In today’s NYT story raising questions about who shot Hasan, James McKinley notes that the early stories about Sgt. Kimberly Munley’s actions are reminiscent of the military’s rapid depiction of Pfc. Jessica Lynch’s allegedly “Rambo-like” performance in 2003, when her convoy in Iraq was attacked.
The account of her engagement with the enemy was untrue; so too is McKinley’s account of her captivity. He reports, “It was later learned she had been badly hurt in a vehicle accident during an ambush and was being well cared for by the Iraqis.” Lynch was delivered to an Iraqi hospital three hours after the ambush. Three sources had last seen her standing, with minor injuries, at the ambush site. According to her autobiography, when she was rescued, “Her right arm was shattered between her shoulder and her elbow. . . . Her spine was fractured in two places. . . . Her right foot was crushed. . . . Her left leg had broken into pieces above and below her knee.” She had also been sexually assaulted; her medical records didn’t indicate whether this occurred before or after sustaining her severe injuries. Newsweek reported, “U.S. military intelligence officers believe Lynch’s injuries were inflicted after she and other survivors surrendered.”
So yes, there is credulity about tales of female military heroism. Worse, there’s a tendency to look the other way when it comes to the darker side of the story.