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Dishonoring Pat Tillman

Posted on Nov 11, 2010
AP / Susan Walsh

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, left, testifies on Capitol Hill in 2007 at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman. With him are former Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, former U.S. Central Command commander Gen. John Abizaid and former U.S. Special Operations commander Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown, right.

By Narda Zacchino

(Page 2)

While the public has been led to believe that every angle was exhaustively covered in the myriad investigations, it is obvious that is not the case. Questions still abound.

Rep. Henry Waxman held two congressional hearings in 2007 that led to more disappointment and frustration for the Tillman family. The hearings were held to determine whether the Bush administration and Defense Department deliberately deceived the American people and the Tillman family to exploit Pat’s death to stoke patriotic sentiment about the country and the military’s operations. Indeed, Tillman’s death did elicit that public response.

Dan Bartlett, assistant to the president for communications, noted in an e-mail the day after Tillman’s death that the former professional football star had “made the American people feel good about our country ... and our military.”  Two days later, an e-mail memo from an Army public affairs officer noted that the story resulted in the greatest amount of media interest in the Army “since the end of active combat last year,” and that the coverage had been “extremely positive.”

This was important to offset the extremely negative media coverage in the spring of 2004. The day Tillman died, The Associated Press reported that April had become the deadliest month for U.S. casualties since the war in Iraq began—and the month wasn’t over. The first bloody battle for Fallujah raged that April, and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was about to break.


Square, Site wide

Waxman’s committee also tried to determine when and how top officials in the administration and Defense Department first learned of the Tillman fratricide. In a tremendous insult to the Tillman family and the American people, the committee was stonewalled; it noted in its executive summary that “on the key issue of what senior officials knew, the investigation was frustrated by near universal lack of recall.” Bartlett, presidential press secretary Scott McClellan and chief speechwriter Michael Gerson could not recall when they learned about the fratricide or did in response.

While virtually every member of the military knew when he or she first heard that Pat Tillman was killed by fratricide, their leader, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, testified under oath, “I don’t recall when I was told and I don’t recall who told me.” (His testimony, and that of Mary and Kevin Tillman, Pat’s mother and brother, can be seen in the acclaimed documentary “The Pat Tillman Story,” released nationwide recently.)

Another witness, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, who communicated many times a day with Rumsfeld and met with White House officials frequently—testified he learned of the fratricide by the end of April 2004 but could not recall whether he told President George W. Bush or Rumsfeld about it, although he did tell his public affairs adviser they needed to “calibrate ourselves” and “be careful how we portray the situation.” Myers, who thought to call the National Football League commissioner to personally inform him of Tillman’s death, could not recall whether he shared the news of the fratricide with the two men to whom he was the principal military adviser.

A third committee witness, Gen. John Abizaid, who had been sent a high priority e-mail April 29 from Gen. Stanley McChrystal noting the fratricide, testified he did not get it until a week later and did not talk to Rumsfeld about the fratricide until about two weeks after that.

The testimony of these three witnesses is simply not credible. As in the investigations that preceded this one, the family, the American people and most of all the soldier—Pat Tillman—were disrespected.

The government and military apparently have no further interest in Pat Tillman. Fortunately, he remains alive in the public’s imagination and consciousness. I have received thousands of Google alerts about Pat Tillman since 2006, when I collaborated with Mary Tillman on her book, recently released in paperback, “Boots on the Ground by Dusk: Searching for Answers in the Death of Pat Tillman,” to coincide with the acclaimed film documentary “The Pat Tillman Story.” I read each alert, awaiting even a sliver of truth to emerge, possibly from a long-buried document, or lifted from the heavy conscience of one of those with firsthand knowledge of facts not yet revealed. The truth is worth waiting for. Pat Tillman deserves that.

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By Amar Bindra, February 17, 2011 at 1:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very sad. Unfortunately, all too common. Everywhere. More likely orchestrated murder than accident.

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By Calabashe, December 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

dr: Never have completely let go of the assassination theory either. It’s the only conclusion that ties all the circumstantial evidence together. There’s way to much of that. Better case than the grassy knoll, IMHO.

If true - the order (approval) would have to come from the top of the Pentagon. Rumsfeld.

With that, nothing changes. They killed one hell of a human being. One I’ll never forget. RIP Pat. Hope to see you again one day, my friend.

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By drbhelthi, December 29, 2010 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Voltaire´s world is implemented for short periods in very limited areas around the world. Very short periods.  As far as the murderer(s) of Pat Tillman, my ideas of punishment are a bit stronger than “sitting behind bars” for a long period.

My view is that the assassin does not deserve a burst of three to the head.  One .222 through the rear of the left hemisphere is adequate.  The puppet chain of command, including the general at the top, and the civilian above him, qualify for a burst of three to the head.  Unless they correct the injustice of their deliberate murder of Pat Tillman.  There has to be an American Patriot somewhere in that chain of command !!!

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By Calabashe, December 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

Ah! Wouldn’t it be grand if what you (and Voltaire) say were actually possible on this earth. I happen to respect those who enlist for whatever reason. After all, if utilized properly, they have & DO defend US.

I thought “Warrior” to be clever. It’s so much shorter than saying our young straight or not straight men & women.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, December 28, 2010 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Much of the chain of command in this entity called the military needs to sit behind bars for some time for this crime… Pat, regardless, was MURDERED.

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By drbhelthi, December 28, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

For me, the issue is not to honor or dishonor Pat
Tillman.  Whether he were another “football nerd” or
whatever is of lesser interest to me.  The kernal of
the event draws my attention. 

