Ann Coulter

A front-page story by James Risen in The New York Times on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008, reported on a "troubling trend" of sexual assaults committed by American employees of military contractors in Iraq. The centerpiece of his story was Jamie Leigh Jones, who claimed to have been brutally gang-raped in 2005 while working in the Green Zone.

(Risen also interviewed other women claiming to have been sexually assaulted in Iraq and -- for journalistic balance -- their attorneys.)

Jones famously claimed that days after arriving in Iraq with KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton, she had been drugged and gang-raped by fellow employees and then held at machine-gunpoint in a tiny shipping container by KBR managers, with no food or water for 24 hours, as retaliation for reporting the rape.

You may have heard about Jones' sensational allegations –- invariably reported as fact -- on ABC's "20/20"; CNN; CBS News' "The Early Show," MSNBC, National Public Radio, in every major U.S. newspaper and international media.

All she had to do was mention the words "rape" and "Halliburton," and the automatons went wild!

Jones told her tale before congressional committees, on numerous TV shows -- and in a book she is actually writing, titled: "The Jamie Leigh Story: How My Rape in Iraq and Cover-up Made Me a Crusader for Justice." (Scheduled for release the third Tuesday after never.)

Then-senator Barack Obama demanded a State Department investigation into Jones' claims.

But no one jumped on Jones' story with more self-righteousness than Sen. Al Franken. He used her story to jam through a grandstandy "anti-rape" amendment to an appropriations bill prohibiting defense contractors from including mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts, thus depriving mountebank trial lawyers like John Edwards from collecting massive damages awards from illiterate jurors.

The 30 Republican senators who voted against Franken's pro-trial lawyer amendment were promptly denounced as "pro-rape" across the Internet, on liberal talk radio and in mass phone calls to their offices.

And then a few weeks ago, the Times ran a microscopic, one-paragraph Associated Press story on page 13 of a Saturday paper, reporting that a jury looked at the facts and found that ... Jones made the whole story up.

Maybe the Republican senators should have sponsored a no-false-rape-allegation bill for defense contractor employees.

When the time came to put up or shut up, Jones' "gang-rape" claim simply disappeared. DNA evidence showed she'd had sex with one only man, and he claimed it was consensual.