This not a pressing matter, but W. Joseph Campbell points out that today is the eight-year anniversary of the first news reports about Jessica Lynch's "fight to the death" in Iraq. The Lynch myth did not survive serious scrutiny (even Lynch herself was smart enough to deny that she was anything but lucky to be alive). What has persisted is the idea that the Pentagon was somehow "behind" the story out of some nefarious need to cynically spread propaganda. (During a war??? How dare they!). Oddly, that was not the case either. According to Campbell's research, the "Pentagon was behind the Jessica Lynch story" story came from a single Washington Post story that was later discredited.
Those darned "intelligence sources." Have they gotten anything right in the last decade?
I'm willing to be charitable and say that the Lynch story was a typical fog-of-war tale that grew exponentially with the re-telling. Hard as it might be to believe now, but large segments of the American media got caught up in the excitement of war during the initial invasion, but their enthusiasm did nothing to help themselves or their readers understand what was going on. The embedded reporters were too close to the ground to get a sense of what was going on outside their immediate view, while the ones back in DC having lunch with "intelligence sources" were too far away. Plus, everybody - especially liberals in the media - wanted to believe that the first hero of the Iraq War was a 19 year-old slip of a girl instead of some 200 lb. redneck guy. Unfortunately, reality is almost never that cooperative.
Moreover, the American people are, at this point, so media saturated that they need something more than some warmed-over Audie Murphy tale to keep them interested in a war. What they really want is a victory and a quick resolution, both of which were a long time coming in Iraq. The Pentagon, at least, realizes that war is complicated and ambiguous with little room for true battlefield heroics. But the sophisticates in the media and politics still cling to the notion that "selling" a war is a matter of concocting two-fisted tales for the rubes. How much better if they would just stop insulting our intelligence.