Former SecDef goes to Capitol Hill to finally answer for Tillman coverup — or at least face some unfriendly fire. Watch it live.
Three years after the Pentagon covered up the circumstances of soldier Pat Tillman‘s actual death by fratricide in Afghanistan so it could falsely portray it as a death by hostile fire, thus taking the country’s mind off Abu Ghraib, Don Rumsfeld finally has to answer questions about it.
The hearing’s going on right now, thanks to dogged California congressman Henry Waxman — and only because of the 2006 midterm elections that wrestled control of the House from the GOP.
Why C-SPAN isn’t televising it on its main channel is beyond me, but you can catch it right now on Waxman’s excellent site, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which he is now chairman. For background, read Waxman’s opening statement and Waxman’s hearing this past April on the Tillman coverup.
As the ranking minority member during the first six years of the Bush-Cheney regime, Waxman lobbed shell after shell at the disgraceful conduct before and during the war on Terra — and on many other issues as well. Now Waxman has the power to put Rumsfeld in his sights.
Just a few minutes ago, Rumsfeld began his opening statement by saying, “I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the Tillman family.”
Well, he said the same thing to them in the spring of 2004. But what he forgot to tell them at that time — although he knew it — was that Tillman was actually killed by his fellow soldiers in a terrible screwup. The Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal covered up the real circumstances, even from Tillman’s family, so that it could score p.r. points. The cabal trotted out Bush to make the point that the dastardly enemy killed Tillman and that his was a noble sacrifice.
Steve Coll of the Washington Post (now at the New Yorker) first uncovered this sordid public-relations maneuver, which has enraged Tillman’s family. Check out Coll’s brilliant work from December 2004.
The current Pentagon, under Bob Gates, has continued to cover up the actions of top officials. Only a few days ago, Richard Sisk of the New York Daily News wrote:
“It’s so humiliating and disrespectful,” said Mary Tillman, mother of the Arizona Cardinals defensive back who joined the Army and became a Ranger after 9/11.
“It’s one more example of the Army investigating itself,” she said. “It was all done to glorify this war. It’s a sham. Pat deserves the truth.”
Oh, now former Joint Chiefs chair Richard “Quag” Myers is talking about the “heartbreak” suffered by the Tillman family. But Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is saying to Myers, “Why didn’t you tell the Tillman family the truth?” All they’re doing right now is trying to get them to apologize. Maybe it’ll get better. Check it out.