MORE BEAUCHAMP….Drudge has more on the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair:
On August 10, the editors at [The New Republic] accused the Army of “stonewalling” their investigation into the stories by preventing them from speaking with Beauchamp. The DRUDGE REPORT has since obtained the transcript of a September 7 [actually September 6 –ed] call between TNR editor Frank Foer, TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic, and Private Beauchamp. During the call, Beauchamp declines to stand by his stories, telling his editors that “I just want it to end. I’m not going to talk to anyone about anything really.” The editors respond that “we just can’t, in good conscience, continue to defend the piece” without an explanation, but Beauchamp responds only that he “doesn’t care what the public thinks.” The editors then ask Beauchamp to cancel scheduled interviews with the WASHINGTON POST and NEWSWEEK.
It’s hard to judge whether this is damning or not. On August 10, the Army was stonewalling TNR. They didn’t get to talk to Beauchamp until nearly a month later. And the fact that after a month of browbeating from his chain of command Beauchamp “just want[ed] it to end” is hardly surprising either. We still don’t know whether Beauchamp was telling the truth the first time around when he wrote his pieces for TNR or the second time around when he recanted under pressure from the Army.
Still, this seems like something TNR needs to respond to. And if Drudge really has a transcript, he should put it up. Let’s see the whole thing, not just the snippets he finds most titillating. (This is especially desirable since Drudge seems to have Beauchamp talking about himself in the third person in one of his quotes, suggesting a less than completely faithful transcript.)
UPDATE 2: Although the Army says its investigation discredited Beauchamp’s stories (via interviews with other soldiers in his unit), Beauchamp himself has never recanted. I got that wrong. He’s not speaking to the media, but neither is he saying that the incidents he wrote about in TNR aren’t true.
Despite the contentious conversation [on September 6], Foer continued to defend the article days later. He did so again yesterday, reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.
While Beauchamp “didn’t stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn’t recant his stories,” Foer said in an interview. “He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him.”
While the discussion “was extremely frustrating and engendered doubts,” Foer said, Beauchamp defended his story in a subsequent conversation that was conducted with no superiors present.