done, and Jesse MacBeth as well, far outweighs anything either could do to make amends. At a time when the War on Terror was needing huge support here at home, in the public and political arenas, those two stepped up to do their darnedest to add to the negative piling on against the efforts of the Bush Administration and our military.

The was damage done at the prime time for doing damage. Nothing, nothing at all that either of them could ever do will undo that damage, nor restore the unity this great nation once felt in the aftermath of 9/11.

Let's try to keep things in proper perspective here. I've seen so many lies perpetuated, despite being later disproved, because the initial impression/reporting is what the MSM ran with, saturating the public with negative perspectives and psychology that were pounded home day after day, month after month, in order to undermine and destroy the efforts overseas. To this day I read, in Liberal blogs, comments about the so-called atrocities committed by our military in the Middle East.

No, not me. I'm not buying this for one moment. Whatever Scott Beauchamp's ulterior motives are for pulling this latest stunt will probably not be clear for awhile. But I can almost guarantee they're not honorable. The guy got caught, and he's seeing his career going down in flames unless he does something dramatic to try and salvage it. That's my gut hunch right now.

Posted by daytrader | October 25, 2007 12:10 PM

The irony of all this is that if Beauchamp straightens up and flies right and gets his head on straight he may have a chance to write about it truthfully without any spin and some would be willing to read it to observe the change and the outcome.

Foer are you listening?

Posted by glenn | October 25, 2007 12:12 PM

Let's not assume noble motives for Beauchamps decision to stay in Iraq with his unit. It would be great if he suddenly decided that his unit mates were good guys and he wanted to stay and be a good soldier as well. BUT, he may just be a sociopath who thinks what he is doing now gives him the best chance of coming out of this mess on top. Books, book tours, dinner at the White House in the next Democratic administration, all the stuff folks like Scott dream about while writing slanderous stuff about the men around them. Lets come back in 5 years and revisit this thing.

Posted by dougf | October 25, 2007 12:12 PM

Thanks for linking this. I suspect there are some on our side of the political divide who'd rather not know about the choice Beauchamp made - it doesn't fit the "white hat / black hat" mode of analysis.

I would think not very many. Anyone who given a choice to bug out or stay and take his lumps, chooses freely to take the hit, deserves respect. Whatever he did beforehand has nothing to do with what he is evidently now doing. As Yon says, imagine the attitudes of those fellow soldiers he has to associate with 24-7. Bravery comes in many forms.

I think much more highly of Beauchamp now than before I read this article especially since he was was not the guy who said anything about it.

'Nuance' is not a private preserve of the 'usual

On the other hand I despise TNR and its effete little clique even more.

Posted by daytrader | October 25, 2007 12:17 PM


I have to agree with your points and in fact my post was almost going to reflect a lot of the same.

As my post said it was based on certain conditions. If Scott is choosing this path working it as an angle to revive his writing career or some other such thing as that it will become apparent down the line. Until then I will reserve judgment.

But as others have pointed out elsewhere, that aspect may not matter all all because quite frankly he is a terrible writer.

Posted by Lady Logician | October 25, 2007 12:25 PM

Ed - thanks for posting this. To all who are questioning Mr. Beauchamp's motives, let me speak as the wife of someone who served (20 years ago in "peacetime" thank God).

Mr. Beauchamp took the HARD ROAD in choosing to serve out his tour! He is in for all kinds of grief (and that is the nice way to say what he is going to get) from his unit mates. He betrayed their trust and until such time as he regains that trust his life will be just short of a living hell. He will never know if his wing man "has his back" going into a dangerous situation.

He "soldiered up" and is taking his lumps. He has already learned something and just maybe his remaining time in the service will teach him even more.


Posted by whocares | October 25, 2007 12:39 PM

I think this story has passed beyond Beauchamp and is focused soley on TNR. What did they know and when did they know it? That is all there is left to answer.

