Saturday, November 08, 2003

On Lynch and her ABC interview...

Jessica Lynch deserves commendation for her ability to withstand horrors most of us will never experience. She is a young woman who will have to live with the physical consequences of her time in Iraq for the rest of her life. In Too Painful, she recounts her experience - that which she can recall - from the ambush, to the captivity, to the rescue. She dismisses the initial accounts that had her emptying her weapon into the Iraqi attackers, vowing to fight to the end. I doubt anyone questions the prudence of releasing incorrect information like that at the time of the incident. But allusions to ulterior motives by the military are not entirely justified. One only has to look at the myriad of false reports generated, primarily by the media themselves, the first day or two after 9/11. Remember the account of the security guard on the roof of one of the twin towers who survived by "riding the collapse" down to the ground? Yet I'm a bit perplexed by some of her other comments to Diane Sawyer. The article states, "The U.S. military filmed the rescue, and U.S. television networks aired the dramatic green night-vision footage repeatedly as they reported how the special forces team, acting on a tip from a brave Iraqi lawyer, engaged in firefights on their way into and out of the hospital. "I don't think it happened quite like that," Lynch said, "though … anyone, you know, in that kind of situation would obviously go in with force, not knowing who was on the other side of the door." " Yeah, but that's pretty obvious - not knowing the exact strength of the enemy, you'd better engage the assault with sufficient strength on your side. It continues, "Asked whether the military's portrayal of the rescue bothers her, Lynch said, "Yeah, it does. It does that they used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff. I mean, yeah, it's wrong … I don't know what they had … or why they filmed it." " Lynch is confused. The military used her? Didn't they go in looking for all the POWs that may have been there? Her rescue was not the only night vision video that was shown during the war. They filmed it because they filmed it. That she was rescued is fantastic... that some of her comrades were found buried nearby is tragic. No Jessica, the military didn't use you. Yes Jessica, you were a symbol of propaganda. Propaganda for Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is not a new tactic. It was used in World War II in everything from war posters to newsreels to cartoons. She seems to feel abuse at being used by the military but has no qualms about writing a book, doing interviews, or having movies made about herself. It's entirely understandable that she will have intense feelings of bitterness, given her experience in Iraq. It will take years, if not the rest of her life, to deal with her experience. One hopes, though, that she will be able to overcome these feelings through other means than questioning the actions of the military that sponsored her rescue.

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