T Nation

The Tillman Coverup

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,174359,00.html

[quote]The Chronicle has since discovered that since the original report was issued, soldiers and commanders were allowed to go back and change their testimony. The subsequent report is more reluctant to place blame, and calls for less severe punishment. More disturbing, the commanding officer who gave an ill-considered order to break up Tillman?s platoon ? which the original report determined to be a key mistake leading to his death ? was not only given an opportunity to revise his testimony to the first investigator, he was given immunity, and was allowed to disburse punishment to those below him.

One of those punished, Tillman?s platoon leader, had correctly protested the commanding officer?s order. Tillman?s platoon leader, who took shrapnel to the face during the incident, was subsequently dismissed from the Rangers.

So what?s going on here? Why would the Pentagon and Army brass cover up Tillman?s friendly fire death? The answer may be that the Pentagon had too much invested in Tillman to concede that its own mistakes led to his death. Tillman?s decision to eschew the life of a professional athlete for a tour in the Army was a public relations dream for the military, and they treated it as such. This despite the fact that Tillman specifically asked that the military not make a spectacle of him (Tillman shunned requests for fawning interviews and fluffy media profiles).

It would have been tough for the military to concede its own ineptitude caused the death of the war on terror?s poster soldier in any setting. But just days after Tillman?s death, the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. The military was in desperate need of some good news. Recycling Tillman?s selfless bravery put torture stories on the backburner for at least a news cycle or two.

What?s tragic is that the military?s duplicity in all of this has buried the better story ? what a remarkable man Tillman was. Tillman, we?ve since learned from media interviews with friends, family, and fellow soldiers, was a thinker. He defied easy classification. He was a poet, kept a journal (which vanished after his death), and subscribed to the Economist. He admired Winston Churchill, but was also interested in anti-war academic Noam Chomsky. He read Emerson and Thoreau. He wasn?t religious, but had read the Bible, the Koran, and the book of Mormon. He brought along a portable library of classic novels for his platoon pals to read.

Perhaps most interestingly, Tillman opposed the war in Iraq. He?d told platoon mates he thought the war was ?illegal,? and a distraction from the war on Al Qaeda, but fought in Iraq anyway, owing to a sense of duty.

We lost a complicated, interesting, fascinating guy 18 months ago, a guy who exhibited the kind of critical thinking that seems to be in short supply among the men who commanded him. They, and we, owe Tillman a lot. Truth and accountability would be a good start.

[/quote]

Well said, X.

Tillman was the type of man that I can only pray that my two sons grow to be.

While I wholeheartedly support our military, I find the actions in this article to be deplorable. It’s just sad.

I just read that article and it is a shame the way they handled that. It seems like the standard now though. Holding the small unit leaders responsible instead of the officers. Look at Abu Graib, a Pvt and a couple of Sgts?!? Whatever happened to the reponsibilities of leadership? I have seen leaders get burned for incidents that occured while on libo, things that the leadership had no control over or idea were happening. It didn’t matter if they were there or not, the were ultimatly responsible. In the Air Force if there is ever a plane crash the operations officer is immediatly dismissed.

The whole thing is pretty sad, the plt commander who gave the order, and prob. has very little experience, is protected but the Plt Sgt who protested, and is chock full of experience, is given the boot. I bet the unit feels much better and safer now… or maybe not…or not at all.

The bottom line is that the military need to recognize that if you want those shinny rank bars, leaves, birds, or stars you are the one who is held accountable for the success and/or failure of your unit. You are there for your men, to pat them on the back or put them back in line. To defend them from unjust persecution or to bring them out as an example of excelent service. This “I’ll take the medal but pass on the blame” type attitude is a sad state of affairs.

Great post Prof X!!

Just to make it clear, I didn’t write that. It was quoted from Radley Balko on the FOX news website.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Just to make it clear, I didn’t write that. It was quoted from Radley Balko on the FOX news website. [/quote]

I’m surprised that FOX news had anything to do with this article. After all, it doesn’t paint the war in Iraq and the current administration in a positive light, so I figured they wouldn’t be interested in reporting it.

[quote]ALDurr wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Just to make it clear, I didn’t write that. It was quoted from Radley Balko on the FOX news website.

I’m surprised that FOX news had anything to do with this article. After all, it doesn’t paint the war in Iraq and the current administration in a positive light, so I figured they wouldn’t be interested in reporting it.[/quote]

Wow, you mean FOX news actuall DOES tell both sides of an issue…?

[quote]ALDurr wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Just to make it clear, I didn’t write that. It was quoted from Radley Balko on the FOX news website.

I’m surprised that FOX news had anything to do with this article. After all, it doesn’t paint the war in Iraq and the current administration in a positive light, so I figured they wouldn’t be interested in reporting it.[/quote]

It also immediately diffuses those who usually agree with everything they say.

[quote]reddog6376 wrote:
ALDurr wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Just to make it clear, I didn’t write that. It was quoted from Radley Balko on the FOX news website.

I’m surprised that FOX news had anything to do with this article. After all, it doesn’t paint the war in Iraq and the current administration in a positive light, so I figured they wouldn’t be interested in reporting it.

Wow, you mean FOX news actuall DOES tell both sides of an issue…?[/quote]

You mean, that no one else does? FOX news is simply another news source. They all show some bias in reporting for both sides of the argument. However, this one article does not eclipse the fact that FOX news is largely biased to the right. After all, it is just one article. Anyone with sense would get their news from many different sources, not exclude one all together on the basis of bias…like we often see from conservatives on this site.