The More Things Change …

blogging, Iraq War

I just clicked on Memeorandum and had a sixties flashback. Righties are linking to an internet clip of a fellow who says he was an Army Ranger in Iraq and who saw atrocities committed. I haven’t taken the time to look at the clip yet and cannot comment on its contents.

Rightie bloggers have decided the guy is a poseur. And he may be; I wouldn’t know. “The pic on his wall shows the wrong t-shirt, wrong sleeves roll, wrong flash, this boy is so many flavors of wrong I can’t keep up,” says this guy.

But then I read this comment: “Someone really should look into the background of the other IVAW members.”

Wow, does that take me back. During the Vietnam War era antiwar veterans often were accused of being poseurs. I remember allegations that some participants in the Winter Soldier hearings were not real veterans, and the allegations severely damaged the effectiveness of the hearings. And I understand it’s possible some of the participants were poseurs, in spite of the efforts of VVAW to screen out impostors, although certainly most VVAW activists were real Vietnam veterans.

I remember that every time a news story about a “fake”veteran hit the news, always someone would say “Someone really should look into the background of the other VVAW members.” And “I bet they’re all fake.” The allegations, true or not, undermined the credibility of VVAW.

The new video is being linked on sites like True Blue Liberal and Information Clearing House and is, apparently, gut wrenching. But the video is not linked on the Iraq Veterans Against the War or the Veterans Against the Iraq War sites. Before more antiwar sites link to this video I urge that questions about the speaker’s service and credentials be resolved.

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  1. linnen  •  May 22, 2006 @8:34 pm

    I second your urging that this be resolved. I also hope that the people doing the resolving know a bit more about Rangers and other Special Forces than what they find reading ‘Soldier of Fortune’ one-handed.

  2. Confederate Yankee  •  May 22, 2006 @8:50 pm

    Not that my commentary counts for much on this side of the ‘sphere, but if “seeing is believing”, then this site should be your guide.

    Every graduating Ranger class has a picture taken of all the graduates. Other stories about Mr. MacBeth peg his age at 20, meaning he had to go through Ranger school between late 2001-early 2003. I can’t find him, or anyone who looks much like him in any of the graduation photos, in addition to all the other evidence. Micah Wright, all over again…

  3. joanr16  •  May 22, 2006 @9:48 pm

    I’m not going to second-guess any soldier in the field, or call anything an “atrocity” until the facts are in. Anyway, it all just distracts from the true war crimes by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. Our soldiers in the field are their victims, too.

    If this guy turns out to be a fake, it only hurts the anti-war movement… and as the Church Lady used to say, “Well isn’t that conveeenient!”

  4. zeuS  •  May 23, 2006 @12:16 am

    The video has been removed from the site you linked to which leads me to believe that the guy was not legit. However, if he was a poseur (definition: a person who habitually pretends to be something he is not), that just makes him a nut, not some liberal trying to undermine the war effort. Is it possible that this person is a fake and thinks he is helping those who he claims to side with? Sure. But one could also make a case that this guy was ‘working’ for the other side.

    Confederate Yankee claims as part of his evidence that he could not identify this person in one of the many graduating pictures that he linked to. I don’t think that I could pick out my own brother if he was in one of those pictures. He must have spent hours with a magnifying glass to reach the conclusion he did. The only thing I can say to him/her is ‘get a life’.

  5. justme  •  May 23, 2006 @3:50 am

    Is this guy for real? I can’t pretend to know….the clips I saw (3) were pretty serious stuff if true.. and if I were Mr.Macbeths friend I would tell him to get a lawyer right away and shut up… the man confessed to committing war crimes himself (killing innocent) and confessed to being a party to other crimes….I hope for his sake he is a fake or in fact he is in deep deep shit.

    I am not taking his side, but watching the clips I didn’t see any of the tell tale signs of a liar….he very much reminded me of a child who police had taped after they survived a horrific event..if he is bogus he is a pretty damn good actor..

    I tried very hard to compare the berets in the photo to ones I located photos of online and the patch is just to blurry to make out, even by zooming in on the photo…so those pointing to that as proof he is a fake are themselves , a bit fake, unless they have some bionic eye …….

    As far as the photos linked to by the person above, I saved them in my photos and enlarged them….3 years worth of them… even that didn’t help ….I saw a lot of twiggy guys that could have been him… with no names it is just too hard to tell either way….I love how the rightie pointed to these photos , however, as though they were some kind of proof …..I agree with zeuS , I don’t think I could pick out my own family member in those photos….the rightie wants us to draw the conclusion that since we couldn’t pick out ANYONE in the photos Macbeth is therefore a fake! Ahhh HA! gotcha!…rightie logic is so clever(heh)…

    IF he turns out to be real , ohhh how the spin will turn… to “he was one bad apple” …..How fast will he become a traitor?, not for his actions but for speaking of them and soiling their pretty little war? Are they really that dense to believe none of our fighting men and women could tell stories like this?

