Dumbsfeld went before Congress to testify about the apparent fratricide of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. At the time, the Bush administration seized Tillman’s death as an opportunity to sell the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They pointed to him and said that he had given up a million dollar career as a star in the NFL to serve his country. The Pentagon said he was killed by enemy fire and he was awarded the Silver Star posthumously.
Five weeks later the truth leaked out. Tillman was killed by red-blooded patriotic Americans, not crazy Jihadi evil-doers wearing turbans. He died from three bullet wounds to the head from an M-16 at a range of only 10 yards, making it look suspiciously like murder. A sergeant in his unit burned Tillman’s journal and personal belongings on the orders of a higher-up.
That the Army did this shouldn’t be a surprise. Tillman was no closet critic of the war. He told his comrades-in-arms while serving in Iraq that the war was “so f—– illegal,” crushing the hopes of couch potato hawks such as Ann Coulter who sought to pimp his death for the war machine. His commanders have consistently said he was well-liked within the unit, but that doesn’t square with the fact that he yelled at a fellow Ranger moments before his death: “Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God’s not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling …” We can only imagine what he wrote in his journal about incompetent commanders, restless natives, and unwinnable, unjustifiable, illegal wars. Rest assured, whatever was in there wouldn’t fit in a strength-through-illiteracy “Army Strong” recruiting commercial.
Anyway, back to Dumbsfeld.
I doubt he had any idea of what really happened that day in Afghanistan to Tillman. He was busy lying his ass off about Iraq’s WMD in 2004, claiming that they just hadn’t been found yet because the U.S. wasn’t looking in the right places. (In 2006, he denied ever saying that he knew where Iraq’s WMD were.) He was also busy lying his ass off about prisoner torture at Abu Ghraib in April 2004, saying that he had no idea what was going on when in fact, he knew damn well what happened. He personally authorized specific torture techniques in an order to Gen. Karpinski who was in charge of the prison that had a handwritten note next to his signature that read: “make sure this is accomplished.”
But in the case of the Tillman, this might be the one time anyone should believe that Don Rumsfeld wasn’t really involved in the cover-up. But when he says “I would not engage in a cover-up,” try not to laugh too hard.