COMFORT, Texas -- The father of a Texas soldier killed in an ambush in Iraq that former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch survived said that Lynch's million-dollar book deal will taint the memory of the soldiers killed in the ambush.
"Pretty severe, isn't it?" Randy Kiehl, the father of Army Spc. James Kiehl, said Wednesday from his home in Comfort, Texas. "That she makes money off the death of my son and off the deaths of so many others."
James Kiehl was among seven members of the 507th Maintenance Company stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, killed in the ambush on March 23 near An Nasiriyah. Lynch survived the attack and was taken prisoner of war. She was later rescued from a hospital and became a national hero.
On Tuesday, a publisher announced that Lynch signed a $1 million deal for a book that will tell the story about her capture and rescue.
"Where's the million-dollar book deal for the other members of the 507th who were killed?" Randy Kiehl said. "How do they tell their story?..."
--WDIV TV (Detroit)
Unfortunately, Jessica Lynch is blond, cute, photogenic, and alive. She was a poster child for the war at a moment when it wasn't going as well as expected. For a while she made it possible for the Pentagon to tell a simple story of an ordinary young person who found courage under fire and defied the malign wishes of swarthy embodiments of pure evil. Real life, of course, is more complicated than that -- Jessica Lynch's story wasn't as well shaped as the myth that formed around her, and James Kiehl's story was, well, unpleasant, so the administration certainly wouldn't have wanted anyone to dwell on it.
The families of the Iraq War dead are, unfortunately, going to have to watch another round, or several more rounds, of Jessica Lynch hype. I hope these waves of hype are brief. I hope somehow the families find solace.
(Link via Publishers Lunch.)