The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, July 24, 2003  

The Choices Not Made

We know who she is. We just don’t know what she is.

Pfc. Jessica Lynch yesterday returned home to Palestine, W.Va., to a “hero’s welcome” that may or may not have been deserved, “hero” being a word that is much abused in our current culture.

That’s not meant to be disrespectful. Pfc. Lynch, by nearly all accounts, performed admirably under trying circumstances. She deserves -- she has earned -- our best wishes, our gratitude, and our appreciation.

But more important, let’s not forget that Pfc. Lynch didn’t choose her fate. Yes, she chose to join the Army, but she didn’t choose to be sent to Iraq, and she sure as hell didn’t choose to be badly injured in an accident that apparently stemmed, at least in part, from her not having chosen to work amid Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s poorly equipped supply lines in the dark of a desert night.

Above all, Pfc. Lynch didn’t choose to be used in a publicity stunt. She didn’t choose to star in the Media/Pentagon’s feature film -- a film that, to this day, has not been shown publicly in its entirety -- designed to blunt the then-growing, and increasingly scathing, criticism of the Bush administration and cynically to reverse the President’s sagging standing in public opinion polls during the early days of the war on Iraq.

So, we know she’s a soldier, but is she a hero? Is she a pawn? Is she a convenience quickly to be forgotten, her utility to the cause completely spent?

And as Ron Shapella, an astute reader of Media Whores Online, observed there yesterday, is it possible Pfc. Lynch is . . . a Democrat?

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