Saving Private Lynch from an artificial legacy

Monday, April 14, 2003 at 1:00am

It didn't take long for ideological scavengers to descend on the storyline of rescued POW Jessica Lynch. The spunky girl-soldier who fought with grit and survived was a gift to the surface-skimmers who now will subvert her heroic status to their own political ends.

Already the 19-year-old soldier-clerk is being heralded as incontrovertible proof that women are as capable as men in combat. In Florida, Jessica's name is being used in vain to justify resurrection of the colossally superfluous Equal Rights Amendment. If ever there were a time when the ERA has been proven irrelevant, it is now.

Suffice it to say that Pfc. Jessica Lynch didn't need a constitutional amendment to join the Army, to become a prisoner of war, and now to become an icon for people who before this brief intersection of Fate and Politics wouldn't have given her a nickel bag of Lance's peanuts to go with her Nehi grape. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that Hollywood was scouring Lynch's home state of West Virginia in search of an unsophisticated "country" family to ridicule in a reality-TV remake of The Beverly Hillbillies?

In a newsroom minute, the Lynch's clapboard house was converted into a real-time movie set, strung with klieg lights and surrounded with microphones as the media invasion paralleled a Baghdad universe. No question about it: Jessica Lynch is a star. But she is also something else that we fail to note at our peril

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