He was an American “doing time” in the U.S. Army. 
His plan was to depart the U.S. forces, and reveal
the wholesale hypocrisy of the U.S. Military, in its
genocide action in the middle East.

The U.S. Army debauchers intervened, and not only
deprived him of his right, as an American, to
dissent, the leadership murdered him.  What has
happened to U.S. Army Generals since Frederick Franks
?  Have they all turned into fat-ass “brown-nosers”,
similar to the one that tried to betray Frederick
Franks´ effectiveness, and who took evening meals at
5-star hotels while brown-nosing Rumsfeld?  Generals
?  Star-toting puppetry, nowadays?  “What you do
speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.” 
Original saying of the original indigenous. 

Suppression of dissent and publication of accurate
information is occurring wide-spread, as with the
senior pilot, also a certified Air Marshall, who
published a brief video of the non-existence of TSA
security at the San Francisco International Airport. 
The TSA belched, “- revealed security sensitive
information - - ,” and had his Air Marshall status
revoked.  The TSA provides jobs to some convicted of
crimes, which persons are normally, carefully
“screened out” of such positions.  Rather, the
activity of TSA employees signifies the intent to
harass airline travellers in support of the overall
harassment by Homeland Security, which is intended to
engender fear, subsequently capitulation of the

During WWII, “AXIS Sally” enchantingly broadcast NAZI
propaganda.  The role seems to have been
overtaken late in the 20th Century
by Mrs. Hillary Clinton. “AXIS Hilly” has
done a good job of puking out the NAZI party
line of disinformation 1980-2010.  She would
like both Manning and Assange to be removed.
Yet wants to be U.S. President ?  Something doesn´t jive here - - ?

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By LocalHero, December 28, 2010 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

“To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.” Albert Einstein

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” - Voltaire

Any of this sound familiar?

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By LocalHero, December 28, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Not One More!—

“If you look at the long history of our military, you have to question whether they perform more good than bad”

Are you kidding? Have to question? It’s not even close. “Our military” is nothing more than a human slaughterhouse.

And, holy smokes, Calabashe, put down the kool-aid & slowly back away. You can use all the high-minded terms like “warriors” you want. Those of the sane persuasion will call these guys exactly what they are; murderers.

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By Calabashe, November 22, 2010 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

Even better Idiot –

You don’t like football or other sports. (BTW it’s the offence that regularly huddles. Pat was defense.)  You don’t do social pub type environments like Applebee’s or TGIF. You probably live across from one and cry like a little girl watching all the pretty people who don’t want to know you. McDonald’s dollar menu is likely your favorite restaurant.

Mommy must have beat on you everyday instilling rock bottom self-esteem and sexual inadequacies. You speak of ejaculation right after discribing manly men who won’t even give you a look. Yet have the need to beat on such men while you wank and only choose dead man-babes who can’t defend themselves and would likely laugh at the size of your pathetic junk anyway.

Bet my profile is a lot more accurate than yours.

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By Calabashe, November 22, 2010 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

@ Idiot –

“its hard to imagine an intelligent football player, much less a football player with a gun in his hands having intelligence”

-  That’s part of what made Pat a unique man of honesty and integrity.

“i seriously doubt chomsky would interview such a pathetic huddleboy hustler”

-  Actually it was Pat to interview Chomsky, which never did take place BTW.


-  Uhm … the popular diminutive of Patrick is Paddy. No worry Krakauer got that wrong too. You wouldn’t have if you read previous posts.

“he should have stayed away from performance enhancers”

-  Sorry to disappoint. Pat was not a juicer. As for that square jaw and all, I thought him a major babe as well. Jealous?

Look, Idiot, if you have no respect for my buddy, I really don’t care. Just don’t make up lies to satisfy your own shortcomings. You obviously didn’t know the man or do any research before spewing your vomit.

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By idiots delight, November 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

its hard to imagine an intelligent football player, much less a football player with a gun in his hands having intelligence, tillman was a godless murderer who got his due paid in full., i seriously doubt chomsky would interview such a pathetic huddleboy hustler.. i feel for his family but they should have never given pattyboy a football and he should have stayed away from performance enhancers(just look at that thick jaw, cleft and neck),,,the little dark indigenous ones he was killing so you can eat in freedom at appleby’s or McDonalds and shop at wal=mart,,those little darkies are alot tougher people than any Pattyboy huddle hero our land of plenty make believe could ever conjure up, even in howood.. send the whole NFL and baseball hockey drones over there to man up like a good rambos should in sacrifice for you big mac..amerikkka lives in a friggin hero worshipping fantasy based on dead president$$$.. like rome on steroids having a premature ejaculation.. but we all know what happened to that super power..and all its white marble heroes..

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By Calabashe, November 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

LOL - Talk about shameless self-promotion - LOL

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By hourglass, November 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

sorry rigor, pat tillman was not “fragged by his own”. you have been
misinformed about the meaning of the word. tillman was posthumously
promoted to corporal - meaning he was only a private 1st class at the
time he was assassinated - he was not a glory hungry field commander
because army privates are never field commanders.

“fragging” only describes the murder of the ranking member of a field
unit - generally the lower ranks of field officers; 2nd and 1st
lieutenants, but sometimes as high as captain who has received a field
commission from the nco ranks, like 1st sergeant to captain to fill a gap
in available officers in the field. occasionally, a sergeant may be calling
the shots - but generally, they protect the troops from stupid

“fragging” was committed only to stop gung-ho, body-counting, pain-
in-the-ass, and /or promotion hungry unit commanders from risking
everyone else’s life in the unit in pursuit of their personal glory.

the real questions that linger regarding this incident for this current
inglorious and honor-less breed of military yes-men and torturers are
“why was tillman murdered?” and “why was it covered up?”

