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Hard-left Los Angeles Times’ columnist Robert Scheer’s Tuesday column should not be missed. In “Saving Private Lynch: Take 2″ Scheer asserts that the rescue of Jessica Lynch was a “fabrication” and a “caper.” Scheer argues that the “manipulation of this saga really gets ugly” because of the “premeditated manufacture of the rescue itself, which stains those who have performed real acts of bravery, whether in war or peacetime.”

Scheer cites a BBC report, and ignores a Pentagon denial of the report. He rushed into print even as the BBC was walking backward on its own story, as detailed in many links found at Instapundit.com.

Scheer is throwing around very serious charges, because they implicate every member of the Special Forces team involved in the rescue of Private Lynch. Are they liars and actors as Scheer asserts, or brave, selfless heroes as I and most other Americans believe?

Did the editors at the Los Angeles Times reach a conclusion on the objectivity of Scheer’s incendiary charges before they ran them, or like Jayson Blair, was Robert Scheer simply allowed to file and smile as he left the electronic newsroom?

Surely the Times’ editors must have recognized this column as one that would deeply offend most readers if it wasn’t true. They could not expect to claim that their featured columnist isn’t edited and thus allow his drive-by slander of the U.S. military to pass without any accountability on their end. The Pentagon has vigorously rejected the claim that it misrepresented the facts of the Lynch rescue, a statement that even the BBC has noted though the BBC’s “Correspondent” program ran the original story alleging the manipulation of the Lynch rescue. The Times, of course, did not carry the Pentagon’s response.

On May 9, the Washington Post carried a long story on Mohammed Odeh Al Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who risked his life to bring word of the whereabouts of Jessica Lynch to the U.S. Marines miles from the town of Nasiriyah, when it was still held by Iraqi forces. Scheer also attacks this brave man, asserting that “his credibility as a source, however, is difficult to verify because he and his family were whisked to the U.S., where he was immediately granted political asylum and has refused all interview requests.”

With breathtaking irony, Scheer then goes on to cite as the source for his column and the BBC piece, staff from the Iraqi hospital which held Lynch. These staffers claim that they tried to turn over Lynch to U.S. forces , but an ambulance in which they were transporting Lynch was fired upon as it approached a U.S. checkpoint.

Let’s see. We can believe hospital staff who have to fear being implicated as Saddam’s captors, or we can believe the U.S. military and our own experience of watching the record of the rescue as well as our memory of what Nasiriyah was like up until late in the war. We can believe Scheer and the hard-left BBC, or we can believe everyone else. You decide.

The Los Angeles Times has decided that Scheer has enough credible information to slander the military. It is a disgusting column, and the choice the Times made to run it is disgusting as well. Only a few days ago, I wrote about the sickness at the Los Angeles Times. Mickey Kaus and Eric Alterman among others replied to my arguments that it wasn’t that bad at the Times.

The editor at the Times can be e-mailed at john.carroll@latimes.com. If you live in Southern California and no longer want to receive the views of the unbalanced along with your unbalance news, call 800-252-9141 to cancel your subscription. The chairman of the board of the Tribune Company, owner of the Lost Angeles Times is John Madigan. Contact him at 312-222-9100. Express your opinion of his paper’s editorial choices. It is a free country, no matter what Robert Scheer thinks.

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