Winter Soldier Syndrome
The tale of Army Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the discredited “Baghdad Diarist” for the discredited New Republic magazine, is an old tale: Self-aggrandizing soldier recounts war atrocities. Media outlets disseminate soldier’s tales uncritically. Military folks smell a rat and poke holes in tales too good (or rather, bad) to be true. Soldier’s ideological sponsors blame the messengers for exposing anti-war fraud.
Beauchamp belongs in the same ward as John F. Kerry, the original infectious agent of the toxic American disease known as Winter Soldier Syndrome. The ward is filling up.U.S. military investigators concluded this week that Beauchamp concocted allegations of troop misconduct in a series of essays for The New Republic. “The investigation is complete and the allegations from PVT Beauchamp are false,” Major Steven Lamb, a spokesman for Multi National Division-Baghdad, told USA Today. The New Republic is standing by Beauchamp’s work.
But Michael Goldfarb, online editor and blogger at The Weekly Standard who first challenged Beauchamp’s writing, reported Monday that Beauchamp had “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.”