The American Dream

"In all of Iraq, Jumana Hanna was the bravest witness to the horror of Saddam's regime, telling the Americans of torture, rape, and mass murder," writes Sara Solovitch. Paul Wolfowitz recounted her story to the Senate Foreign Relations Commitee. Her suffering was described in agonizing detail in a Washington Post story by Peter Finn. But when Solovitch signed on to write a book about Hanna, she discovered that her story was fiction. The woman lionized as a brave survivor of Saddam Hussein's prisons was apparently a homeless prostitute who successfully scammed U.S. officials into giving her a new life in the United States. "Far from being a story about the indomitability of the human spirit," Solovitch realized, "Hanna's tale now seemed to open a window on the coalition's naivete - the willingness of its leaders to believe almost anything that fit their agenda." (Faced with Solovitch's revelations, the Washington Post has retracted its original story.)