Jessica Lynch has long been an irritant, but I held my peace while the rest of the country worshipped. "Give the kid from Palestine, West Virginny a break," nagged my id. Then People magazine ran a photo of little Jessi shopping for her wedding gown at the Vera Wang boutique in New York City. That was the same trip that found her at the Glamour magazine awards in a black halter gown, with Britney Spears, crutches, and her colleague, Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson, showing some dignity by appearing in uniform.
There's something unseemly about Pvt. Lynch hobnobbing in the Big Apple whilst the war marches on and other wounded and permanently disabled soldiers, who actually fired their weapons and fought, struggle through rehab and prosthetics, with nary a network camera or a book contract in sight.
Time magazine cover. Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric interviews. New York Times best seller list. How the meek have inherited the earth, including a $6,000 wedding gown! Ms. Lynch has allowed herself to be used by a media, and, to a certain extent, a military, hell bent on portraying women as key players in combat. Sawyer, Couric, et al. should be ashamed of themselves for using a na´ve 20-year-old as a patsy for their agendas. Thank goodness smut peddler Larry Flynt showed Ms. Lynch's true colors, or at least the color of her skin. Mr. Flynt has photographs showing that Ms. Lynch is a babe in the woods, a topless one at that.
The Washington Post, relying on Army information, fired the first salvo in the "we love female soldiers" PR campaign. The Post bragged on the Lynch Rambo-like stand against the Iraqis as she defended her unit's maintenance wagon and its spark plugs. However, Pvt. Lynch differs. By her own words, "My weapon did jam, and I did not shoot, not a round, nothing. . . . I went down praying to my knees. And that's the last I remember." Not exactly the stuff of Joan of Arc or Audie Murphy.
This is some crackerjack Army with women in tow. Soldiers in combat can't figure out how to fire their guns? The real Rambo that day near Nasiriyah was a blonde male, not blonde Jessi. But nary a peep is heard about blonde Pfc. Patrick Miller, the real hero who won't be at NYC's Perry Ellis boutique picking out designer duds.
Why didn't the army correct itself once it knew the story of Jessica Lynch, Iraqi Raider, was false? Because the Army wanted to ingratiate itself with feminist groups demanding quotas and parity for women in the military. Take a woman, any woman, however remotely or inaccurately involved in combat, catapult her to fame, and voila! The Army fed the wild beast of political correctness with the hope that it could then get on with national defense. The rubes in those radical feminist groups and their constituency, the media, fell for the stretched truth, hook, line and sinker. Ms. Lynch behaved pretty much as most women would in battle.
Ms. Lynch behaved pretty much as most women do when a red warning light goes on in the dashboard of their cars: now what? Her barbaric injuries, sodomy at the hands of her captors, all downplayed by the media, offer unassailable proof that women are at risk and have no place in combat.
But Lynch's designer dabblings, the lack of accolades for her fellow soldiers, and her cowardice were just the warm-up. During her pre-book-release interviews, Ms. Lynch, in a remarkable show of chutzpah, mouthed off about the Army's exaggeration of the danger involved in her rescue. "Yeah, I don't think it happened quite like that," she told the New York Times. She assured Diane Sawyer that there was no danger and that the hospital was already in friendly hands when she was rescued. According to the BBC, Lynch resented the Pentagon's portrayal of her rescue. "They used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff. It's wrong." Then again, her doctors told the BBC their young patient couldn't remember anything. Truth is the first victim of war.
Many Dems, including the 9 running for president, maintain that nothing is under control in Iraq to this day, that Mr. Bush has bungled this operation because he was not prepared for ongoing hostilities. Yet we are asked to believe new-born pacifist Jessica, who assures us that the Army could have just strolled into that Iraqi hospital, as the war raged, and save her without special ops support. The liberal media went with Jessie's unconscious account, consciously discounting the reality of war and accusing the Army of a fake rescue.
Not only does Ms. Lynch not understand how to fire a weapon, she is woefully ill-trained in war, as in all is fair in. The Army responded to Ms. Lynch's babblings with expertise and dignity, "You always prepare for the worst [in a fluid situation]."
Ms. Lynch is the perfect war hero for a society of victims. We lionize a woman who now whines and faults the very Army in which she served. We ignore those who gave their lives for her and the causes of Iraqi freedom and our security. Ms. Lynch is the perfect Oprah guest, the perfect fluff interview, and the perfect rags to Wang story for our time. I wish her well in her recovery, but I wish she would do so quietly and leave the designers for her friend Britney.
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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State
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