2nd sq 1st cav regiment 4th id pleiku ’68-‘69

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By Calabashe, November 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

The irony is Pat’s personal reputation was that of open honesty, some might say to a fault. Shit does happens, as Bill Maher recently pointed out over 50% of US soldiers in war die as a result of friendly fire or fragging. It’s a part of war. In Pat’s case it was more like DoD trying to enhance his reputation and theirs or covering-up something even more sinister given the mind-set of the last administration in particular. War shouldn’t be a policy tool. It should be a last resort like for the murder of 3000 of our innocents – idealistic as that sounds. It was the political leadership that turned a noble cause into a personal vendetta and blew it big time. Other than getting Sodamn Insane, which should have happened in the first Gulf war, the administration’s biggest brag was capturing one fucked-up Taliboy.

Yes, hourglass, football is a rough sport. Maybe even a national venue throw back to the Roman Gladiators, for players and spectators. Prolly why NFL players are in the top 1% of income and usually retire in their late 30’s or early 40’s. Quarterbacks tend to stay longer. Pat loved to challenge himself physically. Once had a conversation with him about working his primal inner animal. LOL. He didn’t do things like that for fame and glory. He didn’t have that kind of ego. That’s why I’m glad Bar-Lev dropped the working title of the film. It came across as uncharacteristicly arrogant. Being a natural football talent back at Leland, Dude was often interviewed by those who covered high school sports. Never did he take personal credit. It was always a team effort according to Pat.

As for the heroic rhetoric and similar bullshit? Dude didn’t buy into ANYbody’s dogma. Neither do I. He had his own code in which he was quite comfortable and secure. This is pure speculation but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn if both Pat and Kevin joined up for a combination of noble cause, which got lost, and personal challenge, to prove to themselves alone that they could do it. Maybe mix in a little great personal adventure before settling in and raising babies. Some say Pat should have taken the early out. That wasn’t Dude. His word was as gold. If he signed up for an obligation or gave his word, he saw it through to the end. You could count on that. Kevin was offered an early out too after Pat was killed but he didn’t take it either. That’s a personal characteristic that should be lauded not condemned – IMHO. Pat was a unique American hero, role model, but one needs to look beyond the headlines to fully understand that. The headlines (and Krakauer’s Glorious Hero Dude) are just bullshit.

You can meet the real Pat in “Boots on the Ground by Dusk” and “The Tillman Story.” Both honor Pat with their non-embellished non-speculative honesty. They tell Dude’s story not for Pat but for the hundreds of other whose stories will likely never be told. Pat would approve, prolly reluctantly. He didn’t really like the spotlight but being a public sports figure, he knew such came with responsibilities.

No argument here with your views on mercs. The one thing that should never be privatized is the military. Even agree with other views expressed here on the wars in general. Just don’t shit all over someone who actually got off his ass and did something rather than sit around pissing, moaning and pontificating.

I salute you your military service too. Sounds like it was an eye opening experience. That you did it, whether for noble or personal reasons, makes you a hero as well in my book - above and beyond the flawed imperial policy of the Soviet style Capitalist States of America.

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By Rigor, November 15, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Pat Tillman was “fragged”, killed by his own.
The cover-up started in the field to protect his
reputation, and carried on by higher-ups.
The truth leaked and now nobody knows what to believe.

A bad thing made even worse, with no end in sight -
unless we all respect his service more than the

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By hourglass, November 15, 2010 at 3:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

in defense of the nfl - it’s a nice game if you can retire from it without a
wheelchair ...

about “brave warriors” “taking bullets” and all that heroic rhetoric -
well, speaking as an awakened, former tool of empire ... some thought
they were doing the righteous patriotic thing in enlisting - but they
were cruelly duped by the deciders, the financiers, the profiteers, the
owners of the great evil.

nearly all others, i’m afraid, had and have no other financial recourse
but to be salaried members of an all volunteer military. and should
bloodlust come to rule their veins they don’t have to re-enlist for a fix,
they can be hired by contract merc organizations as trained (on the
taxpayer dime) military specialists at very high salaries (taxpayer

mercenaries, dupes and peons, the new weapons of capitalism and free
market fairy dust or is it freedom and democracy? usa! usa! right

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By Calabashe, November 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Guy, gotta speak on behalf of the NFL. They are A-political and should be. As a nation venue of escape they rightly stay away from controversy. Look how Rush Limbaugh was handled - a simple thanx but no thanx.

That’s why I wonder if Pat would have become an anti-Iraqi adventure critic. He couldn’t have done that and stayed in the NFL to which I believe Pat intended to returned, at least for a time.

The NFL had its more than proper commemorations even if the dancing cheerleaders came off a bit tacky. They helped Marie kick-off the foundation and recently got more involved with the foundation’s scholarship programs. As an organization they weren’t going to throw weight into the investigations - way too controversial.

As for Pat’s Super Bowl, I was aware and picked up a lot of subtle references as if Pat was there live and watching. Hell Pat might even have made the final call on that 100-yrd dash that lost it for the Cards. Jus sayin’. Would you have preferred more dancing cheerleaders?

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By Calabashe, November 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

@ mitchum22. LOL - It’s an old picture. You should see how much of an old troll I look now. In my dreams I don’t look a day over 30 even if I act like I’m only 10.

