Friday, August 10, 2007

Faux Champ


I didn't see a reason to post on the scandal of fabricated Iraq war stories by Scott Beauchamp and The New Republic magazine until an Iraqi blogger did. That never happened. I guess the story began to unravel before Baghdad Treasure or the Jarrars could get wind of it. Anyway, if anyone wanted to follow this story, he could just check out the milbloggers listed on the right (Mudville Gazette is a good place to start).

But this story is developing into such an iconic example of how the anti-liberation media has done their job for the last four years, and now...

Anyway, if you've been living under a rock the last couple weeks,

The purpose of this post is to give a two-handed high-five to Confederate Yankee for stripping the tattered loin-cloth from TNR's claims of careful fact-checking.

Beauchamp claims:

"I know another private who really only enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs. Occasionally, the brave ones would chase the Bradleys, barking at them like they bark at trash trucks in America—providing him with the perfect opportunity to suddenly swerve and catch a leg or a tail in the vehicle's tracks. He kept a tally of his kills in a little green notebook that sat on the dashboard of the driver's hatch. One particular day, he killed three dogs."

TNR claims to have "contacted the manufacturer of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System" to ensure the feasibility of Beauchamp's claims.

Bob Owens @ Confederate Yankee fact-checks the fact-checkers:


"no sources were named. That TNR would not reveal who these sources are was a decision many interpreted as an attempt by TNR to keep others from interviewing these same experts...TNR mentions that they spoke to a spokesman of the company of manufacturers the Bradley. Guess what? I did, too. Doug Coffey is the Head of Communications, Land & Armaments, for BAE Systems, the Bradley IFV's manufacturer that TNR wouldn't name."

After discovering that TNR had only asked Coffey very vague, general, questions that were unlikely to prove or disprove Beauchamp's assertions, Owens showed Coffey the precise text of Beauchamp's claims and asked specific questions about their likelihood.

Coffey responds:

I can't pretend to know what may or may not have happened in Iraq but the impression the writer leaves is that a "driver" can go on joy rides with a 35 ton vehicle at will. The vehicle has a crew and a commander of the vehicle who is in charge. In order for the scenario described to have taken place, there would have to have been collaboration by the entire crew.

The driver's vision, even if sitting in an open hatch is severely restricted along the sides. He sits forward on the left side of the vehicle. His vision is significantly impaired along the right side of the vehicle which makes the account to "suddenly swerve to the right" and actually catch an animal suspect. If you were to attempt the same feat in your car, it would be very difficult and you have the benefit of side mirrors.

There's more. Check it out. Also, block some time for a goodly bit of reading. The Confederate Yankee has been quite busy lately doing the professional journalists job for them.


Rev. Paul W. McNellis writes about the perniciousness of taking pride in one's same (h/t Mudville Gazette):

This also explains why Beauchamp’s “confession of shame” sounds so contrived. It is contrived. Beauchamp imagined how he would feel if he had done the things he described in the pages of TNR. What he describes is not shame but moral smugness. Why was TNR unable to recognize this? Because the editors have a peculiar understanding of journalistic truth and simply no understanding whatsoever of the concept of “honor” as it applies to the military, a combination that in turn makes them oblivious to the reality of slander.

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