Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Would You Turn Down 3.6 Million For A Higher Cause?

July 31, 2009

 

Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman

July 31, 2009-  My Opinion: I remember growing up I wanted to be a superhero. I wanted to fight crime and have people say thank youfor helping me out. Turns out that wasn’t my calling… yet. But I have to admire a guy like Pat Tillman. In my eyes if you haven’t already heard his story then prepare to be in awe of a real American hero… forget Gi Joe.

The Story Is: Pat Tillman was a Football player for the Arizona Cardinals from 1998-2001. And a pretty decent one at that. At one point in his NFL career, Tillman turned down a five-year, $9 million contract offer from the St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals. In May 2002, eight months after the September 11, 2001, attacks and after completing the fifteen remaining games of the 2001 season which followed the attacks (at a salary of $512,000 per year), Tillman turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army. Tillman passed up a multi-million dollar contract to become an Army Ranger battling Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. 

Tillman was subsequently redeployed to Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004, he was killed in a friendly fire incident while on patrol. The specific details of his death and its aftermath are currently being investigated by the US Congress.

The Army initially claimed that Tillman and his unit were attacked in an apparent ambush on a road outside of the village of Sperah about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Khost, near the Pakistan border. An Afghan militia soldier was killed, and two other Rangers were injured as well.

The Army Special Operations Command initially claimed that there was an exchange with hostile forces. After a lengthy investigation conducted by Brigadier General Jones, the U.S. Department of Defense concluded that both the Afghan militia soldier’s and Pat Tillman’s deaths were due to friendly fire aggravated by the intensity of the firefight.

A more thorough investigation concluded that no hostile forces were involved in the firefight and that two allied groups fired on each other in confusion after a nearby explosive device was detonated.

It has been reported that Tillman’s unit burned his body armor and uniform in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by friendly fire. Several soldiers were subsequently punished for their actions by being removed from the United States Army Rangers.

A report described in The Washington Post on May 4, 2005, (prepared upon the request of Tillman’s family) by Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones revealed that in the days immediately following Tillman’s death, U.S. Army investigators were aware that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, shot three times to the head. Its been reported that senior Army commanders, including Gen. John Abizaid, knew of this fact within days of the shooting but nevertheless approved the awarding of the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion.

On July 26, 2007, the Press received official documents stating that the investigating doctors performing the autopsy suspected that Tillman was murdered.

 

Tillman in the Army

Tillman in the Army

Now, almost a year and a half later, the right’s version of Tillman’s killing has been shattered. The San Francisco Chronicle got its hands on 2000 pages of testimony on Tillman’s death and interviewed his family and soldiers who served with him. The Chronicle’s report not only strengthens the evidence that the Pentagon deliberately covered up Tillman’s death from friendly-fire to better exploit him as a PR tool.

 

The question now is, what did Donald Rumsfeld know about Tillman’s death and when did he know it? If Army Ranger commanders and the Army Secretary knew Tillman was killed in a fratricide, Rumsfeld must have known too. The fact that when Tillman first joined the Army, Rumsfeld personally commended him with a signed letter seems especially relevant now. If Rumsfeld knew the nature of Tillman’s killing in April, 2004, he undoubtedly directed the cover-up. And if Rumsfeld directed the cover-up, Karl Rove was aware of it, if not actively involved in exploiting it.

In addition, The September 25, 2005, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reported that Tillman held views which were critical of the Iraq war. According to Tillman’s mother, a friend of Tillman had arranged a meeting with author Noam Chomsky, a prominent critic of American foreign and military policy, to take place after his return from Afghanistan. Chomsky has confirmed this

Supposedly John McCain has taken up the Tillman family’s case in the Senate. If he’s serious, he will convene hearings on the cover-up and compel Rumsfeld to testify. Until then, the Pentagon is conducting its own probe of Tillman’s death, thus ensuring a newer, more sophisticated cover-up than ever before.