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By Calabashe, November 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Ah Guy - the heroic firefighter to the rescue. Did you know Pat was made an honorary member of FDNY?

Knowing that Narda co-authored “Boots on the Ground by Dusk,’ which became the basis for the film “The Tillman Story,” I began to wonder if her title to this piece was an invitation rather than a personal memorial to America’s most recent high profile soldier (for whatever reason.)

I’ve read much of your work Guy and respect it. Even if I don’t agree with all of your conclusions, some of your logic and think you a bit too cynical a perfectionist. (no news with all that) No need to nitpick the particulars when I know your intent is noble. I know you have been moved by Pat’s story. I know you want to help keep the record straight. Pat is hero and role model material even without his part in bringing down America’s top war criminal, Donald Rumsfeld.

Haven’t read the new edition of the Krakauer fairytale. IMHO, the original (published - I’m told the non-published version was even worse) was no better then the yarn DoD tried to spin. Krakauer is responsible for much of the mythos associated with Hero Dude. Never met his Hero Dude. Did he at least learn the correct diminutive of Patrick - Paddy not Patty? Not that anyone called Pat that except Frank Bauer. There were a few Tillys though - LOL.

It was clear Krakauer was more interested in selling books than in telling an accurate story. Maybe he was just looking to capture a trophy ass dream man that he could woo with verbal knob polishing that would embarrass Ann Coulter. Pat is nobody’s asshole. Don’t buy the early brawler out to prove masculinity as a rite of passage thing either. It’s just not true. I was there back then. What Krakauer failed to grasp was that his thoughts of Pat were fantasy while other’s (self-included) thoughts were real memories.

First met Pat when he was a lad of 17. I’m older. It was a mentoring thing. Could have taken advantage but didn’t. He was unique in a good way even back then. I was taken by his hunger for knowledge and understanding. It would have been natural to give him something like Kiddo as a personal nickname but I wanted to let him know I thought of him as an intellectual equal, that I respected him. I called him Dude instead. I think he liked that. ;-] We saw each other off and on until about the time he went pro. There isn’t a day in the last 4 years that he hasn’t come into mind and inspires me, gives me strength to fight my own demons. Best damn Guardian Angel a guy could ever hope for. I’m convinced when (eventually) it’s my turn to crossover, Pat and I will pick up our friendship better than where we left off. We’ve got a list of new adventures to have. He’s worth the wait. I think he’s waiting too. Back to earth.

Guy, I know you’re inspired as well. Thank you for your understanding and help in speaking for a man whose voice is not heard as loud as it once was. As for these underwear pontiffs who never found a principle or cause worth putting it on the line for? Some day they’ll have to eat the shit they’re trying to rub Pat’s face in.

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By mitchum22, November 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

One question, Mister Calabashe: my mom is having some problems with her dentures. How much did those false teeth cost you?

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By Calabashe, November 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment


“your blog (Jack Kane) certainly constitutes a well balanced, factual, befitting and complete obituary for pat tillman.”

So you also think football is a useless profession just because there is nothing you believe in strongly enough to put your life on the line for? I guess you are one sorry ass who will let someone else take the bullet for you and then condemn them for doing so.

Please - don’t any where stand near me.

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By Guy Montag, November 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

“Veterans were honored all across America Thursday, while the most famous veteran of our ongoing wars continues to be dishonored.”

Here’s my Veteran’s Day take on Pat Tillman that I posted on November 11th.  I was a bit pissed by all of the iconic fawning by sportwriter’s using his “sacrifice” to promote the country’s idolatrous worship of patriotism and our perpetual wars.  Some of them bothered to mention his friendly-fire death.  But, there was certainly not a word about the betrayal of the Tillman family by the top military and political leadership.

. . .

The marriage of NFL football with the armed forces is not all about glory.  It’s about secrets, lies and death, too.  During the 2009 Superbowl with Pat Tillman’s team, the Arizona Cardinals, playing the Steelers, he was barely a footnote.  Old news.  A bit troublesome for the media and NFL to dwell upon.  A bit of an embarrassment.  Best ignored.

The top leadership of the Army, Congress, and the Presidency (both Bush and Obama administrations) betrayed the Tillman family by their cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death.

And the NFL exploited the death of Pat Tillman, yet refused to help the Tillman family in their search for the truth.  I guess the NFL figures they’ve put up a statue, had a jersey dedication, paid for the Tillman USO in Afghanistan … time to move on.  The NFL has turned Pat Tillman into a lifeless icon, instead of celebrating his iconoclastic nature (e.g. the man who told a fellow Ranger in Iraq that “This war is so——ing illegal!).

I’m still angry that the truth about Pat’s life and death has been buried.  Tillman was enshrined as an icon while the man fell by the wayside, his parents used as props at his funeral.  “The truth may be painful, but it’s the truth,” his mother said.  “If you feel you’re being lied to, you can never put it to rest.”
We should honor Pat Tillman’s memory by honoring the man, not the myth. The iconoclast, not the icon.  As his mother said, “Pat would have wanted to be remembered as an individual, not as a stock figure or political prop.  Pat was a real hero, not what they used him as.” 

