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Thursday, April 03, 2003  
More un-murking

I've said all along the circumstances of Pfc. Jessica Lynch's capture, captivity and rescue were murky. A recent report by NBC News seems to clear up some of the murk:

•Lynch does not have any gunshot wounds, nor has she been stabbed. All injuries seem to involve broken bones.

“We have heard and seen reports that she had multiple gunshot wounds and a knife stabbing. The doctor has not seen any of this,” Gregory Lynch Sr. [the soldier's father] said.

Lynch said his 19-year-old daughter, who is at a military hospital in Germany, had surgery on her back.  

“She didn’t have any feeling in her feet,” he said outside the family’s home in this West Virginia hamlet. More surgery was scheduled for Friday on her fractured legs and arm, he said.

•Lynch does not appear to have been tortured. (Only one source had made the claim, though it spread like wildfire.)

NBC’s Kerry Sanders was told by a Nasiriyah resident that Lynch was tortured during her captivity, but [Brig. Gen. Vince] Brooks said he had no information of torture and Pentagon sources later told NBC News that there was no apparent evidence Lynch had been tortured.

•The hospital Lynch was rescued from is now being described as having a military command post in its basement, not a torture chamber.
Brig. Gen. Vince Brooks said U.S. forces engaged in a firefight on the way into and out of the hospital, but there were no coalition casualties. Ammunition, mortars, maps and a terrain model were found at the hospital, he said, along with “other things that made it very clear it was being used as a military command post.”

The allegations of torture were driven by biased media reports, such as this one.

It is not yet known whether the POWs taken in this war have been tortured.

However, several of the POWs shown on Iraqi television appeared to have been injured, and NBC News reported Wednesday that locals near Nasiriyah said that Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was rescued Tuesday, was tortured.

The network also reported that Lynch had been held for a time at a hospital where a female uniform and a car battery were found beside a bed. Car batteries are often used in some kinds of torture.

The article also claims, falsely, that the United States does not use any methods considered to be torture on its captives, some of whom it avoids designating POWs, to avoid the Geneva Conventions.

Stories such as the Chronicle's were, in turn, used to support the claims of biased Right Wing bloggers, such as this one. I watched him single-handedly transform the hospital where Lynch was treated into a military headquarters pretending to be a hospital. He has yet to acknowledge that the latest, apparently accurate information, contradicts his claim of subhuman Iraqis torturing Pfc. Lynch in a torture chamber there because 'that's what Iraqis are like.'

There is not much those of us who believe in fair examination of the claims of both sides in this conflict can do about past abuses. However, we can continue to watch our Right Wing brethren with a wary eye and not be afraid to point out their mischaracterizations. And, we can be careful not to drink their Kool-Aid ourselves.

4:14 PM