The Tillman Affair

Kevin_pat_350 "Tillman’s mother, Mary Tillman, who has long suggested that her son was deliberately killed by his comrades, said she is still looking for answers and looks forward to the congressional hearings next week.

"Nothing is going to bring Pat back. It’s about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived," she said.

The documents show that a doctor who autopsied Tillman’s body was suspicious of the three gunshot wounds to the forehead. The doctor said he took the unusual step of calling the Army’s Human Resources Command and was rebuffed. He then asked an official at the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division if the CID would consider opening a criminal case.

"He said he talked to his higher headquarters and they had said no," the doctor testified.

Also according to the documents, investigators pressed officers and soldiers on a question Mrs. Tillman has been asking all along.

"Have you, at any time since this incident occurred back on April 22, 2004, have you ever received any information even rumor that Cpl. Tillman was killed by anybody within his own unit intentionally?" an investigator asked then-Capt. Richard Scott.

Scott, and others who were asked, said they were certain the shooting was accidental.

Investigators also asked soldiers and commanders whether Tillman was disliked, whether anyone was jealous of his celebrity, or if he was considered arrogant. They said Tillman was respected, admired and well-liked.

The documents also shed new light on Tillman’s last moments.

It has been widely reported by the AP and others that Spc. Bryan O’Neal, who was at Tillman’s side as he was killed, told investigators that Tillman was waving his arms shouting "Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" again and again.

But the latest documents give a different account from a chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman was killed.

The chaplain said that O’Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman’s side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God’s not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling …" AP/Forbes


His mother thinks someone in his platoon shot him?  The Left thinks the government had someone kill him because he was a "closet" anti-war activist?  The officers who failed to report his death correctly are worse than child molesters?  Maybe someone shot him because because he cussed at him while under fire?  Three closely spaced bullet holes add up to aimed fire?

The unreality in all this is impressive:

– Mary Tillman evidently wants to believe that her son’s death has some esoteric meaning.  Sorry, soldiers die on every battlefield without any import attaching to their deaths except the quality of their personal sacrifice.  Unless there is some REAL EVIDENCE of deliberate violence directed at Tillman by a comrade, there is no reason to think she is right about this.  It may be necessary to re-open the investigation just to put a stop to this foolishness.

– Anyone who thinks that the Army cares what a junior enlisted infantry soldier thinks about politics is just wrong.  What they care about is whether or not the man is doing his duty, and he evidently was.  His brother was in the same platoon (a bad idea).  Does he say that there was hostility towards the two of them over their views on Bush Administration policy?

– His death was not reported correctly as directed by Army POLICY (not law).  The officers who failed to do so probably failed in their duty because of a combination of fear of adverse career results from this celebrity’s death "on their watch" and a misguided desire to shield the family from the grim reality of the accidental quality of his end.  They may have broken the law in that the UCMJ requires truthful answers in official statements.  Nevertheless, one must ask, would Tillman be less dead if they had reported his death properly? The failure is a serious breach of discipline but not a moral lapse.

– Soldiers generally cuss.  They cuss even more under combat conditions.  The idea that someone would have shot him for yelling at them is so stupid that I can’t really deal with it.

– The three holes in his forehead?  I am a good shot with a variety of weapons. I know a lot about guns and what happens when a lot of fire is buzzing around in a fire fight.  Three 7.62mm or 5.56mm rounds from an automatic weapon fired at fairly close range in one burst are just as likely an explanation as aimed fire.  The fact that these three rounds hit him in the forehead proves nothing.  Three rounds out of how many in the same burst?

The idea that Tillman’s death was "arranged" is already taking hold as a new assassination myth.  People spreading this idea should ask themselves why they are doing this?  Is it really "the truth" that they want is or is it simple animosity towards the Army that motivates them? 


