View Full Version : Are we being manipulated, or, are we being manipulated?
May 18th, 2003, 7:00pm
Kinda hope this one isn't true but it does raise some good points.
Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed'
Private Lynch has lost her memory of her rescue
By John Kampfner
Private Jessica Lynch became an icon of the war, and the story of her capture by the Iraqis and her rescue by US special forces became one of the great patriotic moments of the conflict.
But her story is one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived.
There was no [sign of] shooting, no bullet inside her body, no stab wound
Dr Harith a-Houssona
Private Lynch, a 19-year-old army clerk from Palestine, West Virginia, was captured when her company took a wrong turning just outside Nasiriya and was ambushed.
Nine of her comrades were killed and Private Lynch was taken to the local hospital, which at the time was swarming with Fedayeen. Eight days later US special forces stormed the hospital, capturing the "dramatic" events on a night vision camera.
They were said to have come under fire from inside and outside the building, but they made it to Lynch and whisked her away by helicopter.
Dr a-Houssona found no bullet wounds
Reports claimed that she had stab and bullet wounds and that she had been slapped about on her hospital bed and interrogated.
But Iraqi doctors in Nasiriya say they provided the best treatment they could for the soldier in the midst of war. She was assigned the only specialist bed in the hospital and one of only two nurses on the floor.
"I examined her, I saw she had a broken arm, a broken thigh and a dislocated ankle," said Dr Harith a-Houssona, who looked after her.
"There was no [sign of] shooting, no bullet inside her body, no stab wound - only road traffic accident. They want to distort the picture. I don't know why they think there is some benefit in saying she has a bullet injury."
Witnesses told us that the special forces knew that the Iraqi military had fled a day before they swooped on the hospital.
Dr Uday was surprised by the manner of the rescue
"We were surprised. Why do this? There was no military, there were no soldiers in the hospital," said Dr Anmar Uday, who worked at the hospital.
"It was like a Hollywood film. They cried 'go, go, go', with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital - action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan."
There was one more twist. Two days before the snatch squad arrived, Harith had arranged to deliver Jessica to the Americans in an ambulance.
But as the ambulance, with Private Lynch inside, approached a checkpoint American troops opened fire, forcing it to flee back to the hospital. The Americans had almost killed their prize catch.
Some brave souls put their lives on the line to make this happen
General Vincent Brooks
When footage of the rescue was released, General Vincent Brooks, US spokesman in Doha, said: "Some brave souls put their lives on the line to make this happen, loyal to a creed that they know that they'll never leave a fallen comrade."
The American strategy was to ensure the right television footage by using embedded reporters and images from their own cameras, editing the film themselves.
The Pentagon had been influenced by Hollywood producers of reality TV and action movies, notably the man behind Black Hawk Down, Jerry Bruckheimer.
Bruckheimer advised the Pentagon on the primetime television series "Profiles from the Front Line", that followed US forces in Afghanistan in 2001. That approached was taken on and developed on the field of battle in Iraq.
As for Private Lynch, her status as cult hero is stronger than ever. Internet auction sites list Jessica Lynch items, from an oil painting with an opening bid of $200 to a $5 "America Loves Jessica Lynch" fridge magnet.
But doctors now say she has no recollection of the whole episode and probably never will.
May 18th, 2003, 10:00pm
Interesting story about another interesting story! Thanks.
But, to answer the question in your header...I am not being manipulated. Yes the wind musses my hair, and the sun makes me squint. Gravity makes me do stuff too....but the absolute non-stop propaganda that comes at us from all directions ...I'm gonna lamely assert that it doesn't "manipulate me." I listen to talk radio from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum ( tons of BS from both); I read and watch the press, and hear the governments "official" statements, and observe opinions of all sorts, some well informed and most others not. I even listen to infomercials, and find it amusing to see the latest in "manipulative techniques."
So, on the one hand I'm ridiculous to say I'm "not manipulated" just as piece of driftwood bobbing up and down might say it's "not manipulated" by the ocean. But I'm a cocky driftwood, and like to think I'm in it...but not "of it."
"Art is Beauty, and Beauty is Art." ~Keats
But most everything isn't either! ~snobby me
"Art is lies that tell the truth." ~Picasso
"Art is what you can get away with." ~Andy Warhol
"Vita brevis, ars longa," ~Hippocrates
Art is Art. Everything else is everything else." ~Ad Reinhardt
May 18th, 2003, 10:46pm
Who gives a hoot what Dr (and I use that term loosely) a-Housanna has to say?? What kind of doctor uses the term "broken thigh" ?? She obviously suffered trauma. I am sooooo sick of these subversive, weak attempts to denegrate the integrity of the United States military. I just don't understand why anyone could possibly believe that this poor girl wasn't in dire straits (one of my favorite bands I might add). So are Englishmen and Iraqis alike. It stinks for everone involved.
