Friday, July 27, 2007

"This War Is So F--- Illegal"

Some readers may know that I've been a longtime skeptic of the official story stories on Pat Tillman's death. Almost two years ago in this post, I highlighted the following parts of this article in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Yet other Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman’s unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior. He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.) Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan -- a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, "Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war."

Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

"I can see it like a movie screen," Baer said. "We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, 'You know, this war is so f— illegal.' And we all said, 'Yeah.' That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush."

Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry.
The political context:
Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration -- just a week before the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as "an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror."
I ended that post from two years ago with this: "In the context of Tillman's strong and openly-stated opinions about Bush and the war in Iraq, it's all more than a bit interesting."

Now, new details on Thursday from the AP:
Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

The doctors whose names were blacked out said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.
Read the full article, which includes new details on Tillman's last moments (yet another version) and an argument he may have had with someone in his unit.

Of course, this story from two weeks ago makes more sense now:
The White House has refused to give Congress documents about the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding saying that certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests."
"More than a bit interesting" is still the operative phrase.


Anonymous Gus said...

I know we won't see the real story come out any time soon, but I'd like to see it come out in my lifetime.

7/27/2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger wendyo said...

This story is more than a bit interesting in light of the current dust-up over the TNR Diarist soldier (Pvt. Beauchamp) and the "frag the critic" mobs in the right wing blogosphere.

These are scary people...the very ones who will buy into the "stabbed in the back" meme when this war is finally over, and who will be coming out of the woodwork a la McVeigh in defense of "their" country.

7/27/2007 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Jeff in Texas said...

The same assholes who scream about supporting troops are the very ones who will turn on those troops in a second if they step out of the party line.

The fact that the battlefield death of low ranking Army soldier, even a celebrity soldier, involved the White House to such a degree that they are now asserting executive privilege tells you everything you need to know. However dirty and underhanded you might imagine this to be, it's probably worse.

7/27/2007 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fratricide anyone?

7/27/2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

If anyone has missed this story by Digby about the Right's fetish with a fantasy version of "the troops" it's pretty enlightening. The real thing, not so much.

7/27/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Sadly this story and the true story of the anthrax attacks seem they may be forever lost to history.

This one bugs me more though on a number of levels not the least of which Pat was from here and went to the same high school as my sister, played baseball with a friend and we have so many things to remind us here of him and this terrible situation including Pat's Run (ending on his high school football field on the 40 yard line) and a sad mom that seems she could be my own.

7/27/2007 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fratricide is a good one.
I go with assassination.

7/28/2007 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how his journal was "lost".

If he was just accidentally killed his journal would not immidiatly have gone missing. I guess we have a gestapo in the army that sees to it that only correct views ever make the light of day.

7/28/2007 9:05 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

Just saw a news report on the rise of US street gangs in the military.

The more I see the more I realize we must bring back the military draft, that's not exactly what I mean. What I mean is we must re-establish the principle of national service: Citizens will have a choice of military service, vista volunteers, peace corps, etc, but service is obligatory, no exceptions, no deferments; failure to serve should not result in jail, it should result in loss of citizenship.

7/28/2007 10:28 PM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

Will you be surprised to learn someday that the Bush administration went further than just trying to spin Tillman's death, and it turns out that they in fact ordered it?

Wouldn't surprise me in the least. They needed a big distraction for Abu Ghraib, so they "created their own reality" again.

7/29/2007 10:34 AM  
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