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44 Responses to The Tillman Affair

  1. Ex-Enlisted says:

    Colonel, no disrespect, but maybe a large amount of this suspicion and hostility toward the Army on the part of civilians wouldn’t have arisen if their hadn’t been such elaborate efforts to cover things up. One thing that this whole sorry business seems to graphically illustrate to me is that Bush and crew really aren’t soldiers’ friends (as if we needed more proof of that).

  2. John says:

    I believe that the misreporting IS a moral breach. Whatever the reason,
    it introduces additional doubt and ultimately increases the pain the
    survivors feel.
    I also feel that the doctors should have been able to further explore
    their hunches. The fact that they expressed their concerns and those
    concerns were not explored also increases survivors’ doubt and pain when
    it comes out.
    The three star who became a two star certainly deserves to. Tap dancing
    around the truth by virtue of a faulty memory at that level should have

  3. ben says:

    Questions about the death have grown out of a policy of concealment. Every time and in every administrative office facts arrive much later than they should with supportive data lacking. This is the policy of the monarchist regime of Cheney. Why shouldn’t people be suspicious.

  4. TR Stone says:

    These types of questions gain traction when there is a total breakdown of belief that what you are being told is true. The previous dissembling about Tillman’s death could lead to some believing in this explanation for his death.
    The truth is the first casuality of war. With this administration, the casualities are enormous!

  5. dasher says:

    “Unless there is some REAL EVIDENCE of deliberate violence directed at Tillman by a comrade, there is no reason to think she is right about this. It may be necessary to re-open the investigation just to put a stop to this foolishness.”
    Yes, indeed. However,since it now appears that the original “investigation’s” whole purpose was emphatically to find NO EVIDENCE, we really don’t know very much about what is there to find, do we?
    I certainly don’t know, or care to speculate, about whether Pat Tillman was fragged (I assumed up until now that is WAS just a stupid accident). But now I know that, whatever there is to know, we don’t know it. To my way of thinking, that’s enough to re-open the investigation, and it’s not foolishness.

  6. BruceR says:

    Agreeing with your commenters here. The awarding of the Silver Star, those initial official statements about how CPR was administered as he was medevaced (the poor fellow had no cranium, it later turned out), were not honest mistakes on the military’s part.

  7. rebel07 says:

    I understand why everyone is suspicious over this issue, but following Occam’s Razor, wouldn’t a more rational assumption be that Pat Tillman’s family is looking for a way to explain why he died in a war they don’t agree with? Instead of the reason why most soldiers die in a combat zone, because they were there. Soldiers die and for a lot of different reasons most of which cannot be explained, it just happens. It has been my combat experience that led to my belief when it is your time to go, there is nothing you can do about it. My heart goes out to the Tillman family, I hope they can one day find the peace they seek.

  8. rebel07 says:

    Following my previous post I just wanted to add that the Tillman case shows just how bad the Army “careerists” have gotten. If they did indeed cover up the incident to save their careers, the Army had been infested with the wrong kind of officers leading the best men and women America has to offer.

  9. mlaw230 says:

    Most of this story is tinfoil hat stuff, perhaps well meaning/ perhaps just self interested spin to deal with a screw up, but one fact is curious and needs further explanation:
    1) If the three rounds in the forehead suggest a range of 30 yards, that is a lot closer than initial reports and raise greater questions as to why Tillman was not recognized as a friendly.
    There were also reports of burning of his uniform and even some reports of some type of medical attention done to his body long after (hours) he was dead, but I do not know whether those rumours have been substantiated.

  10. VietnamVet says:

    Colossal screw-ups start at the top from Corporal Tillman to Abu Ghraib. Having never been in country, the leadership learned all the wrong lessons. They believe that hippies and media lost Vietnam, so they ended the draft and deregulated media ownership.
    Even in the last years of Vietnam, your unit was all the protected you from chaos. Corporal Tillman was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, the cover up was part of the ongoing Pentagon agitprop; controlling the media message.
    The White House, Pentagon Civilian Leadership and most Officers never for a second recognized that invading and occupying a foreign country is difficult and always involves genocide unless overwhelming force and the moral high ground are on the occupiers side. The USA has neither in Afghanistan or Iraq.

