Pat Tillman Is Let Down Again

In congressional testimony, Rumsfeld and general fail the football star's family.


The military's pathetic handling of the death of Pat Tillman is another sad chapter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tillman, a professional football player, was killed in a hail of friendly fire. But the Pentagon, in a series of flagrant errors, allowed him to be buried as a hero killed in combat by the enemy. Our leaders used it as a rallying cry.

The Tillman family has been devastated by the clumsy treatment they received. Rightly so, they are still seeking answers but getting little from those who seem to shun accountability.

There was little light shed on the matter this week by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his former chief of staff Gen. Richard Myers, a yes man in the service and in retirement. Both testified, if you want to call it that, in a committee hearing.

Rumsfeld's amnesia on the Tillman case was stunning. For a man proud of his attention to detail, he could scarcely remember anything about Tillman's death. Even with friendly questions from Republicans, Rumsfeld had no recollection.

But Myers displayed the worst. In response to a question, he said there was "no regulation" requiring him to report the possibility that Tillman died from friendly fire.

No regulation, General Myers! How about a little moral decency to the family of a fallen soldier? Myers should have a few sleepless nights about that answer as well as the Army's conduct in the controversy.

Pat Tillman was willing to forsake a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the fight against Afghanistan and Iraq.

In that sense alone, he was as American hero. His superiors let him and his family down.