Jessica Lynch News - Story of a Rescued POW
Is Jessica Lynch a fake? as the rumor goes....
Jessica Lynch in Army Jessica Lynch on Stretcher Jessica's rescue. posing at her home
Pfc. Patrick Miller, from Valley Center, Kan.
Hardly a person in America has not heard of Private Jessica Lynch. But if it weren't for the heroic efforts of a much less known soldier, Lynch would have been a statistic -- killed in action
Pfc. Jessica Lynch...War "Hero," Anti-Patriot And "Author" Badmouths The U.S. Military
I 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 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 and 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 after enlisting), refused to even meet for a minute
with the man whose efforts led the Rangers and Navy Seals 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 reader 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 rightwingers (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.)
Of of seven Americans taken captive, Lynch, according to initial reports
by the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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
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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 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
anti-war protestors. 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.
Jon Christian Ryter
THE BAFFLED CHRISTIAN'S HANDBOOK
PRINCE ALBERT: PROPHET OF UTOPIA
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO AMERICA?
COMING SOON: DESTINY DENIED
http://www.jonchristianryter.com/ Jon Christian Ryter
WILL THE REAL HERO STAND UP?
Mike Wallace interviews Pfc. Patrick Miller, awarded a Silver Star for action that saved the life of Lynch and several others near her, in a report to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Nov. 9 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Miller, from Valley Center, Kan., tells Wallace how he earned the Silver Star by single-handedly stopping a mortar attack several Iraqis were aiming at Lynch and others around her after their convoy was ambushed. Two of Millers fellow soldiers, who were also saved by his action, recount how Miller risked his life that day to save theirs and Lynchs.
Lynch went on to be captured and then rescued in an event that became a central and controversial story in the war. Early accounts of a heroic stand by Lynch have been proved false and some have charged that her rescue was overly dramatized by the military.
The real hero behind the Jessica Lynch story doesnt think he is one at all. Its good to know that you actually did something to save other peoples lives, but for me, says Miller, I dont feel that Im a hero because I feel I was doing my job as a soldier. http://www.drudgereport.com/flash5.htm site down
Jessica Lynch's Hero
NEW YORK, Nov. 6, 2003
Pfc. Patrick Miller risked his life to save Private Jessica Lynch and several others near her during fighting in Iraq. But his Silver Star-winning efforts have gone mostly unsung. Mike Wallace reports.
CBS) Hardly a person in America has not heard of Private Jessica Lynch. But if it weren't for the heroic efforts of a much less known soldier, Lynch would have been a statistic -- killed in action -- instead of the subject of headlines, a movie and a book. Mike Wallace has the story of this unsung hero.
On the fourth day of the war in Iraq, a huge American convoy headed from Kuwait to Baghdad. A dozen heavy trucks and other maintenance vehicles fell behind the rest and got lost.
At sunrise, Iraqi troops ambushed the lost soldiers, firing from both sides of the highway. The Americans sped up to escape the attack, but the Humvee that Pfc. Jessica Lynch was riding in smashed into the back of a jack-knifed American tractor-trailer. Less than a mile behind Lynch, Pfc. Patrick Miller was driving the last truck in the convoy. During the attack, he floored the accelerator, trying to steer and duck bullets at the same time.
Miller says he had not used his weapon at that point. "I used my truck on one of 'em," he says. "An Iraqi jumped out in the middle of the street, and I ran him over."
Iraqi bullets pounded Miller's truck, which also carried Sgt. James Riley and Pfc. Brandon Sloan.
"I knew that we were taking a lot of incoming just from the sounds that were coming around us," Miller says. "It was bouncing off the trucks, bouncin' off the hood. I went to stick my hand out the window to adjust the mirror so I could see 'em comin' from behind. And as I got my hand right to to the window, the mirror just shattered."
At that moment a bullet hit Sloan in his forehead, killing him instantly. "He just tensed up and slumped over. Didn't make a sound or nothing," Miller recalls. He kept driving. "You had to. You couldn't stop and try to take care of him."
He says, "It just felt like a real bad war movie. You were actually seeing people die in front of you."