Posted by Robin Munn | October 25, 2007 12:43 PM

After reading the PDFs that Drudge (briefly) posted, I also got the impression that Beauchamp had had a change of heart. He was an idiot earlier, but he's regretting his idiocy and learning from it. He hasn't quite had the courage to make a public announcement of "Sorry folks, I lied" and receive all the media publicity that would follow -- but he's had the courage to admit it to the Army and his fellow soldiers, the ones most hurt by his earlier smear. Gotta give him credit for that, and that's quite a lot.

How much he'll learn from this in the long run, we'll see. Maybe his attitude will change from self-centeredness to service of others, and maybe it won't. But his owning up to his fellow soldiers is at least a good sign.

Posted by capitano | October 25, 2007 1:01 PM

I'm all for redemption and 2nd chances, but talk is cheap and and if this is just talk then it will prove to be more like Stephen Glass whining BS. But if he can suck it up and complete his tour while shouldering the burden of having betrayed his fellow soldiers, I'll let it slide. They are in a better position to know if it's an act to reclaim his inner Hemingway or the real deal.

TNR is another deal altogether -- somebody with a scintilla of integrity has got the goods and it's just a matter of time before that person steps forward.

Posted by anon | October 25, 2007 1:08 PM

I posted this on Yon, but I think it bears repeating here.

As someone who was outraged by what Beauchamp wrote, and how TNR acted, I feel that some perspective is needed also. At the end of the day, Beauchamp is a soldier, in a war zone, serving his country, even if he made a mistake which I'm sure he regrets now.

His decision to "do right" by his peers is commendable, and should be appreciated. While I disagree with Beauchamp's decision not to recant his stories, and continue to disagree, I can - to an extent - understand his decision seeing as he might not want to hurt his wife in the process. I don't condone it, but I can see why.

Anyway, actions speak louder than words. That he has decided to stay bespeaks some measure of integrity on his part. I also believe that a blog (can't remember which) who has spoken to Beauchamp in Iraq made comments to the effect that he is actually 'ok' in person.

The many blogs who have exposed TNR should continue to hold TNR to account, but at the same time, acknowledge Beauchamp's service to his country, and his reaffirmation of it by his decision to stay.

Of course, there's always the possibility that he is a complete sociopath and manoeuvring to cover his bases, inspire sympathy, and come out on top. And the cynics may be right. But for now, he's walking the walk, and at the end of the day, is still risking his life out there in Iraq. Which I think deserves at least some perspective on our part as bloggers chasing this story.

Personally, from reading the transcripts, he seems in over his head dealing with Foer et al., and actually emerges sounding somewhat sympathetic, while Foer and TNR come across as ass-covering jackasses. I think his desire to make up for what he did is partly self-serving and partly genuine. But that is human motivation in a nutshell. We shouldn't be more uncharitable than is necessary.

Posted by DJ Elliott | October 25, 2007 1:17 PM

Robin Munn

If he claimed that the events were true, that is fraud.

If he publicaly admits the articles were false, then TNR sues him and his wife. That lawer was not there for his benifit, he was there for TNR's...

Posted by cdjaco | October 25, 2007 1:25 PM

Add me to the list of skeptics. Maybe Beauchamp had a change of heart, maybe he didn't. It could be that this wannabe Hemingway decided he would be far more likely to gather future material in Iraq and as a REMF; there's nothing preventing him from resorting to his original tactics once his enlistment is over.

I'd really like to think that he saw the big picture here and hit a pivot point...but the cynic in me wonders if Beauchamp is merely hoping for some kind of miracle -- say, an award for courageous action or being witness to a real atrocity -- which could cause his previous actions to be cast in a more positive light or forgotten altogether.

Posted by Jack Okie | October 25, 2007 1:25 PM


You are of course correct that we don't know how it will ultimately play out, but according to Yon Beauchamp has chosen to put himself in harms' way rather than bugging out (how many of you had Kerry pop into your heads just now?). I have to believe that if his fellow squad-mates did not trust him with their backs he would not be there. I believe what we are seeing in Beauchamp is the effect of something today's Army seems to have in abundance: Leadership.

Posted by Swede | October 25, 2007 1:31 PM

"With that said, Beauchamp's to be commended for deciding to make amends."

Which amends are those?

