Thursday, April 05, 2007

Anti-American Myths Never Die

One thing I have learned from following conspiracy theories, is that once one starts, they never die, no matter how many times they have been debunked. Look at all the people who still cite Lauro Chavez as an authority.

So I was offended, but not suprised to see Paul Rockwell cite accounts of Iraqi war crimes by Jimmy Massey:

For nearly 12 years, Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey was a hard-core, some say “gung-ho,” Marine. For three years he trained fellow Marines in one of the most grueling indoctrination rituals in military life — Marine boot camp. The Iraqi war changed Massey. The brutality, the sheer carnage of the U.S. invasion, touched his conscience and transformed him forever. He was honorably discharged last December 31 and is now back in his hometown, Waynsville, North Carolina. When I talked with Sergeant Massey last week, he expressed his remorse at the civilian loss of life in incidents in which he himself was involved.

There is just one problem, Massey was exposed as a fake by St. Louis Post reporter Ron Harris, nearly two years ago.

Massey's claims have gained him celebrity. Last month, Massey's book, "Kill, Kill, Kill," was released in France. His allegations have been reported in nationwide publications such as Vanity Fair and USA Today, as well as numerous broadcast reports. Earlier this year, he joined the anti-war bus tour of Cindy Sheehan, and he's spoken at Cornell and Syracuse universities, among others.

News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey's claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.

He wasn't.

Each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated - according to his fellow Marines, Massey's own admissions, and the five journalists who were embedded with Massey's unit, including a reporter and photographer from the Post-Dispatch and reporters from The Associated Press and The Wall StreetJournal.