Reporting Private Lynch
"Saving Private Lynch: Take 2" and "Pentagon Aims Gun at Lynch Reports," Robert Scheer's twin columns detailing the Pentagon's myth-making over the supposed Jessica Lynch, "rescue" generated a torrent of mail, a sampling of which we've published below.
I work for the military and am constantly bombarded with "hoorah," pro-US nonsense. Your series of articles by Robert Scheer regarding the "Saving Private Lynch" fabrications are very encouraging to me. The self-adulation of the US military, even for an active-duty member, is absolutely nauseating. Scheer's work confirms my intuitive yet unconfirmed feeling that the overzealous praise of itself that the US military regularly engages in is not merely an exaggeration but borderline propaganda. Scheer's articles demonstrate that the Pentagon has engaged in pure propaganda and has greatly exceeded its usual practice, egregiously patting itself on the back. Thank you so much for making the truth available.
Just read Robert Scheer's response to the "totally expected" response to his reporting of the Jessica Lynch rescue. The Bush Administration has orchestrated every facet of Bush's presidency, and it continues to amaze me that citizens still believe everything that comes out of the Pentagon/White House!
I recall a similar situation when his father was President--does anyone remember the hospital in Kuwait where they "found" babies who did not have proper equipment to help them and the Kuwaiti girl who showed the soldiers through the hospital? Oooooops...turns out she's the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador! If the reporters hadn't stumbled on that little fact, the American people would still be none the wiser.
Because the media are now controlled by a select few corporations, Americans are going to have to be even more vigilant about what they see and hear. And the FCC has just made things worse. For myself, I no longer listen to anything put out by CNN or Fox and have never listened to the other three network news reports.
Keep up the good work, Mr. Scheer. More reporters like yourself are needed to sniff out the stench of what is being reported as "fact."
Keep getting these stories out to the public. It's far too easy for the Bush Administration to attack individual journalists. We need our own army of journalists to keep the heat on the Bush Administration by getting the truth out. Keep researching what's happened and continues to happen in the Iraq debacle (and everywhere else) and somehow get it out to the public. Let Bill O'Reilly scream about it on his show...we need the publicity!
The Pentagon's myth-making over the rescue of Jessica Lynch isn't its first attempt at going Hollywood. If I recall correctly, footage of artillery training was passed to the news media as footage of the battle for Richmond Hill Prison in the 1983 invasion of Grenada.
On October 25, the media ran the government's report that "an initial attack Tuesday on the prison was repulsed by Cuban and Grenadian defenders." The next day, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger told a national TV audience that "the principal areas of resistance still are at Richmond Hill." And on October 27, the government said "armed Cubans who held out at Richmond Hill Prison were finally overrun by attacking troops."
Problem is, the very afternoon Weinberger was on TV, Time reporter Bernard Diederich and two colleagues had ambled into the Richmond Hill Prison. They had arrived by boat after the invasion, despite the military ban on media. Diederich found neither defenders nor prison guards. He released the political prisoners, advised the others to stay the night and promised to ask the Marines to send food.
The initial attack Tuesday and the battles of Wednesday and Thursday were all fictitious. There was no enemy at Richmond Hill.
"[It was] traumatic," Diederich wrote, "to find out that everything we were listening to was untrue."
Grenada also produced: government reports of a "rescue" of reporters from heavy fighting when there was neither a rescue nor heavy fighting; a weeklong denial of civilian casualties, despite the bombing of a mental hospital; and a "secret surprise" invasion from which the US media were excluded but about which Havana and Moscow were alerted by Washington.
Not surprisingly, the need to invade Grenada at all was a fabrication. President Reagan said on October 25 that the invasion would never have happened if the airports on Grenada had not been closed by the "radical new regime" and if Americans had been allowed to leave. On October 31 the Administration acknowledged the truth of the Los Angeles Times reports that the airports had been open and that Americans had left the island on four chartered planes the day before the invasion.
Please continue to support Robert Scheer. His reporting of the Jessica Lynch "rescue" is just the type of reporting that we desperately need in this country. I hope he will continue to conduct his research in a scrupulous manner, as he has in the past, and that management will support him. In the words of Edward R. Murrow:"No one person can terrorize a whole nation, unless we all are his accomplices." Robert Scheer is certainly no accomplice.
JAMES N. CONNER