  11. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Note to any military readers:
    Odds are increasing that “rank and file” civilians are turning against the military much as they did in the 1970’s. I hope not, but, as they say down South, I feel it in my bones. And I am sure there are people in the media who will take advantage of the growing schism.
    In the 1970’s, the antiwar, actually antimilitary, movement was not just the Jane Fonda types. Another “branch” was when the Pat Tillmans — meaning great soldiers from the civilian world — turned against the military because word had gotten out — either rightly or wrongly — that the little guy was getting a raw deal. I saw this “phenomenon” in my hometown — a small Southern town that is about as pro-American as you get.
    In other words, the “snake-eaters” — the Pat Tillmans — became very angry at the USM. It was a very unhealthy dynamic and it reminds me of the quote from Sun Tzu…”In all of history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolong warfare”.
    I don’t think you want the Pat Tillmans of the civilian world to turn against you. Just to emphasize my point: the Pat Tillmans vs. the military, in some ways, would be like a NFL team playing Annapolis in football. You want the Pat Tillmans on your side.
    These types by the way refused to have anything to do with the Jane Fonda types. When Jane Fonda visited my hometown a few years ago, the Pat Tillman types refused to go listen to her.
    The Tillman cover-up did immeasurable — if not irreparable — damage to the USM. It looked as if the career soldier class stabbed in the back the enlisted soldier from the civilian world. The sub textual message from the Tillman cover-up was this: if the Pentagon does that to Pat Tillman, they sure as hell would do it to me. I am not going to have anything to do with those people.
    If I may…some of these former military generals now turned talking head warmongers in the msm are not helping the military in the least. I can’t help but believe that the Pat Tillmans of the world are saying, “Those generals are fakes and liars.”
    Just my opinion, but odds are increasing that the USM is heading towards a crisis. Trouble looms on the horizon. I merely suggest that the more frequently that people in the USM publicly stand up to the neoconservatives, then the more likely the tradition of the USM will survive. But it is your call.

  12. Cloned Poster says:

    Pat Tillman signed up after 911 to fight the “badies” in Somewhereisstan. Pat Tillman died on the battlefield and the DoD screwed up because a “hero” died and that does not make good press.
    Meanwhile the Cheney Bunch are invading a country that has nothing to do with 911.
    The President of the United States would not attend the 911 commission alone, Cheney held his hand and whatever else.
    Your post basically says “stuff happens” on the battlefield, get over it and move on. As an isolated case your post makes profound sense, and is a welcome addition to the Tillman debate.
    But the general thrust of the left is not just the “Tillman Crusade”. It is that lies, lies and more lies emanate from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
    I am not a conspiracy nut, but a cynical obverser of the new cold war on Islam and terror. I wonder how the MSN will handle the news (very shortly) that Iran is our partner in the fight against AQ/Sunni terror.

  13. Vincente says:

    Col. Lang,
    Outside of the endless tragedy this case has become, if you haven’t already you should read the Sports Illustrated cover story (trust me) on Tillman from last year. It’s one of the best profile pieces I’ve read in a while and it gives a lot of insight into who Pat Tillman – the man and not the marytr/victim/folk hero – was:
    This country could use a few more people like that.

  14. Dave of Maryland says:

    With all respect to our host, he was not there & does not seem to have contact with anyone who was.
    Efforts to deny the history of fragging won’t wash. It goes at least as far back as the French in WWI.
    Three bullets to the forehead, at ten yards, with no enemy fire? That’s the story I hear.
    The BEST that can be made of that is the soldier who fired had no proper control of his weapon. (The Vice President would surely understand.) If I were his immediate commander, I wouldn’t want him in my unit.
    And that’s presuming I believe his story that it was an “accident”. But in fact a commander can never believe such a story. I am disappointed Col. Lang wants us to believe what he clearly cannot.

