Lead the Way in Exposing Author as a Fraud
By Richard Leiby
The Washington Post
Sunday, May 2, 2004; Page D03
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
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 [www.micahwright.com]."
Seven Stories has canceled publication of Wright's next book, "If You're
Not a Terrorist, Then Stop Asking Questions," due out in two months. It also
will remove from future printings of the first book his detailed and wholly
fictional account of parachuting into Panama under fire during Operation Just
Cause. Wright's book of satirically "remixed" World War II propaganda posters
was a minor success, selling more than 20,000 copies. It carried endorsements
from two WWII vets, novelist Kurt Vonnegut
and historian Howard Zinn.
"The romance of his military background rang a bell with me and made me
like him a lot," Vonnegut told us Friday. "You almost want to say, 'So what else
is new?' Human beings are terrible liars. I still like what he did. He's a liar,
but I still like his pictures."