And I'm back just in time to find this from The Plank:
We've talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account as detailed in our statement. When we called Army spokesman Major Steven F. Lamb and asked about an anonymously sourced allegation that Beauchamp had recanted his articles in a sworn statement, he told us, "I have no knowledge of that." He added, "If someone is speaking anonymously [to The Weekly Standard], they are on their own." When we pressed Lamb for details on the Army investigation, he told us, "We don't go into the details of how we conduct our investigations."Note that TNR isn't exactly standing by its previous statement; TNR's editors simply don't know what the Army's actions have been with regard to Beauchamp and, per usual in such cases (privacy issues), the Army isn't officially talking. But, as Major Lamb reportedly said to Michael Goldfarb regarding the outcome of this saga, Beauchamp is quite free to tell what happened--at least when he gets his communication privileges back.
Allahpundit suggests (sarcastically, hopefully) that TNR Editor Frank Foer should offer Michael Goldfarb a deal:
you burn your sources and we’ll burn ours.and points out that there's
one new detail here: since there’s no evidence of criminal conduct, he’ll face administrative punishment only.That means that Beauchamp will probably receive only a Letter of Counseling/Reprimand (and not an Article 15 or worse). These sorts of actions have two flavors. One is basically a "don't do it again" type and can be torn up once the member has a long period of subsequent good behavior under his/her belt. The other type will follow the member around and become the anchor which will weigh heavily on the person's career advancement. I'm guessing that Beauchamp's administrative punishment will be of the latter type.
Meanwhile, Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse warns Right Wing bloggers not to crow too much about this "small victory":
Regarding Scott Beauchamp, everyone take a step back, inhale deeply (put the bong DOWN first), and let’s look at what the blogs hath wrought.I agree with Rick to a point. None of us who have been in the military longer than a minute will deny that some of the people with whom we've served are knuckleheads and even occasionally, are monsters like Spielman and crew--though, thankfully, such evil people comprise a much smaller percentage of today's military than is so for the civilian population, for reasons endemic to how the services select who may join.
Blogs have exposed a military fabulist in Scott Beauchamp. His lies did not contribute to a lessening of war fervor among the American people. George Bush, the Pentagon, the left, and the Iraqi government have all seen to that little detail, thank you. Nor did Beauchamp’s fairy tales embolden al-Qaeda, the insurgents, the Iranian backed militias, or any of the other bloody minded, murderous thugs who are making Iraq a living hell for the people there. And while Beauchamp’s fibbing did not do the reputation of the military any good, Jesse Spielman and his 4 compatriots, the soldiers just convicted of raping and murdering a 14 year old Iraqi girl and her family, harmed that reputation on a scale that poor little Scotty Beauchamp and his stories of dog killing and teasing disfigured women could never approach in a million years.
Of course, no screening process is fool-proof and, sometimes, monsters like Spielman commit evil acts during their service. But the main issue regarding Spielman is this: when the acts which he and his cohorts committed were discovered, the military investigated them, found the perpetrators guilty and delivered justice from a system that is set up to deliver it--as was so with Abu Ghraib, which, by the way, was being investigated before the incriminating photos became part of the public domain.
In other words, today's military isn't some rogue, out-of-control entity whose members can behave like monsters--or even knuckleheads--without said monsters and knuckleheads receiving appropriate justice once their actions are uncovered.
My problem with Beauchamp is that he, via TNR, put forth as truth anecdotes which portrayed the military in the opposite manner. I keep repeating that Beauchamp's anecdotes sounded implausible simply because no formally designated leader--trained to act to correct such breach of military discipline--stepped up to make the necessary corrections. Such leaders are an integral part of the military's justice system--and its honor. Had the Beauchamp anecdotes actually occurred with no such subsequent correction, the idea of a rogue US Armed Forces, composed of stupid-brutal members, would have gained that much more traction. This would have been no small thing.
I contend that the Beauchamp chronicles, small though they may have seemed, were like drops of water on a rock; intended to slowly wear down the American public's high opinion of the military and, therefore, the military's mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that's why this "tempest" deserved every bit of the scrutiny it received.