The public apology to his fellow Soldiers for the grotesque smears?

Or the public refutation of the crap he wrote that TNR was only too happy to print for the world to see?

Posted by Amendment X | October 25, 2007 1:36 PM

As for Beauchamp's sudden epiphany, I agree with KendraWilder...let's let some time pass before we see if there is true remorse and amends.

Posted by rbj | October 25, 2007 1:36 PM

Kudos to Beauchamp. (Never thought I'd write that). As for questioning his reasoning, without any proof of base motives I will give him the benefit of the doubt as he is still putting his life on the line and his CO is sticking up for him rather than getting him kicked out as a drag on morale.

Posted by Swede | October 25, 2007 1:46 PM

For those who think it's great that he's sticking around, I say: big deal, it's his job.

Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you fear.

I can tell you, as a former NCO, now a commissioned officer, that the BN CDR, BN CSM, Company CO and 1SG all probably had a little talk with the troops about what would happen if anybody were foolish enough to harm this Soldier.

Again, there has been NO public sign of contrition for anything that he did that was WRONG.

Posted by NavyspyII | October 25, 2007 1:49 PM

I too am torn.

On one hand, the transcripts of his conversation showed me a very self-centered editor and publisher, and an equally self-absorbed writer in that he would neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of his writings directly to TNR, or the media.

On the other hand, it truly does take some intestinal fortitude to be the company sh!tbird, and still stay there and do your duty.

While it is impossible to determine his thought proccess, I do respect his decision to stay, and see his mission through, whatever his motivations.

If he ever finds his way into the public eye again, we'll be better able to determine his motivations at that time.

As it stands now, I wish him fair seas, and following winds, and hope for the best.

Posted by Immolate | October 25, 2007 1:51 PM

There is an adverse to the proverb: "Hate the sin but love the sinner". It is: "Love the act, however you feel about the actor". This is one of those times. I acknowledge that what Pvt Beauchamp behaved as a man when he chose to stay. I hope that he follows that path for the rest of his life. My gut tells me that there is a good chance he will not, based on prior behavior. He did a good thing, but I'm not ready for him to have my babies.

Posted by docjim505 | October 25, 2007 1:54 PM

Ditto NavySpy and all those who think that, while he might have some devious motives, Beauchamp at least appears to be doing the right thing. His fellow GI's will be stern judges of whether he's just trying to put on some sort of act or whether he's really grown up and trying to be a man.

Posted by Tom from LA | October 25, 2007 2:05 PM

Please add me to the "wait and see" group. Foer claims that Beauchamp has told him in a later conversation that the stories are true. When Beauchamp drops the weasel wording and straight up admits to his fabrications and exaggerations, then I'll be impressed. Right now he seems to be telling both the Army and TNR what they want to hear.

Posted by Joel Rosenberg | October 25, 2007 2:22 PM

Just the other day, a convicted child molester rescued a three-year-old who had wandered out into 36-degree weather.

That doesn't unmolest his 4-year-old victim of ten years ago; it was clearly, on the face of it, the right thing to do, and that that should be said. Doesn't mean the guy should go off the Level III offender list, but, yeah, he did a good thing. (As it turned out, another couple arrived moments after, so the kid would have been okay, anyway; he didn't know that.)

It's perfectly possible -- and, I think, reasonable -- to say that Scott Beauchamp should suffer the appropriate penalties for lying about his comrades, while also giving the guy credit for what he's doing now. That doesn't undo what he did -- and he really should, since his stories were made up, issue a statement to that effect -- but regardless of what he did before, getting back to soldiering is a praiseworthy thing.

(No, I'm not making the story up; see

Posted by KendraWilder | October 25, 2007 2:26 PM

Posted by anon | October 25, 2007 1:08 PM

We shouldn't be more uncharitable than is necessary.

More uncharitable than is necessary, compared to what?

Posted by Swede | October 25, 2007 1:31 PM

""With that said, Beauchamp's to be commended for deciding to make amends.""

"Which amends are those?

The public apology to his fellow Soldiers for the grotesque smears?