If you want to learn about the real Pat Tillman, see the documentary “The Tillman Story” or read Mary Tillman’s book “Boots on the Ground by Dusk” (at, Jon Krakauer’s book “Where Men Win Glory,” (flawed work since he lost of the trust of the Tillman family; get updated paperback with 50 more pages), or my posts such as “Barely a Footnote” —Superbowl XLIII and the NFL’s Betrayal of Pat Tillman” or “The [Untold] Tillman Story” at 

SSGT Co. “F” (Ranger) 425th Infantry 1983 – 1991
Firefighter 1991 - Present

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By Guy Montag, November 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

“The government and military apparently have no further interest in Pat Tillman …. The truth is worth waiting for. Pat Tillman deserves that. “

Well, at his April 2007 hearing, Congressman Henry Waxman also observed, “… our government failed them [Tillman family]… The least we owe to courageous men and women who are fighting for our freedom is the truth.”  But, as I previously pointed out, Waxman didn’t dig very deep for the truth (he was part of “the fix.”). 

Just before the 2006 mid-term elections, Kevin Tillman published his eloquent letter, “After Pat’s Birthday” here at Truthdig:

“Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them.  Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.”

“Somehow torture is tolerated. … Somehow lying is tolerated.  … Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.  … Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.”

“Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.  … Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country. Somehow this is tolerated.  Somehow nobody is accountable for this.”

Kevin had hoped a Democratic Congress would bring accountability back to our country.  But, just as with warrantless wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brother’s friendly-fire death have never been held accountable for their actions.  As the Obama administration is fond of saying, “They’re moving forward, not looking backward.”

Amir Bar-Lev’s account of the Tillman cover-up in his film “The Tillman Story” ended far too soon, with Congressman Waxman’s August 2007 hearing.  The Congressional cover-up actually continued through the June 2, 2009 confirmation hearing of General McChrystal as the Commander of the Afghan War (and continues to this day). 

The fatal flaw of Amir’s otherwise great film was his failure to show how the Democratic Congress and the Obama administration just continued the Army & Bush administration cover-up.  So, the film has been safely ignored by the powers-that-be because it has no “news’ and doesn’t threaten those still in power.

Narda, you’re not going to get the truth from the government, whether Republican or Democratic.  Politics is just political theater in this country.  And the media is just part of that system.  For example, I documented how the New York Time’s Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker “exonerated” Gen. McChrystal back in 2009 to carry water for the Obama administration. 

I documented my encounter with the NYT in “Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” at (a shorter summary is included in “The [Untold] Tillman Story.)

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By berniem, November 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

To add insult to injury why would you include a picture of the war criminal Rumsfeld in an article about Tillman?

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By Guy Montag, November 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

“Rep. Henry Waxman held two congressional hearings in 2007 … in a tremendous insult to the Tillman family and the American people, the committee was stonewalled…”

Congressman Henry Waxman closed his April 2007 hearing in frustration, “What we have is a very clear, deliberate abuse intentionally done.  Why is it so hard to find out who did it?”  Like Narda Zacchino, Waxman’s final report also blamed “stonewalling” by the Army & Bush administration. 

However, the cover-up was actually a bipartisan affair.  It wasn’t just a case of the White House stonewalling the Congress (Krakauer).  It wasn’t “a lack of courage or will” (Mary Tillman).  It wasn’t “a loathing to call them out on their bullshit” (Stan Goff).  In actuality, Congress didn’t just “fumble” the ball, they threw the game.

“Why is it so hard to find out who did it?”  Well, it sure looks to me like Waxman himself was part of the cover-up to protect those “who did it.”  His so-called “investigation” was not an honest attempt to get at the truth.  It was perfunctory with an exceedingly narrow scope.

For example, Waxman failed to question Gen. McChrystal about his key role in the false Silver Star, altered witness statements, early knowledge of fratricide, failure to inform the family, and his deceptive P4 memo.  Waxman never explained why McChrystal was dropped from his witness list (an AP article mentioned McChrystal “declined” to appear!) and unlike the Army’s scapegoat Gen. Kensinger, McChrystal was never subpoenaed or asked to testify later.

On May 15th 2008, after a secret “review” of the Tillman case by Senator Webb, the Senate Armed Services Committee (headed by Senator Levin and McCain) held an “executive session” where McChrystal testified behind closed doors about his actions after Tillman’s fratricide “in detail.”  Shortly afterwards, the Senate promoted him to Director of the Joint Staff.

The following year, on May 11th 2009, President Obama picked McChrystal as his new Afghan War commander despite McChrystal’s key role in the Tillman cover-up.  On May 13th, Obama back-pedaled on his previous decision to release photos of “detainee abuse.”  On May 20th, Senators Lieberman, Graham, and McCain (working with the White House) introduced a bill to change the FOIA law to block the release of those photos showing torture by JSOC forces under McChrystal’s command.  The Senate unanimously passed it the next day.

On June 2nd 2009, The Senate Armed Services Committee held McChrystal’s confirmation hearing for his promotion to four-star general. The hearing was strictly “pro-forma.”  The real hearing had been conducted the previous year, behind closed doors.  McChrystal’s confirmation by unanimous consent came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made an impassioned plea on the Senate floor.

It’s not surprising the Army and the Bush administration lied.  But the Democratic Congress, after 2006, could have gone after those responsible.  Or at least not promoted them! 

Those most culpable (including Congressman Waxman, Senator Webb, Senator McCain, Senator Levin, Senator Reid, and President Obama) have not yet paid any political price.  They’ve all been given “pass” on their betrayal of the Tillman family.

Blaming the Bush administration and the Army for the Pat Tillman cover-up is too simple.  Perhaps Narda Zacchino’s passion for truth has been blinded by a partisan bias toward the Democratic Party and/or President Obama? 

If you’re interested in more detail, I’ve posted extensively on this topic at with the best intro being “The [Untold] Tillman Story.”

