So this requires a bit of explanation.
Last year, you’ll recall, a soldier named Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote some disturbing things about his experiences in Iraq for The New Republic, and set off a media firestorm. At the time, without the benefit of any reporting, I was convinced that Beauchamp was a liar and TNR was being unfairly slimed by the right as part of a cynical attempt to discredit anyone to the left of the Weekly Standard on the war. Around then I was asked to write a reported piece about Beauchamp and the slander, since I could hardly be considered a TNR shill after the magazine fired me. Figuring that doing so would both set the record straight and would help me draw a line under an unpleasant period in my life, I agreed.
I ended up interviewing Beauchamp a couple times — once in person and over email a couple times — and did a bunch of follow-up reporting. And I came to a much different conclusion than I started out suspecting: Scott Thomas Beauchamp did not lie and did not misrepresent his service. The New Republic‘s investigation did not uncover any such misrepresentation, and yet the magazine threw him under the bus to spare itself the controversy. Yet it was also true that TNR was the victim of cynical misportrayal from conservatives.
For a variety of reasons, the first publication I was going to write the story for ended up unable to publish it. Given what Scott endured, getting him to trust a reporter was not an easy task, and I felt as if letting the story die — which would entail allowing an portrait of him as a liar to persist unchallenged — would be a betrayal. So, today, it’s out, in the September issue of Radar. I hope you find it thorough, fair and informative.