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Was the Rescue of Jessica Lynch Exaggerated?

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jessica lynch

This past week is the nine year anniversary of the capture and subsequent rescue of PFC, Jessica Lynch, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Lynch’s unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed on March 23, 2003. By April 1st, The United States Special forces rescued her, making her the first successful rescued American Prisoner of War (POW) since World War II and the first rescued woman POW ever.

Lynch was brought home an American hero and tales of the rescue spread across the web like wildfire. However, many contend that the rescue was somewhat exaggerated.

This exaggeration was not just a “fish story” that kept growing, but rather a calculated effort by the U.S. to use the rescue as a propaganda piece. This begs the question, “Was the Rescue of Jessica Lynch Exaggerated?” (1)

The True Story

Though the U.S. retrieval of Jessica Lynch is certainly true, there have been several facts that have created some controversy about the rescue story.

One such fact was published in the Washington Post. The Washington Post described the young Private as not going down without a fight. The newspaper painted an image of the young American soldier giving her all for the cause.

The paper goes on to state, “She was fighting to the death.”

It was definitely the type of story Americans needed to hear at the time. Leading up to Lynch’s capture, the War in Iraq was beginning to drag on. With many Americans questioning our military’s presence in Iraq, an emotionally charged story would definitely grab the attention and hearts of Americans.

So the story of the 19-year old Private First Class who, “…continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds,” was spread around the world thanks to the Washington Post.

However, that story is not at all accurate.

Actually, it seems that Lynch was knocked unconscious during the ambush and awoke in an Iraqi hospital. Nine days later, she was rescued by U.S. Special Forces. After the rescue, Lynch was treated at an army hospital.

The commander of that hospital told the Associated Press that Lynch was neither shot nor stabbed.

These are only a few examples of how the Washington Post obviously missed the mark when verifying the facts surrounding the capture of Jessica Lynch. How did the Washington Post make such glaring errors in their reporting of the case?

jessica lynch

Popular Theories and Opinions

There are two popular theories regarding why the Washington Post made such errors in their reporting.

One is that the journalist who wrote the initial story based the article on flimsy sources, and did not do much to research the facts behind what they were being told.

The other is that the Pentagon spun the Jessica Lynch rescue tale before feeding it to the Washington Post in an effort to drum up support for the Iraq War.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to prove or disprove either theory.

The writers of the story, Vernon Loeb and Susan Schmidt, maintain that the sources were solid. They claim that many of their facts came from intelligence reports and contend that wartime intelligence reports are sometimes filled with inaccuracies.

They do realize that they should have fact checked the reports better, but deny the idea that they were pawns in a government spun piece.

There are others who would disagree, including the BBC and Jessica Lynch herself.

Barely a month after the rescue, the BBC aired a documentary which implied that the Pentagon manufactured a story based on the Lynch rescue in order to boost support for the war. In an airing of ABC’s Primetime, Lynch expressed that she felt the same way and did not like the way she was used.

She told Primetime, “It does [bother me] that they used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff,” she went to say. “It’s wrong.”

So, obviously the story was exaggerated. But why?

Was it a simple case of shoddy journalism, or was it a calculated move by the government to gain support?

We want to know what you think. Post your own thoughts below!

References & Image Credits:
(3) Army Times

Originally published on

  • NastyGash

    Donald Rumsfeld declared, early in the buildup to the war or early in the war itself, that the USA government would plant false stories. He said this publicly; that’s how arrogant and shameless the Bush administration was. A few days later, after much outrage from the citizenry, he declared that the false stories would be limited to outside te US.

    Given this and that the reasons for starting the war were lies, it is not surprising that the Jessica Lynch rescue story was a lie. By the way, this a is very old story.

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

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