Or the public refutation of the crap he wrote that TNR was only too happy to print for the world to see?"

I'm in agreement with Swede. Scott Beauchamp has not publicly refuted his fabulist stories, nor has he publicly apologized to the military for denegrating their honorable service, nor has he publicly apologized to President Bush, who bore the brunt of his lies via unbelievably negative press, and lambasting by the Dems/Libs/MSM and Progressive Liberal Bloggers.

Until he does so, he's merely hiding in Iraq trying to garner "public" sympathy here at home the easy way, and I'm sorry but that's exactly how I view it having had several relatives serve in the military and lost my first love to Viet Nam.

Recently, Marines and Soldiers returning from Iraq were not allowed into Oakland terminal. The whole dynamic that created the atmosphere for that type of sneering and denegrating and disrespecting of members of our military is exactly due to the outrageous lies of the Beauchamps and the MacBeths.

No way I'm convinced. It would take a miracle, like Beauchamp forfeiting any and all profit-making from his military and journalistic experiences for all time. Let him get a regular job and earn his living off his own sweat and toil for 20 years, and then maybe I'll begin to believe his sincerity. At the very least, nothing less than public admission of what he did, and public apologies to the Military and to President Bush, should be demanded.

The first book and/or movie offer, and all bets are off.

Posted by english teacher | October 25, 2007 3:23 PM

i didn't read any of stb's stories, and don't give a crap about the magazine in question. imho, this "story" is just another faux outrage vehicle for the right wing noise machine.

so my question is, did beauchamp actually name or refer to any soldiers in his unit in his stories. if his "stories" were all fabrications along the lines of "some soldier did this" or "some soldier did that", then that's not slander. it's bull, and there are obviously crass motives behind that kind of behavior. but i think many of you are over-reacting with charges of "slander" or whatever if beauchamp never actually named any other soldiers (which i suspect he didn't). fiction, by definition, is not slander.

Posted by tmi3rd | October 25, 2007 3:27 PM

So, English Teacher, if you don't care, why are you giving us the privilege of your opinion again? Especially if you didn't read the stories?


Posted by NoDonkey | October 25, 2007 3:31 PM

While Beauchamp defamed his comrades and fed into enemy propaganda, he is, after all, a very young soldier and I can understand why his CO and his unit are giving him a second chance.

TNR showed a complete lack of moral, ethical and professional judgment in publishing these fabrications.

If TNR had acted properly, these stories never would have been published and Beauchamp might have had the opportunity to grow up before he became a journalist, something TNR's editors still have not done.

Posted by tmi3rd | October 25, 2007 3:38 PM

Oh, and as to why it matters that New Republic put out these pieces of fiction while trying to pass them off as news/truth...

These pieces, whether you personally read them or not, shape and have shaped debate in this country. There is no mechanism that holds journalists and news organizations to account (and as a member of the MSM, I'm quite comfortable stating that as fact), other than the ownership groups of their papers, magazines, or stations.

For any self-professed journalist to publish anything of this potential magnitude without making absolutely certain of its authenticity and without confirming every single detail down to the inch is a violation of every journalistic ethics course that exists.

As to your argument about the legalese of it, nice attempt to change the subject.


Posted by arch | October 25, 2007 3:40 PM


I think are going too soft on Franklin Foer. Being 31 doesn't justify publishing fiction as fact, especially when that fiction makes unsubstantiated (and untrue) accusations of misconduct in combat. It doesn't justify midnight computer searches to cover up the truth. Journalists deal in truth. It is bad enough that they have a bias that colors their view of events, but to knowingly publish untruthful information is unforgivable. Foer is in charge.

Think about the 31 year old soldiers TNR slandered in this piece. I would expect that most of our casualties are under 31. US army captains are 31 or younger. NCOs with 13 years of service are about 31. The average age of a Vietnam KIA was 23.11. Youth and inexperience does not buy Foer a pass. No one was shooting at him. No one was ordering him to risk life and limb. All he had to do was tell the truth. To date, he has stonewalled.

Had he survived, USN Lt Michael P. Murphy would be 31.