I am not manipulated by the press, thankfully. Only because I see them for what they are...messengers of the mouthes that will give them what they want to hear at the moment. And I listen to the left as well as the right. There are valid points to be gleaned from each agenda. But I do believe others are shortsighted enough to take for gospel each spewed comment they shove down our throates...and they count on it. Give 'em a run for their money and think for yourselves before believing every half-baked story you read. Please.
May 19th, 2003, 9:47am
A doctor who didn't have a good grasp of English, perhaps?
If anything, the mainstream media represents the interests of the short list of corporations who own them.
May 19th, 2003, 11:54am
Originally posted by Maineiac
I am sooooo sick of these subversive, weak attempts to denegrate the integrity of the United States military.
Me too. But I see the leadership as subverting the integrity of the US and the military.
May 19th, 2003, 12:27pm
Why would I believe Dr Harith a-Houssona? I think most of us saw how Iraqs spokesmen we lying on tv about how the war was going. About how they were defeating us, about how we were nowhere near Bahgdad when actually we could almost throw a rock and hit it, about how they took back the airport, etc, etc, etc. It's quite possible that Dr Harith a-Houssona is loyal to Saddam and is making his story up or he could just not like the American military and just wants to make them look bad or just wanted some attention with a good story.
May 19th, 2003, 12:41pm
Would it make a difference if his name was Dr. Smith?
May 19th, 2003, 12:42pm
I am not being manipulated - but then I refused to watch any of the American TV coverage of the war. I found that BBC gave a much more balanced news program.
I don't think questioning what is happening is unpatriotic. Quite the reverse; you are doing your country a disservice by blindly accepting what you are fed by the American media.
Getting your information from a number of different sources is the only answer.
May 19th, 2003, 1:12pm
I removed my post after reading Mr. Dave's post. :) :)
May 19th, 2003, 1:16pm
Originally posted by Rapunzel676
Would it make a difference if his name was Dr. Smith?
I wouldn't care if it was Dr. Suess. I would still feel it's very likely that someone would just make those things up to make the American military look bad if given the chance. The motive is there; occupation by a foriegn government, family/friends killed during the war, loyal to Saddam, loss of property from looting and theft as a result of the war, no food, water, electricity, medical supplies as a resulf of the war, ...... Take a pick.
May 19th, 2003, 1:49pm
Hey, anyone see:
25,000 liters of anthrax stockpiled in Iraq?
500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent in Iraq?
How about 30,000 munitions to deliver chemical agents in Iraq?
Naaaa, nobody's being manipulated...
May 19th, 2003, 3:19pm
FYI: I don't know if this topic is permitted.
May 19th, 2003, 10:16pm
May 20th, 2003, 10:57am
Originally posted by binski33
May 20th, 2003, 11:18am
Originally posted by binski33
May 20th, 2003, 12:58pm
Not to hijack the thread...but since there has been a "wink and a nod," in the form of Mr Dave's wondering if this topic "is permitted" and Binski's snoring smiley, let me give small insight into "the moderators' position" on such topics.
Guys, we have one goal, and one goal only: for this website and message board to be a friendly, helpful and effective place to exchange info...mainly about sweeping, but also about whatever the members wanna talk about!
From the moderators' forum (only moderators can read it) I've learned that us "Mods" have rather widespread social and political philosophies...BUT THAT DOESN'T MATTER AT ALL.
The only reason threads have been closed, is that the participants get to bickering, feelings get hurt and a sour tone starts brewing. So we put away the toys and admonish the kids to play nice. Brent, who owns the website, seems to be very open minded and free-speech advocating...but he also is only wanting to not let a discussion turn into an argument that turns into a bonfire. After closely watching each of the "troublesome" threads, and doing some soul searching...decisions have indeed been made to close, truncate or move some of them.
There are many message boards focused on politics, some are moderated. You can visit the hundreds of Yahoo message boards and observe, or participate in name calling, character assasination, conspiracy theorizing, etc. Heck, there are probably message boards for aficianados of "farm animal porno spam," LOL.
But ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THEM HAVE WHAT ***we*** HAVE! The largest, best, friendliest and most helpful group of sweepers in the United States. The Mods and site owner only wanna keep it that way.
So y'all can continue to drag out your soapboxes, s'ok. Just don't let your chats disintegrate into finger pointing, name calling and us mods getting dozens of "Reported Post" emails, ok? :smile4: No toy topic or playground game merits spoiling the team spirit.