Bullets then ripped into his truck's transmission, and it lost power. Miller and Riley jumped out and ran forward to where Lynch's Humvee had slammed into the tractor-trailer. Lynch was unconscious and appeared to be dead. All four others inside were killed.
"And it was just like a mangled mess of equipment and everything," MIller says. "I figured there was no way that anybody could survive something like that."
Army specialists Shoshana Johnson and Edgar Hernandez also believed everyone in the Humvee had been killed. They were in the tractor-trailer that Lynch's Humvee had smashed into. All the American vehicles had broken down, but Miller thought they might still escape the ambush in an Iraqi dump truck parked 50 yards up the road.
If there were no keys in the ignition, he says, he would have hot-wired it. Is that something he knows how to do? "I'd have learned really fast," he says.
Johnson and Hernandez were taking cover in their tractor-trailer. Their weapons had jammed and they were pinned down. But Miller ran on toward the dump truck.
"She [Johnson] yells 'Miller! Get down here. You're gonna get hit,'" Miller says. "And I said 'I gotta go.' And I just kept going."
Johnson recalls, "I thought it was going to be the end for all of us."
Johnson was shot in the ankles; Miller took a bullet in his arm. He says there were "a whole bunch" of Iraqis firing on them. "All I could see was the bullets that were hitting the dirt around my feet."
Just when it seemed the situation couldn't get any worse, it did. Miller saw a group of Iraqis setting up a mortar position in front of the dump truck. He says it could have wiped them all out.
To prevent them from firing, Miller dove behind a horseshoe-shaped mount of dirt called a berm, across the highway from the Iraqis. But it was seven Iraqis against one American -- seven Iraqis who were in that mortar pit just 25 yards away.
Miller hadn't fired a weapon for seven months, and he admits he wasn't the best marksman. He was an Army mechanic, and when he'd taken his first marksmanship test, he'd failed it.
So what did he do? "One guy, like, jumped up to where I could see him, and he had a mortar round in his hand, getting ready to drop it in the tube," he says. "And as he jumped up, I just raised my rifle up and shot, and he fell over."
It was the first shot he fired in the incident. The lousy marksman hit home.
But after that first shot, his rifle jammed. He had to pound on it with the palm of his hand, after every shot, to get the next bullet loaded into the chamber. He kept on re-loading and shooting. "I was kind of getting a rhythm down, count like seconds and then look up," he explains. "And you could see somebody else trying to load it. So, I was starting to count, and when I'd get to the number, I'd look up. And somebody else would be trying to load it, and I'd shoot. I did that probably seven times total. I counted the last time, and when I looked up, there wasn't nobody there."
Everybody knows about Jessica Lynch, but nobody knows about Patrick.
"And he did an amazing thing," Johnson says. "He saved our lives. If that mortar had hit that vehicle we were underneath, we'd be gone. And so would Jessica, because it would have been a chain reaction. It had all that fuel, we'd be dead."
Iraqi gunmen surrounded the group and took them prisoner. They went into captivity still believing that Lynch had been killed back in the Humvee. When U.S. Marines came to their rescue 21 days later, they were astonished to learn that their friend had also survived -- but surprised that she'd become a national hero.
Lynch apparently agrees with Johnson and Hernandez that Miller was the hero of the whole operation. Does her $1 million book deal and television movie bother Miller? "Mmm, somewhat," he answers. "But I don't want to get all into that." Would he turn down a $1 million book deal? "Oh no, I'd have to think about it," he laughs.
For now, Miller has been working anonymously in the motor-pool at Fort Carson in Colorado. Three months after the crash, The Washington Post referred to him thusly in an article about Jessica Lynch: "One soldier whose name could not be learned, took cover behind a berm. Iraqi soldiers were on the other side in a mortar pit. He killed a half dozen of them, a defense official said. Soon though, he was surrounded by a couple of dozen armed Iraqis and is believed to have been killed on the spot. 'He didn't have a chance,' said the official."
Miller says he saw the article. "I went to work the next day and said that I wasn't doing nothing at work because the paper said I was dead," he laughs.
