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2003-04-28

Who Really Saved Private Jessica Lynch?

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The capture of the American POW might be one of the most heralded stories of the Iraq invasion but a British reporter claims the U.S. media got the story all wrong

A recent story in the London Times titled "So Who Really Did Save Private Jessica?" begins:

The rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, which inspired America during one of the most difficult periods of the war, was not the heroic Hollywood story told by the US military, but a staged operation that terrified patients and victimised the doctors who had struggled to save her life, according to Iraqi witnesses.

Doctors at al-Nasiriyah general hospital said that the airborne assault had met no resistance and was carried out a day after all the Iraqi forces and Baath leadership had fled the city.

Four doctors and two patients, one of whom was paralysed and on an intravenous drip, were bound and handcuffed as American soldiers rampaged through the wards, searching for departed members of the Saddam regime.

An ambulance driver who tried to carry Private Lynch to the American forces close to the city was shot at by US troops the day before their mission. Far from winning hearts and minds, the US operation has angered and hurt doctors who risked their lives treating both Private Lynch and Iraqi victims of the war. "What the Americans say is like the story of Sinbad the Sailor–it’s a myth," said Harith al-Houssona, who saved Private Lynch’s life after she was brought to the hospital by Iraqi military intelligence.

We are joined by the article’s author Richard Lloyd Parry.

  • Richard Lloyd Parry, foreign correspondent for the London Times who left Iraq last night.

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