Rant message from behind the moderator's curtain ending in 3-2-1
May 20th, 2003, 3:08pm
Thanks for the clarification. I know the soapbox effect can get a bit strong, but I want to tell you and all the other moderators and Brent that I really do appreciate having the ability to post some news items that do concern me or crack me up in this forum.
I was sorry to hear from Katie that people were "scared" to post in this forum because they feel it is an extension to the older war forums. I think the hostility that did surface before was out of hand as well, but I do think that it has pretty much died down, and I would like to point out that I only lashed out at one person previously and that was only due to physical threats against myself. I understand that people can be passionate about ideas, but if they cannot state their opinion without lashing out then they should move on. I hope we don't get to a point in here where every news article has to be agreeable to everyone or a post cannot be about patriotism for the thread to stand.
In any event, this news forum has been a great incentive for me to keep up with the news and share articles and thoughts with people I consider to be friends and hear their thoughts.
The members that lurk in this forum from time to time have really been great in sending me links to interesting articles, petitions, and web sites, and I have to say I love this place. It has been a great place for (light) debate and gathering of information, and has been a big + on top of all the little acquire this site has helped me win.
May 20th, 2003, 11:10pm
As one who loves to research a topic, I know from personal experience that my local newspapers up here in the TN hills tend to be very conservative. Yes, sometimes the conservative view can be enlighting and I have been known on occassion to read what O'Rielly & Limbaugh have to say. But I appreciate the opportunity to give people the exposure to a topic from the prospective of another source, like this one.
You wait it, this topic will be all over the US news and the readers of this site can say "I knew about this a while back". Here's yet another view of this topic...
Saving Private Lynch: take 2
Robert Scheer - Creators Syndicate
05.20.03 - In the 1998 film "Wag the Dog," political operatives employ special editing techniques to create phony footage that will engender public sympathy for a manufactured war. Now we find that in 2003 the real-life Pentagon's ability and willingness to manipulate the facts make Hollywood's story lines look tame. After a thorough investigation, the British Broadcasting Corp. has presented a shocking dissection of the "heroic" rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, as reported by the U.S. military and a breathless American press.
"Her story is one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived," the BBC concluded—the polite British way of saying "liar, liar, pants on fire."
Though the Bush administration's shamelessly trumped-up claims about Iraq's alleged ties to Al Qaeda and 9/11 and its weapons of mass destruction take the cake for deceitful propaganda—grand strategic lies that allow the United States' seizure of Iraq's oil to appear to be an act of liberation—the sad case of Lynch's exploitation at the hands of military spinners illustrates that the truth once again was a casualty of war.
Lynch, who says she has no memory of the events in question, has suffered enough in the line of duty without being reduced to a propaganda pawn.
Sadly, almost nothing fed to reporters about either Lynch's original capture by Iraqi forces or her "rescue" by U.S. forces turns out to be true. Consider the April 3 Washington Post story on her capture headlined "She Was Fighting to the Death," which reported, based on unnamed military sources, that Lynch "continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds," adding that she was also stabbed when Iraqi forces closed in.
It has since emerged that Lynch was neither shot nor stabbed, but rather suffered accident injuries when her vehicle overturned. A medical checkup by U.S. doctors confirmed the account of the Iraqi doctors, who said they had carefully tended her injuries, a broken arm and thigh and a dislocated ankle, in contrast to U.S. media reports that doctors had ignored Lynch.
Another report spread by news organizations nationwide claimed Lynch was slapped by an Iraqi security guard, and the U.S. military later insisted that an Iraqi lawyer witnessed this incident and informed them of Lynch's whereabouts. His credibility as a source, however, is difficult to verify because he and his family were whisked to the U.S., where he was immediately granted political asylum and has refused all interview requests. His future was assured with a job with a lobbying firm run by former Republican Rep. Bob Livingstone that represents the defense industry and a $500,000 book contract with HarperCollins, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox network did much to hype Lynch's story, as it did the rest of the war.
But where the manipulation of this saga really gets ugly is in the premeditated manufacture of the rescue itself, which stains those who have performed real acts of bravery, whether in war or peacetime.
Eight days after her capture, American media trumpeted the military's story that Lynch was saved by Special Forces that stormed the hospital and, in the face of heavy hostile fire, managed to scoop her up and helicopter her out.
