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Thread: Atrocities Against Americans
02-12-04, 09:36 AM #1
Atrocities Against Americans
ATROCITIES AGAINST AMERICANS
2/6/2004 3:10:00 PM
What Really Happened After the Ambush?
A new development in the story of former POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch should give pause to anyone who promotes the assignment of female soldiers in or near direct ground combat units.
In the fall of 2003 American doctors who examined Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch after her rescue from Iraq confirmed that she had been brutally sodomized by Iraqi thugs. The abuse reportedly occurred shortly after the violent ambush of the 507th Maintenance Unit on March 23, 2003, during a three to four hour period when Lynch was unconscious. (See “Jessica Lynch Reality Shatters Amazon Myths,” at link posted below.)
On March 23, 2003, Al Jazeera TV broadcast a video of five frightened POWs and the bodies of several American soldiers, some of whom appeared to have been executed point-blank. Now we know that a second videotape was produced somewhere in the same building. According to NBC and other news reports, the building served as a headquarters for Iraqi fedayeen and also included a small medical facility. MSNBC reporters who inspected the property later found a metal bed, car battery, and electrodes there—devices commonly used for purposes of torture. They also found the bloodied uniform of a female American soldier.
War Crimes—Where is the Outrage?
On December 30, 2003, NBC Evening News aired excerpts of the second chilling video, which they said had been recently released by an Iraqi who had taken a copy home prior to the bombing of the Al Jazeera television station. The edited video showed two female soldiers, Privates Jessica Lynch and Lori Piestewa, suffering and near death. One can only imagine how the public would have reacted if they had seen the ghastly images earlier—especially during a time of setbacks and controversy on the battlefield.
The camera focuses in on 19 year-old Pfc. Lynch, whose deathly pale face is surrounded by loose bandages. Lynch looks very small and frail, with a lacerated lip and eyes that appear dazed behind stuck-together eyelashes. The heartbreaking sight confirms the account in Lynch’s own book, I Am a Soldier Too, indicating that she was unconscious and unable to remember what happened to her during the first three-to-four hours following the ambush.
In the bed next to Lynch lies her best friend, Pfc. Piestewa, a Hopi Indian and single mother of two small children, whose ordeal may have been worse because she was conscious. Bandages frame her bruised and bloodied face, and she grimaces in pain when an Iraqi man roughly grabs her hair and twists her head so that the swollen features of her lips and face are more visible to the camera.
The two women probably incurred some of their injuries when their Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and crashed into a sidetracked 5-ton truck Army truck. Still, the appearance of raw facial injuries is consistent with the American doctors’ report that Lynch had been violated and brutalized sometime during the first three or four hours of captivity. Most credible accounts say that after the cruelty ended, medics in the Fedayeen-controlled building gave the two women minimal first aid and bandages, which are visible in the Iraqi video aired by NBC.
There are no reports that Lori Piestewa survived beyond that point, but the still-unconscious Jessica Lynch was later transferred to the Hussein General Hospital in Nasiriyah. By all accounts she was treated there with kindness by the staff, with the exception of a doctor’s stated attempt to amputate her leg, which Lynch successfully resisted.
On April 1 the nation rejoiced when a multi-service Special Operations Task Force successfully rescued Pvt. Lynch from the Hussein General Hospital. The Task Force also recovered the bodies of several American soldiers, including Lori Piestewa, buried in nearby shallow graves.
Muted Media Coverage
Less than a year ago, major print and broadcast media were creating a hyped-up Amazon warrior myth centering on Jessica Lynch. Following the lead of the Washington Post, most rushed to portray her as a smiling, flag-bedecked teenage Iraqi slayer who was captured only when her ammunition ran out. The Department of Defense allowed the legend to stand, even though doctors in Germany knew it was not true shortly after her rescue.
To her credit, Jessica Lynch refused to step into the ready-made celebrity legend that others had created for her. She also showed integrity during her November interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. When asked whether it was difficult to include the American doctors’ reports of sexual assault in her book, Lynch courageously replied that it was. She added, however, that “…people need to know…what kind of people that they are, and… how they treat the female soldiers that are over there.”
Almost immediately, some feminists who had lauded Lynch for exploits that never happened backed away from acknowledging combat realities that really did happen.
Privacy, Political Correctness, and the Public Interest
The disturbing videotape aired on December 30, with little notice to the families, must have horrified them. Other Army families suffered great anguish upon seeing the bodies of unidentified male soldiers whose bodies were cruelly displayed on Al Jazeera TV. The truth about war is always painful to see, but the American people have a right to know how all of our soldiers are treated by the enemy, whether female soldiers are involved or not.