Posted by arch | October 25, 2007 3:42 PM

Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote a disloyal piece of fiction and he got caught. To his credit, he realized his mistake and is trying to atone. He owes his unit a debt of honor and he should pay it. As for his future as a writer, I have read Ernest Hemingway. Beauchamp is no Ernest Hemingway. Scott should buy a copy of E.B. White's Elements of Style and read it cover-to-cover before he writes another page.

Posted by english teacher | October 25, 2007 3:50 PM

no, these pieces have not shaped any debate. no one has ever heard of this guy. nobody cares. i just asked a simple question which you haven't answered. posters here have said stb "slandered" or "defamed" our troops. but if he didn't name any other troopers, then who exactly was defamed or slandered? my point is that this is a tempest in a teapot for the consumption of about one hundred hard core right wing blog activists. thanks for the lecture on journalistic ethics tmi3rd. do you mind if i c&p your post to eib and fox news?

i agree with no donkey, this stuff never should have seen the light of day. but forgive me for pointing out the gratuitous overreaction of the right wing blogosphere; i do know how you guys hate to have your sanctimony interrupted.

if no one was named, then no one was "slandered" or "defamed". all i'm saying is knock off the hot box rhetoric about how significant this is, because it makes the two dozen of you look pretty silly.

thanks for linking this, captain morrisey.

Posted by arch | October 25, 2007 4:04 PM

Since they turned hard left, The New Republic has been bleeding subscribers. Last Summer they had a circulation of only 60,000 (down from 100,000 in 2001). For a slick, 48 page, biweekly publication with subscriptions selling for $30 online to $40 mail, that's only $1.15 and $1.52 per issue, respectively; not enough to pay the publication cost. TNR has only five real advertisers - Visa, GM, Ford, BP and Allstate - where the real money is made. I've written their sales executives and CEOs to ask if they want their brands associated with Shock Troops.

If I owned TNR, I would publicly apologize for the Beauchamp episode and fire Franklin Foer for cause.

Posted by tmi3rd | October 25, 2007 4:08 PM

Hey yo English Teacher-

As a matter of fact, in my newsroom, it did shape debate and related stories were pitched and written as a result. I realize that in teaching English, you don't bother with what the rest of us do with our writing, but yeah, it actually does matter, here in a top-30 market. The New Republic, for better or for worse, is closely read in the industry, and in case you hadn't noticed, the media shapes the debate.

Send all you like of my writings off, by the way. Perhaps even show it to some of your students who might aspire to journalism... remind them how it's supposed to work.

Come to think of it, I had a couple of lefty English teachers and profs who were intellectually honest enough to know why this mattered... which is clearly where they part company with you.

Those that can, do.


Posted by arch | October 25, 2007 4:11 PM

English Teacher:

It is not necessary to name someone to slander, libel or defame them.

BTW, did I misuse a seicolon in my last post.


Posted by Joefrommass | October 25, 2007 4:15 PM


My thoughts exactly. This guy was used by TNR. He made a big mistake, like we all have in our youth, and is trying to make amends. If his comrads and CO can forgive him so can I.

Posted by poodlemom | October 25, 2007 4:32 PM

Hasn't it occurred to anyone (except me) who thinks perhaps staying in Iraq is preferable to coming home and facing "the missus" who *used* to have a job with TNR?

Posted by KendraWilder | October 25, 2007 4:35 PM

Posted by arch | October 25, 2007 3:42 PM

"Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote a disloyal piece of fiction and he got caught. To his credit, he realized his mistake and is trying to atone. He owes his unit a debt of honor and he should pay it."

While I wholeheartedly agree with the essence of your statement, and that Beauchamp should pay his unit a debt of honor, I'm afraid I also see this tactic for what is might actually be: A convenient opportunity to hide away from public access and scrutiny, but also away from exposure to the MSM, and more importantly, exposure to the Conservative Weblog Journalists who would pursue him until he made a public admission of what he did, admitting to the outright fabrication of those stories of atrocities purportedly committed by USA military members.

