Army ‘debunks’ Ranger testimony


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Saturday, May 27, 2006

'Ranger' who boasted of murdering
Iraqi civilians debunked by Army
Man claiming soldiers 'plow[ed] down entire families'
also kicked out of anti-war vet group for being fraud

Posted: May 27, 2006
5:45 p.m. Eastern

© 2006

The U.S. Army says it has no record of a man who 
claimed to have "slaughtered" hundreds of 
civilians while serving with the Army Rangers in 

Jesse MacBeth

Jesse MacBeth, appearing in a 20-minute video 
produced by Randy Rowland, a 1970s antiwar 
activist, claimed to have personally killed 200 
people, many of them at close range, while on 
patrols with the Army Rangers during his 16 
months in Iraq before being discharged due to 
wounds he received.

Wearing a green camouflage overshirt, MacBeth 
said he was telling his story to atone for 
killing innocent civilians. The tape, titled 
"Jesse Macbeth: An Iraq Veteran Speaks Out," 
first aired in April on Seattle public access 
television on the show "Indymedia Presents" and 
has since been posted online.

"Do whatever it takes to make them fear you," he 
claimed commanders told him and his fellow 
soldiers in the 3rd Ranger Battalion. "You won't 
be charged."

According to MacBeth's claims, Rangers would lie 
in wait in mosques to slaughter hundreds who came 
to pray, and children were regularly executed in 
front of their parents in order to extract 

"We would go into people's houses and plow down 
entire families," he said. "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 would actually feel the hot muzzle of my 
rifle on their forehead," MacBeth said.

Now the Army is saying there is no record of 
MacBeth or his service with the Rangers or 
Special Forces.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce noted several red flags in the videotape.

"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," Boyce told Stars and Stripes.

A phototograph of MacBeth appearing in the video 
shows him wearing his beret with the insignia 
centered over the wrong eye, said Boyce.

MacBeth defended the picture, saying he purposely 
donned the beret backwards in the video interview 
because of military regulations prohibiting 
veterans from wearing their uniforms at protests.

"They did the same thing to John Kerry," MacBeth 
said, when asked why the Army found no record of 
his service as a Ranger.

Sen. John Kerry came to national attention in 
1971 when he spoke before Congress as a Vietnam 
veteran claiming to have participated in 
massacres of civilians while serving aboard a 
U.S. Navy swift boat. Kerry's testimony gave 
credibility to anti-war groups like Vietnam 
Veterans Against the War by confessing to actions 
classified as war crimes.

MacBeth, following a similar path, spoke at a 
March 19 anti-war rally in Tacoma, Wash., 
sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War and 
other organizations.

In the interview, MacBeth claimed to be a member 
of IVAW, a claim the organization denied shortly 
after the video appeared online. Since that 
denial, IVAW has reputiated MacBeth in a 
statement on its website:

"Questions have been raised about Jesse MacBeth 
and his claims of service in Iraq. MacBeth came 
to Iraq Veterans Against the War in January 2006 
asking for help, and the organization and its 
members extended itself to help him in various 
ways. Assisting veterans is one of the founding 
principles of IVAW and it is a mission that we 
take seriously. After looking into his recent 
claims, we have learned that Jesse is not what he 
represented himself to be. Accordingly, IVAW does 
not in any way endorse Jesse MacBeth or any of 
his accounts involving military service. He - and 
he alone - is responsible for them. IVAW was not 
aware of the creation of the video program 
featuring MacBeth, and did not authorize use of 
our logo in the program."

IVAW member Garett Reppenhagen called MacBeth a "troubled kid."

"I'm not sure why he would want to be fraudulent to IVAW," Reppenhagen said.

According to United Press International, MacBeth 
told in an April 
interview he currently works for Wendy's fast 
food restaurant.

"When I was growing up, everyone thought I'd be a 
criminal, but they were wrong. I'm gonna be one 
of the leaders of the revolution," Macbeth told 
the leftist website.

Questions and Observations, a blog that has 
covered the story closely, today claimed to have 
posted a copy of MacBeth's official DD214 
military discharge document.

"It shows that he lasted all of one month and 13 
days in the Army. It also shows he that he never 
had a primary specialty nor any awards and 
decorations. None. It also shows he was an E1 
when discharged," wrote Bruce "McQ" McQuain.

"The bottom half of the form is just as 
revealing. Block 19 says 'Service Member has not 
completed first full term of service.' Block 24, 
as noted earlier, shows his service as 
'Uncharacterized' which is only given to those 
who are discharged as trainees. Block 25 is key. 
It shows he was discharged under the authority of 
AR 635-200 Chapter 11. That means he was found to 
be unfit to remain in the Army and was dicharged 
for the good of the service. Or as many have 
said, a boot camp washout. We've been through the 
code for discharge in the next block, but the 
narrative reason for his discharge is found in 
block 28, which says 'Entry level performance and 
conduct,' or, he couldn't cut it."

Despite the rejection of his story by the Army 
and the IVAW - and it's relentless dissection by 
many in the blogosphere - MacBeth insisted he 
served in Iraq with the Rangers and believed he 
had been betrayed by IVAW.

"When the heat gets on them they stab me in the 
back," he said, adding he would no longer defend 
his credibility.

"I'm not going to follow this battle no more. The right wing won," he said.

Randy Rowland's PepperSpray Productions, makers 
of the MacBeth video, has removed the video from 
its website. A posted message reads: "A formal 
statement from Pepperspray on the Jesse Macbeth 
situation is pending."

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