Only a month ago, Baltimore Sun reporter Tom Bowman revealed the name of the unsung hero. Bowman had learned that out of the 150,000 U.S. soldiers sent to Iraq, Miller was one of only 90 to receive the Silver Star for valor.
Col. Heidi Brown explains why, out of 2,000 soldiers under her command, Miller was the only one she recommended for one of the Army's highest awards. She says, "Private First Class Miller did things during war that no other soldier underneath my command did. And he risked his life to save his comrades and he absolutely did."
Brown also has an idea why the Pentagon had first mistakenly described Lynch as a fierce warrior who'd been shot and stabbed fighting off Iraqis. The Americans there had heard an Iraqi radio transmission describing a blond American fighting to her last breath before she was shot and stabbed to death.
Now Brown believes they may have confused Lynch with another blond soldier in her unit, Sgt. Donald Walters, whose body was later found shot and stabbed to death. "The Iraqi reports had, whether it was the actual Iraqi, the language, or the translation, used, 'she' instead of 'he' and that is my understanding of why there was confusion in this," she says.
Miller may be the only person who doesn't think he's a hero.
"It's good to know that you actually did something to save other people's lives," he says. "But for me, as far as people saying that I'm a hero, I don't feel that I'm a hero. Because I feel that I was doing my job as a soldier."
© MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Details Released of Lynch Rescue
Saturday, April 05, 2003
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar "Jessica Lynch," a U.S. soldier called out. "We are United States soldiers, and we're here to protect you and take you home."
On her hospital bed, Pfc. Jessica Lynch peered out from the sheet with which she'd been covering her head in fear.
"I'm an American soldier, too," she replied.
U.S. Central Command on Saturday released the dramatic details of Lynch's rescue, as the 19-year-old supply clerk, now safely at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, awaited a meeting with her family.
Lynch's parents, two siblings and a cousin left their West Virginia home Saturday to fly to Germany for the reunion with their daughter. "I can't wait to see her," said her mother, Deadra Lynch.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Gene Renuart, speaking at a briefing in Qatar, said a team of Navy SEALs, Marine commandos, Air Force pilots and Army Rangers carried out the rescue Tuesday in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.
While troops engaged the Iraqis in another part of the city, the rescue team persuaded an Iraqi doctor to lead them to Lynch, Renuart said.
Lynch, who'd been held since a week earlier when her unit was ambushed, had suffered a head wound, an injury to her spine, and fractures to her right arm, both legs, her right foot and ankle. The rescuers quickly evaluated her medical condition, secured her to a stretcher and took her to a waiting helicopter.
"Jessica held up her hand and grabbed the Ranger doctor's hand, and held onto it for the entire time, and said, 'Please don't let anybody leave me,"' Renuart said. "It was clear she knew where she was and didn't want to be left anywhere near the enemy."
Meanwhile, the Iraqi doctor told the team there were remains of other U.S. soldiers nearby, and they were led to a burial site. Because they had not brought shovels, Renuart said, the team dug up the bodies with their hands.
"They wanted to do that very rapidly, so they could race the sun and be off the site before the sun came up," he said. "It's a great testament to the will and desire of coalition forces to bring their own home."
The Americans were also looking for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, commander of southern forces. He is known as Chemical Ali for leading the 1988 campaign against rebellious Kurds in northern Iraq in which thousands died, many in chemical attacks.
"On the evening of the attack, he was not located in that hospital," Renuart said. "That's not to say that we haven't been tracking him down at some other locations and will continue to do so until we're pretty confident that he's been eliminated."
Renuart did not shed any new light on how Lynch sustained her wounds whether she was injured in captivity or when the 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed March 23.
Eight of the dead soldiers found during the rescue were members of the ambushed unit, Renuart said. The ninth was a soldier from a forward support group of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, he said. All have been transported back to the United States.
The Lynch family got word of the deaths Saturday just before boarding a plane in Charleston, W.Va. The family broke off a news conference after being told that seven members of their daughter's unit were among the bodies retrieved during the raid.
"I wasn't aware of this. ... Our hearts are really saddened for her other troop members and the other families," Lynch's father, Gregory Lynch Sr., said before choking up.
