House Investigates Misleading Military Statements

A House committee is investigating whether the U.S. military had a strategy of misleading the public about the death of Army Spc. Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the “rescue” of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Iraq, and will hold a hearing on April 24, the Associated Press reports.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said on its Web site that it will “examine why inaccurate accounts of these two incidents were disseminated, the sources and motivations for the accounts, and whether the appropriate Administration officials have been held accountable.”

Tillman’s death three years ago, from friendly fire during a chaotic ambush, was publicized worldwide because he refused a lucrative professional football contract to enlist after Sept. 11, 2001. The Army publicly maintained at first that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire, when dozens of officers knew otherwise.

Lynch’s videotaped rescue four years ago, after she had been captured by Iraqi forces, also resulted in claims of media manipulation. Contrary to the heroic scene portrayed in the dramatic videotape, reporters later were told soldiers had left the hospital days earlier and, UCLA Professor Douglas Kellner recounts, “that in the ‘rescue’ the U.S. troops shot through the doors, terrorized doctors and patients, and created a dangerous scene that could have resulted in deaths, simply to get some dramatic rescue footage for TV audiences.”

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