Yes, yes, it may be a tough thing to do, to have to expose himself to fellow members of the military and commanders, and take a lot of flack over how he denegrated them without a shred of evidence. On the other hand, Beauchamp has a very convenient excuse for not being able to deal with demands from journalists for interviews about this outrageous bit of fabulism on his part, encouraged by TNR.

Plus, from the documents obtained by Drudge, it would appear that The New Republic is actually encouraging him not to make himself available for press interviews and to avoid any situation at all where he might have to answer specific questions about his fabrications, which would publicly admit his wrongdoing, and embarrass the editors at TNR that encouraged him to continue the charade.

What better place to hide out and be, for all intents and purposes, incommunicado, than in Iraq under the auspices of doing right by his unit by paying his debt of honor? Why, how could anyone think badly of someone who would put themselves in harms way in order to set things right with his unit like that?

I'm guessing he weighed his options, and took the safest route, away from public and peer scrutiny and criticism, and in the process avoiding any public admission of any wrongdoing, while at the same time buying time for TNR, which I'm sure hopes that it will all have blown over by the time he finishes his tour of duty.

Just all seems too neatly convenient to me.

Posted by quickjustice | October 25, 2007 4:50 PM

Even assuming that it is genuine, Beauchamp's private remorse expressed to his immediate buddies remains insufficient to rectify what he, in collusion with TNR, did to the reputation of the American military. It was defamation of an entire institution.

Until Beauchamp's remorse is expressed publicly, and in a forum at least as public and prominent as TNR, both he and TNR remained stained with this libel. His private contrition may be sufficient for his unit, but it's not sufficient for the larger group of heroes he and TNR defamed.

TNR must publicly retract and fire the responsible editors, or go down.

Posted by Dawn | October 25, 2007 5:01 PM

Slander was done to the military as a whole.

The United States of America military.

Go back to school.

Posted by Maetenloch | October 25, 2007 5:02 PM

Joefrommass, I admire your compassion and willingness to forgive Beauchamp, but I think we need to be a little critical-minded about his actions and the whole situation.

He was used by TNR, but he also used them to get what he wanted - to be published in a national magazine. No one forced him to make up lurid stories for TNR - he did this on his own for his own benefit. If someone hadn't questioned the plausibility of his stories, he would still be writing them today and likely would have parlayed his experiences into a professional writing gig.

But he was caught, and now is paying the price. So far all we can really say is that he is beginning to make amends, but he is still far from making up for what he has done. And let's be clear - he's just now doing what he should have been doing all along, and what his fellow soldiers were already doing. It's not like he's making an additional sacrifice - he's just stopped digging his hole any deeper.

Personally I hope that he has indeed see the light and will try to redeem himself. But I'm cynical enough (and have dealt with enough people to make me that way) to believe that he may be somewhat sociopathic and has realized this is the best strategy to limit the damage and get as much of the benefit as he can once his enlistment is up.

I will really believe in his redemption when I see him atone and follow through over a extended period of time. At a minimum he needs to publicly and unambiguously recant his false stories and appologize for the trouble he's caused his fellow soldiers. Then stay quiet, keep his nose clean, and do his job for the rest of his term. Then I'll consider him for forgiveness.

Posted by NahnCee | October 25, 2007 5:26 PM

I can't help wondering where in hell EnglishTeacher teaches since s/he/it never, ever, actually reads anything. Maybe it's a teacher of English in some third world country where they don't have libraries and it's cool to be both stupid and anti-American.

The other thing I'm wondering is what about the late great Mrs. Beauchamp, she who used to work as a fact checker at TNR, who evidently doesn't work there any more (perhaps because she couldn't be bothered to actually - you know - check any facts?), but who is still urging her soldier husband to hold out, stick with his lies and not to recant. THOSE are the e-mail messages, between Scott and Elspeth, that I am panting to read. We need to sic someone with more tentacles than Druge on this conundrum -- perhaps TMZ.com.

