by E. J. Montini
Apparently, the military brass believe their personnel can handle a film rated “R” for violence, but not one rated “T” for truth.
This would come as no surprise to Pat Tillman’s family, particular his mother, who has worked for six years to expose the cover-up of her son’s death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, and to have those responsible held accountable.
It hasn’t worked. It will never work.
The bravery and honesty of one soldier is no match for the deceit of his government.
- Was the pin-up boy of Bush’s War on Terror assassinated?
- Was Hero Pat Tillman Murdered by Neocons?
- The Assassination Of Pat Tillman
One of the first times I spoke to Mary Tillman (known to her friends and family as “Dannie”), she told me, “They (the military) could have told us up-front that they were suspicious that it was fratricide, but they didn’t. They wanted to use Pat for their purposes. It was good for the administration. It was before the elections. It was during the (Abu Ghraib) prison scandal. They needed something that looked good, and it was appalling that they would use him like that.”
Tillman, the Arizona Cardinals player who gave up millions to join the Army, was posthumously awarded a Silver Star after he was killed in 2004. The citation was read at his televised memorial service. It says in part:
“Corporal Tillman put himself in the line of devastating enemy fire as he maneuvered his Fire Team to a covered position from which they could effectively employ their weapons on known enemy positions. While mortally wounded, his audacious leadership and courageous example under fire inspired his men to fight with great risk to their own personal safety, resulting in the enemy’s withdrawal and his platoon’s safe passage from the ambush kill zone.”
It was pure fiction. Tillman had acted bravely on the day he was killed, but it was his guys who shot him while he waved at them on a hill, shouting his name. From the moment it happened, everyone knew it was fratricide.
The circumstances that followed, along with a look back at Tillman’s life, are described through eyewitness testimony in “The Tillman Story,” a documentary now playing at Harkins Camelview 5 at Scottsdale Road and Goldwater Boulevard.
It’s the same story Dannie Tillman told in her book, “Boots on the Ground by Dusk.” It’s the story the Tillmans told to Congress.
None of it has worked.
I asked the Army back in 2005 if the wording of Tillman’s citation would be corrected. An Army spokesman said, “Presently there are no plans.” The citation was never changed.
Dannie Tillman once told me of her son, “He was a very big-hearted person and honest to a fault. When he was little, he wouldn’t even steal a cookie. He just harassed me into giving him one. I used to think, ‘Let me be the good parent. Just steal the cookie.’ But . . . ”
That’s why she has persisted in spite of those who suggest that she should just “get over it.”
“I really object to people who say things like that,” she told me. “If it were their child, they would not let it go. At least I hope not . . . (Pat) would have wanted the truth to come out. The bad and the good. He deserves that much.”
Tillman’s brother Kevin, who served with him in the Army, summed it up best in an essay he wrote for the website truthdig.com:
“Somehow lying is tolerated. Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma and nonsense. Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world. Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.”