However, according to the BBC, which interviewed the hospital's staff, the truth appears to be that not only had Iraqi forces abandoned the area before the rescue effort but that the hospital's staff had informed the U.S. of this and made arrangements two days before the raid to turn Lynch over to the Americans. "But as the ambulance, with Pvt. Lynch inside, approached the checkpoint, American troops opened fire, forcing it to flee back to the hospital. The Americans had almost killed their prize catch," the BBC reported.
"We were surprised," Dr. Anmar Uday told the BBC about the supposed rescue. "There was no military, there were no soldiers in the hospital. It was like a Hollywood film. [The U.S. forces] cried 'Go, go, go,' with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions," Uday said. "They made a show for the American attack on the hospital—[like] action movies [starring] Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan."
The footage from the raid, shot not by journalists but by soldiers with night-vision cameras, was fed in real time to the central command in Qatar. The video was artfully edited by the Pentagon and released as proof that a battle to free Lynch had occurred when it had not.
This fabrication has already been celebrated by an A&E special and will soon be an NBC movie. The Lynch rescue story—a made-for-TV bit of official propaganda—will probably survive as the war's most heroic moment, despite proving as fictitious as the stated rationales for the invasion itself.
If the movies, books and other renditions of "saving Private Lynch" were to be honestly presented, it would expose this caper as merely one in a series of egregious lies marketed to us by the Bush administration.
May 20th, 2003, 11:24pm
BBC correspondent defends Lynch documentary
(CNN) --The U.S. military has denied misrepresenting the facts surrounding the rescue of Pfc Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital April 1 to make the mission appear more dramatic, as alleged in a BBC documentary. CNN anchor Leon Harris talked to John Kampfner, the veteran BBC correspondent behind the documentary, about the allegations.
HARRIS: Is it your belief right now based upon your investigation that this rescue of Lynch was in any way a staged event and not real?
KAMPFNER: No. First things first. Credit where it is due. The Americans had a legitimate right in getting Lynch out of the hospital in Nasiriya. They had no way of knowing what her fate was, whether she was being well or badly treated.
So, it is entirely legitimate for any country to want to get its own out as quickly and as safely as possible.
Where we took issue with the official version as put out by Central Command, in Doha, [Qatar], to the world's press, was the way the Americans did it. They went in, all guns blazing, helicopters, a great, heroic rescue mission.
The contention of the Iraqi doctors we spoke to was, well, actually they didn't need to do that, they could have come and got her. And in fact, one of the doctors said the day before the Americans conducted this very elaborate rescue mission, they had actually tried to get Lynch to the Americans, by putting her in an ambulance, taking her to the front line. In the course of that journey, according to the doctors, that ambulance came under fire from American forces, and they had to take her back to the hospital.
HARRIS: Our own reporters have reported that story. John Vause, our reporter who was over there embedded for a while there with the troops, filed a report on that incident with the ambulance. And we've also seen that report elsewhere, as well. We've also gone to the Pentagon to get a response to your documentary last night. They're saying they're sticking by the information [Central Command] provided.
What I'm very interested in is a couple of things that were in your report. You got a quote here from some of the doctors that were there at the hospital. I'm going to read the transcript of it. "It says like a film in Hollywood, they cried go, go, go. They shot with guns, and blanks with bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions, and break the door. We were very scared." Are you saying that you believe [the] Iraqi doctor's assessment that the U.S. troops there were using blanks?
KAMPFNER: Well, that is his contention. What we did, what I did when I went to the Pentagon and spoke to its No. 2 there, Brian Whitman, we said, OK, we have one story, two different versions. Let's cross-check the information that the Iraqi doctors have given against the official U.S. version.
For example, what kind of injuries did Lynch sustain in the hospital? Was it true that she received bullet and stab wounds as a result of the Iraqis? He said, well, the truth will come out at some point in the future. In other words, he didn't engage in that.
Second question was, did the Americans come under fire from the Iraqis during the rescue mission? Again, that's the kind of holding answer we got from him.
The main point we said to them was, OK, there are two versions. There are several different allegations, several different interpretations of this story.
Instead of all of us relying on your five-minute, very professional, very carefully edited film, which was immediately transmitted from Central Command to the world's broadcasters, why don't you give everybody what's known in the profession as "the rushes"? Give everybody all the unedited film, the real-time film, as shot by the U.S. military cameraman who was with the rescue mission, and that will put everybody out of all questions of doubt. They declined to do that.
HARRIS: Let me ask you something else. You spoke with a number of British authorities and officials there, who were raising questions of their own about the way the U.S. briefings actually presented information there. What have you learned, if anything at all, from the office of Prime Minister Tony Blair about what he thinks happened during this incident? Is there any concern in British officialdom whether or not what we saw was something that was not necessarily what [happened]?
