Saving Private Lynch

ASIRIYA, Iraq, April 20 — First, there was a huge explosion. Then, the helicopters filled with soldiers landed on the hospital grounds.

They moved through the wards destroying doors with plastic explosives and yelling, “Go! Go! Go!” They stopped and handcuffed everyone they found.

“It was just like a Hollywood movie,” Dr. Harith al-Houssona, a witness, said. “But there was louder shouting and scarier bombs.”

The rescue of Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch from an Iraqi hospital here on April 2 was described by military officials in Qatar and Kuwait as a picture-perfect pinpoint strike. But a ground-level view of the mission, provided by two Iraqi doctors who witnessed it, suggests that it was a harrowing and complicated operation that included far more than simply saving an injured prisoner of war.

— snip —

Private Lynch was kept alone in a single room, where her nurses would sing her to sleep each night. But as the shelling and shooting intensified near Nasiriya, her doctors moved her to a crowded ward. It was better to hide her in plain sight, they said. After all, as the Americans drew near, Iraqi intelligence agents were certain to take her away.

“When they showed up, I had the nurses tell them she was dead,” Dr. Houssona said. “They asked the nurses, `So where is the cadaver?’ They told them so many people had died at the hospital that we simply threw the bodies out the door.”

Sensing the end was near, the doctors devised a plan. They hired a driver to sneak Private Lynch in an ambulance to an American checkpoint. But when the driver drew near to the American troops, they stopped his car and turned it around before the driver had a chance to speak.

I wonder if those details will make it into the exciting tv movie version? (Full story here.)