In a story that broke late yesterday, the writer of the recently cancelled "Stormwatch: Team Achilles," Micah Ian Wright, revealed that he never served as a member of the Army Rangers, a claim he's made since he first came on the comics scene in March of 2002.. Apparently Wright had posted a revised bio to his Web site with the revelation on April 25th, reposting that information to his forum Saturday. The full text of his announcement follows:
My name is Micah Wright. I'm a former Army Ranger, and I've been lying to you. I've kept the secret for years now, but all lies grow and eventually get out of control. This is me coming clean about my Big Lie. What did I lie about? Oh, nothing much...
Except that I was never an Army Ranger. I never served a day in a Ranger Regiment. I never went to Ranger School. The closest I ever got was Army ROTC.
This entire Army Ranger thing is a stupid lie which has its roots back in college. When I was in the Army ROTC (and I really was, trust me), I met a lot of Rangers, and got to know some of these amazing men. They always impressed me with their inspired competence and their commitment to one another. Though I enjoyed my time in Army ROTC, I decided that eight years of military service was not for me and I left the program. That ended my involvement with the military.
So why come clean now, you ask? Why shouldn't I continue on, seeing how far I can push it? Well, frankly, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of lying to my friends, to employers, to my fans, to myself. I'm not a Ranger. I've lied to so many people about this that it's made me physically ill. I haven't been able to sleep and I've just about given myself an ulcer. It's all become too much. I'm stopping the lies.
The cat's out of the bag now... I've finally told the truth. I wish I had a long time ago. In the last year dozens of real Rangers have been killed or wounded overseas--how can I keep lying in the face of that kind of dedication? When I read about the death of Pat Tillman, who sacrificed a high-paying football career in order to join the Rangers, I felt like even more of a fake and a heel. It's time it all ended: I'm not a Ranger, I was never a Ranger and I'm sorry for ever saying that I was. I apologize to every Ranger and to the families of every Ranger.
I lied, and I apologize for that from the bottom of my heart... it was a lousy thing to do and I'm sorry about it. A special apology is owed to the people who I hurt by putting them in the position of spreading my lie, people taken in by the Hoax, and people whose credibility I've helped corrode.
There was one thing that I didn't imagine, that I couldn't imagine: that a lie like this would grow and grow and eventually consume every facet of my entire life. It has weighed on my heart and on my mind for two full years now, slowly crushing my spirits, contaminating my friendships, and threatening to destroy everything about me. I'm well shed of it now. I just hope that others can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
And please... no more death threats.
April 25, 2004
Questions about Wright's service have been ongoing for some time. Each time his service was called into question, Wright would refute the claims of those calling into question his service record.
Apparently the above is a slightly revised version of his original statement. Newsarama has quotes from the original statement (which can be found in its entirety here) in which Wright reveals that he continued to perpetrate this story in an interview with the Washington Post in 2003 about his remixed-propaganda posters book, "You Back The Attack! We'll Bomb Who We Want." Shortly after the interview ran, real Rangers and Special Forces members saw through his story and called him on it. After filing requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the Washington Post confirmed last month that Wright was never a member of the Army Rangers and today ran a story detailing their efforts to uncover the truth.
Richard Leiby wrote in the Post, "In the Style section last summer we profiled a Los Angeles writer named Micah Ian Wright, who'd just published a shrill antiwar poster book called 'You Back the Attack! We'll Bomb Who We Want!' In his book, he described himself as a veteran of combat, a former Army Ranger whose experiences during the 1989 invasion of Panama turned him into a peacenik. In interviews with The Post and other media, he played up that background.
"Wright, it turns out, is a liar. He never served in the military -- and confessed that last week to his publisher, Seven Stories Press, after we insisted on evidence of his service. Pursuing a tip from real Rangers who'd never heard of Wright, we filed three Freedom of Information Act requests with separate Army commands -- and last month finally confirmed that Wright never served.
"'I feel awful about it. It was a lie that just grew and grew and grew,' Wright, 34, told us Friday. He said mounting combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, including that of Ranger Pat Tillman, compound his sense of remorse: 'I plan to make a public apology on my Web site.'"
The Post also revealed that the follow up to his first book, "If You're Not a Terrorist, Then Stop Asking Questions," due in stores in two months, has been cancelled by Seven Stories. Seven Stories will also remove from future printings of the first book any accounts of his being a Ranger, including a story about parachuting into Panama during Operation Just Cause.