Lynch's family has said doctors had determined she'd been shot. They found two entry and exit wounds "consistent with low-velocity, small-caliber rounds," her mother has said.
Lynch had a back operation Thursday and surgery for other broken bones Friday, according to the commander of the hospital, Col. David Rubenstein. A friend is at her bedside and although she's still being fed intravenously, she's drawn up a list of her favorite foods for the hospital: turkey, steamed carrots and applesauce.
"Her emotional state is extremely good. She's jovial. She's talking with staff," Rubenstein said.
While the U.S. team was in the hospital, Renuart said, they also found a weapons cache and a large-scale sandbox model depicting U.S. and Iraqi positions in Nasiriyah.
Is Jessica Lynch a fake?
The domain names could not have been
issued to Iraq's, as communications have been down since the war started
There's something strange with the Jessica Lynch story.
She was allegedly captured on March 23rd...HOWEVER her NINE domain names
were registered by businessmen ON THE 17TH OF MARCH! That's FIVE BUSINESS
DAYS BEFORE HER CAPTURE, WHICH CAUSED THE DOW JONES TO CLIMB OVER 215 POINTS
AS THE MEDIA PLAYED HER STORY...
jessicalynch .org .net .com .us .biz .info .ws .tv .cc are all registered!
As quoted by United Press International and AP newswire, etc...
"The Pentagon announced early Saturday that eight of the soldiers whose
bodies were found during the April 1 rescue of Jessica Lynch were traveling
with her in the convoy ambushed ***March 23*** in southern Iraq"
======================================================================washingtonpost.com: Iraqis Say Lynch Raid Faced No Resistance
Iraqis Say Lynch Raid Faced No Resistance
By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, April 15, 2003; Page A17
NASIRIYAH, Iraq, April 14 -- Accounts of the U.S. military's dramatic rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch from Saddam Hospital here two weeks ago read like the stuff of a Hollywood script. For Iraqi doctors working in the hospital that night, it was exactly that -- Hollywood dazzle, with little need for real action.
"They made a big show," said Haitham Gizzy, a physician at the public hospital here who treated Lynch for her injuries. "It was just a drama," he said. "A big, dramatic show."
Gizzy and other doctors said no Iraqi soldiers or militiamen were at the hospital that night, April 1, when the U.S. Special Operations forces came in helicopters to carry out the midnight rescue. Most of the Saddam's Fedayeen fighters, and the entire Baath Party leadership, including the governor of the province, had come to the hospital earlier in the day, changed into civilian clothes and fled, the doctors said.
"They brought their civilian wear with them," said Mokhdad Abd Hassan, who was on duty that day and evening. He pointed to green army uniforms still piled on the lawn. "You can see their military suits," he said. "They all ran away, the same day."
"It was all the leadership," Gizzy said. "Even the governor and the director general of the Baath Party. . . . They left walking, barefoot, in civilian wear."
The disappearance of the Iraqi forces from Nasiriyah -- a crossroads town 200 miles south of Baghdad that was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting and heaviest U.S. casualties in the war -- in many ways mirrored the evaporation of the militia and Baath Party fighters elsewhere in Iraq. From the southern city of Basra, where British troops walked in almost unopposed after a 21/2-week standoff, to the capital, Baghdad, where President Saddam Hussein and his ruling circle vanished without a trace, Iraqi resistance to the U.S.-led invasion appears to have followed a well-set and planned pattern: Fight to a point, then disappear.
In Nasiriyah, "it look like an organized manner" of retreat, Gizzy said. The governor arrived in his dark four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser, which he left parked in the hospital driveway as he escaped on foot.
The car remains in the driveway , minus its four wheels that a religious group removed to prevent a rival political faction from stealing it. The fleeing Iraqi government hierarchy left behind seven other new and expensive cars, but the doctors said they set fire to them to eliminate the temptation for looters to scale the hospital walls.
U.S. troops have been posted at the hospital to secure it against looters. But at the time U.S. commandos came to rescue Lynch, Gizzy said, "there were no soldiers at our hospital, just the medical staff. There were just us doctors."
