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20 years

Saving Private Lynch
November 10, 2003

By Jon Christian Ryter
Copyright 2003 - All Rights Reserved
To distribute this article, please post this web address or hyperlink

must confess that my opinion of Pfc. Jessica Lynch has changed dramatically since she was rescued by the Army Rangers and Navy Seals who stormed Saddam Hospital in Nasiriya on April 1, 2003 to rescue her. I no longer see her as a patriotic American soldier but as a political pirhana and an economic opportunist. That, of course, leads me to wonder just who is advising the permanently disabled former soldier now. I suspect the liberal establishment is now suggesting to Lynch that she could easily become a female Audie Murphy and star in a movie about her life just as Murphy, the most decorated soldier in WWII wrote and starred in TO HELL AND BACK.
     You can pretty much take it to the bank that whomever is advising Lynch is not a political conservative. Someone has also convinced Lynch that her rescue was nothing more than a PR ploy of the Bush-43 Administration to sell America on Bush's illegal war on the people of Iraq. But whatever else it was or was not, Lynch--who was scheduled for a leg amputation by the Iraqi doctors at Saddam Hospital if the good guys didn't show up when they did--survived the ordeal and came home in one piece.
     Mohammed al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who found Lynch in the Intensive Care Unit of Saddam Hospital, crossed a very dangerous no-man's land patrolled by Saddam's Fedayeen death squads not once, but twice, to save Lynch--at great peril to himself and his family. A couple of weeks ago, al-Rahaief traveled to Palestine, West Virginia to visit the young woman that he risked over a dozen lives to save.
     Lynch, who was busily preparing for her June, 2004 wedding to Army Sergeant Ruben Contreras (a soldier she met at a Taco Bell at Fort Bliss, Texas shortly are enlisting), refused to even meet for a minute with the man whose efforts led the Rangers and Navy Seal team directly to her bedside where, when the Ranger who found her said, "You're safe. I'm an American soldier." Lynch replied with the phrase that would become the title of her million dollar ghost-written book: "I'M A SOLDIER, TOO."
     Lynch, who failed to qualify for a job as a cashier in a local Palestine, West Virginia supermarket, decided to follow her brother Greg into the army in order to get a college education under the G.I. Bill of Rights and, of course, to see the world at the expense of the American taxpayers. Instead, she found herself in the middle of a war. As a member of the U.S. Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company that took a wrong turn on the road near Nasiriya, Lynch was one of the more fortunate members of the maintenance company. Nine of her comrades, including Pvt. Lori Piestewa, the first female Native American combatant killed in action in the uniform of the United States, died that night.
     While the survivors of that incident who were not captured reported that Lynch fired on the Fedayeen guerillas that ambushed their convoy and killed several of them before her rifle jammed, Lynch now insists that she did not fire a single shot. In her book, Lynch will claim that her rifle jammed and, as gunfire was raining down on the 507th, she fell to her knees and began to pray. Lynch credits the actions for which she received the Bronze Star to Piestewa, who was killed during that brief skirmish with the Fedayeen after the truck she was driving rammed into Piestewa's Humvee.
     If you will recall, when the Washington Post reported the eyewitness accounts of Lynch's "bravery" under fire (from the other survivors of the ordeal), Lynch's mother said that since her daughter was a fighter, she would have expected nothing less from her.
     It is interesting that on the eve of the publication of Lynch's book, that so much controversy has developed. It may well be that because Lynch was paid a million dollar advance for her story, Alfred A. Knopf, the publisher, wants to make sure that the book earns at least that much. However, alienating the pro-military, pro-George W. Bush conservative book readers doesn't strike me as the best way to break even on a "tell-all" book from a person who claims she can't remember anything about that night. But then, Alfred A. Knopf like most liberal publishers believes that only intellectual leftists read books and newspapers--and that the less intelligent right-wingers (like us) generally opt for television, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, Toby Keith CDs, Bill O'Reilly and Newsmax or WorldNetDaily. (I guess if Hillary Clinton can write an $8 million tell-all best seller about things she doesn't remember happening in the Arkansas governor's mansion or in the White House, Lynch can do the same about the experiences she can't remember outside Nasiriya--especially since both of them used ghost writers to paint truthful sounding sound bites to compensate for their fictionalized faulty memories.)
     One of seven Americans taken captive Lynch, according to initial reports by the US military, was taken to an Iraqi field hospital where she was repeatedly raped and sodomized by Fedayeen terrorists. The Iraqi doctors who attended her both at the field hospital and in Nasiriya deny that the Fedayeen raped her. Evidence found by US Army doctors in Germany conclusively establish that Lynch was raped and sodomized even though she has no memory of being sexually assaulted. In fact, she has no recollections of the cloudy face of Mohammed al-Rehaief who leaned over her bed in the ICU of Saddam Hospital on March 28 and said, "Don't worry."
     Fate made Lynch a hero. The media made her a celebrity. Her agent and her publisher and the ghost writer, former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg, who actually wrote the book, made her an author. But the anti-war, pro-Muslim liberals in Tinseltown and Congresstown are making her their unofficial spokesperson. It is a position she apparently relishes.