In a post on his forum, Wright disputes the Washington Post story where-in they claim to have discovered the truth about Wright's service last month. Wright posted Saturday to his forum, "The Washington Post is running a story tomorrow, yes. I started this ball in motion last week when I decided that this entire thing was over. I called my publisher and informed them of the truth, and they called the Washington Post and informed them.
"This is not a case of imminent exposure bringing about this confession, this is a case of me stepping up to the plate and admitting what I have done."
This revelation has evoked a huge response on Wright's forum. Over 250 responses have been posted to the original thread with reaction running from support to total condemnation. Comics writer Kurt Busiek shared his thoughts with the forum in this post:
"A suggestion, Micah:
"Stop defending yourself. It only makes it worse.
"You've already confessed to being a liar after years of insisting that you were telling the truth. Every time you insist that people take your word for something now, whether it's that you got death threats so they shouldn't judge you or that you came forward first and the Post is therefore lying or that all your friends told you to post self-serving shit about how Big Media should have checked up on you, all you're doing is making another claim with no credibility behind it. Could be so, could be no -- but you have no standing to say, 'trust me, it happened the way I say it did.' You burned that platform yourself, and got attention and money in the process.
"The only way to recover, to whatever extent you're going to, is to move forward -- not make more unverifiable claims, but buckle down and do good work. Whatever hole you're in, deal with it -- you dug it, it's your hole. Do enough good work, and people will start to judge you on that. Do it long enough, and it'll outweigh this.
"But don't get huffy about the criticism and bitch about how people are being unfair to you. You lied to them. You admitted it. Stand up, take the reaction your statements have brought on you, and move forward.
"And if you feel you took a few unfair lumps in the process, too bad. Think about the people who you called liars and haters, think about Carlos D'Anda suddenly having devoted months of his life to a tainted project, think about the folks at Oni dealing with having a big stack of inventory they thought your name would help but will now actually hurt, think about how fair that is, and quit bitching that you don't like the criticism."
Busiek mentions two different projects in the above that Wright's involved in. Wright and D'Anda are scheduled to debut a new "Vigilante" series for DC Comics in August. Wright also supplied the introduction for the Oni Press Graphic Novel "Queen & Country: Declassified." Responding to the news, outgoing Oni Press Editor-In-Chief Jamie S. Rich had this to say on the Oni Press Forum:
"The intro was asked for on the basis of his work more than any personal connection, and I do personally feel that we were cheated based on this info. What a ridiculous thing for someone to do...
"I don't see any reason why Oni would want to pursue anything in regards to this, but I wouldn't be surprised if the intro disappears from future editions. I don't want to speak for Greg, but I know a big motivating factor to asking Micah in was we all admired his courage to speak his mind; that just seems completely misplaced at this point."
CBR News attempted to contact Wright Sunday afternoon, but received no response at press time.
Special thanks to Steve Gerding of 4 Color Review for his assistance with this story.
Updated 5:25 PM 5/2/04
The writer of the Washington Post story cited above, Richard Leiby, contacted CBR News Sunday afternoon to further detail events that led to the publishing of his story. More specifically, to counter the assertion by Wright that he revealed the truth behind his Ranger service and alerted his publisher first, before the Post.
"The story Micah Wright is peddling (that he outed himself) is another outright lie," Leiby told CBR News. "After receiving the final, conclusive FOIA response in mid-April that proved Wright did not serve in the Army, I called Seven Stories to alert its publisher that I intended to write a story. (I had called twice over the months with similiar reports as they became available; FOIA is a long process. I gave Wright the benefit of the doubt until the Special Operations Command reported no record of him.)
"Seven Stories' publisher and editor called Wright and made one final demand for documentation of service, based on my request. He had none. The publisher called me either that day or the next to say that Wright had confessed. This occurred in the middle of last week. I held off publishing the story until I could put it in my Sunday column for maximum circulation (1.3 million readers in print) and so I could include a comment from Wright, whom I spoke with Friday evening. He actually ended up thanking me for continuing my efforts to expose him. He said he was grateful to finally be caught.
"I have all the dated FOIA responses to prove the paper trail. Seven Stories will confirm my version of events."
Updated 9:30 PM 5/3/04
A DC Comics spokes-person responded to CBR's questions regarding the status of the upcoming "Vigilante" series Wright was working on Monday afternoon with simply a "no comment on the status at this time."