Come clean, New Republic; Update: TNR investigating
posted at 3:02 pm on July 20, 2007 by Bryan
Set your BS detector on its lowest possible setting. If you know anything about Iraq or guns at all, your detector will bury the needle when you read this:
Someone reached down and picked a shell casing up off the ground. It was 9mm with a square back. Everything suddenly became clear. The only shell casings that look like that belong to Glocks. And the only people who use Glocks are the Iraqi police.
That’s from Dead of Night by “Scott Thomas,” the pseudonymous soldier whose claims have raised much suspicion among the blogs of late. It’s completely insane.
I’ll give you one reason, and then quote another. During my brief stay in Baghdad, I discussed the nature of the battlefield with several of the troops. CPT Stacy Bare, the civil affairs officer I quoted extensively in this piece, told me about seeing German (and other mostly European) arms dealers in Baghdad who were selling arms and supplies to anyone and everyone who could buy them. He said, in fact, that one reason the Iraq war has been so tough to wrestle down is that arms dealers see it as their greatest commercial opportunity — it’s the biggest war going on at the moment, and with so many factions on the battlefield there’s a wealth of potential customers to tap. With arms flowing in to so many customers, the potential for violence increases daily. Add in the Iranians supplying arms to various factions, the Syrians doing the same, and the Baathist holdouts using their own stores or tapping yet more supply lines, and you can readily see that it would be impossible to determine the identity of a shooter based on a lone shell casing. The Iraqi police are surely not the only group in Iraq using Glocks. Weapons are flowing into that country from every which way. Surely one or more of all of the arms dealers have Glocks that they’re willing to sell to anyone with the cash to buy them. The battlefield is just too chaotic for an infantryman who can’t tell the difference between a military and a civilian to be able to go SNAP–this lone casing proves that someone in the Iraqi police did this. That might work on CSI, but not in the real world.
Now, the other reason that this assertion on the part of “Scott Thomas” is insane:
I know for sure that the round fired by the Glock 17 (their standard 9mm service pistol) fires the same round as the 9mm Beretta, the M9 (known in the civilian world as the 92… I know quite a bit about guns, and I have NEVER heard of a 9mm round with a “square back”. In fact, I’ve never heard of ANY centerfire cartridge with a squared-off rim. A square rim would screw up how the round would sit in the magazine, and how it would feed into the chamber. The only “square” “cartridges” I’ve ever heard of came with caseless rounds, and weapons using caseless ammunition is so complex that it has yet to be fielded in any form.
“Scott Thomas” is bogus. He’s a fraud. He might be Clifton Hicks, he might be someone else, but whoever he is, it’s become clear that he has an eye for made-up detail but doesn’t know much about reality.
The New Republic will have to out “Scott Thomas” in order to protect its own credibility. It’s that simple.
Update: Bob Owens weighs in:
For “Scott Thomas” to claim that “the only people who use Glocks are the Iraqi police” is laughable, and coming from someone who claims to be a United State soldier in Iraq who would certainly know that to be a false statement, is perhaps as clear an audacious a display of willfully libeling the Iraqi police as has been written in the American media.
Update: Baldilocks opines:
It’s amazing how often Big Media entities try to get away with this sort of thing. I read the first two “Scott Thomas” stories also (the third story, “Shock Troops,” is the one that has been subject to dissection over the past few days) but since I’m less than familiar with things Army I couldn’t see anything wrong with them. From what I can tell, other than the Glock information, there is nothing that stands out as bogus in the first two stories and, as a result, no one in the know raised an alarm. Because of that, TNR’s editors became emboldened enough to put out such egregious B(D)S as “Shock Troops.” Hubris makes one careless.
Update (AP): Sounds like TNR is leaning towards standing by its story.