Jesse Macbeth, the man who claimed to be a United States Army Ranger and a recipient of a Purple Heart but who actually was an Army boot-camp wash-out, will face charges for using his fantasies to boost an anti-war rhetoric.
Jesse Adam Macbeth, 23, formerly of Phoenix, garnered much attention on blogs and in some alternative media after he began claiming in 2005 to have been awarded a Purple Heart for his service, which he said included slaughtering innocents in a Fallujah mosque. His story was contradicted by his true discharge form, showing that he was kicked out of the Army after six weeks at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2003 because of his "entry level performance and conduct."(Emphasis mine.)
A complaint unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle charged him with one count of using or possessing a forged or altered military discharge certificate, and one count of making false statements in seeking benefits from the Veterans Administration.
I'm betting that Macbeth will come out of this situation in relatively good shape, simply because no sane person who knew that he had no real record of service would so blatantly lie to the VA, which can easily confirm or dispute any putative record. Jesse will come off as a nut and will be treated accordingly.
But there are a lot of presumably not-crazy persons out there (okay, I'm being generous here) who--like Macbeth--don't know how seriously all of the services take attention to detail--from dress and appearance to paperwork. Failure to recognize this feature of the US military was likely a part of what got Macbeth the boot from Army initial training.
Any GI could see that both the Macbeth and the Bush-AWOL stories were bogus through mere knowledge--and not just knowledge of the formats of military forms and written communication, but having that knowledge reinforced over and over again throughout their entire careers.
This is what made both stories so infuriating to those of us who have actually served. It spoke not only of the perpetrators' ignorance, but of the disdain which they and all too many others hold for GIs, protestations of "supporting" the troops notwithstanding.
Denny, the Grouchy Old Cripple, had a Photoshop up last week which summed put the above mindset pretty succinctly.
It's infuriating when your opponents think that you're as stupid as they are.
(Thanks to Rosemary)