Initially, I had zero motivation to blog about Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
As the story developed, I started having negative motivation to write about him. Not a motivation to write negative things about him, mind you, but an increasing determination not to write about it at all.
I did follow the story for two reasons: the military component and the blog/journalism component.
I still don't feel motivated to write about the military component of this story.
I do want to say a few things at this point about the blog/journalism component.
- I thought Michael Goldfarb's Fact or Fiction? post was good blogging.
But we believe that the best chance for getting at the truth is likely to come from the combined efforts of the blogosphere, which has, in the past, proven adept at determining the reliability of such claims. To that end we'd encourage the milblogging community to do some digging of their own, and individual soldiers and veterans to come forward with relevant information--either about the specific events or their plausibility in general.
Does anyone who has served at FOB Falcon remember hearing about or seeing the humiliation of this woman? Do they know her name and how we might get in contact with her to confirm the author's account of the events that day?
Is anyone familiar with a combat outpost a few miles south of the Baghdad airport where a mass grave of Iraqi children was discovered? What about the other parts of the story? And does anyone else know of Bradleys careening wildly through the streets of Baghdad?
- I think early on, many milbloggers did a good job of trying to answer those questions and the story pretty much peaked (for me, anyway) around July 21, three days after Goldfarb's initial post, when Major Kirk Luedeke, PAO for FOB Falcon, responded to the story. Determining the identity of "Scott Thomas," and the veracity of his claims, was just a matter of time from that point on. I certainly thought the military chain of command at FOB Falcon was then in a better position than anyone else (including TNR and WWS) to report back what they found.
- My "negative motivation" was a reaction to much of what I read about the story from July 21 until now.
- Today I read BLOGS MISSING THE REAL STORY AS USUAL by Rick Moran:
I only know a growing sense of unease elicited by the notion that by overhyping stories like the Beauchamp caper, the credibility of the medium suffers. For that reason alone, it may be time to put down the blood stained hatchets and begin to seriously examine just what we should be doing that will increase our influence rather than make us look like a bunch of one dimensional attack dogs.
UPDATE: For those that consider Beauchamp a "victory" for the blogosphere. I'd rank it right up there with James Dale "Jeff Gannon" Guckert.