KAMPFNER: Well, I mean, it must be said the British are no more angels than the Americans when it comes to putting out certain messages in the war. The British were worried about the Lynch episode, but they saw this more in general terms. They were worried about the entire U.S. media operation.
The man behind the scene sent a long a letter to Blair's head of strategy, Alex Campbell, setting out in quite considerable detail his misgivings about the way the Americans conducted the whole media operation from Doha.
At the same time, in our film, the British military spokesman, who figured very much in BBC, CNN and all international broadcasters' coverage of the war, told us on camera that he was deeply unhappy with the American media handling, and he said to us, there were two different styles of media management. There was the American one and the British one, and I was pleased to be part of the British one.
And that to me, that's a pretty damning indictment.
HARRIS: It remains to be seen whether it will be seen that way here on this side of the pond. John Kampfner, thank you very much. We appreciate your time.
May 21st, 2003, 5:01pm
It sounds like Bush is the movie star and not Reagan. (well, neo-conservatively a star)
May 21st, 2003, 5:28pm
"It sounds like Bush is the movie star and not Reagan."
Scarey image went through my head reading this line-
"I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille."
(Iggy running for the nearest exit before hands get slapped...)
June 4th, 2003, 9:38am
Robert Scheer - Creators Syndicate
05.30.03 - It is one thing when the talk-show bullies who shamelessly smeared the last president, even as he attacked the training camps of Al Qaeda, now term it anti-American or even treasonous to dare criticize the Bush administration. When our Pentagon, however -- a $400-billion-a-year juggernaut -- savages individual journalists for questioning its version of events, it is worth noting.
Especially if you're that journalist.
Last week, this column reported the findings of a British Broadcasting Corp. special report that accused the U.S. military and media of inaccurately and manipulatively hyping the story of U.S. Pvt. Jessica Lynch and her rescue from an Iraq hospital. The column was also informed by similar and independently reported articles and statements in the Toronto Star, The Washington Post and other reputable publications.
Expected -- and received -- was a hysterical belch of outrage from the right-wing media, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox empire, which has already committed a huge book advance to the telling of this mythic tale. A fiery and disingenuous response from the Pentagon, however, was quite a bit more sobering.
Calling the column a "tirade," Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke wrote in a letter to the Los Angeles Times that "Scheer's claims are outrageous, patently false and unsupported by the facts."
"Official spokespeople in Qatar and in Washington, as well as the footage released, reflected the events accurately," the Pentagon letter continued. "To suggest otherwise is an insult and does a grave disservice to the brave men and women involved."
Actually, what is a grave disservice is manipulating a gullible media with leaked distortions from unnamed official sources about Lynch's heroics in battle. That aside, it would have been easier to rebut the Pentagon if its spokeswoman had actually questioned any of the facts the BBC or this column reported. In particular, the Pentagon turned down the request by the BBC and other media to view the full, unedited footage of the rescue.
Perhaps Clarke is frustrated that in the days since the BBC report, several major publications, such as the Chicago Tribune and the London Daily Mail, have independently verified much of the BBC's disturbing account of what the broadcasting corporation called "one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived."
The distortions concerning Lynch began two days after the rescue with a front-page Washington Post story by veteran reporters Susan Schmidt and Vernon Loeb. They cited U.S. officials as the source of their information that Lynch "fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition" and that she "continued firing after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds." The Post quoted one of the unnamed U.S. officials as saying "she was fighting to the death. She did not want to be taken alive."
Despite their current defensiveness, Clarke and other Pentagon honchos had to know that the story attributed to U.S. officials was false because Lynch had at that point already been rescued and examined by U.S. military doctors, who found no evidence of a single gunshot wound, let alone multiple gunshot wounds. Yet they did nothing to challenge the Post story, which was carried worldwide and quickly became the main heroic propaganda myth of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
It was only last week, after the BBC-initiated brouhaha, that the Pentagon finally launched its own investigation of what actually occurred when Lynch was taken prisoner. According to The Washington Times, the investigation came about after top Pentagon officials cast doubt on the Lynch battle-scene account, of which she has no memory.
However, the Pentagon investigators were not asked to look into the circumstances surrounding Lynch's subsequent rescue. Much of the BBC's account has now been supported by other media investigations, which confirm that a U.S. attack on an unguarded hospital was spun into the stuff of Hollywood heroics.
The Tribune's Monday story, for example, provided new details of how slickly a tale of derring-do was created, and enhanced for television by that five-minute Pentagon-supplied night-vision video. The Tribune also added details supporting the BBC account that hospital staff members had placed Lynch in an ambulance and tried to deliver her to a U.S. checkpoint before being turned back by random American fire.
