Blogging from Baghdad: Matt Sanchez checks in at FOB Falcon
posted at 6:01 pm on July 31, 2007 by Bryan
That’s the same FOB Falcon chronicled by TNR’s Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Matt, a former Marine, has been looking into Beauchamp’s writings:
There’s no doubt the Baghdad Diarist comments distract from the mission. Lt. Colonel James Crider of the 1-4 Cavalry of Ft. Riley, Kansas gave me a Significant Acts (SIGACTS) briefing that included three car bombs, several IED’s and today’s near encounter with a lobbed grenade. No one has been injured due to information from locals. “The 1-4 Cavalry has been fairly successful in getting the people on our side,” said Lt. Colonel Crider with a slightly southern accent that translates well to the residents of this southeast Baghdad neighborhood…
With the dangers of the real mission in mind, soldiers at the PAO are frustrated that the major media has chosen to focus on the negative, a common complaint I have heard among troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The real question here is about accountability,” said Public Affairs Officer Major Luke Luedeke who was quick to debunk several statements in Private Beauchamp’s article “Shock Troops”, after several military bloggers, JD Johannes, Jeff Emanuel and Michael Yon, pointed out glaring inconsistencies in Beauchamp’s articles.
“Record Media Attention”
New York Times, O’Reilly Factor, ABC, CNN, Hot Air, in the past two weeks, Major Luedeke has dealt with more media inquiries over the Beauchamp controversy than any other subject in his entire career.
After several terse conversations, it was obvious soldiers at FOB Falcon took the events described in The New Republic very seriously. What was not so obvious was how seriously The New Republic editorial staff treated the matter. If the investigation proves the “Baghdad Diarist” stories to be false, what will The New Republic do? Will they retract the story? Will they reveal the process they used to vet the original information? Every soldier I spoke to realizes he or she is accountable for what is said and done while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Careers can be ruined because of scandals like the “Baghdad Diarist.”
Indeed. From what we know at the moment, the only career that ought to be ruined is that of Mr. Beauchamp, for providing an unneeded distraction in the war zone, for smearing his fellow soldiers (along with outing himself as a first class jerk) and for being a C-grade fiction writer. At best.