Lynch, 19, a supply clerk with the Army's 507th Maintenance Company, was captured March 23 when her unit made a wrong turn near Nasiriyah and was ambushed. Initial accounts reported how she was shot and stabbed and continued battling Iraqi fighters until she ran out of ammunition. But the doctors here who treated her said she suffered fractures to her arms and lower limbs and a "small skull wound," sustained when her vehicle overturned.
Lynch's U.S. doctors have said she suffered fractures in her upper right arm, upper left leg, lower left leg and right ankle and foot. Her father, Greg Lynch Sr., told reporters she had no penetration wounds.
"It was a road traffic accident," Gizzy said. "There was not a drop of blood. . . . There were no bullets or shrapnel or anything like that." At the hospital, he said, "She was given special care, more than the Iraqi patients."
The physician said Lynch was first treated at an Iraqi military hospital before being transferred to the Saddam public hospital. An intelligence agent was posted in the hallway to guard the prisoner of war's first-floor hospital room. An Iraqi man whose wife worked at the hospital noticed the guard, discovered Lynch was the patient and alerted U.S. military personnel. He was sent back to gather more information, and the rescue was carried out April 1.
Hassan and other doctors said they were on duty that evening, when "we heard a big thumping nearby the hospital. And the sound of helicopters -- not just one. Then someone from the hospital, a colleague, said soldiers were entering the hospital from the back door."
"We agreed to stay in one room, not to intervene," Hassan said. The soldiers broke down several doors in the hospital before locating Lynch, and then went to the back of the hospital to recover the remains of nine U.S. soldiers buried in shallow graves. Eight of them, from Lynch's unit, were killed in the same ambush.
"They took Jessica and recovered the cadavers from behind the hospital," Hassan said. He said he believed the U.S. troops were on the hospital grounds for almost three hours.
The doctors at Nasiriyah's public hospital said they welcomed the U.S. and British invasion for having toppled Hussein's government. But that support is tempered by the high number of civilian casualties in Nasiriyah. Many of them, including women and children, remain in the crowded wards, suffering from severed limbs and deep lacerations the doctors said were caused by U.S. tank fire and bombs during the first week of the war.
Doctors said they have no exact documentation, but estimated that 300 civilians were killed in Nasiriyah and 1,000 people were wounded. They said most of the patients were discharged from the 400-bed hospital, but 60 remained on the hospital's third floor.
"I was shot by the Americans," said Akeel Kadhim, 20, a student whose left leg was amputated. "I was running to another wounded person, trying to save him. . . . We are innocent. We were not fighting. We were not resisting. I tried to save an innocent person. Why did they shoot me?"
In the next bed, Hassan Aoda, 28, said he was riding on a bus with 28 other Iraqis when a U.S. armored vehicle opened fire on them at a road crossing on March 25. "I don't know why they shot at us," he said, lying on his back and nursing a fractured left shoulder and arm. "I'm an innocent person. I wasn't fighting the Americans."
He added, "I'm not angry. I'm angry at Saddam Hussein."
So who really did save Private Jessica?Source:
War in Iraq - Russia
So who really did save Private Jessica?
THE rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, which inspired America during one of the most difficult periods of the war, was not the heroic Hollywood story told by the US military, but a staged operation that terrified patients and victimised the doctors who had struggled to save her life, according to Iraqi witnesses.
Doctors at al-Nasiriyah general hospital said that the airborne assault had met no resistance and was carried out a day after all the Iraqi forces and Baath leadership had fled the city.
Four doctors and two patients, one of whom was paralysed and on an intravenous drip, were bound and handcuffed as American soldiers rampaged through the wards, searching for departed members of the Saddam regime.
An ambulance driver who tried to carry Private Lynch to the American forces close to the city was shot at by US troops the day before their mission. Far from winning hearts and minds, the US operation has angered and hurt doctors who risked their lives treating both Private Lynch and Iraqi victims of the war. What the Americans say is like the story of Sinbad the Sailor its a myth, said Harith al-Houssona, who saved Private Lynchs life after she was brought to the hospital by Iraqi military intelligence.