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By C O Jones, November 13, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where is Wikileaks when you need it?
Vale Tillman

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By Calabashe, November 13, 2010 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

IMHO, Donald Rumsfeld was an arrogant incompetent wannabe warlord. Men like him come to power through voter apathy and ignorance.

Our young men and women join the military for a number of reasons, educational subsidies, adventure, even to seek justice for the murder of 3000 innocents. They do their jobs to the best of their ability regardless of how badly the political leadership blows it.

The schmucks are the ones who dismiss our warriors’ noble service and sacrifice while pretending to rule the world through their keyboards - likely in their underwear.

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By Big B, November 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

while there is plenty of blame to go around in this sordid little story, the one constant remains, and that is until the military families of the US wise up and start questioning the reasons their children are being used as canon fodder, this same sad story will be repeated ad nauseum.

Whatever you believe the circumstances of Mr Tillman’s death were, one fact remains as plain as the noses on our collective faces, the Rumsfelds of the world have not one once of respect for the people of our military. To the masters of the universe you current military members and veterans are the lowest of the low. You buy their patriotic bullshit generation after dim generation. Your deaths and crippled bodies make their cushy lives possible.

I don’t know what corner of hell Pat Tillman is in right now, but he, and all the others like him, must feel like real schmucks.

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By apache, November 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

jack kane;

your blog (above) certainly constitutes a well balanced, factual, befitting and complete obituary for pat tillman.

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By drbhelthi, November 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Comrade Donald Rumsfeld.
- 1981- “father” (former CEO of Searle Chemical) of
aspartame (under five names) the world´s no.1
harmful, excitotoxin. Fraudulently approved via
Rumsfeld dishonest, NAZI-type influence.  Thought by
some to have caused the world-wide, fibromyalgia
- 2004-2007: Bird-flu fraud.  Pocketed 15-20 Million
dollars profit from the tamiflu fraud – while
occupying U.S. office.
Strong supporter of the CIA, Halliburton,
Blackwater/Ex and follow-ons. For details of the
sordid record of the CIA, view the video by John
Stockwell, a former chief in the CIA, who risked his
life by revealing some of the truth:

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By G.Anderson, November 13, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

there he is again, the face of shock and awe… the Donster…....One Donald
Rumsfeld…Rummy, dummy…Rummy Dummy…

He was supposed to be so smart, he had warfare down to a science, a calculation
jotted in a notebook. He ignored Shineseki and all the other generals, and eventually
forced them to resign. Because he thought that he was smarter.

His sneers and constipated anger toward those others who questioned his science
fiction are unforgettable. 

How dare you Mr. John q. public, think that you have the intellectual abilities to
question the great and powerful Donster.

He made Haliburton a lot of dough. And he led a lot of our children to their deaths,
some of them are still dying. For many families there’s a lifetime of anguish over the
deaths of their children, anguish they will not escape in this life.

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By Ouroborus, November 13, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

It’s unfortunate many posters here aren’t aware of
Tillman’s intelligence and political acumen; Pat and
his brother were well aware of the politics and
questioned the motives of the American adventure into
Afghanistan. They went in to get first hand knowledge
of what was really going on there.
All one has to do is “listen” to his family and
especially his brother to know these people are not
idiots; but life savvy and very politically astute.

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By fearnotruth, November 13, 2010 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

if we’re heading into documentary movies about soldiers - the must see film is
‘Beyond Treason’ - whatever anyone thinks about the nobility of the ‘mission’ it
must be acknowledged that DU poisoning is Gulf War Syndrome and the Pentagon
has known about DU poisoning for decades - one of the biggest cover ups of all

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By Calabashe, November 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

OK mitchum22 so you’re just another idiot talking out your ass about what you know nothing of, huh?

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By mitchum22, November 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

Fuck Pat Tillman. The steroids-monster went “over there” to kill darkies who were messin’ with The Masters of the Universe. Let’s focus on how many of those he killed, before the monster swallowed him.

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By Calabashe, November 12, 2010 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

Always Questioning -

I’m not a family spokesperson so I can’t say what the Tillmans feel privately. I am one who is not completely satisfied with a simple friendly fire incident. Likely we will never know the whole truth. What is known is that evidence was destroyed and testimony was falsified. By nature that is a cover up. It’s also fact that the P4 memo puts the cover up into the White House.

At the time of his murder (did I just say that?) Pat had about a year and a half left on his service contract. Particulars of the Chomsky meet weren’t finalized because of that as well. Never heard anything about Pat being on Nightline. The family has made a number of appearances endorsing “The Tillman Story” film and the book “Boots on the Ground by Dusk” both being honest unembellished accounts.

It’s my understanding, after his service, Pat intended to return to the NFL, finish his Master’s in History and likely raised a few babies with Marie. If in the NFL, Pat wouldn’t have been allowed to take a political stand but I have no doubt Pat had begun considering eventual life after the NFL.

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By Calabashe, November 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

It’s obvious the legacy and lesson of this American tragedy will remain lost on a number of posters here yet no bliss is found in their ignorance. Pat would be the first to admit his sacrifice was no greater than the sacrifices made by the over 5000 others in service for US and our allies. Pat’s story got told because of his public sports background but it’s only one of hundreds of stories not told about the abuse and disrespect of our heroic warriors. Cartoonist Ted Rall also thought Pat just a “dumb jock” searching for the stereotypical blind glory of the Right. At least Rall did eventually man up and admit he was wrong yet the fallacy of such “glory” lives on in self-proclaimed pontifications without accuracy or importance. RobinHood & Jack Kane in particular take note.

