The always readable William Arkin posted the following commentary this week in the Washington Post:
William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
Pat Tillman and the Coming Witch Hunt on Iraq
Interrupting his retirement and in need of a haircut, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld showed up on Capitol Hill yesterday for the first time since leaving the Pentagon. He had been called to testify not about Iraq, Iran, Pakistan or al-Qaeda, but about the death of former NFL star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
Rumsfeld said he was sorry for whatever mistakes had been made, but he wasn’t responsible for any of them, and the three current or former generals who testified alongside him echoed his remarks. The news media lapped all this up, even as it became clear that the hearing would come to naught. Is this a preview of the post-Iraq witch hunt we will experience after the 2008 elections?
Motivated by a desire for national service, Tillman quit a promising and lucrative job as a safety with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL to join the U.S. Army Rangers after 9/11. On April 22, 2004, he was killed in a friendly fire incident while operating in the mountain of eastern Afghanistan. His family and the nation were told he was killed by enemy fire. On May 1, 2004, President Bush mentioned Tillman in a speech to the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner. America had a hero, and just in time: Iraq was descending into anarchy. On May 29, the Army announced that Tillman was shot by fellow Rangers in a friendly fire incident.
[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
The Pat Tillman story is one of the most dire to come out of our six year national nightmare.
And Rumsfeld and his generals hide behind bland excuses. As Arkin writes:
After all, key decisions about the Iraq war remain enigmas: to limit the number of U.S. troops involved in the assault, to pay less attention to the aftermath, to carry out a de-Ba’athification program in the Iraqi Army, etc., etc. The very description of the events is so passive because we are describing a system that in fact is working. It remains unclear who made the key decisions and why — because that is how the participants want it.
And yet the Tillman tragedy is one of many thousands of such stories, of our sons and daughters sacrificed by our elected and appointed screw-ups, who hide behind bureaucracy and plausible deniability.
January 20, 2009 can’t come soon enough.
It’s it for now. Thanks,