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Jessica Lynch - Didn't Like - Being Used
November 7, 2003
10:46 pm
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September 27, 2010
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GOOD FOR HER!!!!! Finally some integrity about all this! I mean if people can't see what's up with all this - then I give up! People don't want to see I guess, just like to be lied to.

Jessica Lynch Laments Military Portrayal

By ALLISON BARKER, Associated Press Writer

PALESTINE, W.Va. - Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch accused the military of using her capture and dramatic nighttime rescue to sway public support for the war in Iraq.

Dramatic video of U.S. commandos whisking the former Army supply clerk from a Nasiriyah hospital to a waiting chopper April 1 helped cement Lynch's image as a hero. But the 20-year-old private told ABC's Diane Sawyer there was no reason for her rescue to be filmed.

"They used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff," Lynch told Sawyer in a "Primetime" interview to air Tuesday. "It's wrong."

The network posted the excerpt on its Web site Friday.

Lynch suffered broken bones and other injuries when her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was attacked after taking a wrong turn in the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah on March 23.

Early reports had Lynch fighting her attackers until she ran out of ammunition and suffering knife and bullet wounds. Military officials later said Lynch wasn't shot, but was hurt after her Humvee utility vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed into another vehicle.

She was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals while still in the hospital in Washington, D.C.

Lynch told Sawyer she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that her gun jammed during the chaos. "I'm not about to take credit for something I didn't do," she said.

"I did not shoot, not a round, nothing. ... I went down praying to my knees. And that's the last I remember."

On Thursday, Lynch won admiration in her hometown for having the courage to reveal she was raped by her Iraqi captors.

The attack is documented by medical records cited in "I am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story." The authorized biography, written by reporter Rick Bragg, is being released by Knopf publishing on Tuesday, Veterans Day.

Family spokesman Stephen Goodwin acknowledged that the book discusses the sexual assault.

"It's important to tell the story and let it be known, but she's not going to talk about it any more," Goodwin said. "She really doesn't want to say any more on this issue."

Palestine resident Leah Eberbaugh said she admired Lynch for including the assault in the book.

"Can you imagine the humility it takes to tell the world you were raped? That's not a secret that a woman likes to tell," Eberbaugh said.

But Iraqi doctors who treated Lynch dismissed the rape claims.

Dr. Mahdi Khafazji, an orthopedic surgeon at Nasiriyah's main hospital performed surgery on Lynch to repair a fractured femur and said he found no signs that she was raped or sodomized.

Khafazji, speaking at his private clinic in Nasiriyah, said he examined her extensively and would have detected signs of sexual assault. He said the examination turned up no trace of semen.

Relatives are now turning their worry to Lynch's brother, Army Spc. Greg Lynch Jr., who is being deployed to Iraq, The Parkersburg News reported Friday.

Greg Lynch, a helicopter mechanic, introduced his sister at a news conference when she returned home in July to recover from her injuries.

Months later, she is receiving two hours of physical therapy five days a week and taking about 18 pills a day. She's up to about 100 pounds from a low of 70.

She still has not regained feeling in her left foot and uses crutches. She opts for a wheelchair on shopping trips to nearby Parkersburg.

Since her return to West Virginia's smallest county, population about 5,900, Lynch has made a few public appearances.

She's stopped in at Mom's Place for some home-cooking and a slice of chocolate pie. She's appeared at the county fair, raised the American flag at Wirt County High School's homecoming game and visited with schoolchildren.

Despite her public appearances, most residents have shied away from asking her about her experiences in Iraq. The family also hasn't talked about her experiences.

"You can hear that speculation but to see it in print and to know it's fact, it hurts," said Lorene Cumbridge, a 63-year-old cousin who lives near the Lynches.

Emzy Ashby said Iraqi lawyer Mohammed al-Rehaief, who is credited with going to the U.S. Marines after seeing Lynch slapped in the Iraqi hospital, is the hero. Al-Rehaief recently visited Palestine, but Lynch did not meet with him.

"There's no way she will ever be able to repay that man," Ashby said.

In excerpts of the ABC interview, Lynch said she doesn't remember being slapped or mistreated at the hospital, and she recalled one nurse sang to her.

She said her heroes were the soldiers who rescued her and those who died in the ambush on her unit.

"I'm just a survivor," she said.

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