The House Oversight Committee has scheduled a hearing on Pat Tillman's death for August 1. They've invited Donald Rumsfeld (among others) to testify. Should be quite an event.
Finding out who knew what about Tillman's death is significant on a variety of levels, not the least being that the government-led cover-up of the circumstances surrounding his killing (he was hit by friendly fire) show the lengths to which the administration was willing to go to keep the war in Iraq PR-friendly for as long as possible. Beyond that, focusing on how the truth about his death was cynically sacrificed during the war helps legitimize the veteran-based segments of the anti-war movement -- was the government really supporting the troops when it lied about a soldier in order to make him a PR prop?
And finally, there's something increasingly universal in the Tillman family's story. A letter from Tillman's brother -- who also enlisted -- published late last year indicates that both the brothers had reservations about enlisting to serve in the war. Tillman's mother has become an outspoken opponent of the war, blaming the DoD for covering up what really happened with her son's death.
In many ways, the Tillman family represents a lot of Americans whose visceral, post-9/11 patriotism led them to support the Iraq War, but who've grown deeply disillusioned with the conflict as they've seen its trajectory. With the attention to his death that the hearing will bring, Tillman may become a symbol for why regular Americans -- not just lefties -- now stand against the war, and against the lies that have been used to perpetuate it.
-- Kay Steiger