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article imagePentagon Spin Doctors Embellished Jessica Lynch Story

By Bob Norman     Apr 26, 2007 in Politics
The image of the American military has been further tarnished with revelations that it lied about the stories of two of it's most famous members. The stories of bravery surrounding Jessica Lynch were mostly the creation of Army officials.
Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman were both heralded for their bravery and commitment under enemy fire.
Tillman, a soldier who left a career in the NFL to serve his country after 9/11, was killed in the line of duty. At first, the Pentagon claimed he died as a result of combat. But later, after Tillman's family began to pressure officials, they reversed their position and admitted he had been killed by friendly fire.
Now Lynch's experience: It's one of the most well-known feel-good tales of bravery during the war in Iraq, but Lynch herself has come forward to say her story was a creation of senior officials as well.
Lynch was captured by Iraqi forces during the wave of U.S. troops entering the country in 2003. The Pentagon painted a heroic picture of her battle against the enemy as she tried to avoid capture. The official version of her story said she was taken only after a fierce gunfight where she was shot and stabbed. Weeks later she was rescued by friendly forces when they stormed the hospital where she was being held by the Iraqi army. It was a great story for the folks at home, but Ms. Lynch now says it was all propaganda.
She said:
I'm still confused as to why they chose to lie and try to make me a legend when the real heroes were my fellow soldiers that day.
Lynch says what really happened was that her gun had jammed with sand before she was able to use it. She was captured without a shot. The hospital where she was being held was devoid of any enemy forces and, in fact, the doctors there had tried to arrange for her to be handed over to U.S. forces before the raid.
My parents were hearing the story that I was this little girl Rambo from the hills of West Virginia who went down fighting. But it wasn't true.
The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate tales.
Although an authorized book on her ordeal reported she also was raped by Iraqi soldiers, Iraqi doctors have disputed the allegations and said she was too traumatized to remember it. The wounds she received,a six inch gash in her head and severe back and leg injuries, continue to bother her to this day. She just considers herself lucky to have survived the ambush that killed eleven of her fellow soldiers.
The committee's Democrat chairman Henry Waxman said:
The bare minimum we owe our soldiers and their families is the truth. That didn't happen for two of the most famous soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
She's a brave young woman to come forward like this and admit the truth that the Army forced this story upon her. How many other stories we hear from Iraq and Afghanistan are twisted so the facts meet the Pentagon's approval?
She was a hero without their help, they only lessened her legacy.
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