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Saving Jessica Lynch -- From NBC

Is there a way we can save Jessica Lynch from a crappy NBC made-for-TV movie?

I object to the fact that I know the name of Jessica Lynch. I object to the fact that the Daily News is trumpeting that she was raped by her captors. And I object to the fact that NBC has essentially announced itself as a propaganda arm of the Pentagon with this Saving Jessica Lynch TV movie.

Could the Pentagon have asked, could they even have arranged, a better story for the folks back home? One that would distract everyone from feeling uneasy and discomfited by thoughts of a nasty war abroad? Jessica Lynch's story has everything going for it: An attractive woman, the perfect symbol of the New Army, captured in the line of duty, brutalized by our barbaric enemy, saved in a daring rescue operation, filmed as it happened!

It's obvious, of course, that this event would have gotten a lot less attention if it had been an overweight unshaven guy from the motor pool who'd been captured, raped, beaten, and rescued. I think it's even pretty obvious that the daring rescue of Jake Lynch might not have been filmed.

So how many other American soldiers were captured? Would we expect the Iraqis to be nice to them? Do beatings and rapings during wartime surprise us? It's war, after all. Soldiers are in the business of hurting people, sometimes even killing them. Are we supposed to be shocked? Why don't we have TV movies of the week being made about each captured soldier? How about one for every Iraqi who got hurt during the war? Are we supposed to believe that no American soldiers did anything bad?

To her credit, Jessica Lynch is on record as saying she thinks this is all pretty shameless, too, at least according to AP quoting an interview between Lynch and Diane Sawyer. I, for one, would like to thank Jessica Lynch for saying so, because it must be very hard for her. I'm sure a lot of people -- a lot of powerful people, both in her life and in the world at large -- do not want her saying such things. I imagine it would have been easy to just sit back and let the accolades wash over her, to pretend to herself that she really is somehow more important than all the little people who don't get TV movies made out of their lives. Instead, she's willing to say, "It's wrong."

Why the people in charge at NBC and the Pentagon don't know this is something to think about.

I'm not saying I think Lynch is such a great person. I don't know her. She could be wonderful, she could be annoying. I don't know. And she is, after all, selling a book. I'm not sure why she thinks the book is okay, other than perhaps she wants there to be a "correct" account of what happened. On the other hand, I've read a paragraph or two from the book, and purpler prose could not be found. Whatever her virtues or faults, she could have found a better writer to handle her biography.

But she's caught in a bad position, as the unwilling poster girl for the new generation of Army recruiting commercials.


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