What is particularly sad in all of this is that a wonderfully hopeful story was available to the Pentagon to sell to the eager media: one in which besieged Iraqi doctors and nurses bravely cared for -- and supplied their own blood to -- a similarly brave young American woman in a time of madness and violence. Instead, eager to turn the war into a morality play between good and evil, the military used -- if not abused -- Lynch to put a heroic spin on an otherwise sorry tale of unjustified invasion.
The truth hurts, but that's no excuse for trying to shoot the messenger.
© 2003 Creators Syndicate
June 14th, 2003, 2:46pm
Release 'Jessica Lynch' outtakes
By Jac Wilder VerSteeg, Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
The Pentagon refuses to release unedited footage of Jessica Lynch's rescue from an Iraqi hospital. Critics have alleged that the refusal is more proof that the breathtaking video, broadcast just when U.S. morale needed a boost, actually is a hoax.
All the carping follows a British Broadcasting Co. documentary that poked holes in the Pentagon's version. U.S. officials said Pfc. Lynch was shot. She wasn't. They said she fought valiantly until her ammo ran out. Now, they say she has amnesia and can't remember anything.
The movie makes it seem that the rescuers invaded a hostile hospital and skillfully avoided Iraqi soldiers. But the Iraqi soldiers had long since left. In fact, one Iraqi told the BBC that the medical staff tried to deliver Pfc. Lynch via ambulance to a U.S. checkpoint but were turned away by gun-waving U.S. soldiers.
In other words, the whole thing was a polished studio production. Saving Private Lynch, if you will.
It might have been a production, but if so, it hardly was polished. The fact that the Pentagon won't release the outtakes proves it. Every movie marketer knows that the unedited shots -- the outtakes -- are gold. In many movies, outtakes are the best parts. If the Pentagon won't show the outtakes, the Pentagon clearly doesn't know how to make a movie.
Jackie Chan is the king of outtakes. The martial-arts star does his own stunts -- which are amazing -- but audiences wait all through the movie just to see him goof in outtakes mingled with the closing credits. Jackie gets hit in the face with a 2-by-4. Jackie gets hit in the head with a 2-by-4. Jackie gets hit in the groin with a 2-by-4. Hilarious.
Bruce Almighty closes with outtakes that are at least as funny as the movie. Pixar, the computer animation company behind Finding Nemo, is so hip that its artists created outtakes for A Bug's Life in which cartoon characters forget their lines.
Directors of dramas and action-adventure movies also highly value outtakes. No DVD is complete without a full roster of deleted scenes.
The Bush administration, which is so good at spinning nearly everything, is missing the boat big-time on its Jessica Lynch production. For a true Hollywood job it has to release the outtakes. Imagine:
Director: "And... action!" (Special Forces soldiers shout, "Go! Go! Go!" The handheld camera bobs as it follows them, armed to the teeth and outfitted with tons of cool gear, swarming into hospital, made all the more menacing by the film's grainy quality. Suddenly, the cameraman runs into somebody and topples backward, his startled grunt like an explosion.)
Cameraman: "Ow!" (The soldiers break up, squealing with laughter. The cameraman is on his back, but the camera is rolling. All the audience sees is the pitted institutional ceiling. Donald Rumsfeld's face, with a sheepish expression, leans into the shot.)
Rumsfeld: "Oops. My bad."
Cameraman, laughing: "Man, I thought I'd run into a weapon of mass destruction."
Director: "And... action!" (They're outside. The scene appears to be shot through night-vision goggles. Soldiers hustle a frail figure on a stretcher toward a waiting evacuation helicopter. As they reach the chopper, one soldier reaches out and whips the sheet from the figure on the stretcher. The figure -- a male, sporting a large, fake mustache and clad in Iraqi military get-up and beret -- pops up and leers into the camera.)
Soldiers, laughing: "It's Saddam! It's Saddam!"
Director: "And... action!" (Same scene and action. This time, when the soldier whips off the sheet, a grinning President Bush pops up, holding his aviator's helmet and wearing his jump suit.)
Bush: "I'm looking for Saddam. Wasn't he just here?"
First Soldier: "He just left with that bin Laden guy."
Bush: "I think you're being transferred to Somalia."
Director: "And... action!" (Soldiers hustle figure on stretcher to helicopter. One stumbles, and his trip cascades until they all dump the figure to the ground. The soldiers rush to help Jessica Lynch, moaning and grabbing her leg.)
First Soldier: "Were you shot?"
Second Soldier: "Yeah, in a close-up."