    How much do rightie bloggers get paid to be amused by small shiny objects?With ZERO facts to back up their”this guy is fake” claim they jump on it and call this guy a liar(me thinks they doeth protest too much)….. Why not track down the facts BEFORE you call someone a liar?Do rightie bloggers ever consider they are being used? While they bat this story(can we call it a story with no facts?) around and it shuts them up from talking about how much they hate mexicans….I should think they would resent being sat in the corner and told to play with a small shiny object quietly.It is like watching a dog with worms chase it’s tail.Yip Yip.

    I can’t find anything to back up either Mr.Macbeth’s claim or any of the righties claims…The right should be so honest when they write…..I would like to see the credential issue resolved also … but lets do it with FACTS….if righties think he is fake, they should PROVE IT before they write it.

  6. M.Bentley  •  May 23, 2006 @5:19 am

    As a former combat veteran, and one who was attached to the Infantry School after Vietnam, I can say with much assurance that Mr. Macbeth is most definitely a poseur. Those who point out discrepancies in his uniform are correct. The errors are many, and so egregious that it brings into question whether or not he even served in the Army, let alone an elite unit like the Rangers.
    However, I did not want to condemne him based solely on a photograph, even one that virtually cried out as a fake, so I checked further.
    In an interview with socialistalternative, Mr. Macbeth claims that he was “picked” for the Rangers. This is patently untrue; no one is picked for the Rangers anymore than one is “hired” for the presidency. Rangers are ( and always have been) volunteers. Triple volunteers, actually, as they must volunteer first for the Army, second for Airborne, and then for Ranger. No real ranger would ever refer to himself in such manner. Also, he made no mention of Airborne training in his interview, even though he was asked about his training, and is not wearing a Parachutist badge in his photograph ( one of the many errors). Again, this is unheard of; the Parachutist badge is considered an extrememly high honor.
    I checked ( he apparently does not have a profile or membership listed in any other military association, which is very unusual for an elite soldier) and he also had listed ( it was changed last night) a Combat Infantry Badge with Second award, a Combat Action Badge with Second Award, and a Parachutists badge with 3 stars indicating 3 combat jumps.
    It is impossible for anyone under 36 years of age and with less than 16 years of military service to possess such decorations legitimately. In addition, according to military regulations, he is not entitled to the Combat Action Badge at all; Infantrymen are not eligible unless they are assigned to units outside their MOS, which by Mr. Macbeths own admission, is not the case.
    But possibly worst of all, Mr Macbeth, in his interview, claims to have committed many of these atrocities during the assault on Fallujah which occurred in April, 2004.
    Again, this is impossible, as not only were the Rangers NOT participants of this action ( it was conducted by the Marines, and later the 2nd Infantry Division), but Mr Macbeth was interviewed in Tempe, Arizona by an ASU student reporter on April 12th, 2004 in connection with a protest against a coffeehouse there.
    Mr Macbeth is a poseur and a liar.

  7. maha  •  May 23, 2006 @6:44 am

    if righties think he is fake, they should PROVE IT before they write it.

    They say many details of the uniform are wrong. That’s the sort of thing nonmilitary people wouldn’t notice. But I think it’s telling the video isn’t linked on the IVAW site; IVAW isn’t claiming him.

  8. D.R. Marvel  •  May 23, 2006 @7:54 am

    “As a former combat veteran…”

    Was that in a previous life, perhaps?

  9. maha  •  May 23, 2006 @8:06 am

    You were a marine, D.R. Maybe you could tell us if the guy’s mangled the uniform the way the righties say he has.

  10. D.R. Marvel  •  May 23, 2006 @9:03 am

    Sorry Maha…Can’t help you out there…

    Since the Army’s idea of a “uniform” seems to change more often than Parisian fashions, I have no idea what it ought to look like…

    But if this bloke is a phony, chances are he’s a “plant”…As were so many of J. Edgar’s COINTELPRO-phylactics back in the day…

    It worked pretty well for them back then…One thing you can be sure of about the RW: they never get tired of “Old Tricks”…And their audience never fails to fall for them…

  11. dgeorge  •  May 23, 2006 @9:18 am

    As someone who successfully completed the US Army Ranger school and served i nthe 1st Ranger batallion (1st-75th) I cn definitely say that this guy is a fake. The photo of him in the background has at least 3 blatantly obvious errors in it. Although I am positive that horrible things sometimes happen in wartime, the fact that somebody dresses this guy up in some army-navy store crap and has him say that he is a Ranger is just disgraceful, not just to Rangers but to anybody that has put thier ass on the line for any cause, just or not.

