Hooray for Robert Scheer of the LA Times. Somebody in the mainstream media shares my outrage over the Pat Tillman affair.
"The deception (over the cover up of the facts of Tillman's death) has continued with the latest and allegedly definitive government statement," writes Scheer. "Last week, the Army unconvincingly claimed that the suppression of field reports that Tillman was killed by friendly fire did not amount to an official cover-up but was merely the result of confusing regulations that should be changed--'an administrative error,' in the words of Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, the head of Army public affairs."
Scheer quotes Mary Tillman, Pat's mother, as saying, "the documents we received state that Gen. (John P.) Abizaid knew on April 28 that Pat was absolutely killed by fratricide. Why were we not told prior to Pat's memorial service, which was nationally televised on May 3? We weren't told until five weeks later, and only because the troops that were with Pat came home from Afghanistan and the story was unfolding."
Mrs. Tillman refers to the Army's official report of the fratricide incident, which the Tillman family has seen but that has not been released to the public.
According to Scheer, the report makes it clear that "In the rush to honor Tillman with the Silver Star before a much-publicized memorial service, the Army deliberately obfuscated the fact that Tillman was a victim of friendly fire."
Scheer ends his editorial with one of the bravest and most resonant sentences I seen in the mainstream press in months:
"That Bush has not acknowledged the controversy over Tillman's death, yet was so quick to invoke Tillman's heroism in the midst of the Abu Ghraib scandal and on the campaign trail, speaks volumes about how politicians exploit soldiers, both the living and the dead."
Bravo, Mr. Scheer.
Heritage Youth, or I Know What You Did Last Summer
In a related story by Jason DeParle of the New York Times, the Heritage Foundation is indoctrinating the next generation of Karl Roves.
64 bright-eyed college kids will serve an internship this summer with the renowned conservative think tank, living in dormitory rooms with balconies and earning $2,500 for their ten-week stints.
Ronald Reagan calendars cover the dorm walls, according to DeParle, and brown bag lunches are "devoted...to the free market theories of Friedrich von Hayek."
Those lucky kids! Imagine how dreary their summers could have turned out. They might have been stuck in low paying, menial jobs; forced to learn how less fortunate Americans live. Out of utter boredom, they might have resorted to reading classic literature on their own time for no pay or college credit. That might have led them to become (shudder) independent thinkers; misguided souls who consider individual issues on their own merits and who gullibly concede from time to time that people who don't agree with them sometimes have legitimate points of view. They might even fall into the delusional belief that things are seldom black or white, entirely right or totally wrong, and that it doesn’t always have to be a "with us or against us" world.
Fortunately, none of that will happen to this bunch of eager young conservatives. They'll be safely conditioned in the mantra that "the truth is in the talking point," and make valuable connections that will insure their future successes as GOP wonks.
Or U.S. Army public affairs officers.