Yon's plea for leniency is heartfelt and makes a sort of logical sense, but looking at pictures of that sniggery little preppy in fatigues, I have to wonder how sincere Beauchamp's desire to right his wrongs and be a man really is. He just doesn't *look* the part of a true-blue American soldier, but geez, he sure fits the mental profile of a Cindy Sheehan/Code Pink troublemaker for hire. Maybe where he is now in reality and in his life, he's not so clean-shaven, striking an authorly pose, and pleased with himself.

Posted by Eric Classic | October 25, 2007 5:37 PM

Beauchamp simply calvaned himself. TNR, however, really Moveon.orged the reputation of our entire media.

Posted by Captain Ed | October 25, 2007 5:46 PM

I understand the anger of commenters for what Beauchamp did. However, two points:

1. The biggest victims of his libel are the men and women he's serving with now, and they appear ready to allow him a second chance.

2. It's hard to imagine a penance with more meaning than going out into combat and having to hope the comrades you backstabbed in the press will watch your own back. Especially since he had the option to return to the US instead, according to Yon.

He has a lot of learning to do, but he's apparently chosen to start. I'm going to give him credit for that.

Posted by j | October 25, 2007 6:06 PM

Summary observations:
1 - Dawn, I agree with you;
2 - FInally someone mentioned Mrs. Beauchamp - she loses her job at TNR, Scott goes out with his soldier buddies - something isn't right here.
3 - 31 is too young to know enough to edit a "news/opinion" magazine, especially when you have no other experience. Low circulation doesn't matter - Foer is obviously too young, too biased (must have gone through one of those excuse for journalism major factories - Columbia???).
4 - Foer ought to be dropped after he publishes the apology to our military with no puns, a straight out apology with a terrific troop support photo on the cover. (BTW, Beauchamp isn't to be the soldier featured.)
5 - I'm not buying anything about Beauchamp. TNR used to be respected - now, a joke.

Posted by sherlock | October 25, 2007 6:09 PM

Beauchamp's dishonor was to slander the soldiers serving in Iraq, in furtherance of a political agenda about how the war is dehumanizing them. So he not only dishonored himself, but his companions, and all others who serve in Iraq, but his country, which we should not forget was the central objective of this treacherous behavior. Sure, he may have been telling himself that he was trying to boost his creds as a writer, but he cannot have been ignorant of the ultimate consequences his work was intended to be used for by others.

In the spirit of hate the sin, not the sinner, I hope he will put in some time becoming a good and trustworthy soldier, and then at the right time, perhaps after after he is again a civilian, reveal the truth about his and others' roles in this affair. He owes an apology not only to his mates, and the Army, but his country, too. Exposing the truth about how he helped the media lie about the war and the Americans who serve there would go a long way toward a making a real restitution.

Posted by Zoomie | October 25, 2007 6:51 PM

Whatever the circumstances of Beauchamp's military service now--Iraq definitely is no bowl of peaches, no matter how improved it is--the fact that he's facing the other soldiers in his unit deserves some credit. They will make his life a living hill. He's isolated, and that makes being so far from home, doing a dangerous job, even harder. If he had come out and said I'm sorry, and we heard nothing about his decision to stick with his unit and finish his service, the reaction would've been just as incredulous. His actions speak louder than a simple verbal apology. I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he turns up five years from now pulling the same stupid stunt, then there will be no third chance.

As for TNR--as if they had any more credibility to lose. They've condemned themselves to being yet another far-left rag, and what goes around comes around.

Posted by runawayyyy | October 25, 2007 7:51 PM

Well, leave it to the incredibly hypocritical english teacher to tell all us poor schlubs what a non-story this is, when that useless "educator" was one of the first to demand that beauchamp's story was proof positive of what a bunch of criminals the military is. Go ahead, deny it now.

That said, keeping this in perspective means remembering that it was Michael Yon who wrote this story. I have yet to have a good reason to disagree with him, so scotty also gets the benefit of my doubts. TNR, on the other hand, can kiss my conservative a$$.

Posted by joefrommass | October 25, 2007 8:50 PM


I just keep thinking of all the stupid decisions I made at that age, not really thinking of the consequenses or who I was hurting. I appreciate those who thought that I was worthy of a second chance. Those who are closest to him were also the ones most affected by his error in judgement and know whether he is truly contrite.

