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Pentagon Disputes Lynch Rescue Charges

May 26, 2003

I take strong exception to the accusations in Robert Scheer's tirade on the Jessica Lynch rescue (Commentary, May 20). Scheer's claims are outrageous, patently false and unsupported by the facts. He cites an anonymous source in a Washington Post story and questions the credibility of the Iraqi lawyer who provided details about Lynch's whereabouts yet takes at face value the allegations made by other Iraqis to the BBC. That he relies on third-party sources for the information upon which he draws his conclusions is no excuse.

No one within the Department of Defense "manufactured" the news about Lynch's rescue. A joint team of U.S. military forces put their lives on the line in a hostile area during combat operations to accomplish the mission. Official spokespeople in Qatar and in Washington, as well as the footage released, reflected the events accurately and as fully as possible based on information from troops and commanders who were directly involved in the rescue. To suggest otherwise is an insult and does a grave disservice to the brave men and women involved.

That Scheer would simply repeat the BBC's claims without talking to the Defense Department or independently verifying them makes it clear he is more interested in spurious charges than in the facts.

Victoria Clarke

Assistant Secretary of

Defense for Public Affairs

Washington

*

Scheer's revelation that Lynch's rescue was staged is truly astounding and scary. It looks as if Michael Moore was right on at the Academy Awards when he said that Bush is a fictitious president conducting a fictitious war. A plea to the Democrats: Please get your act together for our nation's sake.

Dan Fidelman

Los Angeles

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