Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gripping Testimony In Tillman Case

When history writes the story of a Bush administration that set new records for lying about almost every subject imaginable, few lies -- other than the one used to start the Iraq war -- will be more shameful than the lies told about the circumstances under which troops were killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. George W. Bush is well known for using the troops as props to bolster his failed administration, but two of the most notorious cases of using the stories of combat troops to boost support for the war, were front and center yesterday in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The family of Pat Tillman, the former NFL star who died serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan and Jessica Lynch, whose wounds and rescue gave the Defense Department the opportunity to spin a false tale out of her service, testified yesterday and proceeding to paint an even more damning picture of the Bush administration than we have already seen.

Here's Army Private Jessica Lynch, with some of her testimony Tuesday from a hearing called "Misleading Information from the Battlefield."
"I have been asked here today to address misinformation from the battlefield. Quite frankly, it is something I have been doing since returning home from Iraq. However, I want to note for the record that I am not politically motivated in my appearance here today. I lived the war in Iraq and today I still have family and friends fighting in Iraq.

"At the same time great tales of heroism were being told at my parents home in Ward County West Virginia, it was understaged by media, all repeating the story of the little-girl Rambo from the hills of West Virginia, who went down fighting. It was not true.

"I'm still confused as to why they chose to lie and try to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were legendary."
Here's the video of her opening remarks:

The committee also heard heartbreaking and powerful testimony from Pat Tillman's brother, Kevin, who joined the Army with his brother and also served in Afghanistan. Kevin Tillman doesn’t hold back and shows very clearly just how deeply the corruption goes in the Bush administration.
"Revealing that Pat's deaths was a fratricide, would have been yet another political disaster, during a month already swollen with political disasters and a brutal truth that the American public would undoubtedly find unacceptable. So the facts needed to be suppressed, an alternative narrative had to be constructed, crucial evidence was destroyed including Pat's uniform, equipment and notebook.

"The autopsy was not done according to regulation and the field hospital report was falsified. An initial investigation completed within 8 to 10 days, before testimony could be changed or manipulated, and which hit disturbingly close to the mark, disappeared into thin air and was conveniently replaced with another investigation with more palatable findings.

"This freshly-manufactured narrative was then distributed to the American public and we believe the strategy had the intended effect. It shifted the focus from the grotesque torture at Abu Ghraib and a downward spiral of an illegal act of aggression to a great American who died a hero's death."
Here's the video:

Isn't it amazing what you find out when you have a working Congress and oversight of the White House makes a comeback?