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July 20, 2007

It's Beginning To Look Like Lt. Stephen Glass Is Back At TNR

Greyhawk finds some of the details offered in "Scott Thomas'" account unpersuasive.

I'm not so sure I buy the "chow house" argument, actually -- seems an awful stretch, making much of so little -- but it certainly does seem like he knows what he's talking about with respect to uniforms.


Bryan Preston finds one that seems damning. This supposed military guy claims that 1) the finding of a 9mm cartridge casing proves the Iraqi police were responsible for a shooting, because only the IP uses 9mm ammunition in all of Iraq (!!!), and 2), it's "square-backed" ammo, which I never heard of, and neither has Bryan.

Maybe someone with gun knowledge can explain that last one; maybe there is some sort of distinctive "square back" ammo out there.

But that first assertion seems... dubious. 9mm parabellum is, as far as I know, the most popular, most available, most consumed ammo in the entire world, used in -- guessing here -- a full half of all pistol models as well as in submachineguns. (I shot a Steyr, I think, in 9mm a couple of months ago. I picked 9mm over .45 because 9mm was so much cheaper.)

Hell, even some rifles are chambered for it -- not because it's a good rifle round, but just because it's so damn ubiquitous.

I find this guy's assertion that finding a 9mm round on a battlefield is some sort of telling clue rather hard to believe.

I want to stress, again, that Stephen Glass was able to fake his reports because the only "factual verification" done to confirm his articles was checking them against his own notes. That is, of course, the most "verification" Scott Thomas' articles are getting (if that -- it's unlikely Thomas can fax or send his notes back to DC for checking every as he goes through the supposed "editorial process").

TNR claimed to have fixed the Stephen Glass loophole long ago. Never again, they swore.

Well, whether this guy is simply embellishing his "war stories" for dramatic Wilsonian "literary flair" or simply making them up wholesale a la Stephen Glass, it is beyond question that TNR has suspended the post-Glass verification rules for this guy -- jeopardizing the reputation of a magazine, once again, that has been burned not once but twice by high-profile embarrassments regarding fictitious reportage.

And why have they decided to suspend these rules? Why are the flirting with shuttering the magazine forever?

To get Bush, and editorialize against the war, of course.

BDS.

Another magazine could take this sort of risk, if it were inclined. After all, other magazines have not been rocked by two huge journalistic scandals caused by their laissez-faire attitude towards fabricators. Most magazines don't have two enormous strikes already against them.

But TNR? What the hell is TNR doing taking big swings at trash pitches when it's already two in the hole?

For what? It appears that getting Bush and propagandizing against our troops is a big enough potential reward to risk the magazine's bloody, public, caught-on-video public suicide.

"Square Back" = "Marked With A Squared-Off Dimple From A Rectangular Firing Pin"? Over at the Weekly Standard blog, arms experts (including Bob Owens) from Confederate Yankee say the Glock does have a rectangular firing pin which imprints casings with a dimple which may look "squared off," and that non-Glocks tend to have (or exclusively have) cylindrical firing pins.

So actually this point looks a lot weaker. Although the jargon is garbled, this can easily be explained by a clueless editor mis-editing "Thomas'" words, making them inaccurate as he tries to make them simpler. Or Thomas using his own idiosyncratic gun terminology.

Confederate Yankee notes that Glocks have been seized from insurgent groups dozens of times (just in the articles that specifically mention this), so it's hardly clear that Glock = Iraqi Police.

More problems found at the Weekly Standard. Including "Scott Thomas'" reference to "Little Venice" in Baghdad -- apparently getting the details of it 100% wrong.

The American Standard, meanwhile, thinks it may have ID'd "Scott Thomas." And I think they may be right.... But.

If they're right, then "Scott Thomas" is vet-turned-conscience-objector/warcrimes-gadfly Clifton Hicks, taking his nom de plume from the reporters who quoted him on the Haditha massacre, Scott Peterson and Evan Thomas. And telling the same sorts of stories he tells as Clifton Hicks.

But in that case: What possible reason does TNR have to disguise his identity? He's not in the army anymore, and he's safe at home, beyond any frag-style reprisals from the soldiers he's "ratting on." Further, he's already been quoted by name by dozens of other outfits.

If it is Clifton Hicks, TNR has even more questions to answer. But I'm having trouble comprehending how they could justify concealing the identity of an already well-known "Jenjis Khan" style propagandist.

Update: Dan Riehl says it's probably not Hicks, as Hicks says he's a high school dropout whereas "Scott Thomas" mentions his college experience. He also seems to think their writing styles are dissimilar.


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posted by Ace at 04:00 PM

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