May 29, 2003

"Right now we are really not supposed to talk about that subject, you know," Lynch said at a news conference at the family home in West Virginia. "It is still an ongoing investigation, and we can't talk about nothing like that."

Later Lynch told reporters: "Nobody has told us not to talk about it. Our main concern is to get Jessie back on her feet in good health right now."

The former POW is being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.

When asked about his daughter's memory, Greg Lynch said it "is as good as it was when she was home. She can still remember everything." But, he said, the family has not pressed her for details.


The commandos burst in.

Al-Jabbar said the soldiers declined an offer of the hospital's master key so they wouldn't have to break down the doors.

``They pointed the gun at us for two hours,'' he said. ``Their manner was very rude. They even handcuffed the director of the hospital. ... Not a single shot was fired at them. They shot at doors - all doors. They broke them, kicked them open.''

Al-Hazbar said he had expected a raid but was surprised by its intensity. Now that there was no Iraqi military around, why so much force? He said he and his family found themselves surrounded by about 20 American soldiers firing their guns.

``They were shooting indiscriminately, everywhere, at windows, between our legs, on the floor. We were terrified,'' al-Hazbar said.

He said it then occurred to him that no one was being hit by bullets. ``They were shooting at me, but nothing happened to me,'' he said.

Al-Hazbar said he concluded the Americans were firing blanks. ``They didn't shoot real bullets because they knew there was no military force in the hospital,'' he said.



The April 1 rescue of prisoner of war Pfc. Jessica Lynch was a huge morale booster for the United States, and a big propaganda victory — that much is certain.

The proof is in the grainy night-vision footage of the raid, and the still picture of Lynch in a rescue helicopter with a folded American flag on her chest.


Interestingly, Bryan Whitman, a “Pentagon spokesman,” confirms that “the US military never claimed that the troops came under fire when they burst into the hospital.”

The best witness, of course, would be Jessica Lynch herself. But after several weeks of total isolation from the media, we are now told that she “remembers nothing” of the “rescue.” Curious! Newsweek reports, to the contrary, that Lynch “did say that she survived for part of her time in the hospital on nothing but orange juice and crackers” (as reported, co-incidentally, by the Iraqi doctors). Sadly, after several weeks incommunicado in Army custody, poor Jessica seems to have lost her memory of events that she is reported to have clearly recalled immediately after her rescue.


If the foreign reports are erroneous, then where are the rebutting eyewitness accounts from the soldiers that were involved? (The Defense Department “rebuttal” to the BBC story is astonishingly “tame” and, in fact, corroborates much of the BBC report).


Yet experts in propaganda say the tale fit all too nicely into the neat story line the Bush administration wanted to push and the American public wanted to hear at a time when the war didn't appear to be going very well.

"I recognized the pattern: She was being made into an important symbol," said Robert Ivie, an Indiana University expert in communication, culture and the rhetoric of war. "She stood for the narrative that the Bush administration was telling."

Propaganda you say?

Go figure.


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