  15. verc says:

    The doctor’s conclusion that the shots came from as little as ten yards away does raise questions. Would a soldier not be able to recognize a friendly at ten yards?
    I’m no sniper or anything, but considering bullet arc and all the physics of trajectory, what would a close grouping of bullets say about distance fired?
    How close would the shooter reasonably have to be to get that kind of accuracy with a three-round or full auto burst?

  16. DeLudendwarf says:

    Does anyone remember how long this incident was estimated to have lasted?
    As I recall, from the initial “revised” reports of Tillman’s death in 2004 or 2005, the incident happened at night, in rugged terrain.
    A Ranger platoon should have had night vision devices and radios–did they, and were they operative?
    I can’t remember what I initially read.

  17. Montag says:

    In my opinion Pat Tillman was killed as an indirect result of a faulty command decision, which split up his unit in Enemy Country in order to salvage a disabled humvee. The officer on the spot was reportedly NOT happy about getting this order from a superior who was safely on the other end of a radio (remember Custer?), but obeyed orders. My call, never having been in the military, would have been to strip and abandon the humvee, leaving the unit intact and preventing the fatal incident.
    A lot of fatal accidents happen because, as Churchill said, “The terrible ‘ifs’ accumulate.”

  18. JfM says:

    View As Web Page
    I have closely followed CPL Tillman’s 2004 casualty since it happened. We all grieve with the Tillman family and particularly ache with their sense of betrayal at so needlessly falling from their initial sense of honor surrounding Pat’s death into the stark realization of its futility and the Army’s dishonor. While it may be natural in some kin to seek more meaning in their loved one’s battlefield death than the available facts can provide, I suspect more times than not the tragedy is pretty much as reported.
    Somehow Tillman’s death was a touchstone for the general public; likely his was the first recognized face of a casualty in this war where virtually every US death before and since is unknown but to their own family. Ninety-nine plus percent of our population cannot name another casualty in Iraq or Afghanistan save Tillman. Sadly that may be why this saga has reappeared on page one; if it weren’t for Tillman, the ongoing wars over the past four years wouldn’t have an identifiable fatality. I find this realization alone sufficiently corrosive on the legitimacy of our efforts and the way we as a people are waging it to condemn its further continuance. This nation isn’t at war, only the service people and their families are at war. Shame.
    As to the officers who were direct party to this charade, I can only express my deep disdain and contempt. Their cowardly self-serving actions discredit all who have ever worn our uniform. May God comfort the Tillmans and all-the narrow few- who bear this war’s cost.

  19. From what I have read about 4th Generation warfare, much depends upon the willingness and ability of units to improvise and to seize the initiative. This ability, in turn – I am told – depends upon trust and upon overall morale.
    That such allegations about Tillman are gaining currency, to me, suggests that trust and overall morale are breaking down.
    Under these subjective circumstances, that, objectively, these allegations are nonsense is secondary – almost moot.

  20. skeeter says:

    The Left thinks the government killed him because he was a closet anti-war activist?
    Is that what Obama, Hillary, half of all elected congressmen, and everybody who voted Democratic in the last election believes?
    I read in the comments section on a blog somewhere that the Right believes Tillman was a lizard-alien from outer space. Those Republicans and Baptists really are crazy people.

  21. Binh says:

    Three bullets to the forehead, at ten yards, with no enemy fire? That’s the story I hear.
    That’s the part I find suspicious or weird. I’m a proud part of the American Left (the Democratic Party is NOT even close to “the left”) but I don’t think the other guys in his unit killed him for political reasons. Nonetheless, how the hell did this happen? Did somebody start shooting at what they thought was the enemy and then all hell broke loose?

  22. taters says:

    As an aside, I am relieved to know Lt. Gen McChrystal is absolved of any wrongdoing.

  23. R.L. says:

    I have a lot of trouble with the reports that his uniform/equipment and journal were burned.His stuff maybe. His personal journal being destroyed only causes the whole incident to appear shady at best.

