By: Greg Mitchell
When the family of Pat Tillman this week denounced the results of the military probe into his death by friendly fire in Afghanistan they called on the press to help them secure a new congressional investigation.
The New York Times responds today with an editorial advocating just that.
An excerpt follows. The entire editorial can be found here.
The Pentagon?s investigation of the ?friendly fire? death of Pat Tillman, the Army Ranger who became an administration icon for its war on terror, has left the corporal?s family doubtful that the truth has really come out. Even as the Army reaffirmed its belief that Corporal Tillman deserved a Silver Star for valor, the family denounced the award as ?part of a cynical design to conceal the real events from the family and the public, while exploiting the death of our beloved Pat as a recruitment poster.?
The circumstances of this byzantine case cry out for Congressional hearings to get an independent evaluation of just who pulled the strings to sugar-coat a terrible battlefield accident as an instance of heroism under hostile fire….
Corporal Tillman ultimately received a posthumous Silver Star based on a citation that implied he died from enemy fire and two witness statements that were attributed to platoon members but were actually drafted by others and contained inaccuracies. Even so, the Army is letting the award stand because, officials say, Corporal Tillman died heroically trying to help the unit that shot him.
The question not yet satisfactorily answered is just who is most responsible for changing the story line from a ?friendly fire? tragedy to a tale of heroism. The Pentagon?s investigators recommended that nine officers, including four generals, be disciplined for failing to follow various regulations and failing to notify the family until a well-publicized memorial service was safely past. The investigators found no evidence of an orchestrated cover-up. But the family believes the Pentagon public relations machine is behind the distortions and wants a Congressional inquiry. Congress should provide it.
Related E&P Stories:
— More Editorials Join Call for Probe of Tillman ‘Coverup’
— The Pat Tillman Case Reaches a Climax: ‘They Blew Up Their Poster Boy’