- Pfc. Jessica Lynch recently was awarded a Bronze Star
Medal, a Purple Heart and the POW Medal. The BSM citation reads: "For
exemplary courage under fire during combat operations to liberate Iraq,
in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Private First Class Lynch's bravery
and heart persevered while surviving in the ambush and captivity in An
- A BSM for "bravery" and "surviving in
the ambush and captivity"!
- The Army's official After-Action Report said she was
in a vehicle that crashed while hauling butt trying to escape an enemy
ambush. She was knocked unconscious and woke up at a nearby Iraqi hospital
receiving special attention from some super-caring Iraqi doctors and nurses.
- This was probably the first incident in U.S. military
history in which an American soldier was awarded our country's fourth-highest
ground-fighting award for being conked out and off the air throughout a
- BSMs citing bravery typically read: "Moving his
machine gun to a forward vantage point, he covered the advance of the infantry
with a heavy volume of effective fire. Repeatedly exposing himself to a
devastating small-arms automatic weapons and mortar barrage..." Or:
"(He) voluntarily acted as point man and ... when the platoon was
fired upon ... charged the (enemy) position ... Through his courage, determination
and devotion to duty, he saved his patrol from suffering casualties and
captured a prisoner who later provided important information."
- It's no big surprise that I've been bombarded by thousands
of angry e-mails from vets protesting this assault on our countryís
sacred award system.
- "She wasn't wounded in action, nor did she do anything
to deserve a Bronze Star," writes Arch McNeill. "We have hundreds
of valiant soldiers here in the 3rd Division who far more deserve more
than she received but in many cases didn't receive anything."
- "I'm going to send all my awards back to the president
and tell him where he can shove them," says a genuine war hero, Jack
Speed, a former Army Raider.
- Trust me, the troops ñ past and present ñ
- So I rang the Pentagon and asked Col. Jeff Keane, "Why
the bravery bit?" Finally, when the standard Army propaganda drill
wasn't going down, Keane told me, "It was for her bravery in the hospital."
- But all this flimflam wasn't Jessica Lynch's doing. She
was used right from the first ñ a frail prop in the Pentagon's public-relations
campaign to sell the war to the American people and to encourage their
daughters to join up and be heroes.
- To keep the truth under wraps, the Army concocted another
whopper: "She suffers from amnesia."
- A senior officer from V Corps (the unit that eventually
awarded her the BSM), who has asked to remain anonymous, comments that
there was "tremendous pressure right from the get-go to award Pvt.
Lynch a Silver Star. But the high brass here concluded, 'There was no evidence
of heroism on her part,' and told the pushers to back off."
- But when the propagandists conned the highly respected
Washington Post into reporting on how Lynch was shot and stabbed but continued
to kill Iraqis until her last round was spent, heroic stuff that would
make Audie Murphy look like a slacker ñ which the Post then took
several months to correct ñ other media were fast to pick up the
fairy tale, and the Army was besieged by proud Americans demanding that
Jessica be awarded the Medal of Honor.
- Of course, many of us now know that a high-priced flack
in Tommy Frank's headquarters came up with this tall tale and then duped
- According to retired Marine Lt. Col. Roger Charles: "There's
nothing they won't stoop to spin. The Army needed a female hero to boost
female recruiting and PR efforts, so they went and invented one."
- And that's the root of the problem. The elevation of
Jessica to Joan of Arc status is to recruit more women, even though thousands
of female soldiers couldn't deploy with their units to Iraq because of
pregnancy, no sitters for single moms' multiple kids and other problems.
- And poor Jessica Lynch has become the unwitting poster
girl for an Army of One that's fast becoming an Army of Two - since apparently
more than half of the women deployed to Iraq are now pregnant.
- - Hackworth.com is the address of David Hackworth's home
page. Sign in for the free weekly Defending America column at his Web site.
Send mail to P.O. Box 11179, Greenwich, CT 06831. His newest book is "Steel
My Soldiers' Hearts."
- © 2003 David H. Hackworth.