May 23, 2006

Fake Soldier Exposed

Hatched by Sachi

This is the "Winter Soldier Project" all over again... but this time, the guy who is pretending to be an Iraqi veteran was exposed as soon as his video interview was made public.

I found this story at Belmont Club. Evidently, there is a video interview of one "Jesse Macbeth" circulating in the blogsphere for the last couple of days. Macbeth claims to have been an "Army Special Force Ranger" (his words, not ours); in his interview -- posted at a website called (five points to Slytherin if you can guess their political orientation) -- Macbeth talks about horrific atrocities supposedly commited by him and his Army Special Forces Ranger Marine Airborne SEAL Green Beret Afrika Korps unit in Fallujah and other parts of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Belmont Club has posted a complete transcript of the interview, but here's as much as we can tolerate:

Jesse Macbeth, formerly a Special Forces Ranger in Iraq, is now active with Iraq Veterans Against the War in Tacoma, Washington. The Rangers are elite units sent door-to-door in Iraq to combat the insurgency. They were also sent into Fallujah to crush all opposition to the occupation of that city. Justice recently interviewed Jesse....

What did your division do?

I was in the Third Ranger Battalion. Our job was to strike fear in the hearts of the Iraqi people.

We would go into people's houses and plow down entire families. We would interrogate people. If we didn't like the answers that they gave, then we would kill the youngest child. If they gave more answers that we didn't like, then we'd move on to the rest of the family. They could've been innocent people. [They could have been innocent. Maybe. Dunno... we're not really sure about those youngest children; maybe they were Fedayin Saddam.]

We would leave the bodies in the streets and blame it on the Shi'ites or the Sunnis. [In Fallujah] we were ordered to go into mosques and slaughter people while they were praying. I won't go into full detail because I'm still haunted by the memories. [It's seared, seared in him.]

Before even reading his outragous claim, his title -- a "Special Forces Ranger" -- did not ring true to me. I thought Special Forces and Army Rangers were two different things... and it turns out the Army thought so, too (see below). In any event, a few short hours after this video was posted, a million milblogs had already ripped this guy to shreds.

First of all, his appearance is riddled with errors: his beret is wrong, his patch is funny, the way he rolls up his sleeves is Marines, and numerous other bits and pieces of his uniform are simply wrong. Black Five has the hilarious picture.

If Just Citizens is correct, the Army has no record of Mr. Jesse MacBeth either.

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.

It seems this isnt' the first time MacBeth had told this tale; he's been dining out on it for more than two years now. According to Smash of the MilBlogs forum on Mudville Gazette, this guy has been pretending to be an Iraq vet and telling lies about committing war crimes as early as November of 2003.

An article in the Eastern Arizona Courier, dated November 3, 2003, begins with the following paragraphs:

The war in Iraq was officially called to an end a few months ago, but according to Private First Class Jesse MacBeth, 19, of Pima, the turmoil has just begun.

MacBeth, a ranger in the U.S. Army, returned to the states two-and-a-half months ago after sustaining an injury in his back. He spent 14 months serving in the Middle East -- first in Afghanistan and then in Baghdad. Formerly from Tucson, MacBeth now resides in Pima, where he has family, friends and a fiancé. He said that small-town life is the perfect remedy for the various traumas that he suffered during his service in the Middle East.

If true (and it clearly isn't), this would mean that MacBeth had returned home from Iraq in mid-August (coincidentally, about the same time I returned from my deployment). This was long before either of the two major actions in Fallujah.

We've seen likes of him before, haven't we? I remember a couple of plastic "soldiers" in this war alone. Macbeth might have gotten away with it, back in the Vietnam era; after all, the Winter Soldier guys were hailed as heroic whistle blowers... until half the people in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War were exposed as "stolen valor" fakes.

Say... maybe in a few years, Macbeth will pop up as a candidate in an election, salute, and say "Corporal Macbeth, reporting for duty!"

Hatched by Sachi on this day, May 23, 2006, at the time of 11:59 PM

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I've stayed away from this story for days now, on the grounds that everybody else is already covering it. I didn't think there was much to analyze. It's completely clear what Rush Limbaugh meant by the phrase "phony soldiers," which... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2007 7:03 PM


The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Yeah, I understand he's going to skip Lt. Gov. and go straight to the Senate. He's certainly exercising that First Amendment that McCain would love to repeal.

I linked from Jesse Macbeth: Phony Ranger, Phony Stories

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 12:25 AM

The following hissed in response by: Jauhara Al-Kafirah

If you haven't watched the video, it is hilarious. The picture hanging on the wall is one of those soft focus jobs you buy at the mall, throughout the video he stutters and makes hilarious errors about the culture....such as men and women and children all worshipping TOGETHER and then being wiped out en masse by infiltrating Special Forces Rangers...and if I recall correctly, when the marines stormed one of the mosques in Fallujah, they found a hall of horrors. It seems, that far from being a place of piety where men and women worship Allah TOGETHER...probably the only mosque in Jesse-world which does that...the mosques were little more than torture chambers and weapons depots.

The above hissed in response by: Jauhara Al-Kafirah [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 6:17 AM

The following hissed in response by: Sachi

I just thought of something. MacBeth is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Didn't other "veterans" of the organization notice something odd about this guy?

The above hissed in response by: Sachi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 12:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


Well, didn't the Viet Nam vets against the war notice their leader wound up in a wheelchair because of a car wreck?

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 1:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mark Siddall

I guess Jesse Macbeth was such a "distinguished SF Ranger" that the U.S. Army allowed him to design his own uniform. In a Pepperspray Productions video I noticed a photograph of this clown which shows him wearing the tan beret backwards and the sleeves on his BDU's rolled up incorrectly; just two dead giveaways that this guy is a fake. Numerous other things such as the flash, the tabs, no CIB or CAB...and what's with the white t-shirt; these have not been worn since the solid OD green fatigues were in the clothing bag.

This bozo is wearing the beret with the flash over the right eye, and excess material is pulled down over the left ear. According to Army Regulation 670-1 - Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, the beret is worn as follows: "The beret is worn so that the headband (edge binding) is straight across the forehead, 1 inch above the eyebrows. The flash is positioned over the left eye, and the excess material is draped over to the right ear, extending to at least the top of the ear, and no lower than the middle of the ear." As for the sleeves the reg states, "When sleeves are rolled up, the camouflage pattern will remain exposed. Personnel will roll the sleeves neatly above the elbow, no more than 3 inches above the elbow." As for the tab, “On the Army green service uniform, the Special Forces tab is centered on the left shoulder sleeve, 1/2 inch from the shoulder seam, the Ranger tab is centered 1/8 inch below the Special Forces tab, and the Sapper tab is centered 1/8 inch below the Ranger tab. The current unit shoulder sleeve insignia is centered 1/4 inch below the Sapper tab. On the utility uniforms and the cold weather jackets, personnel wear the subdued tabs in the same positions as on the Army green service uniform.”

All I have to say to Jesse Macbeth is, WRONG ANSWER HERO!

The above hissed in response by: Mark Siddall [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 18, 2006 7:10 AM

The following hissed in response by: Sachi


Thank you for the detailed info. Apparently, this guy was in the army. But he did not even finish the basic training.

He also pretended to be a former Navy SEAL at one point. For a young guy, he has been busy.

The above hissed in response by: Sachi [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 18, 2006 10:32 AM

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