I count myself among a privileged few who regularly engaged with Pat in esoteric conversations on the existential matters of politics, religion as well as any number of other forbidden fruits of conversation. Even at 17 Pat had a remarkable intellectual curiosity and could hold his own in debate as he sought to broaden his own views and understandings.

Politically and privately, Pat leaned Left - definitely not a teabagger. It is unknown if he would have become a critic against the Iraqi adventure, which BTW began after Pat enlisted. I do know Pat couldn’t be an outspoken protester if he went back to the NFL. They are a very A-political organization - as they should be.

The Tillmans lost an exceptional son, brother, husband. Others, self included, lost a loyal, dedicated and most unforgettable friend. The nation lost its military integrity and faith in our leaders. It was embarrassing to watch Rumsfeld and his top generals trip over themselves covering their collective asses rather than discovering the truth. It’s obvious in the film Mom Mary wanted to get up and smack the lot of them.

Both “The Tillman Story” and “Boots on the Ground by Dusk” honor Pat’s memory with their honesty – no embellishment necessary. Pat wouldn’t have it any other way.

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By Always questioning, November 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If a comment was received from me it was incomplete. Got an acknowledgment so
assume it went through accidentally.

Do not believe that the Tillman death was fratricide.  There is more to it.

Can anyone verify, whether true or not, if it was known that Tillman was
scheduled to be interviewed on Nightline?  It was answer some questions for me.

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By drbhelthi, November 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

- U.S. Army generals, since Frederick Franks? 
- Too busy sucking-up to rumsfeld-types to do their
sworn duty. (many of whom should have been on the
weight-control program until chaptered out,
similar to enlisted soldiers)

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By RobinhoodShaolin43, November 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah, sweet memories of Bush speaking at the Carlyle Group in Moore´s Farenheit 9/11. 
  Tillman was a professional football player, and unfortunately, not likely to have looked outside the box.
  Ron Kovic wrote his book in the 1980s or so, and the movie came out in the 1990s, and Stone´s Platoon also came out, as did his JFK.  Still, the mind trap is a thick smoke, and the elitist masters mix an intoxicating brew for the hoi polloi.
    The World Social Forum was started in 2001, and the first US Forum started six years later.  Hey, Karl Marx wrote the Manifesto in 1848, but the propaganda smoke is just thick as tar.  Hey, I read Media Sexploitation in high school, which was a fun place to start.  Too bad Tillman never met Ron Kovic, coming back to that point.
    I´m not aware that Tillman wouldn´t be a Tea Party hack if he had made it, frankly.  As may be the case, whose to say he wouldn~t have approved of the cover up?  Not to justify it, but that´s just part of how sad and deep the problem is.

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By dihey, November 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On this day most if not all progressive websites are filled with comments on president Obama’s “Reduce the Deficit Commission”. Sadly Truthdig is asleep while digging.

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By letidb, November 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What if Pat Tillman had killed a score of non-American human beings?  (Forget
that the primary desire of those human beings was to have Pat and all other
Westerners out of their centuries-old country.)  I suspect that his now bereaved
family and most of the rest of us would anoint him a superhero and, if he had
survived, proclaim him to be the next president of the U.S.

What is missing in this minor horror is the major tragedy of what our country
reveals itself to be.  Under the guise of “9/11,” we have shocked and awed to
death hundreds of thousands of human beings who had nothing to do with the immaculate, straight down collapse of three New York skyscrapers (one not even hit by a plane).  Are we proud of what we’ve done?  You betcha’!  There is not a word of discourse—not an iota of critical comment—in our national dialog by either side of our “two-party” (pu-lease!) representative democracy about the charnel house we’ve made of Afghanistan.  Indeed, tan cheney is planning to keep hobnail boots on the ground until 2014.

The author’s questions of “who” is behind the lies surrounding Pat Tillman’s
death (murder?) should become a preamble to the questions of who is behind
the koolaid that keeps us in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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By APACHE, November 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

pat was a bright guy. he should have known better than to be a pawn in another banker-war. RIP…

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By Not One More!, November 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

I feel bad for Pat Tillman and his family, but I also feel sad that he bought the Iraq story hook line and sinker when he enlisted.

The war was wrong under Bush (and not a mistake, it was intentional) and it continues to be wrong under Obama.

If you look at the long history of our military, you have to question whether they perform more good than bad; whether they protect liberty and freedoms of the world or inflict injustice as they carry out violence on the behalf of the corporate elite.

http://www.NotOneMore.US - Listen to the song ‘Don’t Trust the Government’

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By Pierre Grimes, November 12, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The issue is simple enough and goes to the heart of all of us.  The brave and courageous are killed because they threaten the lives of those who fear being exposed to the dangers of combat.  The cover-up is the hallmark of our age, we don’t want the absurdities by which we live to be exposed, we want to remain silent and to hide from the obvious truth that our choice of leaders reveals the sickness of our own refusal to recognize that we are afraid to admit that those we give powerful positions to are without integrity and are chosebn to cover up our own illuisions.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, November 12, 2010 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

There exists an invisible line between them and the commons.

And all those at their behest ( yes, even military personnel for their paychecks depend on it ) will obey them.

Take away their power to create money, and they will care who governs the laws.

“Give me the right to issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who governs the country.” —b. A.D. 1773, Amschel Mayer Rothschild, German banker whose financial empire still exists today.  He and his descendants have and possibly continue to finance wars, governments, policies and who knows what else.

