The Jessica Lynch Story Just Keeps Getting Better & Better
The Iraqi Hero Of The Jessica Lynch Story: There’s apparently an Iraqi who deserves quite a bit of credit for the rescue of American POW Jessica Lynch and his story was just…wow. Here are the highlights…
“The Iraqi man who tipped U.S. Marines to the location of American POW Jessica Lynch said Thursday he did so after he saw her Iraqi captor slap her twice as she lay wounded in a hospital.
“A person, no matter his nationality, is a human being,” the tipster, a 32-year-old lawyer whose wife was a nurse at the hospital, said in an interview at Marines’ headquarters, where he, his wife and daughter are being treated as heroes and guests of honor.
…After he saw Lynch slapped, the lawyer slipped into her room at the Saddam Hospital in Nasiriyah and told her, “Don’t worry.” Then he walked six miles to the nearest U.S. Marines and told them where she was.
…The lawyer, whose first name is Mohammed and who asked that his last name not be published, smiled between every sentence as he recounted in broken but expressive English how he helped the Americans. He learned English at Basra University.
Wearing Marine hand-me-downs after fleeing with only the clothes on their backs, Mohammed, his wife Iman, 32, a nurse at Saddam Hospital, and 6-year-old daughter Abir, seemed surprisingly cheerful for a family on the run.
Grateful Leathernecks showered them with Marine unit patches, a commemorative coin and an American flag on their way to a refugee center near the port of Umm Qsar, where they hope to ride out the war.
“I love America. I like America. Why, I don’t know,” Mohammed said as he recounted the critical role he played in Lynch’s rescue.
…But Mohammed’s tale is one of a man who didn’t like what he saw when he walked into the Saddam Hospital last Friday to visit his wife and was told by a doctor friend that an American woman POW was in the emergency ward.
The friend walked him to the ground-floor ward, taken over by the feared Saddam Fedayeen at the start of the war, and past a window where he saw Lynch, an Army private first class captured after her convoy became lost near Nasiriyah in the opening days of the war.
Her head was bandaged, her right arm was in a sling over a white blanket and she had what Mohammed thought was a gunshot wound to a leg. But her real problem then was the black-uniformed Fedayeen commander who everyone addressed as “colonel.”
The man slapped her, Mohammed said. “One, two,” he added, making single slapping and back slap motions with his right hand. She was very brave, he recalled.
“My heart cut,” Mohammed added, meaning stopped, putting his hand over his chest and grimacing. “There, I have decided to go to Americans to give them important information about the woman prisoner.”
He walked into her room with his doctor friend. “I said ‘Good morning.’ She thought I was a doctor. I say, ‘Don’t worry.’ She smiled,” he recalled.
Doctors treating Lynch wanted to amputate her leg, Mohammed said, but his doctor friend persuaded them not to. His friend, he said, “hates Saddam Hussein and hates security of Saddam Hussein.”
Mohammed said he told his wife to take their daughter to his father’s house for safety, and then set off on foot to find the American troops he had heard were occupying the edges of Nasiriyah.
“This was very dangerous for me because American soldiers shoot,” he said, throwing up his hands in the air to show how he carefully approached what turned out to be the U.S. Marines.
He told them about the woman prisoner, and about a U.S. military uniform he had also seen, presumably of a U.S. soldier killed in the fighting in and around Nasiriyah, some of the heaviest of the war.
They asked him to return to the six-story, 234-bed hospital to gather information on its layout, its hallways, stairways and doors, its basement and whether a helicopter could land on its roof.
He walked back, with no taxis in sight, even as U.S. jets bombed parts of the city of more than 500,000 people. “Boom, boom. I walked under bombs. Fire, Fire,” Mohammed recalled.
He did the same thing the next day to report back to the Marines.
There were 41 Fedayeen based at the hospital, with four guarding Lynch’s room in civilian clothes but armed with AK-47 assault rifles and carrying radios.
“I drew them a map. I drew them five maps,” he said, plainly relishing his cloak-and-dagger missions into the heart of Saddam’s terror network.
Fedayeen raided his house the next day, he said, taking away all his possessions and even his car, a Russian-made Muscovitch Brazilia 680. He said a neighbor was shot and her body dragged through the streets just for waving at a U.S. helicopter.
“Very bad people,” he said. “There is no kindness in my heart for them.”
…Mohammed and his family are now officially “temporary refugees.”
After showers, Mohammed put on an oversized green Marine pullover, his wife put on one of the gray T-shirts that MTV donated to the Leathernecks and his daughter was covered to her knees in a green T-shirt from a Marine chemical warfare unit.
But Mohammed did not appear despondent, as his wife smiled and stayed shyly in the background and daughter Abir played with a neon-green illumination stick given to her by a Marine.
“I am very happy,” he said, adding that his wife wants to work in a hospital helping Americans and that he is eager to help the Marines any way he can until he can return home to Nasiriyah and resume his normal life.
“In future, when Saddam Hussein down, I will go back to Nasiriyah because my house and office are there,” he said. As for the Fedayeen, he said, “when Saddam Hussein down, I sure they go away.”
“Believe me, not only I, all the people of Iraq, not the people in the government, like Americans,” Mohammed said. “They want to help the Americans, but they are all afraid.”
All I can is say is that this guy risked his life, the life of his family, and everything he owns to help an American soldier in trouble and we BETTER make sure he’s well taken care of.