The New Republic has more or less verified the facts in the magazine’s soldier-vilifying pieces by Scott Thomas Beauchamp. He did place one incident incorrectly-it was in Kuwait rather than Iraq that Beauchamp and other soldiers mocked a woman whose face had been destroyed in the war.
The magazine, of course, regrets the mistake. But more than geography is involved here. As Powerline notes:
“Beauchamp’s misstatement amounts to much more than getting a detail wrong. The point of this incident was to show how war “degrades every part of you, and your sense of humor is no exception.” Here’s how Beauchamp says he viewed the incident (with apologies to Mailer):
“Am I a monster? I have never thought of myself as a cruel person… Even as I was reveling in the laughter my words had provoked, I was simultaneously horrified and ashamed at what I had just said. In a strange way, though, I found the shame comforting. I was relieved to still be shocked by my own cruelty-to still be able to recognize that the things we soldiers found funny were not, in fact, funny.”
Stephen Spruill makes a similar point:
“Take the story out of Iraq and it becomes a completely irrelevant anecdote proving nothing except that Scott Beauchamp and his friend are jerks. I guess that’s why he ‘forgot’ that it didn’t actually happen there.”