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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 18:11 GMT
Jessica Lynch condemns Pentagon
Private Jessica Lynch after her rescue by US Special Forces
Private Jessica Lynch was reportedly rescued after a tip-off
A US woman soldier who shot to fame after being taken prisoner during the Iraq war has accused the military of using her for propaganda purposes.

A video of US commandos carrying a badly injured Private Jessica Lynch from a Nasiriya hospital was released at the height of the conflict.

But the 20-year-old criticised the release of false information about her capture by Iraqi forces.

She also said there was no reason for her rescue to be filmed.

In her first interview about what happened to her, the former prisoner-of-war told ABC television that medical reports indicated that she had been raped.

They used me as a way to symbolise all this stuff. It's wrong
Jessica Lynch
She said she had no recollection of the attack. "Even just the thinking about that, that's too painful," she told interviewer Diane Sawyer.

Miss Lynch, who was serving as an Army supply clerk, suffered broken bones and other injuries when her convoy was ambushed after taking a wrong turn near the Iraqi town of Nasiriya on 23 March.

The Pentagon initially put out the story that Private Lynch - a slight woman who was just 19 at the time - had been wounded by Iraqi gunfire but had kept fighting until her ammunition ran out.

But she told Sawyer that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that her gun had jammed during the chaos.

"I'm not about to take credit for something I didn't do," she said.

"I did not shoot - not a round, nothing. I went down praying to my knees - that's the last thing I remember."

Initial reports also suggested that Miss Lynch had been abused after she came round in the hospital. She says that again was untrue - there was no mistreatment, and one nurse used to sing to her.

She said she was grateful to the American special forces team which rescued her but, asked whether the Pentagon's subsequent portrayal of her rescue bothered her, she said: "Yes, it does. They used me as a way to symbolise all this stuff. It's wrong."


Miss Lynch was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals while still in hospital in Washington DC.

Months later, she is receiving treatment for her extensive injuries.

Earlier this week, it emerged that medical evidence suggested that Miss Lynch had been raped during her capture.

The assault was revealed in extracts from Miss Lynch's authorised biography - I am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story - to be released by publisher Alfred A Knopf on Tuesday.

Jessica Lynch 'raped' in Iraq
06 Nov 03  |  Americas
Private Lynch signs $1m book deal
03 Sep 03  |  Americas
Army 'error' led to Lynch capture
10 Jul 03  |  Americas
US rejects BBC Lynch report
20 May 03  |  Americas
Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed'
15 May 03  |  Correspondent

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