Earlier this week, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb published a report, based on a single anonymous “military source close to the investigation,” entitled “Beauchamp Recants,” claiming that Beauchamp “signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only ‘a smidgen of truth,’ in the words of our source.”
Here’s what we know: On July 26, Beauchamp told us that he signed several statements under what he described as pressure from the Army. He told us that these statements did not contradict his articles. Moreover, on the same day he signed these statements for the Army, he gave us a statement standing behind his articles, which we published at tnr.com. Goldfarb has written, “It’s pretty clear the New Republic is standing by a story that even the author does not stand by.” In fact, it is our understanding that Beauchamp continues to stand by his stories and insists that he has not recanted them. The Army, meanwhile, has refused our requests to see copies of the statements it obtained from Beauchamp–or even to publicly acknowledge that they exist.
Scott Beauchamp is currently a 24-year-old soldier in Iraq who, for the past 15 days, has been prevented by the military from communicating with the outside world, aside from three brief and closely monitored phone calls to family members. Our investigation has not thus far uncovered factual evidence (aside from one key detail) to discount his personal dispatches. And we cannot simply dismiss the corroborating accounts of the five soldiers with whom we spoke.
So in order to sway public opinion, the US military forces Beauchamp to sign statements regarding his TNR blog, then gag him (thus preventing him from refuting the account fed to right wing bloggers), then refuse to release his signed statements (I’m sure they’d love to but you you know, we’re at war), while insisting that we should take them at their word. No other information refutes Beauchamp’s claim and in fact, all evidence points to the accuracy in his stories, with the exception of one flaw that’s been uncovered was a bad recollection of a date.
Predictably, the wingnut bloggers, who were so skeptical of Beauchamps accounts, see nothing wrong with this picture, and are more than happy to accept it at face value. For the war party, this was always about being able to claim victory and thus dismiss any future reports of US atrocities coming out of Iraq as enemy propaganda.
Oh yeah, and you might have heard, the US government does not torture people either.