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The tale that wagged the dog (Read 618 times)


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The tale that wagged the dog
Jul 24th, 2003 at 12:03am

Jessica Lynch, the wounded United States Army private whose ordeal in Iraq was hyped into a media fiction of heroism, was set for an emotional homecoming overnight in a rural West Virginia community bristling with flags, yellow ribbons and TV news trucks.

But when the 20-year-old arrives by Blackhawk helicopter, media critics say the TV cameras will not show the return of an injured soldier so much as a reality-TV drama co-produced by US Government propaganda and credulous reporters.

"It no longer matters in America whether something is true or false. The population has been conditioned to accept anything: sentimental stories, lies, atomic bomb threats," the publisher of Harper's magazine, John MacArthur, said.

Private Lynch was in a maintenance company convoy on March 23 when it was ambushed near the city of Nasiriyah. Eleven soldiers died and nine were wounded in a 90-minute firefight.

Private Lynch became a national heroine after media reports quoted unnamed US officials saying she fired on Iraqi forces despite sustaining multiple gunshot and stab wounds before being captured.

Army investigators concluded she was injured when her vehicle crashed into another in the convoy after it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The army said the convoy blundered into the ambush after getting lost and many of the unit's weapons malfunctioned. The US military also released video taken during an apparently daring rescue by American special forces who raided the Iraqi hospital where she was being treated.

Iraqi doctors at the hospital said later the US rescuers had faced no resistance.

Private Lynch has been quoted as saying she can remember nothing of the ambush or rescue.

Carolyn Martin, of the Annenberg School for Communication, said the media had failed by trusting the Government to reflect reality.

A US central command spokesman would not comment on whether the tale was propaganda.
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