They said that there was no medical care in Iraq, and that there was a very strong defence of this hospital. But there was no one here apart from doctors and patients, and there was nobody to fire at them.
Dr Harith was on duty when Private Lynch was brought to al-Nasiriyah general by Iraqi soldiers a few days after her capture on March 23. She was a member of a 15-member US Army maintenance company convoy that was ambushed after taking a wrong turn near the city.
At the time, she was suffering from a head injury, a broken leg and arm, a bullet wound to her leg, a pulmonary oedema and her breathing was failing. In a hospital inundated with war casualties with few drugs, her condition was stabilised and she regained consciousness.
She was very frightened when she woke up, Dr Harith, 24, a junior resident at the hospital, said. She kept saying: Please dont hurt me, dont touch me. I told her that she was safe, she was in a hospital and that I was a doctor, and I never hurt a patient.
Private Lynchs military guards would allow no other doctor to tend to her and Dr Harith formed a friendship with her. She talked to him about her family, including her arguments about money with her father, and about her boyfriend, a Hispanic soldier named Ruben.
Dr Harith went outside the hospital during the bombing to get supplies of Private Lynchs favourite drink, orange juice, and struggled to persuade her to eat.
I told her she needed to eat to recover, and I brought her crackers, but her stomach was upset. She said as a joke: I want to be slim.
I see (many) patients, but she was special. Shes a very simple person, a soldier, not well-educated. But she was very, very nice, with a lovely face and blonde hair.
The Iraqi intelligence officers told the hospital that Private Lynch would soon be transferred to Baghdad, a prospect that terrified her.
After her condition stabilised, they ordered Dr Harith to transfer Jessica to another hospital.
Instead he told the ambulance driver to deliver her to one of the American outposts that had already been established on the ouskirts of the city.
But when he reached their checkpoint, the Americans fired at him, he said.
On April 1 the local Baathists fled al-Nasiriyah for Baghdad and arrived at the hospital looking for their prize captive. Dr Harith moved her to another part of the hospital, and other doctors told the soldiers that he was away.
They said that they thought Jessica had died, and they didnt know where she was, he said. In their haste and confusion the soldiers left, leaving behind only a few critically injured soldiers.
The American rescue operation came on the night of April 2. The hospital was bombarded and soldiers arrived in helicopters and, according to the hospital doctors, in tanks that pulled up outside the hospital.
Most of the doctors fled to the shelter of the radiology department on the first floor.
We heard them firing and shouting: Go! Go! Go! Go! Dr Harith said. One group of soldiers dug up the graves of dead US soldiers outside the hospital, while another interrogated doctors about Ali Hassan al-Majid, the senior Baath party figure known as Chemical Ali, who had never been seen there. A third group looked for Private Lynch.
US soldiers videotaped the rescue, but among the many scenes not shown to the press at US Central Command in Doha was one of four doctors who were handcuffed and interrogated, along with two civilian patients, one of whom was immobile and connected to a drip. They were doctors, with stethoscopes round their necks, Dr Harith said.
Even in war, a doctor should not be treated like that.
Unluckiest of all was Abdul Razaq, one of the hospital administrators, who took shelter from the bombardment in Private Lynchs room, believing that he would be safe.
He was seized and taken with the US soldiers on their helicopter to their base, where he was held for three days in an open-air prison camp.
When he left his skin was the colour of yours, another doctor, Mahmud, said. When he came back, he was black.
Bizarrely, the rescuers cut open a special bed, designed for patients with bed sores, which had been provided for Private Lynchs use.
They took samples of sand out of it, Dr Harith said. It was the only bed like it that we have, the only one in the governorate.
Today, the hospital struggles on without adequate supplies of drugs and without running water or mains electricity.
There are two faces to Americans, Dr Harith said. One is freedom and democracy, and giving kids sweets. The other is killing and hating my people. So I am very confused. I feel sad because I will never see Jessica again, and I feel happy because she is happy and has gone back to her life. If I could speak to her I would say: Congratulations!
The real 'Saving Pte. Lynch'
Tue May 6 20:13:41 2003
"Until such time as she wants to talk and that's going to be no time soon, and it may be never at all the press is simply going to have to wait."
