May 18, 2013
Dishonoring Pat Tillman
Posted on Nov 11, 2010
By Narda Zacchino
Veterans were honored all across America Thursday, while the most famous veteran of our ongoing wars continues to be dishonored.
The case of Pat Tillman, whose death by friendly fire led to seven investigations, two books, two congressional hearings and a recently released documentary film, continues to vex, six years after he was killed at dusk on the unwelcoming rocky terrain of Spera, Afghanistan.
Tillman’s family and friends are no closer to learning the full truth about what happened in Pat’s death and its aftermath; they know only that he was killed by “friendly fire” (terribly unsuitable words for a horribly unfriendly act) and that there was a coverup of the circumstances of his death that reached the highest levels of the military and the Bush administration.
This remains an ugly mess of a tale in which deceit is king, and the so-called military code of honor has become a farce. This is blatantly obvious to anyone who has read the 4,000 or so pages of investigative documents, replete with contradictions, incriminating testimony, leads that were dropped, holes so big you could drive a fleet of Humvees through them, and enough villainous characters to populate a Russian novel.
What is known to those of us who have followed the case closely and are familiar with the body of evidence is that witnesses lied, facts were withheld, perjury was suborned, evidence was destroyed, documents were deliberately tainted, justice was obstructed, calls for criminal investigations were ignored, and soldiers with relevant knowledge were threatened with prison if they talked about it.
Who gave the order for the coverup?
Who gave the order to strip Tillman’s body in violation of military policy that in a case of suspected fratricide the body must be returned in uniform, which is considered evidence?
Who ordered that his uniform—containing evidence of fratricide—be burned along with his equipment?
Who gave the order for the field hospital doctor to write in his report that Tillman, shot in the head and killed instantly, “was administered CPR and transferred to ICU for further CPR,” with another notation that seems to indicate he died days later after surgery?
Who gave the order to not recall that doctor as a witness in the Army’s criminal investigation after he asked for an attorney to be present and was excused to obtain one?
Who gave the order to write the initial incident report saying that Tillman was shot by the enemy in a hostile battle when it was immediately known that he was killed by his fellow soldiers?
Who gave the order to tell soldiers not to disclose to anyone that Tillman was killed by fratricide?
Who gave the order to tell witnesses they could go to prison if they talked about the Tillman matter to the family or others?
Who gave the order to tell the nation’s chief medical examiner and the coroner who would do the autopsy that Tillman was killed in a hostile gun battle with the enemy, when they knew from seeing the body that could not be true?
Who gave the order to deny the chief medical examiner’s call for a criminal investigation?
Who gave the order to deny an earlier call for a criminal investigation by the first investigating officer in Afghanistan?
Who gave the order for the Silver Star commendation to be written as if Tillman were killed in a battle against enemy forces and then to alter it only slightly to leave that implication, when fratricide was known to be the cause of death?
Who ordered the fabrications in the Silver Star commendation’s two eyewitness statements (referred to by the Pentagon’s inspector general as “materially inaccurate”)?
Who ordered the “disappearance” of the report and recommendations of the first investigating officer, who testified that he thought “some Rangers ... could be charged for criminal intent” and who recommended that higher-ranking officers be investigated for gross negligence in events leading to Tillman’s death?
Who ordered that he change that testimony regarding the culpability of those higher-ranking officers?
Who ordered him to delete the only known copy of his report and recommendations from his computer thumb drive following his testimony, in which these documents that later went missing for the second time were marked as exhibits?
Who ordered the eyewitnesses who testified under oath to him to change their statements in subsequent testimony as to key factors—time of day, light conditions, distance—at the time Tillman was killed?
Who ordered him to not tell the nation’s chief medical examiner that Tillman was killed by fratricide?
Who ordered a fraudulent witness statement, ostensibly given by that first investigating officer, to be entered into the case file 10 days before he actually was called as a witness, and why was that done?
Who ordered that the family and the American public be kept in the dark about the fratricide so that Tillman’s nationally televised memorial could proceed with speeches attesting to his heroic gun battle with enemy forces, and who wrote and dictated that morning the false details of that battle to be read at the memorial by Tillman’s friend, Navy SEAL Steve White?
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