JESSICA LYNCH UPDATE….The Guardian has a long article today about the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch. Basically, it says that she wasn’t shot, she got good care in the Iraqi hospital, and there were no Iraqi soldiers there on the day of the rescue ? and the Americans knew it. But even so:
“It was like a Hollywood film. They cried, ‘Go, go, go’, with guns and blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show – an action movie like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan, with jumping and shouting, breaking down doors.” All the time with the camera rolling. The Americans took no chances, restraining doctors and a patient who was handcuffed to a bed frame.
The BBC has asked the Pentagon to release the complete tape of the rescue, not just the edited version handed out at the time, but the Pentagon has refused. That’s hardly suprising, but what is surprising is that even the British military liason, Simon Wren, was furious about the poor job that the Pentagon did with the media:
Towards the end of the conflict, Wren wrote a confidential five-page letter to Alastair Campbell complaining that the American briefers weren’t up to the job. He described the Lynch presentation as embarrassing.
Wren yesterday described the Lynch incident as “hugely overblown” and symptomatic of a bigger problem. “The Americans never got out there and explained what was going on in the war,” he said. “All they needed to be was open and honest. They were too vague, too scared of engaging with the media.” He said US journalists “did not put them under pressure”.
Wren, who had been seconded to the Ministry of Defence, said he tried on several occasions to persuade Wilkinson and Brooks to change tack. In London, Campbell did the same with the White House, to no avail. “The American media didn’t put them under pressure so they were allowed to get away with it,” Wren said. “They didn’t feel they needed to change.”
….The Pentagon has none of the British misgivings about its media operation. It is convinced that what worked with Jessica Lynch and with other episodes of this war will work even better in the future.