How did it come to be that the ostensibly best-educated and most refined representatives of the United States in Iraq are guarded by gun-toting mercenaries who kill innocent civilians? More urgently, why did State Department employees and their bosses in Washington tolerate—and pay to conceal—the wanton murder conducted on their watch?
Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, claims his panel’s attempts to look into Blackwater USA’s recent controversial actions in Iraq were derailed by the State Department. The State Department, on the other hand, denies blocking the investigation and says Waxman’s charge is the result of a “misunderstanding.”
In a hearing before a House committee Wednesday, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified he had not known the real circumstances of Pat Tillman’s death in April 2004 and that he would not characterize the Army’s handling of the friendly-fire case as a “cover-up.”
In an incendiary report Tuesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona (who served from 2002 to 2006) pointed a finger at the Bush administration for prioritizing politics over truth.