     Lynch argued there is something sinful about the fact that TV camera were rolling when Navy Seals and Rangers entered Saddam Hospital and worked their way to the ICU on the sixth floor. "They used me to symbolize all this stuff," Lynch said. "It's wrong. I don't know why they filmed it..." Nor does the liberal media in the United States and England understand. We call it freedom of the press. They seem to have forgotten that the US and British media was embedded with every military unit in Iraq. What the media saw--and they saw precisely what the troops on the ground saw--they were free to report. So, logically since this was an American military mission, the media people who were assigned to cover those particular Rangers had the option of tagging along. They chose to do so. It was a major story. That's why the TV cameras were there.
     Lynch personally blames George W. Bush for what happened to her and she is determined not to let Bush profit from her pain. She got up on her liberal soapbox and cried that President Bush is misusing her "heroism" to sell his Iraqi war effort. I guess that is pretty much what FDR did during World War II when he used movie stars to sell war bonds to finance his war.
     But, wait a minute. If what Lynch now claims to be true is, in fact, true what "heroism" does she claim the Bush people are misusing? Dropping her weapon in the face of the enemy and praying for deliverance? The heroism any woman in the world who was raped and survived, shows by facing the world after being degraded? Women who are raped generally don't get million dollar book deals. Colleges and universities don't generally offer them four years of higher education--free. Towns don't remodel the homes of the parents of rape victims. Now, granted, a television studio will quite often make a TV movie about a nationally-publicized rape victim. That's because TV studios love victims. And that's because a good victim story can raise TV ratings and bring in a ton of advertising revenue. And, that's why NBC bought the rights to Lynch's story, aired as SAVING PRIVATE LYNCH. Lynch, who still claims she doesn't remember anything except throwing down her rifle and praying for deliverance, did not assist screenwriter John Fasano with the script. In fact, she barely helped Rick Bragg with the writing of her own book. But then, Hillary Clinton, who received an $8 million advance for hers, had no idea what she "wrote" until she read and edited the galley proofs. Publishers today do just about everything for a celebrity author--right down to writing the book for them
     Randy Kiehl, the father of Army Sgt. James Kiehl, gave a press conference after Lynch's new publicity team announced the Knopf book deal. "Where's the million dollar book deal for the other members of the 507th who were killed?" Kiehl asked. "How do they tell their story?" Sgt. Kiehl was among the seven members of the 507th who were killed during the initial ambush. The other two dead were those taken captive who died of their wounds, or from torture endured at the hands of the Fedayeen while in captivity. Their bodies were found with seven other recently buried bodies behind Saddam Hospital
A week or so ago Lynch climbed up on a new soapbox and accused the Bush Administration of racism and insensitivity for awarding her a full disability pension while another member of the 507th, African American cook, Pvt. Shoshana Johnson, who was still an active member of the US Army) was awarded a "partial disability" pension of $500 per month for life--about one third of the pension received by "fully disabled" Jessica Lynch. If Lynch wants to become an indignant societal activist by accusing the US Army of racism for awarding her a larger pension than a ethnic minority member of her company, then Lynch should make a real political statement by declining her own military stipend--particularly since she got a million dollars for a book someone else wrote in her name, and will likely get another million or two from Hollywood once she proves she's a good little liberal and is deserving to have Rick Bragg's book converted into celluloid. Of course, for Hollywood to think they can generate a box office hit about Lynch, Lynch is going to have to learn how to shut her mouth and pretend she's the gut-bustin' hero most of America thought she was when she was rescued. Not too many patriotic, traditional American families will spend good money to go to a movie to see a "heroine" whose only claim to heroics is to slam her President for misusing her heroism to promote his war. Now Babs Streisand and Susan Sarandon might pay to see that movie, but mainstreet America won't. If that was going to be the storyline, I can see why Hollywood already passed on making a movie out of I'M A SOLDIER, TOO. Perhaps Tinseltown might be interested in the liberal TV version of the Jessica Lynch story.
     Los Angeles Times staff writer Carina Chocano, who was privy to the SAVING PRIVATE LYNCH script (as were most of the liberal media) noted that the NBC movie takes more potshots at the Army than Lynch did at the Fedayeen.
     Lynch has become a metaphor not for patriotic heroism, but for the same type of liberal rhetoric that was used by the left during the Vietnam era to divide America over whether or not the United States should be engaged in an unpopular war (since when is war ever popular?), giving psychological aid to the enemy, and convincing Hanoi that if they killed a sufficient amount of Americans, Congress would force the White House to surrender. Which they did. Vietnam was the only war America lost. We lost that war because of the Democrats in the Congress of the United States joined forces with Ho Chi Minh to defeat America.
     America would have liked Jessica Lynch more if she had been content to become a symbolic female Sgt. York. It's clear that her hometown, Palestine, thought of her in those terms. So did the State of West Virginia which, after learning that Lynch wanted to go to college to become a school teacher, offered her a four year scholarship at either Marshall University in Huntington or at West Virginia University in Morgantown. But Lynch decided she's rather be a true-life version of Tinseltown's Forrest Gump who became the pawn of the antiwar protesters. Only, Lynch isn't addled like the fictional Medal of Honor winner Forrest Gump was. It would have been better had she played the role of Sgt. Alvin York. Her home town of Palestine, West Virginia would have liked that character much better.
     But, I'm sure her book publicist, NBC and Alfred A. Knopf know best.
     Forrest Gump, after all, won several Academy Awards.



Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
All rights reserved