MIDDLE EAST BUREAU
NASIRIYA, IraqThe fog of war comes sometimes with a certain odour, and cutting through its layers, like cutting through an onion, can bring tears to the eyes.
Such is the case with what is far and away the most oft-told story of the Persian Gulf War II the saga of Saving Private Lynch.
Branded on to our consciousness by media frenzy, the flawless midnight rescue of 19-year-old Private First Class Jessica Lynch hardly bears repeating even a month after the fact.
Precision teams of U.S. Army Rangers and Navy Seals, acting on intelligence information and supported by four helicopter gunships, ended Lynch's nine-day Iraqi imprisonment in true Rambo style, raising America's spirits when it needed it most.
All Hollywood could ever hope to have in a movie was there in this extraordinary feat of rescue except, perhaps, the truth.
So say three Nasiriya doctors, two nurses, one hospital administrator and local residents interviewed separately last week in a Toronto Star investigation.
The medical team that cared for Lynch at the hospital formerly known as Saddam Hospital is only now beginning to appreciate how grand a myth was built around the four hours the U.S. raiding party spent with them early on April Fool's Day.
And they are disappointed.
For Dr. Harith Houssona, 24, who came to consider Lynch a friend after nurturing her through the worst of her injuries, the ironies are almost beyond tabulation.
"The most important thing to know is that the Iraqi soldiers and commanders had left the hospital almost two days earlier," Houssona said. "The night they left, a few of the senior medical staff tried to give Jessica back. We carefully moved her out of intensive care and into an ambulance and began to drive to the Americans, who were just one kilometre away. But when the ambulance got within 300 metres, they began to shoot. There wasn't even a chance to tell them `We have Jessica. Take her.'"
One night later, the raid unfolded. Hassam Hamoud, 35, a waiter at Nasiriya's al-Diwan Restaurant, describes the preamble, when he was approached outside his home near the hospital by U.S. Special Forces troops accompanied by an Arabic translator from Qatar.
"They asked me if any troops were still in the hospital and I said `No, they're all gone.' Then they asked about Uday Hussein, and again, I said `No,'" Hamoud said. "The translator seemed satisfied with my answers, but the soldiers were very nervous."
At midnight, the sound of helicopters circling the hospital's upper floors sent staff scurrying for the x-ray department the only part of the hospital with no outside windows. The power was cut, followed by small explosions as the raiding teams blasted through locked doors.
A few minutes later, they heard a man's voice shout, "Go! Go! Go!" in English. Seconds later, the door burst open and a red laser light cut through the darkness, trained on the forehead of the chief resident.
"We were pretty frightened. There were about 40 medical staff together in the x-ray department," said Dr. Anmar Uday, 24. "Everyone expected the Americans to come that day because the city had fallen. But we didn't expect them to blast through the doors like a Hollywood movie."
Dr. Mudhafer Raazk, 27, observed dryly that two cameramen and a still photographer, also in uniform, accompanied the U.S. teams into the hospital. Maybe this was a movie after all.
Separately, the Iraqi doctors describe how the tension fell away rapidly once the Americans realized no threat existed on the premises. A U.S. medic was led to Lynch's room as others secured the rest of the three-wing hospital. Several staff and patients were placed in plastic handcuffs, including, according to Houssona, one Iraqi civilian who was already immobilized with abdominal wounds from an earlier explosion.
One group of soldiers returned to the x-ray room to ask about the bodies of missing U.S. soldiers and was led to a graveyard opposite the hospital's south wall. All were dead on arrival, the doctors say.
"The whole thing lasted about four hours," Raazk said. "When they left, they turned to us and said `Thank you.' That was it."
The Iraqi medical staff fanned out to assess the damage. In all, 12 doors were broken, a sterilized operating theatre contaminated, and the specialized traction bed in which Lynch had been placed was trashed.
"That was a special bed, the only one like it in the hospital, but we gave it to Jessica because she was developing a bed sore," Houssona said.
What bothers Raazk most is not what was said about Lynch's rescue, so much as what wasn't said about her time in hospital.
