(04/28/2007)
Wirt County Native Jessica Lynch told a congressional hearing this week she was not a hero when she was captured during an ambush on her unit in Iraq in 2003.

"I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary," Lynch said.

The Congressional hearing focused on military misinformation.

Lynch said she did suffer critical injuries, but the news story released did not reflect the real events of what happened in Iraq.

"Tales of great heroism were being told," testified Lynch. "My parent's home in Wirt County was under siege of the media all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting. It was not true."

Lynch said she did not fire back when her unit was ambushed, her gun was jammed with sand.

Government press releases embellished her capture and rescue.

Lynch did cite her fellow soldiers for their heroic acts.

Eleven were killed.

"The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals for heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate tales," Lynch said.

"The truth of war is not always easy to hear but it's always more heroic than the hype."

Kevin Tillman, the younger brother of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, was more critical of the government.

He accuses the military of passing along, what he calls 'intentional falsehoods' after the death of his brother by friendly fire three years ago in Afghanistan.

Original reports indicated Tillman died in heroic fashion, and was awarded the Silver Star for service, a designation that is not normally bestowed for friendly fire incidents.

"This freshly manufactured narrative was then distributed to the American public and we believe the strategy had the intended effect. It shifted the focus from grotesque torture at Abu Ghraib and a downward spiral of an illegal act of aggression to a great American who died a hero's death," said Tillman.

Tillman said the government is responsible for 'deliberate acts of deceit.'


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