Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stepping in It

An apt description of what Jesse Macbeth has done this week with his Army Ranger nonsense. He joins the ranks of those who've been blog-swarmed.

Michelle Malkin has a collection of links and some fine quotes: ...12noon update: I just talked to the Army spokesman as well. Paul Boyce told me: "At a minimum, this appears to have been concocted" and "some sort of hoax." Special Ops Command and State Department have been alerted. The uniform issues of the alleged soldier were a "red flag," Boyce said. As were MacBeth's claims to have entered the Army at 16 and exit at age 20, and have been both Army Ranger and Special Ops, and have received the Purple Heart and other medals. I asked whether there would be a criminal investigation. Boyce said they would follow up on any substantial leads.***

Interesting that some would be arguing for a criminal prosecution, for as SMASH points out from earlier in the day, Jesse has a history:

Public records of one Jesse Adam MacBeth of Pima, Arizona have been uncovered -- from the proceedings of the Graham County Superior Court.

Assuming this is the same person, it appears that MacBeth had a complaint filed against him in March 2003 for misdemeanor credit card fraud. According to the court records (and I could be reading these incorrectly), he was arrested on 6/10/2004, had a lesser charge of "False Reporting to Law Enforcement" dismissed on 6/17/2004, entered a guilty plea for credit card fraud on 7/19/2004, and was released on probation on 9/28/2004. A petition to revoke probation was filed on 4/18/2005, he was arrested (again) on 4/25/2005, and released on 5/9/2005. He's still paying probation fees (fines?) as of 5/1/2006, just three weeks ago.

It seems unlikely, then, that this Jesse MacBeth was present for the
Seige of Fallujah in April 2004, or at the Battle of Fallujah in November 2004. But I could be wrong.

He's quite the character, I daresay. When I read the initial report, I thought it quite obvious that he was not what he was claiming. All the tells pointed out by milbloggers not withstanding, his cliched rhetoric lifted straight off a Springsteen album and the vague explanations belied all that he was saying. Even so, I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he was Army.

Well, it appears even that isn't true: Today, the Army ran a check on Mr. MacBeth’s credentials. It turns out, not surprisingly to anybody with half a mind, that Mr. MacBeth has NO Army service record. Anywhere. Period. This is a direct quote given to me by Army spokesman John Boyce:

“Initial research by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg shows no Soldier with the name of Jesse Macbeth having ever been assigned to the Special Forces or the Army Rangers -- which are, in fact, two separate disciplines. This appears to be some sort of hoax. No Soldier by that name at Fort Lewis to our knowledge, in the past, either. Of course, the line about "go into the Army or go to jail" is vintage TV script not heard since the 1960s. There are also numerous wear and appearance issues with the Soldier's uniform -- a mix of foreign uniforms with the sleeves rolled up like a Marine and a badly floppy tan beret worn like a pastry chef. Of course, the allegations of war crimes are vague, as are the awards the Soldier allegedly received.”

Read the comments at SMASH's blog, the milblog forum and some of the others covering this, and you get a sense that many folks are hoping that Jesse goes to jail for this little charade. I haven't seen anything that definitively states that he can be prosecuted for this, and even if he could I wonder if that's the wisest course.

Perhaps it's better to simply let his lack of credibility and the avalanche of spew it's creating among his fellow travelers serve as punishment enough.

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