(Jessica Lynch stares blankly at the camera, reaching in vain for her lines.)
Jessica, smacking her forehead: "I can't remember!"
Voice offscreen: "Y'know, that's not a bad idea."
June 14th, 2003, 2:50pm
I wonder how she feels. She's been offered scholarships, cars, $$$. Think she'll take any of it, or just head straight for Hollywood?:(
Should clarify--not feel as in physically.
June 14th, 2003, 3:04pm
yes, i know she was injured and is going through recovery. let's hope she uses some of her new found $$$ and presence to maybe help those families who have lost family members in Iraq.
So far the death toll~~
U.S. and British military officials say 91 American and 30 British troops have died in the war.
June 17th, 2003, 11:58am
A Broken Body, a Broken Story, Pieced Together
Investigation Reveals Lynch -- Still in Hospital After 67 Days -- Suffered Bone-Crushing Injuries in Crash During Ambush
By Dana Priest, William Booth and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, June 17, 2003; Page A01
Jessica Lynch, the most famous soldier of the Iraq war, remains in a private room at the end of a hall on an upper floor of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, her door guarded by a military police officer.
To repair the fractures, a spinal injury and other injuries suffered during her ordeal, the 20-year-old private first class undergoes a daily round of physical therapy. But she does so alone, during the lunch hours, when other patients are not admitted.
Her father, Greg Lynch Sr., wearing a fresh T-shirt each day with a yellow ribbon pinned to his chest, rarely leaves her side, except to sleep at night. Lynch has been in the hospital now for 67 days. Her physical condition remains severe. But she also appears to suffer from wounds that cannot be seen -- and the story of her capture and rescue remains only partly told.
Her family says she doesn't remember anything about her capture. U.S. military sources say she is unable -- or unwilling -- to say much about anything that happened to her between the morning her Army unit was ambushed and when she became fully conscious sometime later at Saddam Hussein General Hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq.
As the world would remember, Lynch and her Army maintenance unit were ambushed in southern Iraq on the morning of March 23. Eleven of her fellow soldiers were killed; five others were taken captive and later freed. Blond and waiflike, Lynch was taken prisoner and held separately for nine days before a dramatic nighttime rescue from her hospital bed by a covert U.S. Special Operations unit, Task Force 20.
Initial news reports, including those in The Washington Post, which cited unnamed U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, described Lynch emptying her M-16 into Iraqi soldiers. The intelligence reports from intercepts and Iraqi informants said that Lynch fought fiercely, was stabbed and shot multiple times, and that she killed several of her assailants.
"She was fighting to the death," one of the officials was quoted as saying. "She did not want to be taken alive."
It became the story of the war, boosting morale at home and among the troops. It was irresistible and cinematic, the maintenance clerk turned woman-warrior from the hollows of West Virginia who just wouldn't quit. Hollywood promised to make a movie and the media, too, were hungry for heroes.
Lynch's story is far more complex and different than those initial reports. Much of the story remains shrouded in mystery, in large part because of official Army secrecy, concerns for Lynch's privacy and her limited memory.
The Post's initial coverage attracted widespread criticism because many of the sources were unnamed and because the accounts were soon contradicted by other military officials. In an effort to document more fully what had actually happened to Lynch, The Post interviewed dozens of people, including associates of Lynch's family in West Virginia; Iraqi doctors, nurses and civilian witnesses in Nasiriyah; and U.S. intelligence and military officials in Washington, three of whom have knowledge of a weeks-long Army investigation into the matter.
The result is a second, more thorough but inconclusive cut at history. While much more is revealed about her ordeal, most U.S. officials still insisted that their names be withheld from this account.
Lynch tried to fire her weapon, but it jammed, according to military officials familiar with the Army investigation. She did not kill any Iraqis. She was neither shot nor stabbed, they said.
Lynch's unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed outside Nasiriyah after taking several wrong turns. Army investigators believe this happened in part because superiors never passed on word that the long 3rd Infantry Division column that the convoy was following had been rerouted. At times, the 507th was 12 hours behind the main column and frequently out of radio contact.
Lynch was riding in a Humvee when it plowed into a jackknifed U.S. truck. She suffered major injuries, including multiple fractures and compression to her spine, that knocked her unconscious, military sources said. The collision killed or gravely injured the Humvee's four other passengers.
Two U.S. officials with knowledge of the Army investigation said Lynch was mistreated by her captors. They would not elaborate.
Tipped that Lynch was inside Saddam Hussein General Hospital in Nasiriyah, the CIA, fearing a trap, sent an agent into the facility with a hidden camera to confirm she was there, intelligence sources said.
