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thedrifter
04-19-03, 05:21 PM
Doctors liked Lynch
Iraqis aiding former POW
grew fond of her, report says

From staff, wire reports
Saturday April 19, 2003; 09:57 AM

Iraqi doctors took risks on behalf of Jessica Lynch during her time as a prisoner of war, once trying to return her to the Americans by ambulance and even lying to members of the Baath Party to keep them from taking her with them when they fled the Iraqi city of al-Nasiriyah, the London Times reported.

The Iraqi doctors who cared for Lynch in a hospital in al-Nasiriyah got to know and like the soldier from West Virginia, bringing her orange juice and chatting about her family and boyfriend, the Times reported in a lengthy story published Wednesday.

Dr. Harith al-Houssona, a 24-year-old junior resident at the hospital, said he's sad to know that he'll never see Lynch again, although he's happy she's back in her home country.

"I see (many) patients, but she was special," the doctor told the Times. "She's a very simple person, a soldier, not well educated. But she was very, very nice, with a lovely face and blond hair."

Al-Houssona was on duty when Lynch was brought to the hospital a few days after her capture March 23. She was suffering from a head injury, a bullet wound in the leg, a broken leg and arm, she was unconscious and her breathing was failing, the Times reported.

"She was very frightened when she woke up," al-Houssona told the newspaper. "She kept saying, ‘Please don't hurt me, don't touch me.' I told her that she was safe, she was in a hospital and that I was a doctor, and I never hurt a patient."

Al-Houssona had to persuade Lynch to drink and eat to regain strength. The doctor said he went outside the hospital during allied bombings of the city to get Lynch's favorite drink, orange juice, for her.

"I told her she needed to eat to recover, and I brought her crackers, but her stomach was upset," al-Houssona said. "She said as a joke, ‘I want to be slim.' "

As Lynch's wounds continued to heal, the doctor said he became Lynch's friend. She told him about fights with her father over money and about her boyfriend, according to the Times.

Once her condition stabilized, al-Houssona was ordered to transfer Lynch to another hospital.

Instead of following orders, al-Houssona said he told the ambulance driver to deliver Lynch to an American outpost, the Times reported. As the ambulance approached the outpost on the outskirts of the city, troops fired at it and Lynch was brought back to the hospital.

On April 1, the local Baathists were fleeing al-Nasiriyah for Baghdad but some of them first went to the hospital looking for their "prize captive," according to the Times. But al-Houssona had moved Lynch to another part of the hospital, and other doctors told the Iraqi soldiers that the doctor was not there.

"They said that they thought Jessica had died, and that they didn't know where she was," al-Houssona told the paper.

The soldiers left the hospital, al-Houssona said, leaving behind only a few critically injured Iraqi soldiers.

The American military rescue of Lynch didn't happen until April 2, when al-Houssona says the danger was gone since Iraqi soldiers had left.

"What the Americans say is like the story of Sinbad the Sailor -- it's a myth," the doctor told the Times.

The hospital was besieged by soldiers arriving in helicopters and tanks, the paper said. Most doctors ran to the first floor shelter.

"We heard them firing and shouting, ‘Go! Go! Go! Go!' " al-Houssona said.

The U.S. soldiers looked for Lynch, interrogated doctors about the Baath party figure known as Chemical Ali and dug up the graves of American soldiers outside the hospital.

The doctor said he saw one doctor handcuffed and interrogated.

"Even in a war, a doctor should not be treated like that," said al-Houssona, who is still at the hospital. It lacks running water, an adequate supply of electricity and drugs.

"There are two faces to Americans. One is freedom and democracy, and giving kids sweets. The other is killing and hating my people. So I am very confused," al-Houssona told the Times. "I feel sad because I will never see Jessica again, and I feel happy because she is happy and has gone back to her life. If I could speak to her I would say congratulations."

Sempers,

Roger

thedrifter
04-19-03, 05:22 PM
Lynch's memory
is incomplete
Officials say former POW
does not remember capture

By The Associated Press
Saturday April 19, 2003; 10:03 AM

Rescued prisoner of war Jessica Lynch has told debriefers in Washington that she doesn't remember anything between the time her convoy was attacked and when she regained consciousness in an Iraqi hospital, military officials said.

The military is still trying to piece together what happened to the 19-year-old private first class and other members of the Army's 507th Maintenance Company after their convoy was ambushed in the southern city of Nasiriyah on March 23.

Lynch's final memory of the attack is of a rocket-propelled grenade hitting the vehicle she was riding in, officials said Friday.

The five other members of Lynch's company who were held captive and freed this week also are being interviewed to try to determine what happened, along with other soldiers who escaped the ambush and Iraqis who witnessed the incident, officials said.

Lynch, who turns 20 on April 26, was the first of six missing members of the 507th to be found alive following the ambush. The Palestine native was rescued from an Iraqi hospital in a commando raid on April 1, reportedly after a tip from an Iraqi lawyer whose wife was a nurse in the hospital.

Shortly after Lynch was rescued, the Washington Post reported she had used up all of her ammunition in trying to fight off attacking Iraqis. That account, which apparently came from either Iraqi or American witnesses, has not been confirmed, military officials said Friday.

One account said the soldier who emptied her weapon had been shot and stabbed with a bayonet. Lynch wasn't stabbed, which suggests the soldier in question was Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 23, Lynch's roommate and the first woman to die in combat during the war, one official said.

Meanwhile, Lynch continues her recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"She continues to see improvement," said Sgt. Maj. Kiki Bryant, a hospital spokeswoman.

The Army supply clerk is undergoing occupational and physical therapy and isn't likely to return to West Virginia anytime soon.

"She certainly will not be home within the next few weeks," said Randy Coleman, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Lynch's parents, Greg and Deadra Lynch, are staying at the Walter Reed Fisher House to be near their daughter while she recuperates.

Her 21-year-old brother, Greg Lynch Jr., and 18-year-old sister, Brandi, returned to Wirt County on Wednesday but plan to return to the hospital over the weekend. Lynch Jr., who also is a private first class based at Fort Bragg, N.C., has been on leave from his Army post since his sister was captured.

Sempers,

Roger