July 25, 2003


Reuters correspondent Deanna Wrenn disowns Reuters:

This is from a story that Reuters news service ran this week with my byline:

"Jessica Lynch, the wounded Army private whose ordeal in Iraq was hyped into a media fiction of U.S. heroism, was set for an emotional homecoming on Tuesday . . . Media critics say the TV cameras will not show the return of an injured soldier so much as a reality-TV drama co-produced by U.S. government propaganda and credulous reporters."

Got problems with that?

I do, especially since I didn't write it.

Way to go, Reuters. Way to go to hell.

(Via Chuck Simmins.)

Posted by Tim Blair at July 25, 2003 03:09 AM

Meanwhile . . . you would think the press would have learned their lesson about misquoting Wolfowitz, but no.

Posted by: Yehudit at July 25, 2003 at 03:49 AM

Katie Couric (sp. who cares?) learned nothing either as she recently spouted that Jessica Lynch / blanks / fake rescue / ambulance-driver-tried-but-was-shot-at canard that Baghdad Broadcasting Corp. tried to peddle a few weeks ago.

Alright, I need a shout-out: who is surprised at Reuters' mendacious and deceptive re-write of Ms. Wrenn's dispatch?

[crickets chirping]

That's what I figured...

Posted by: Tongue Boy at July 25, 2003 at 04:11 AM

On a lighter news note -

*General Husam (Hossam) Mohammed Amin capture*

"He looked up at her and all he could say was 'You're a woman.' Heather told him 'Yeah, but that doesn't mean I won't put a bullet through your head.'"

Posted by: John Anderson at July 25, 2003 at 05:12 AM

Now that's what I call feminism. Perfect.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at July 25, 2003 at 08:12 AM

A writer to salon.com made an interesting point about Lynch's Bronze Star:

"It was wonderful to see Pfc. Jessica Lynch in such good spirits. She went through a terrible ordeal, and we are all proud of her as an American soldier. She received a Purple Heart, a POW medal, and a Bronze Star. I have a problem with her Bronze Star. It's not a huge problem for me, but it sticks in my craw and I can't seem to spit it out, despite the effort.

Here's a Bronze Star citation from another era:

"Private First Class Brendan E. McIntyre, 16065174, 82d Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, United States Army. For heroic achievement in action against the enemy on 10 October 1944 in Germany. At approximately 1100A two platoons of Company "A," 82d Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, were outputted southeast of Oidweilder, Germany, when a heavy artillery barrage wounded four men of an adjacent tank unit. With absolute disregard for his own personal safety, Private First Class McIntyre and three men left the safety of their foxholes and went to the aid of these men. Although the three other men were wounded by a following barrage, Private First Class McIntyre continued to give aid to all seven until they were evacuated to the rear. At approximately 1300A the same day, his Platoon Sergeant was wounded by artillery fire. Although he had been relieved from outpost, Private First Class McIntyre again went forward and evacuated the Platoon Sergeant to the rear. During the entire time, Private First Class Mclntyre displayed extreme courage and initiative beyond the call of duty. Entered Military Service from Michigan."

Jessica Lynch was traveling in a supply vehicle that failed to keep up with a convoy, got lost, was attacked by Iraqi forces and rendered unconscious, and never fired her weapon. She was taken hostage and later rescued. To cheapen the Bronze Star by giving it away like a campaign ribbon does a great disservice to those previous awardees acting consciously and with extraordinary valor. It seems that over the years the benchmark for military valor has slipped considerably. If the Bronze Star is perceived as being ordinary, then it means nothing.

In addition to Jessica Lynch, every one of the soldiers killed in that same April 1st action received posthumous Bronze Stars. In Serbia during 2000, over a hundred Bronze Stars were awarded, mostly to officers who never saw a battlefield. Pfc. Lynch's citation -- and those of the other soldiers -- detailing the circumstances of the military action is not yet widely available, but when it does surface, I trust that the specific wording of the citations meets the historically minimal benchmark for heroism established in awarding the Bronze Star -- "heroic or meritorious achievement or service." By way of comparison of today's criteria, had Jessica Lynch performed to the level Pfc. McIntyre 60 years ago, she would probably have received the Medal of Honor.

