Who is TNR's mysterious author 'Scott Thomas'? (Updated)

The New Republic is running a sensational pseudonymously-authored article entitled Shock Troops, which TNR claims is written by a soldier currently serving in Iraq. The article provides candid portrayals of rough and ugly humor among the troops and hinges on the premise that those who have no experience with the military will believe that the "dehumanizing" aspects of the war have turned our young men and woman into barbarians parading around with a child's skull for a cap and insulting the war-wounded for their deformities. Many of us who do have experience with the military believe that these stories sound faked.

Thus a call has risen to identify who this person is, in order to determine if the claims are legitimate. The writer uses the nom de plume "Scott Thomas". It turns out that there is a plausible candidate for who "Scott Thomas" might be: Clifton Hicks. The evidence is not conclusive, but it is fairly suggestive. Others are welcome to examine it with a fair mind. Hicks must be accorded the benefit of the doubt, of course.

Clifton Hicks is a former army soldier who did serve in Iraq. Hicks has become that most cherished item for the anti-war crowd, a soldier who fulfills their need for first-hand accounts of war atrocities. Hicks was granted conscientious objector status and a release from the Army after receiving administrative punishment for unprofessional conduct. Since then, and especially recently, he has tapped into the anti-war establishment for self-promotion.

The evidence that links these two identities is strong but not conclusive. Clifton Hicks was quoted in a Newsweek article, Probing a Bloodbath, which focused primarily on the "Haditha massacre". Of great interest is the name of the Newsweek reporters:   Evan Thomas and Scott Johnson. Keep in mind that our TNR writer took the pseudonym "Scott Thomas". Is this a coincidence?

In the Newsweek article, Hicks states "One guy in my squadron ran over a family with his tank."

"Scott Thomas" writes for TNR:
I know another private who really only enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs.
It seems that both writers focus on stories from Iraq of running over people and things with armored vehicles. Both write in a distinctive soul-searching, near self-loathing and existentialist style. Compare this sample from the TNR piece:
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.
Now from Hicks:
And when he died I didn't even bother to cry, I wanted to, I even tried a little bit, but that was stupid and wrong. No need to lie to yourself my friend, you are no longer human and everyone knows it.
According to TNR "Scott Thomas" is currently serving in Iraq. Hicks was there in 2003 and 2004. But several military members have pointed out that when "Scott Thomas" describes finding a mass grave from the Saddam era it sounds much more like a story from 03-04 than a recent event.

Hicks writes:
The first imam we spoke to was murdered the next day. There had been a large crowd watching the whole thing as we did not enter the mosque for the interview. Well we went out the next day and interviewed two more imams in the same manner. They too were murdered the next day. I realized what was happening and told everyone what I thought. These men were being murdered by the insurgents for collaborating. I couldn't realize why, none of them were particularly cooperative, they were blatantly not happy about us being around their mosques, but they were killed just for speaking to us.
Similarly, "Scott Thomas" writes in another TNR article, War Bonds, about an incident in which he spoke with a child who subsequently had his tongue cut out because "Apparently he had been talking to too many Americans." 

While the evidence is not conclusive, the similarities are striking; similar themes, events, writing styles and the apparent play on the reporter's names which could be viewed as a clue from someone who thinks he is just too clever for others to catch his little inside joke  - taking the names of the journalists who wrote about him as his "journalist" name.

Anyone familiar with "Scott Thomas" should come forward. Until then, it appears likely that The New Republic has either been had or is scamming the American public with bogus war stories from a discredited soldier. Hicks has stated:
"What struck me most was just how callous we had become. I didn't even care myself. Sure some Iraqi kid had been killed; big deal. It's like seeing a dead dog on the side of the road." Hicks said he had no thoughts of shame or regret, no thoughts of the girl's mother or friends.

"We hated them and were happy to have killed one. For as long as I can remember I've been taught to fear and mistrust Arabs. That's how those kids on the news were able to rape the 14-year-old girl, shoot her in the face, and kill her whole family. They just didn't care, they still don't care, they couldn't make themselves care if they tried. Every soldier on the frontlines is capable of that or worse."  [Note: In yet another TNR story "Scott Thomas" writes extensively about an encounter with dogs on the side of the road]
Here Hicks expresses that "we... were happy to have killed" an Iraqi child. His own words!

Ray Robison is proprietor of the eponymous blog, Ray Robison: Pointing Out the Obvious to the Oblivious

Update: Clifton Hicks has denied being Scott Thomas. Read the exchange between him and Ray Robison here.  
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