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November 8, 2003

"And Ain't I A Soldier?"

As my friend pointed out in her journal, Jessica Lynch is not the only female soldier who made the evening news for surviving a violent capture in Iraq. But the other one is getting very different treatment from the media and the government. Gee I wonder why that would be?

Ex-POWs' treatment seems unfair to many

Sunday, NBC will air its made-for-TV movie celebrating Pfc. Jessica Lynch, whose capture and dramatic rescue is the feel-good story of America's war with Iraq.

But some African-Americans don't feel so good about Lynch's story. Instead, they ask: What about Shoshana Johnson?

Johnson, an Army specialist, belonged to the same 507th Maintenance Company as Lynch. Unlike Lynch, Johnson fought to stave off their Iraqi captors. Like Lynch, she sustained serious injuries.

But only Lynch got the headlines, the TV movie, the prime-time television interviews and a biography penned by a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. Lynch, in short, got the full American celebrity treatment, while Johnson largely got ignored. Many African-Americans think that's simply because she didn't have the right ``face.''

African-American suspicions of a racial double standard were reinforced last month when it was revealed that Johnson, who was shot in both ankles, will get only 30 percent of her monthly pay in disability benefits. Lynch, who had a head injury and broken bones in her right arm, right leg, thighs and ankle, will get 80 percent disability pay. Lynch's new book, "I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story,'' says she also was raped by her Iraqi captors.

"Shoshana is getting the shaft, and people are outraged about it,'' said Mary Mason, a Philadelphia talk-radio host whose show was bombarded with callers complaining about the disparity in treatment. ``It's ridiculous, and complete racism...''

I don't think race is the only issue here, but there are a number factors and race is certainly one.

Posted by jsmooth995 at November 8, 2003 5:38 PM

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