Events in the less recent past are also subject to spin. Defending the 2003 invasion of Iraq, part of Mrs Hughes' argument is that Saddam Hussein's forces fired on US aircraft that she said were enforcing sanctions.
Analysts said that strictly speaking this could be said to be true, but they also pointed out that no United Nations Security Council resolution specifically mandated the "no-fly" zones in Iraq that were unilaterally imposed by the US, UK and France after the 1991 Gulf war.
Kofi Annan, UN secretary general, at the time also joined Russia, China and others in challenging US assertions that Iraq had violated Resolution 1441 by firing on US and British aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones.
Independent observers who have joined Mrs Hughes on her �listening tour� do not question her sincerity in seeking to bridge the gap between the US and the Middle East that has seen America's popularity ratings plummet to unprecedented lows since the invasion of Iraq. When she speaks with great feeling about her son, her audiences have generally reacted warmly to her assertions of the �values� that America shares with their cultures.
However, knowing that this is the first time Mrs Hughes has ever set foot in the Middle East, they question the depth of her knowledge or the sincerity of the officials who briefed her.
See my earlier comment.