Posted by Carol Herman | October 25, 2007 8:54 PM

War is hell!

We send kids out in uniform, and shortly thereafter, they become men. Our army was always good at this.

How did Beauchamp get into this mess?

Far from Irak, he was married to a fact-checker at TNR. (Who has since been fired. Elspeth Reeves.)

Perhaps, Beauchamp was trying to impress his wife?

I'd bet in Irak, most of our soldiers think they've landed in the armpit of the world.

There's no stories of friendship. Just a bunch of arabs. If you can tell their tribal affiliations apart, great. But we've been in Irak, without having Bush really explaining why it is costing every single American, so far, $8000 EACH. Out of the taxpayer pot.

You think this might have had something to do with the saud's?

It's a pretty expensive way to go about killing Saddam.

We couldn't figure out a way to do it, cheaper?

As to war stories, whatever TNR tried to do, they're obviously inexperienced with peole who join our military. For starters, most of them got their in spite of the brainwashing going on in public schools.

As if there aren't enough REAL war stories to tell!

Do tell.

TNR, by the way, is not in business to "service" conservatives.

And, hate? Why are we tossing around red meat?

I see no advantages treating the divisive nature of American politics, by tossing red meat out there, to see who lands on it, first.

That TNR has problems?

You think there's any company out there that doesn't?

I'm glad Michael Yon got to meet Beauchamp's cammander. (Not that I can tell where the rank fits in.) But the conversation? I think the army is smart enough to know that WAR IS HELL. Men will complain! And, the best ways to deflect the negativity ... in a place like irak. Sand blown. And, an armpit of an assignment. Is just to steer a steady course.

TNR will eventually figure out, that HERE, the army won! So, they fired his their fact-checker, his wife.

Now, do you think when stories get written by soldiers who return home; that you won't see a FROM HERE TO ETERNITY? You won't see WAR IS HELL.

I think you won't see any friendships breaking out with the natives. That's a problem. Baghdad ain't Paris.

When you ask Americans if they support are troops, overwhelmingly, the answer is YES.

Now, go ask people if they think being in Irak, after all these years, is wise. Not sure you'd find it "overwhelmingly" positive.

How did we get messed up with these gangs? Shi'a, Sunni. And, kurds. They don't get along with each other; and, they're far removed from anything that we'd recognize as ideal citizens, who could live "right next door."

TNR stepped in it. Shouldn't go and turn us into savages. Ionesco's play, though, didn't hold out much hope. The Rhinoceros won. Not Jesus.

HOw much love does it take to repair damage?

Posted by malclave | October 25, 2007 10:57 PM

Beauchamp's chain of command apparently gave him the option of staying or leaving. I'm sure they could have ensured he left if they thought that would have been best for the unit.

If his C.O., who is a lot closer to the story, is giving him a second chance, I'm willing to do the same.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 26, 2007 12:57 PM

All english teachers I've ever had were washed up has-beens who, because they couldn't write themselves, chose to be english teachers, thus providing a proof to the maxim that "those that can't do, teach". I remember one english teacher who forced us to analyze Simon and Garfunkel songs; of course, we never got the right interpretation. It was the kind of task, older than the sea, the kind of task english teachers always assign. The worst part was listening to the english teachers talk about how stupid their students were whenever I walked past the faculty room. Mine would look at me and break out laughing and pointing and turn and whisper into the ears of her peers. They always smirked back at me. I'm sure they did it just for fun, but they wounded my psyche terribly. Sadly, I now cannot listen to "The Boxer" without thinking of all the answers I got wrong in interpretation, even though I think I got them right. english teachers are truly evil, and far stupider than they think their students are.

That's the type of slander we're talking about here, english teacher. After reading the above, what do you think of my english teacher and his/her peers? Note that I never mention the teachers by name, but if I told you my high school and what years I attended, I'm sure you could find out their identities.

Such was the case with Scott B.

[BTW, none of it was true except the interpretation part. I was never able to interpret "The Boxer" to my teacher's satisfaction.]

Post a comment