Jessica Lynch survived an auto accident. I've been in a nasty
one myself, so I won't splash ice water on her ordeal, but that's
what it was: a car crash. She's less Alvin
York than a lucky Princess Di. If the vultures at Knopf had
any style, they would have hired J.G.
Ballard to write her story.
does have a story, of course, and an audience conditioned to slurp
it up. She's a survivor, and, as Destiny's
Child and every episode of Behind
the Music remind us, survival is the only virtue in our
positivist age. On this point, the godless and the godly agree,
as shown by Gen.
William Boykin's recent remarks to evangelicals. Regarding
his efforts to nab a Somali warlord:
knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real
god and his was an idol."
Bush's Electoral College victory in 2000:
is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did
not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him
there for a time such as this."
the difficulties of moral analysis, which emphasizes struggle
and admits that good often loses. Survivors are righteous; the
righteous survive. Osama and Saddam believe it as much as the
fundies awaiting Rapture
and the neocons standing athwart history shouting, "It's over!"
if it's all
over but the shouting, then at least we know why Knopf tapped
renowned copy editor Rick Bragg to
tell Lynch's story. What really happened outside Nasiriya? You'll
find all the eye-poppin' details in Bragg's I Am a Soldier,
Too. "[S]napping bones"! "[T]he crash of the Humvee"!
"[T]he torment her enemies inflicted on her"! Sodomy! And if that
doesn't send your dander up the flagpole, check out Because
Each Life Is Precious by Iraqi ambulance-chaser Mohammed
Odeh al-Rehaief. His tales of slap-happy Ba'athists informed
Jessica Lynch, the start of a cross-promotional attack
that includes Lynch appearances on Today, Letterman, and
the cover of Time.
this hoopla is bound to make some people a little ornery. Lt.
Col. David Hackworth, who lugs around a medal or two, has already questioned
how Lynch won a Bronze Star with her eyes closed. Shoshana
Johnson, who was actually shot (twice) in the firefight at Nasiriya,
receives one-third the disability
benefit of her millionaire comrade, and Johnson's father
finds that odd. Another father, Randy Keihl, whose son James
was one of 11 soldiers killed in the ambush, has charged
profiteering. There probably won't be much mirth among the
nameless at Walter Reed this
come not to harry Lynch, nor to praise her. The teasers for her
Primetime interview show
her politely dismissing the people and propaganda clinging
to her coattails. She won't confirm the rape
charge Bragg plays up and Iraqis deny, but given its value
in promoting her book, she must be under pressure not to deny
it. She has already said (and refrained from saying) enough to
give Scott McClellan and Donald Rumsfeld heartburn. She hasn't
exactly knitted the hawks a sweater.
the focus on Lynch lures eyes away from the ongoing war. No one
expects Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric to do hour-long features
on transfer tubes and amputees, but their Lynch specials should
at least display a banner comparing our
dead against theirs.
They could call it the War Score. Absent any discernible benefits,
we need some way to see who's surviving more.
~ Matthew Barganier
recent column by Matthew Barganier
as Virtue: The Real Jessica Lynch Story
Refighting the Good Fight
Defends General Boykin, Rumsfeld
You Got, Like, Totally Plamed
a Meaningful Yom Kippur
Every Person Should Know About War
Argument, Meet Matt Welch
Dean Is a Warmonger
a Blackout, Dimwits Are Easy to Spot
if You Lived There?
Autumn of the Patriarchs
Will Timothy McVeigh Strike Next?
Blair Polling Well in Hell's Eighth Circle
I'll Be Celebrating on the Fourth
Needs a Gore News Channel
Sharon, Tear Down Those Empty Mobile Homes!
WMDs? Fabulous, but Still Beside the Point
All Israelis Now Except for the Palestinians
the Cynicism Begin!
Guest Column from National Review
Aural MOAB for the Middle East
Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge,
LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined
the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State
University and the University of Alabama.