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Monday, November 10, 2003

Saving Jessica Lynch
I'll confess, I watched NBC's docudrama last night. I haven't followed all of the twists and turns of the story, so I can't pretend to vouch for its veracity. Of the stories that have already been discredited by Lynch or others, the only one that I noticed that actually made it into the movie was the one about her being slapped while in the hospital. Even then, they only showed one slap, and did nothing to suggest that she was being regularly abused or tortured.

They tried to bring as much drama as they could to what turns out to be a pretty boring story, focusing on the Iraqi lawyer who told the Americans where Lynch was being held. Other than that, the story is: Due to a truck getting caught in a sinkhole, several supply vehicles are left behind by a large convoy. After extracting the truck, they try to catch up but get lost. The CO makes a terrible decision to go into Nasiriya (sp?) before it has been conquered by other US troops. Since they were a maintenance/supply unit, their only weaponry was their rifles. Once in Nasiriya ("so much for cheering crowds," says Jessica as they enter the town to sullen looks), they get trapped by roadblocks and fired on with guns and RPG's. While Lynch helps to keep other soldiers in the back of her vehicle supplied with ammo, she doesn't fire her rifle. Eventually, in the panic and confusion, her friend Lori Piestawa rear-ends the truck in front of them, killing several in the vehicle and wounding the rest, including Lynch. Clearly outnumbered and running out of ammo, the surviving Americans surrender.

The rescue mission was portrayed as neither heroic or botched. The hospital had no armed defense; according to the film "Fedayeen" fighters had left the building shortly before to take part in a near-by battle. They found Jessica, put her on a chopper, and then found the graves of the Americans, including Piestawa, who didn't survive. Frankly, the overall story was pretty boring, lacking much in the way of drama. It certainly didn't glamorize the war, and didn't really glamorize Jessica or the rescue, either. Apparently there really never was a lot of a story here, and NBC showed that last night. Chances are the film will rarely get shown again.