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By bogi666, November 12, 2010 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

fearnottruth, Sounds just like Kissenger, a thoroughly despicable, disgusting, ingrate cretin who orchestrated the death of at least 6 million in Indochina and more in Latin America, and then has the chutzpah to accept the Noble Peace Prize that he shared with his North Vietnamese counterpart who had the integrity and moral courage to refuse because he refused to lower himself to Kissenger’s level of depravity, the depravity of a war criminal. Well K did come from NAZI Germany, what do we expect.

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By Robert MacDonald, November 12, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Was the conflict between secular humanism and evangelical religion ever mentioned by any of the on site witnesses or those who knew the philosophical beliefs of the Tillman family?

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By tedmurphy41, November 12, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

The people who instigate such conflicts in far away lands never, ever, seem to place themselves, or their families, in harm’s way.
Just calling them cowards would never do them justice.

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By Mike, November 12, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday, November 10, 2010, that President Obama has nominated Colonel Jeffrey L. Bailey for his first star.

Bailey commanded Pat Tillman’s unit, the 2nd Ranger Battalion, during his friendly fire death.  A memorandum of concern was placed in the file of then-Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bailey, the officer who explicitly threatened the local Rangers who knew what happened in the incident if they told anyone, specifically including Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother who was in the same unit.

Bailey visited the site of the calamity the following morning and, a few hours later, he called his boss and said (according to Bailey’s sworn testimony), “My gut feeling was that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire…. There was no doubt about it.  It was a case where there were six or seven Rangers that saw the vehicle shooting at them.”  According to Army regulations, this information should have been immediately shared with the Tillman family, even if friendly fire was only a possibility.  Instead, Bailey and others embarked on an elaborate campaign to suppress the truth and persuade both the family and the public that Tillman was killed by enemy fire.  Tillman’s notebook, uniform, ammo vest, and body armor were burned, in clear violation of other important protocols.  Within two days of Tillman’s death, Bailey initiated paperwork to give Tillman the Silver Star, the military’s third highest decoration for valor.

Bailey is currently serving as deputy commander (operations), 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)/U.S. Division-North, Operation New Dawn, Iraq.  The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

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By fearnotruth, November 12, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

”...military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign
— Henrey Kissinger, National Security Advisor under Richard Nixon
and Gerald Ford — mentor to the architects of the campaigns in current theaters of war

any reason to think this is no longer an operative attitude?

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By LFainstadt, November 12, 2010 at 8:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think back to the days I spent working in the Robert Kennedy campaign as well as the day I met President Kennedy. Along with Ted Sorenson, RIP, President Kennedy stood up against a military establishment that Eisenhower had warned America about. Two heroic public servants who were willing to risk their lives to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. On Veterans day and every day I give thanks for these two Kennedy’s who along with Soveit Premiere Kruschev saved this earth and all on it from a doomsday scenario. Kruschev worked with America to prevent a nuclear war.

We sure could use more Americans like President Kennedy and Sen. Kennedy. I was with Robert Kennedy and was the last person to speak with him before his victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel. I miss him every day.

America will never move forward past the days when President Kenned, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. was on this earth. A lie cannot live forever and America needs truth more than ever.

Please read : JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE by James Douglass. You will find more truth than you can imagine. It takes a lot for a nation to face the truth about it’s past but it must be done.

Peace my brothers and sisters. Truth to Power.

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By jack kane, November 12, 2010 at 3:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why should we honor Pat Tillman? What’s the big deal with Pat Tillman?

Pat Tillman was a football player. What kind of a profession is that? He didn’t do anything for society. He just ran around after an egg shaped ball. Any illegal immigrant Mexican janitor has done more for America than Pat Tillman.

But the money and the fame weren’t enough for Pat. He wanted military glory. So like a moron he joined the army so he could go kill brown people in one of two illegal wars. What America has done to Iraq is plain genocide. Nothing less. America has also destabilized Afghanistan for 30 solid years now. And Pat Tillman, like a good Aryan eager to join the Waffen SS, wanted a piece of the action.

So he went there, read some Chomsky, and understood the whole scam. His coach offered him a way out. Pat could have left the army and spoken against the war! Imagine the publicity he would have gotten! He was Pat F-ing Tillman, after all! Soldier #1 of the Empire! Bush’s favorite enlisted man! But no, not Pat.

Instead, Pat went back to the Middle East and got killed in the dumbest way imaginable. He died from the bullets of his own ‘comrades’. His final words were ‘I’m F-ing Pat Tillman!’
Truly a stupid way to die, even for a guy who never did anything useful for his society.

Let’s not honor Pat Tillman. You know whom we could honor? There was a segment about soldier suicides on Democracy Now recently. A soldier’s mother recalled her son’s last days. He was disgusted with having killed. He could not live with himself. His mother told him: “One kills in war, you were just following orders, it’s ok, etc.” I found her justifications hypocritical and offensive. What about those her son killed? They didn’t invite him over there to slaughter them in their own land. But that soldier showed honor and bravery in killing himself. It is him that we should remember, not Pat Tillman.

Please don’t call me anti-American or callous! These wars are obscene. Let’s face the horror and admit the true state of affairs. Quit supporting soldiers out of pseudo-patriotism. Pity the soldiers, but do not glorify their gruesome murderous ways.

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By msgmi, November 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A typical dog & pony show by the SecDef and his cronies who forgot that their uniform represents honor. In fact, Rumsfeld deserves every bit of scathing for not having the gonads to right the wrongs in the Pat Tillman caper. Truth and honesty are not part of Rumselfd’s character and this particular blemish will be part of his flawed personna until the time he does a long overdue mea culpa. Rumsfeld and his sycophant’s have one thing in common, they can’t handle the truth.

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