  24. Joeinbcs says:

    The real scandal here is not who killed Pat Tillman, but that he was enlisted after his death to support of a cause he vigorously opposed while alive.
    Senior uniformed leaders conspired with, or at the very least, acquiesed to the perpetration of a fraud on the Tillman family and the American public.
    If this isn’t immoral, I guess I just don’t get the concept.
    I do know that, as a retired army officer, I am deeply ashamed.

  25. Bobo says:

    This man died on the battlefield, giving his life for his country, let him rest in peace as he has given more than you or I.
    Remember “Crap Happens” on the battlefield, always has and always will.
    What has to happen now is those who used him, now need to be fully hung out to dry as they are not who we want leading our soldiers in battle.

  26. Kavorked says:

    “The unreality in all this is impressive:”
    Not reading all of your posts from 2003 forward I don’t know if you’ve written critically about the “unreality” of taking this country to war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, but I doubt it. I come to this speculation by gauging your dismissal of this incident as an isolated accident feeding crackpot “left” delusions, instead of further evidence of deceitful collusion between the civilian and military management to propagate immoral destruction of other peoples’ countries and our own Constitution

  27. attaturk says:

    “The Left” believes.
    This leftest does not (yet) believe this was a deliberate murder, but rather an accidental and tragic death.
    My concern is what the Brass and ultimately the Administration knew about this man’s death and how they used it and exploited it.
    Made more dubious by the incredible designation of EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE in regard to documents pertaining to his death by the Bush Administration.
    What are they trying to hide? That Bush intended to exploit it?
    I’m no conspiracy nut, for wanting to know WHY they are doing this.

  28. Aviator47 says:

    Your comments about about Pat Tillman’s death are starkly uncaring.
    What is of concern to me is his chain of command chose to cloud the truth, as best, and outright lie, at worst. In my 35 years in uniform, I learned early on that an immediate and truthful answer is the best for the situation and the military as an institution. Sometimes that answer is simply “we don’t know”.
    That a Silver Star was immediately awarded, an action which requires a citation detailing the “gallantry in action” performed with “marked distinction”, raises a question of the truthfulness of the recommending, reviewing and awarding authority. People signed their names to what was a bogus narrative. That’s both a moral and legal lapse.
    LTC Kauzlarich said the Tillman family was suffering because they lacked a christian faith. I would offer that the Tillman family is deeply unsettled because our Army chose to lie and obscure the truth from the very beginning. Once the field is sown with lies, how does one start determining what is the truth of a situation? Why would the Army see fit to generate a lie of this magnitude, complete with a Silver Star?
    The doubts in the Tillman family’s minds are a direct result of the moral and legal failures of an entire chain of command. What should be of importance to all of us who have served and currently serve is not how Pat Tillman died, but how pathetically our Army’s chain of command handled it. If cowardice and deceit are the knee jerk response to situations such as the fratricide of a soldier, then where else will these moral lapses manifest themselves.
    There is definitely a rat to smell in the Tillman affair.

  29. Martin K says:

    Lets just make it clear, I dont think Tillmann was wilfully fragged. The only scenario I can see that happening, is because of battle-stress somebody snapping under fire, but even that seems higly unlikely to put it mildly. Rather, I would suggest that there was somewhere, somehow, a computerfile with his name on it marked “Great PR-asset” and when his name came up on the lists of deceased, a whole lot of lights started blinking. After wich he got the same treatment as Jessica lynch, he got eaten into the spinmachine. here I agree with Sydney O. Smith, the real damage is going to be among the lunatic rightwing, not the left (who believe the helicopters are circling anyway). Its just another example of the mixing up between politics and military.
    The real shame, in my opinion, lies in the subsequent attempt of coverup that the Bushes have conducted with their usual 800ton-sledgehammer style & finesse. Those guys dont seem capable of admitting mistakes.

