Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scott Thomas Beauchamp Reconsidered

Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the aspiring Hemingway who wrote articles in the New Republic alleging U.S. military insensitivity and brutality in Iraq, was discredited last year after his stories failed multiple tests of verification. The matter was settled, and the New Republic rather weaselly distanced itself from the articles without actually saying it retracted them.

But now the whole matter is re-opened. John E. Hatley, a U.S. soldier who bears the identical first, initial and last name of a soldier who disputed Beauchamp's stories has been identified by the Web site Moon of Alabama as the same soldier accused by his peers of covering up the murders of Iraqis.

Moon of Alabama says:

It is extremely unlikely that one battalion has two First Sergeants with the name John E. Hatley.

A few month after Hatley ordered and took part in the murdering of prisoners he denied some relative harmless though brutal behavior Beauchamp described, "this by no means reflects the truth of what is happening here." Indeed, what was really happening was much worse. The soldiers in his company (including himself?) were "the best America has to offer." Really?

The TNR should look into retracting its retraction of Beauchamp's accounts.

A few thoughts:
1: This allegation definitely requires investigation, not only by the New Republic, but especially by those organizations that investigated Beauchamp's claims and found them to be false.

2: Beauchamp could still have falsified his tales. He did not claim knowing of any murders that took place.

3: Whether or not Hatley is the same Hatley who disputed Beauchamp's stories, the murder allegation is far more serious than anything Beauchamp ever said. If the alleged murders took place, those organizations that mocked Beauchamp's stories on the grounds the military would never behave that way should eat large helpings of crow.

4: There will be a military investigation and quite possibly a trial of Hatley. Everything rides on that trial, if it takes place.

In regard to 4, Mike K. made these pertinent comments worth keeping in mind:

There have been a lot of similar allegations in Iraq, all of which have been disproved thus far. Haditha is one example. LT Pantano was another. Pantano was accused by a disgruntled sergeant he had demoted. All of the accused in those cases have been found not guilty, in spite of John Murtha's attempts to smear them.

This may suggest that Beauchamp was not as obvious a liar as he appeared but I would await events before getting too excited.

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