  12. D.R. Marvel  •  May 23, 2006 @9:34 am

    You can say that again…

  13. joanr16  •  May 23, 2006 @1:24 pm

    Meanwhile, as we debate this apparent red herring, we’re learning that the birthdates and SSNs of 26 million real, recent vets were stolen from a laptop belonging to a DVA employee. And that they kept quiet about it for nearly a month, hoping they could recover the data from the thief.

    Heckuva job once again.

  14. justme  •  May 23, 2006 @1:49 pm

    If he is fake he should be air lifted into Iraq and dropped off. Lying has become so trendy since bush took office EVERYONE is doing it…but this just goes to far. Why can’t people just tell the truth anymore?There in nothing I hate more then a bleeping liar and never have a seen a time in my life where lying was more “in fashion”

    I should think bush would be eager, however, to leak the proof to his minions that this guy is a liar ….it bothers me somewhat that bush co. would leave their serfs to run with the story, minus FACTS…..Why not give them the documents to blow this guys claim out of the water? We all know the military records could be out there for us to see NOW with only a FOIA request…and this could have been cleared up already … with only things to gain by having his military record out in the public eye one has to wonder why it is not…..

    He may well be fake,,, but I won’t buy it from the swift boat crowd….show me the records!

  15. Swami  •  May 23, 2006 @2:20 pm

    One thing I wonder about in this guys video is where he says that the military gave them carte blanche to instill fear into the Iraqis and any actions they took to achieve that end would be given the nod. It’s been a long time since I’ve served, but when I did we had to know and understand by heart a ten point military code of conduct, the first of which was..I am an American fighting man responible for my actions. That meant that the military couldn’t grant permission to commit atrocities, and if the shit hit the fan, you were on your own. What this guy is saying might be plausible in a situation like Abu Ghraib where they are just knocking the shit of some innocent taxi driver for information, but I can’t buy it when it comes to popping some kid in the head with an M-16 round to get his father to talk.

  16. maha  •  May 23, 2006 @2:41 pm

    I am inclined to think Mr. Macbeth is a fake.

  17. M.Bentley  •  May 23, 2006 @7:35 pm

    Inasmuch as our host has been kind enough to beseech me to lurk (and presumably offer comments), I would like to make a further comment regarding my thoughts on the matter at hand.

    I notice that everyone who has participated was more than willing to take Mr. Macbeth at face value, until “the righties” raised the issue of his credibility.This is not only true here, but generally throughout the liberal media. One person even went so far as to state that “if the righties think he is a fake, they should PROVE IT.”
    Most other objections to Mr Macbeths allegations have been couched in “if he is a fake…” terms.
    In short everyone was willing to accept his statements as factual, until proven otherwise.

    This is completely illogical from an objective viewpoint.
    Mr. Macbeth has made some very serious allegations, and it is incumbent upon the theorist to offer proof, not the other way around. Disproving a negative is a fallacy of logic.

    Before ANY of you accepted these allegations as truthful, what standards of proof did you require? One of you wrote “he may well be fake….but I won’t buy it from the swift boat crowd….show me the records.”
    A reasonable response would be ,” Why didn’t you ask that of Mr Macbeth to begin with?”
    If your daughter needed brain surgery one might think your standards for acceptance of a doctors qualifications might be just a tad higher than what you have demanded here, which is none.
    Especially if the only assertion of his comptetence was a scrawled diploma that read ” Oksfird Univirsatie Brane Sirjun” , which differs from Mr Macbeths professed credentials only in the matter of subject.

    If the purpose of this blog is simply to bash the President or the current administration, why bother to ask for proof at all, or to couch your opinions as anything other than just that, an opinion?
    We do live in an open society where we may have any opinion we want, from flag waving arch conservative to Mao quoting leftist.

    If, on the other hand, the purpose is to inform, and through that sharing of information better equip ourselves to make a fundamental change for the better, don’t you think owe it to your fellow Americans to at least make an attempt at objectivity?

  18. maha  •  May 23, 2006 @11:00 pm

    I notice that everyone who has participated was more than willing to take Mr. Macbeth at face value, until “the righties” raised the issue of his credibility.

    Excuse me? Are you hallucinating? Nobody here actually NOTICED the bleeping video until I wrote that there was a video that righties were calling fake. That was the point of the bleeping post.

    In fact, if you go back and read, we were all skeptical of the veracity of the video. The only one inclined to believe it (and he still admitted it might be fake) was justme in comment 5.

    If, on the other hand, the purpose is to inform, and through that sharing of information better equip ourselves to make a fundamental change for the better, don’t you think owe it to your fellow Americans to at least make an attempt at objectivity?

    Now you’ve pissed me off. If your purpose is to comment, then don’t you think you owe it to your fellow Americans to at least make an attempt to READ BEFORE YOU CRITICISE?

    I tried being nice, but you are so banned now. Bye.