Remember Jessica Lynch? War hero? Media huckster? Discharged loser? The myth and demystifying of the young soldier from West Virginia got an exclusive retelling this week in an as-told-to story in Glamour magazine. In it Lynch explains how, as a 19-year-old supply clerk with 507th Maintenance Company, she woke up in a hospital bed (after being ambushed by Iraqi forces, brought to an Iraqi hospital and then "rescued" by American soldiers in a highly staged event) to find that she'd been inaccurately protrayed as a war hero. In fact, her gun had jammed and she'd never fired a shot.
Ultimately Lynch may be seen as a different kind of war hero -- but one that the military might not terribly appreciate. This spring she testified before Congress about "how the military creates myths exaggerating the heroics of its soldiers" and her own painful experience as first an object of media adulation and then international scorn. With Iraq being the first American war where women are seeing not only real combat but "how sausage is made" in military mythology, it's interesting to read Lynch's unvarnished story of a female soldier who chooses a humble truth over a glorious lie.
Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.