Monday, December 06, 2004

A hero's death

The U.S. military brass covered up the ugly truth of Pat Tillman's death, and then used him as a recruiting poster.

Dozens of witness statements, e-mails, investigation findings, logbooks, maps and photographs obtained by The Washington Post show that Tillman died unnecessarily after botched communications, a mistaken decision to split his platoon over the objections of its leader, and negligent shooting by pumped-up young Rangers -- some in their first firefight -- who failed to identify their targets as they blasted their way out of a frightening ambush.

The records show Tillman fought bravely and honorably until his last breath. They also show that his superiors exaggerated his actions and invented details as they burnished his legend in public, at the same time suppressing details that might tarnish Tillman's commanders.

Army commanders hurriedly awarded Tillman a posthumous Silver Star for valor and released a nine-paragraph account of his heroism that made no mention of fratricide. A month later the head of the Army's Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., called a news conference to disclose in a brief statement that Tillman "probably" died by "friendly fire." Kensinger refused to answer questions.

(Via Andrew Sullivan and AmbivaBlog.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked the Washington Post article, which dug deeper than the intial press reports about Tillman's death. But I still believe Tillman died a hero, even if his death was anything but heroic.

Ironically, it was the Post that pushed that fact-challenged non-story about Jessica Lynch. But then, the powers that be at the Pentagon and WP thought America needed a young, attractive sort of womanly hero, and they gave us one for a couple of news cycles.

Tillman was the real deal. Perhaps they felt it was time to deconstruct the manly myth of war because, you know, the family deserved the answer.

Yeah, that's the reason it landed on A-1.

8:55 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Tillman is indeed still a hero. He sacrificed a life of comfort and adulation to do what he believed was right for his country.

Regarding the media and its initial Jessica Lynch coverage, let's not forget that the media treated the war in Iraq much differently during the initial invasion than it has lately.

8:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe because a war of occupation is different than an invasion? Just a hunch.

11:12 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home