"We all became friends with her, we liked her so much," Houssona said. "Especially because we all speak a little English, we were able to assure her the whole time that there was no danger, that she would go home soon."
Initial reports indicated Lynch had been shot and stabbed after emptying her weapon in a pitched battle when her unit, the U.S. Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, was ambushed after its convoy became lost near Nasiriya.
A few days after her release, Lynch's father told reporters none of the wounds were battle-related. The Iraqi doctors are more specific. Houssona said the injuries were blunt in nature, possible stemming from a fall from her vehicle.
"She was in pretty bad shape. There was blunt trauma, resulting in compound fractures of the left femur (upper leg) and the right humerus (upper arm). And also a deep laceration on her head," Houssona said. "She took two pints of blood and we stabilized her. The cut required stitches to close. But the leg and arm injuries were more serious."
Nasiriya's medical team was going all out at this point, due to the enormous influx of casualties from throughout the region. The hospital lists 400 dead and 2,000 wounded in the span of two weeks before and during Lynch's eight-day stay.
"Almost all were civilians, but I don't just blame the Americans," Raazk said. "Many of those casualties were the fault of the fedayeen, who had been using people as shields and in some cases just shooting people who wouldn't fight alongside them. It was horrible."
But they all made a point of giving Lynch the best of everything, he added. Despite a scarcity of food, extra juice and cookie were scavenged for their American guest.
They also assigned to Lynch the hospital's most nurturing nurse, Khalida Shinah. At 43, Shinah has three daughters close to Lynch's age. She immediately embraced her foreign patient as one of her own.
"It was so scary for her," Shinah said through a translator. "Not only was she badly hurt, but she was in a strange country. I felt more like a mother than a nurse. I told her again and again, Allah would watch over her. And many nights I sang her to sleep."
In the first few days, Houssona said the doctors were somewhat nervous as to whether Iraqi intelligence agents would show any interest in Lynch. But when the road between Nasiriya and Baghdad fell to the U.S.-led coalition, they knew the danger had passed.
"At first, Jessica was very frightened. Everybody was poking their head in the room to see her and she said `Do they want to hurt me?' I told her, `Of course not. They're just curious. They've never seen anyone like you before.'
"But after a few days, she began to relax. And she really bonded with Khalida. She told me, `I'm going to take her back to America with me."
Three days before the U.S. raid, Lynch had regained enough strength that the team was ready to proceed with orthopaedic surgery on her left leg. The procedure involved cutting through muscle to install a platinum plate to both ends of the compound fracture. "We only had three platinum plates left in our supply and at least 100 Iraqis were in need," Raazk said. "But we gave one to Jessica."
A second surgery, and a second platinum plate, was scheduled for Lynch's fractured arm. But U.S. forces removed her before it took place, Raazk said.
Three days after the raid, the doctors had a visit from one of their U.S. military counterparts. He came, they say, to thank them for the superb surgery.
"He was an older doctor with gray hair and he wore a military uniform," Raazk said.
"I told him he was very welcome, that it was our pleasure. And then I told him: `You do realize you could have just knocked on the door and we would have wheeled Jessica down to you, don't you?'
"He was shocked when I told him the real story. That's when I realized this rescue probably didn't happen for propaganda reasons. I think this American army is just such a huge machine, the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing."
What troubles the staff in Nasiriya most are reports that Lynch was abused while in their case. All vehemently deny it.
Told of the allegation through an interpreter, nurse Shinah wells up with tears. Gathering herself, she responds quietly: "This is a lie. But why ask me? Why don't you ask Jessica what kind of treatment she received?"
But that is easier said than done. At the Pentagon last week, U.S. Army spokesman Lt.-Col. Ryan Yantis said the door to Lynch remains closed as she continues her recovery at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Centre.
"Until such time as she wants to talk and that's going to be no time soon, and it may be never at all the press is simply going to have to wait."
Additional articles by Mitch Potter
http://www.thestar.ca/ site down
American Patriot Friends Network
"...a network of net workers..."
APFN Message Board
APFN Contents Page
APFN Home Page