  30. W. Patrick Lang says:

    A lot of this is sadly comic.
    Some of you seem to need remedial reading. Rhetorical questions are just that.
    For whomever it was that said Tillman was enlisted “after his death for a war he did not believe in” and then the commenter claimed to be a soldier, what a joke! Do you have any idea what being a soldier means?
    Then there is the Israeli supporter, foamer at the mouth, who wrote a dozen comments against my (our) audacity in thinking other than what he/she thinks. I deleted this crap. I don’t post propaganda or outraged ethnic sentiment.
    As for the “starkly uncaring” quality of my analysis, you are quite right. I do not allow my feelings to influence my work. You, too, claim to be a soldier? pl

  31. Arun says:

    1. Why is the Bush admin claiming executive privilege on its correspondence with the Pentagon regarding Tillman’s death?
    2. Why this?
    “• Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.”
    3. AP also reports this:
    “• No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene — no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck.”

  32. Arun says:

    The following is a quote from a story from 2006 about Tillman’s death:
    “”We thought the battle was over,” said the soldier next to Tillman. “So we were relieved, getting up stretching out and talking with one another when I heard some 5.56 rounds coming from the vehicle. They started firing again. That’s when I hit the deck and started praying.”
    But Tillman didn’t get down in time. He was hit.
    “I know this because I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out: ‘Cease fire! Friendlies! I am Pat (expletive) Tillman damn it!'” the soldier said. “He said this over and over again until he stopped.”
    Moments later, a sound caught the attention of the soldier next to Tillman.
    “I heard what sounded like water pouring down,” he said. “I then looked over at my side to see a river of blood coming down from where he was. I had blood all over my shoulder from him and when I looked at him, I saw his head was gone.”
    Do note something – the latest news reported by AP indicates that the whole thing above cannot be true. Tillman was telling someone to stop snivelling, not telling friendlies to stop firing – if the current round of revelations is to be believed.
    So perhaps someone here will care to explain why the elaborate make-believe story in the first place?

  33. W. Patrick Lang says:

    1- Conflicting accounts of what happened in any action are common, especially close to the event. You are making a good case for an outside investigation to stop all this.
    2- I do not find it surprising that one group of JAG officers investigating a friendly fire incident would not want the CID and its JAGs to start a criminal investigation until the forst group was through. Too many cooks.
    3- A surprising amount of fire can occur with no visible effect. I was once in the middle of a fire fight betwee a Bn. of ARVN Rangers and a Cambodian tribesmen manned strike force run by USSF. Thousands of rounds were fired, nobody was hit, and there was no visible damage in the ‘ville. pl

  34. Dave of Maryland says:

    There is the question of just how well-trained Americans are, how well-trained American soldiers are.
    So far as I can see on the news, cops commonly empty their service revolvers into their targets before catching their breath. What they’ve got on their hip, one hit to the torso, if it doesn’t kill you outright, will sure slow you down. Yet cop fingers seem to have their own orgasms.
    I have seen footage, time & again, of American soldiers holding their rifles to the side, spraying bullets without aim of any sort. This isn’t training, folks. And it’s expensive. We’re shooting bullets faster than we can physically make them.
    By contrast, Tillman was a member of a highly trained, highly disciplined NFL team. Each member had a job to do & each had to do it damn near flawlessly for the team to function successfully.
    That’s probably what Tillman was expecting of the Army. That, and the fact that he was going to be the big cheese. (Once you’re a big cheese, it’s hard to go back to being humble.)
    Tillman didn’t find that kind of NFL cohesion in the Army & he probably wasn’t happy about it. Soldiers in the army don’t get fragged for being pacifists. All grunts are pacifists. If Tillman got fragged (which I think likely), then it was for being an unrelenting hard ass.
    Why didn’t someone make a drill sergeant out of this man when there was the chance?