Jessica Lynch rightly received two other medals -- the Purple Heart and a POW medal -- and she should wear them proudly. But she should also return the Bronze Star as a personal statement of integrity, recognizing that she did not meet the high standard set by the men and women of our armed forces over the years who so rightly deserved it.

-- Michael Sadler"


Posted by: Tiu Fu Fong at July 25, 2003 at 10:55 AM

Eh. The inflation of the Bronze Star dates back to Vietnam. It's forty years too late to restore it to its WWII status. Since she got the basic medal, not a Bronze Star with V, it's not really out of line under the modern standards.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at July 25, 2003 at 11:32 AM

W.L. is right in that Bronze Star inflation for Valor awards dates back to Viet Nam -- but the plain old Bronze Star has always been a combat service merit badge. Here's a quote from the U.S. Army web site:

" a. The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962).

b. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the Un ited States is not a belligerent party."

Bottom line is you just gotta have been there and done a little something extra.

Lynch qualifies more than a bunch I've seen...

Posted by: Ken White at July 25, 2003 at 12:25 PM

What was her something extra? If it was just the act of passing out, being captured and being rescued, that's a little passive, isn't it?

Posted by: Tiu Fu Fong at July 25, 2003 at 01:46 PM

That's how the wire services treat you when you're just a 'stringer.' They play to your byline vanity and then pay you peanuts. Don't expect 'em to use you again, either. But congratulations for blowing their cover.

Posted by: Carl at July 25, 2003 at 02:20 PM

My dad got a Bronze Star in WW II. The citation read for exemplary service during wartime. Giving gongs out added to the points necessary to get sent home. Dad was senior non com, one of 13 in the unit from the beginning. His commanding officer felt he should get to go home, so the award.

Posted by: Chuck at July 26, 2003 at 12:03 AM

Just to add to what my brother (Chuck) posted: I've never met a medal winner who begrudged another medal winner their prize. The only people who bitch about such things are people who sit on the butts and read blogs all day, then consider themselves experts on everything -- including the criteria for Bronze Stars.

Posted by: John Simmins at July 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM

Well said, John.

Posted by: R Roberts at July 26, 2003 at 03:55 AM

You have to make a distiction between the plain Bronze Star and the Bronze Star with "V" for Valor. Nowhere I've read has said that her award is with the "V device". Without the V the star is presented for meritorous service. It is with the addition of the V device that it becomes an award for "Valorious" service. awarding of medals is seldom completely fair. Jimmy Doolittle (a true hero I am not demeaning him or his medal here) received the Medal of Honor for the bombing raid over Tokyo even though every crew member on every B24 did exactly the same thing as he, other than actually leading the mission, but he alone got the MOH, he accepting it on behalf of all participants, but still he alone actually got the MOH

Posted by: Two in the Hat at July 26, 2003 at 04:11 AM

Correction to above; Jimmy's mission was in B25's, not B24 (never would have gotten a B24 off the deck of a carrier!)

Posted by: Two in the Hat at July 26, 2003 at 04:29 AM

Tu Tu Fong:

Go to a war, for whatever reason, get a couple of pins in your legs -- then you can knock someone who did that.

I've got two of 'em (Bronze Stars)and in my view, she's more entitled to hers than I am to mine; all I did was survive two grunt tours.

Chuck and John have got it right.

Posted by: Ken vWhite at July 26, 2003 at 04:55 AM

I didn't make one thing clear in my other post; I've got a few medals myself from the UA Army and I have no problem with Jessica getting the Bronze Star. Wrecked trying to fight their was out of an ambush, survived a major firefight, taken prisnoner by a lunatic foe, rescued by spec ops. I think it worthy of the Bronze Star. By all accounts she conducted herself well during this engagement.

Posted by: Two in the Hat at July 26, 2003 at 06:17 AM

US Army, not "UA" army

Posted by: Two in the Hat at July 26, 2003 at 06:23 AM