The Special Operations unit's full-scale rescue of the private, while justified given the uncertainty confronting U.S. forces as they entered the compound, ultimately was proven unnecessary. Iraqi combatants had left the hospital almost a day earlier, leaving Lynch in the hands of doctors and nurses who said they were eager to turn her over to Americans.
Neither the Pentagon nor the White House publicly dispelled the more romanticized initial version of her capture, helping to foster the myth surrounding Lynch and fuel accusations that the Bush administration stage-managed parts of Lynch's story.
Only Lynch is in position to know everything that happened to her -- and she may not ever be able to tell the story.
"The doctors are reasonably sure," said Army spokesman Kiki Bryant, "that she does not know what happened to her."
June 17th, 2003, 12:36pm
In spite of the spin this has received, it is very tragic. I hope she is doing well.
June 23rd, 2003, 11:45pm
Blinded by fool's gold
Ellen Goodman - Washington Post Writers Group
06.23.03 - BOSTON--Maybe it's best that Jessica Lynch doesn't remember what happened. The doctors say she doesn't recall the ambush and capture, the April days that transformed the private first class into a first-class war hero.
So Private Lynch, at least, had no part in the making of the Legend of Private Lynch. When the nonstop coverage began, she was a survivor being carried on a stretcher in and out of planes and hospitals. When producers “took meetings” for TV specials and docudramas, she was having her bones meticulously pinned back together.
When the big names of television tried to woo her with lockets and books and deals, when they tried to “get” her as if she were a charm for their bracelet, they didn't know that the star of the story couldn't actually tell the story.
There is something terrible about the alchemy that tries to turn a human into a symbol. In this case, the alchemists took a young soldier from the hollows of Palestine, W.Va., to the hollow world of myth-making. And now we are discovering the fool's gold.
Two Washington Post headlines bookmark the story of the story of Jessica Lynch. The first was on April 3: “She Was Fighting to the Death.” The second was on June 17: “ A Broken Body, a Broken Story, Pieced Together.”
In the first rough draft of history, a 19-year-old supply clerk had fought fiercely, emptying her gun. She was riddled with bullet and knife wounds. As a prisoner of war, she was abused and finally rescued in a daring night raid. It became the defining story of the war.
In the revised draft of history emerging in bits and pieces, chaos as well as courage, fear as well as bravery, play a role. It was a Humvee accident that shattered her bones. She was never shot or stabbed. Her M-16 jammed and was never fired. If she was abused by her captors, they were gone when the rescue team arrived.
The original tale was, in the words of one Los Angeles Times reporter, “the first feel-good story of the war.” But what felt good in April is now prickly to the touch.
In June, everything about this war seems to be up for revision--from the way it began, with declarations of weapons of mass destruction, to the way it hasn't ended. So Jessica Lynch has now become a redefining story of the war, with skeptics asking whether the Pentagon spun the media or the media hyped the story.
But weren't we all embedded--in the creation and adulation of a new war hero?
I confess that I was wary from the get-go of this story. I carry in my head the voice of my first city editor: “If the story is too good to be true, make some more calls.” The team of Post reporters who wisely and carefully revisited the story still call it “irresistible and cinematic.” But there was something cartoonlike about Jessica, warrior and prisoner of war.
The mythological Lynch was both Rambette and Damsel in Distress.
For a military wrestling with women in its ranks, she was the woman fighting ferociously-- “She did not want to be taken alive”--and the slight, blond teenager who needed to be rescued.
For the media she was a human interest story in the world of tanks. She was news--the woman in combat fatigues-- and the crossover star who might attract women viewers the way Annika Sorenstam brought them to a PGA tournament.
Whatever the conspiracy theorists say, this dog didn't need to be wagged. Just tweaked a little. As one military public affairs officer told the Post, he knew the video of Private Lynch's rescue “would be the hottest thing of the day. There was not an intent to talk it down or embellish it because we didn't need to. It was an awesome story.”
The not-so-secret is that media and military and citizens live in a world where war only interrupts our regular programming. We are expected to digest simple story lines about both the reasons for conflict and its heroism. It's also a world in which a Jessica Lynch is fit into an empty slot between a Laci Peterson and a Martha Stewart.
But to turn a human into a symbol, you have to take away the humanity. In the pursuit of fool's gold, you burn away the metal. By making Jessica into a cartoon hero, we may have missed the bravery of the young soldier now recovering in Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Pfc. Jessica Lynch didn't empty an M-16 into the enemy. But she has learned how to take a hundred steps with a walker, one step at a time. That's heroism enough for one lifetime.
(c) 2003, Washington Post Writers Group