Friday, October 24, 2003

It pays to be pretty and telegenic: The stories of Lynch and Johnson

Ex-POW's Family Accuses Army Of Double Standard on Benefit (
AUSTIN, Oct. 23 -- Shot through both legs and held prisoner in Iraq for 22 days, Army Spec. Shoshana Johnson returned home in the spring to a difficult convalescence that lacked the media fury and official hype that attended her friend and comrade in arms, Jessica Lynch.

Depressed, scarred, haunted by the trauma of her captivity and at times unable to sleep, Johnson walks with a limp and has difficulty standing for long, according to her parents.
And now that Johnson is on the verge of her discharge from the Army, insult is being added to her injury, they say. While Lynch was discharged as a private first class in August with an 80 percent disability benefit, Johnson, set to leave in the coming days, learned last week that she will receive a 30 percent disability benefit from the Army for her injuries.

The difference, which amounts to $600 or $700 a month in payments, has infuriated Johnson and her family. They have enlisted Jesse L. Jackson's help to make their case to the news media, accusing the Army of a double standard, insensitivity and racism. Lynch is white; Johnson is black.

It certainly pays to be telegenic and pretty, being white probably helps some too. The story illustrates the interaction between our government, our institutions, and the political machine. If only there were a sense of shame in our modern culture ...

No comments: