was like a Hollywood film. They cried, 'Go, go, go', with guns and
blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show - an action movie
like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan, with jumping and shouting,
breaking down doors." All the time with the camera rolling. The
Americans took no chances, restraining doctors and a patient who was
handcuffed to a bed frame.
The BBC has asked the
Pentagon to release the complete tape of the rescue, not just the edited
version handed out at the time, but the Pentagon has refused. That's
hardly suprising, but what is surprising is that even the British
military liason, Simon Wren, was furious about the poor job that the
Pentagon did with the media:
Towards the end of the
conflict, Wren wrote a confidential five-page letter to Alastair
Campbell complaining that the American briefers weren't up to the job.
He described the Lynch presentation as embarrassing.
Wren yesterday described the Lynch incident as "hugely overblown" and
symptomatic of a bigger problem. "The Americans never got out there and
explained what was going on in the war," he said. "All they needed to
be was open and honest. They were too vague, too scared of engaging with
the media." He said US journalists "did not put them under pressure".
Wren, who had been seconded to the Ministry of Defence, said he tried
on several occasions to persuade Wilkinson and Brooks to change tack.
In London, Campbell did the same with the White House, to no avail. "The
American media didn't put them under pressure so they were allowed to
get away with it," Wren said. "They didn't feel they needed to change."
....The Pentagon has none of the British misgivings about its media
operation. It is convinced that what worked with Jessica Lynch and with
other episodes of this war will work even better in the future.