The problem is that truth is hard to find, or visible only in obscure local newspapers or confidential investigations that Pentagon officials are reluctant to discuss. Reports of evacuation rates and absences due to medical conditions, including pregnancy, are couched in sex-neutral terms. The technique promotes the myth that men and women are interchangeable and equally likely to deploy in all military occupations.
Never mind that in the first Gulf War, when specific data was readily available, the percentage of personnel loss rates were known to be 3½ to four times greater than those of men. These losses were primarily due to pregnancy and family/child care issues that are just as prevalent today. An important difference is that the American military does not have as many extra troops to move around and fill in the gaps.
NBC deserves credit for airing the second graphic video, even though the inexplicable script cushioned the impact by suggesting that the video images proved that Lynch and Piestewa had been well cared for in captivity. The segment also included former Spec. Shoshana Johnson, who was captured on the same day but rescued with four male POWs in northern Iraq. Johnson made equally incomprehensible remarks consistent with NBC’s diversionary theme.
Following the New Year holiday weekend, CMR finally reached military public affairs officials to ask whether investigators of the war crimes in Nasirayah had seen the NBC videotape—in its entirety. Several officials denied knowledge of any investigation at all. CMR later learned that Army Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an investigation of what happened to all soldiers killed or captured from the 507th Maintenance Unit. There is no planned date for release of a report.
This is unfortunate, since respect for women in the military requires full understanding of what they are facing under Clinton-era rules that have never been tested before. In 1994, then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin eliminated “substantial risk of capture” as a factor in assigning female soldiers, even in support units. (See CMR Report No. 16, “Why American Servicewomen are Serving at Greater Risk,” posted here: http://www.cmrlink.org/CMRNotes/M38V8CCMRRPT16.pdf)
Official secrecy has also blocked information about what happened to the men. A December 28, 2003, feature article in the West Virginia Sunday Gazette-Mail described a disturbing scene mentioned in Lynch’s book (p. 77) After her rifle jammed and she could only crouch down in the Humvee speeding through Nasiriyah, “she saw people she had worked and lived with for months dead and bleeding by the roadside, while Iraqi troops celebrated and dragged them away.”
Investigations of war crimes require discretion and respect for privacy concerns, but will we ever know what really happened to the men and women of the ill-fated 507th ? And when will the United States government demand appropriate action under the war crimes provisions of the Geneva Convention?
The Center for Military Readiness will continue to monitor the situation and file FOIA inquiries, if necessary, in order to complete the historical record of the second major gender-integrated war.
Americans for the Military
The risk of combat violence cannot be eliminated entirely, but policy makers in the Pentagon should view the entire Iraqi video, and forget about political correctness as defined by Pentagon feminists during the past ten years. Brave women are serving well in the military, but it is time to consider whether it is wise to expose women in support units to a “substantial risk of capture” under expendable rules adopted by the Clinton Administration.
02-12-04, 09:37 AM #2
Lynch wrote in her book that during the most terrifying moments of the ambush, when she was watching from the back seat while her friend was driving through hell in a Humvee, she kept protesting in frantic prayers that she and Lori weren’t supposed to be there at all. Both expected non-combat jobs in support units far from the front line. Neither woman seemed aware that the rules had changed and that a “substantial risk of capture” was part of their job description.
The irony is that feminists who keep pushing to get other women into situations such as this practically faint when they hear of a women in uniform who feels harassed if a male colleague so much as looks at her “funny.” To be consistent, supporters of women in the military should join CMR and others who abhor violence against women, regardless of the setting.
The Center for Military Readiness has initiated the Americans for the Military petition to President George W. Bush, asking him to direct Pentagon officials to find a way so that women can serve in the military without unnecessary exposure to greater, unequal risks if captured in ground combat. More than 20,000 individuals and 15 other major organizations have endorsed the petition, which is available for signatures at www.americansforthemilitary.com.
02-12-04, 03:23 PM #3
This article makes excellent arguments about why women should be kept out of combat AND close support billets. In the event of capture, women are more at risk for sexual assault. Men never worry about that, since male on male sex isn't natural. To intentionally place oneself in a situation where one might be captured, due to the fluidity of battle, and possibly subjected to sexual assault isn't very smart.
An obliquely added consideration is the fact that women can leave their units, or the service, in order to give birth. That is an option their male counterparts don't have available. The result is a unit left understrength until a replacement can be assigned. Not a good thing when you're in a war zone. The force readiness has also been altered to allow females to qualify for tougher assignments. Someone needs to convince any enemy we meet to take it easy, because there might be women in our ranks facing them. OOPS!]NRRRRKK[ Wrong answer, you lose!
It is also interesting to note Pvt. Lynch wrote that her weapon jammed. I thought the M16's problems had been worked out. Its been in our inventory for forty years. Part of Lynch's problem might have been the fact she wasn't a grunt, and might not have been serious about her rifle and its functions. Only she knows.
Thanks for the links to the Center for Military Readiness.
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