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Do we want another Jessica Lynch?
By Kimberley Jane Wilson
After forcing myself to read Jessica Lynch's book I've come to the conclusion that this country needs to have a talk -- an honest, no holds barred, to-heck-with-brain-numbing-political correctness, talk with itself. Do women belong in combat situations or not? Are we going to engage in an emotional orgy every time a woman soldier gets captured or not? Is a female soldier's life more precious than a man's or not?
Jessica Lynch seems like a nice enough girl and she has suffered horribly but she's not a heroine as she herself has stated. She was thrown into a hideous situation and thanks to the courage of Iraqi attorney, Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief and his family who risked their lives to help her and the Special Operations team who rescued her from Saddam Hussein hospital, her life was saved. In fact, instead of the fighting Amazon front page story the Washington Post published on April 3 (by June the Post had refuted most of the original article) she wasn't even able to get a shot off in her own defense during the ambush of the ill fated 507th Maintenance Unit convoy.
When Jessica was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals a lot of veterans including some of my relatives grumbled about that Bronze Star. This particular medal is supposed to go to any member of the Army who distinguishes themselves in heroic or meritorious service in a combat situation. In other words, for actually doing something. At the time I thought my grouchy male kinfolk were being unfair but now I see their point. Men don't get the Bronze Star medal for surviving. They don't get medals for just being in the wrong place and the wrong time and they don't get anything approaching the media lionization that Pfc. Lynch received. Unless you are a relative or very, very well informed I'll bet that you can't name one man who spent time as an Iraqi prisoner of war this year.
Here's one hard truth that apparently nobody wants to mention out loud. Young ladies, if you join the military and a war breaks out you can expect to be in danger. Even if you aren't a combatant -- Jessica Lynch was a supply clerk -- if you are captured by soldiers belonging to any Third World country the best that you can expect is gang rape and torture and if the Pentagon doesn't think your experience is "inspiring" it will downplay what happened to you. Pfc. Lori Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat and the mother of two young children was caught in the ambush with Jessica Lynch. According to the Center for Military Readiness think tank an eyewitness (who may or may not be lying for all we know) says she was still alive after her Humvee crashed so how did she die? Undoubtedly the circumstances were horrible but why not tell the public? Spc. Shoshana Johnson, who joined the Army to be a cook was a prisoner of war for 22 days and still suffers from her injuries which included being beaten and shot in both ankles. We don't hear much about Shoshana and we heard almost nothing about Lori.
I certainly don't to want to pick on Jessica Lynch but we all know that if she were a 19 year old man she wouldn't be rich, famous and complaining about her former bosses to Diane Sawyer on national television. Are we going to listen to the feminists in Congress, all of whom are either too old or too rich to even think about going into the military themselves, and continue to throw young women into to combat situations? If so then we are going to have accept the fact the grotesque things will probably happen to them. In wars people get killed and POWs are usually treated with savagery. We know this so why make such a fuss when the POW happens to be a sweet faced teenaged girl?
(c) 2003 Kimberley Jane Wilson
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