by James Buchanan
Pat Tillman walked away from a three million dollar football contract to fight terrorism. He was a genuinely patriotic American. Afghanistan had a large al Qaeda presence and Osama bin Laden was rumored to be there. Tillman joined the Special Forces and was fighting al Qaeda over there. But then, George Bush declared war on Iraq. Tillman didn’t believe that Iraq had anything to do with the 911 attack. Tillman was ordered to serve a tour of duty in Iraq and was eventually sent back to Afghanistan, where he was killed. The original report claimed that Tillman was killed by enemy fire. Five weeks later it was admitted that he was “accidentally” shot in a friendly fire incident.
The parents of Tillman were outraged that the Bush administration had lied to them. It seemed at first that the neocons were trying to build up Tillman as a bigger hero for propaganda purposes and did not want the public to know he died in a pointless accident. Some additional information however has been revealed that would provide a strong motive for the neocons to have Tillman assassinated so that he would not embarrass the Bush administration by going public as a “hero-turned-dissident”.
One news article reports “the San Francisco Chronicle examined more than 2,000 pages of testimony, as well as interviews with Tillman’s family members and soldiers who served with him. Sunday’s article by Robert Collier said the newspaper ‘found contradictions, inaccuracies and what appears to be the military’s attempt at self-protection.’ The Pentagon belatedly confirmed that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire last year in Afghanistan. His family hopes a new inquiry launched by the Pentagon in August will answer some of their questions, for example, why testimony was changed and why the military waited five weeks to notify the family of the friendly-fire aspect. ‘There have been so many discrepancies so far that it’s hard to know what to believe,’ his mother, Mary Tillman, told Collier. ‘There are too many murky details.’ The files the family received from the Army in March were heavily censored.”
The same article continues “The Chronicle also revealed that interviews ‘show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought, and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.’ The massive Chronicle article contains the testimony of a colleague who watched him die: ‘I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out, ‘Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat f—ing Tillman, dammit.’ Tillman said this over and over until he stopped, having been hit by three bullets in the forehead. After 9/11, Tillman decided to give up his career, saying he wanted to fight al-Qaeda and help find Osama bin Laden. A colleague who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. … We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush. Another soldier in the platoon said Tillman urged him to vote in the 2004 election for Sen. John Kerry.”
The San Francisco Chronicle article reports “…other Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman’s unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior. He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.) Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death.” In an age of Big Brother, Carnivore and a government that spies more on its own citizens than on terrorists, it seems likely that the Bush administration caught wind of the meeting between Chomsky and Tillman. This situation would almost certainly lead to a massive publicity incident with headlines of “Hero Condemns Iraq War and Bush.” This pending disaster for the neocons may have driven them to take extreme measures.
Obviously the neocons didn’t want a war hero turning against George Bush (who evaded serving in the Vietnam War when it was his turn to fight). The big question is: “Would the neocons order the assassination of a disgruntled war hero to avoid a publicity fiasco?” We have seen how much political damage one determined person can do in the Cindy Sheehan case. Early in her peace vigil outside Bush’s ranch, Mrs. Sheehan was threatened by a crazed neighbor of Bush who fired a gun into the air. There were rumors circulating that Cindy would be arrested early during her Crawford vigil. Whoever started these rumors obviously intended to scare her off. If an American mom could be treated this badly, how would the neocons deal with a war hero, who was thinking of going public?
Pat Tillman’s Special Forces unit split into two groups to try to encircle enemy forces. While it’s easy to imagine a poorly trained National Guard unit firing on itself, the Special Forces soldiers spend thousands of hours training and are extremely unlikely to make this mistake. During the incident, in which Tillman was killed, he had called on the radio for the other soldiers to cease fire. The fact that he was shot three times in the head AFTER pleading on the radio for a cease fire is highly suspicious. Whoever shot Tillman was close enough to shoot him in the head, which implies they had a good look at him. The Afghan rebels typically have beards and turbans –quite a contrast from a US army helmet. An assassin could have been laying in wait for Tillman’s unit to pass by or may even have been a corrupted member of Tillman’s unit. The fact that the neocons lied about Tillman’s death when it was first announced to the public, suggests they have something to hide. Were they hiding an embarrassing friendly fire incident or an assassination?