Image: Jessica Lynch
Former POW Jessica Lynch was captured March 23 after her convoy was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. She was rescued from an Iraqi hospital April 1 by U.S. forces.
updated 11/7/2003 3:48:08 AM ET 2003-11-07T08:48:08

Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch said the U.S. military was wrong to manipulate the story of her dramatic rescue and should not have filmed it in the first place.

THE 20-YEAR-OLD private told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a “Primetime” interview to air Tuesday that she was bothered by the military’s portrayal of her ordeal.

“They used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff,” she said in an excerpt from the interview, posted Friday on the network’s Web site. “It hurt in a way that people would make up stories that they had no truth about,” she said.

She also said there was no reason for her rescue from an Iraqi hospital to be filmed. “It’s wrong,” she said.

The former Army supply clerk suffered broken bones and other injuries when her maintenance convoy was attacked in the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah on March 23. U.S. forces rescued Lynch at a Nasiriyah hospital April 1.

‘I DID NOT SHOOT’

Early reports had Lynch fighting her attackers until she ran out of ammunition and suffering knife and bullet wounds. Military officials later acknowledged that Lynch wasn’t shot, but was hurt after her Humvee utility vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed into another vehicle.

Lynch told Sawyer she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that her gun 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. And that’s the last I remember.”

Lynch said she was terrified and feared for her life during her time in the Iraqi hospital, and didn’t believe she was being rescued until she was being evacuated in a U.S. helicopter. Then, Lynch said, she felt, “My God, this is real. I’m going home.”

Footage of the rescue was aired repeatedly on television networks reporting how a special forces team bravely fought into and out of the hospital. “I don’t think it happened quite like that,” Lynch said.

But she praised the soldiers who rescued her. “They’re the ones that came in to rescue me. Those are my heroes ... I’m so thankful that they did what they did. They risked their lives. They didn’t know, you know, who was in there.”

NO MEMORY OF RAPE

On Thursday, newspaper reports revealed Lynch had been raped during her capture. The assault was revealed in Lynch’s authorized biography — “I am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story.” The 207-page book will be released by publisher Alfred A. Knopf on Tuesday, Veterans Day.

According to the newspapers, the rape was documented by medical records. Lynch told Sawyer she has no recollection of the attack. “Even just the thinking about that, that’s too painful,” she said.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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