  35. David W says:

    The fragging speculation is a red herring, irrelevant and wrongheaded–the outcry is due to the American public’s dismay and rage at being ‘mushroom farmed’ by the Cheney/Bush administration about this war. While it’s easy for career military types to dismiss civilian misconceptions about the battlefield, this aspect pales in light of the coverup.
    While in battle, Tillman was ‘just another soldier,’ for the Cheney/Bush regime, he was a prize stud animal to their propaganda machine. While the military aspects of the Tillman case may be tragic but not uncommon, it beggars the imagination to believe that the most PR-conscious White House in history would not be involved in this matter, that somehow it’s just an ‘Army thing,’ as Col. Lang is suggesting.
    The truism remains– ‘it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup,’ which appears to have hit all the levels of the chain of command, all the way to the White House. Applying sauce for the goose to the gander, the White House is hiding behind the figleaf of Executive Privelege because it knows of its own complicity in this grim charade.
    Finally, while it’s outside the purview of military operations, many people are reacting to the ‘Swiftboating’ of Tillman by the wingnut media, in the wake of revelations that Tillman was in reality a free thinker who (gasp!) read Noam Chomsky. The rabid right-wing war chorus has shown that it will smear anybody who deviates from their RNC/PNAC talking points, and the Tillman case is about the public saying it’s fed up with the lies, coverups, propaganda and dirty dealing. That’s all.

  36. W. Patrick Lang says:

    David W
    The assertion that the “cover up” in the Tillman matter reaches “all the way to the White House” is unproven and merely political polemic. It can just as easily be that self-serving and /or foolish officers produced the same result.
    This “career military type” finds it interesting that assertions of battle field murder are so easily made by people who know nothing of close combat. pl

  37. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Dave of M
    These are not cops, Dave. You do not count the shell casings and have an investigation every time you kill enemy combatants in combat. They are supposed to be dead. That is the idea. Your assumptions about firing “in contact” with the enemy, especially in an ambush are completely incorrect. Soldiers in any army that hopes to have them survive such experiences are trained to lay down a maximum amount of fire in the general direction of the enemy in order to achieve fire supriority and suppress the enemy’s fire. That is what you do if you want to live. In that situation it is correctly thought better to risk losing a few men rather than losing all.
    The snide remarks about training do not reflect well on someone who does not know what he is talking about. pl

  38. attaturk says:

    David W
    The assertion that the “cover up” in the Tillman matter reaches “all the way to the White House” is unproven and merely political polemic. It can just as easily be that self-serving and /or foolish officers produced the same result.

    Then why has the Bush Administration asserted EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE?
    After all the inappropriate and ham-fisted actions of this Administration and all the instances of putting politics above policy, they have lost all benefit of the doubt.
    That is not to say they played a role in his death, far from it. But Tillman’s death was a large event and there is evidence Bush knew the nature of his death far in advance of when the public did.
    The assertion only, and legitimately, raises more questions about their actions — but not undeservedly so.

  39. anna missed says:

    I witnessed an m-16 that was overheated and discharged rounds with no trigger being pulled – and was nearly shot at close range by it post firefight. It can happen.

  40. kevin says:

    But why did they burn his daily journal?

  41. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Junior enlisted men do not get “fragged” by definition. Officers are “fragged,’ maybe senior NCOs. Shooting another junior enlisted man is not a “statement.” It is merely a display of murderous intent. pl

  42. J. Michael Hammer says:

    Dave of Maryland:
    The Rangers have a 48 week annual training schedule. And unlike the NFL, each squad member can not only play his position but that of each of his team mates. Grow up!

  43. ajay says:

    “The assertion that the “cover up” in the Tillman matter reaches “all the way to the White House” is unproven and merely political polemic. It can just as easily be that self-serving and /or foolish officers produced the same result.”
    Then why has the Bush Administration asserted EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE?

    Quite. This isn’t a matter of debate. There is a coverup, and it does reach to the White House. By asserting privilege, the WH is covering something up – refusing to allow it into the open.

  44. kevin says:

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