T Nation

Tillman; This AIN'T PC

Okay. guys…

This won’t be Politically Correct; and it may piss some of you off…(so be it).

But I have to get it “out there” and discuss it.

I’m listening and reading excepts from testimony, and I’m saying to myself “This all is adding up less and less…”

The “Truth” appears to be:

  1. Tillman could be a “Class A” jerk to the men in his Unit.

  2. Many of those men didn’t like him.

  3. He was “fragged”.

Discuss?

Mufasa

Huh? You’ve probably been following the story more closely than I have, but from what I’ve read the conspiracy/murder talk is BS.

Who knows what the “truth” is?

To say he was offed by his own squad is nothing but conjecture that most probably never get past the conjecture stage.

The fact remains that Tillman gave up millions of dollars to join up because he felt that strongly about the cause. That rarely happens in this day of spoiled, lazy brats.

That doesn’t make him a better soldier, or a better human being.

I’m just saying.

Now - we have people saying he was an asshole, and was killed by his own squad.

I think their blood lust to make Tillman look like a dick is just as stupid as thise that want to make him a God.

He was a soldier. He was killed by friendly fire. Let the man rest in peace.

And I am not trying to jump in your shit, Mufasa - I’m just running my mouth. No offense intended towards you.

Believe me…I am not a person who believes that we are being attacked by aliens daily or that Wal-Mart is actually the Church of the Anti-Christ…

So:

  1. Why is it “BS”?

  2. I understand the “Fog if War”, “Heat of Battle” and all that, but here’s the deal…

a) These guys in these Ranger and Special Forces Units are cross-trained and at ANY time are qulified enough to be full-fledged snipers.

b) A U.S. soldier in full Body Armour is “mistaken” for Afghan rebels? (Now that could be so, especially in the “Heat of Battle”).

c) Tillman is shot at relatively close range.

At this point,I’ll admit that I’ll probably not believe ANY “official” inquiry on this thing.

The more they “investigate” it, the less credible everything sounds.

I say “leave it be”…

Mufasa

No offense taken, RJ!

You and I have been around this place too long for that!

I agree with your last statement, though…“leave it be…”

Again…the more it’s “investigated”, the murkier it becomes.

Mufasa

Mufasa,

I hope your suspicions are wrong.

I’d be interested in hearing if any of our military guys have heard any rumblings.

Again, I hope your suspicions are wrong.

JeffR

The Army probably knows exactly what happened and they are not talking. The fact that he had 3 M-16 rounds in his forehead seems a very improbable accidental shooting.

Because of the politics involved they are not going to talk.

I agree, leave it be.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
Believe me…I am not a person who believes that we are being attacked by aliens daily or that Wal-Mart is actually the Church of the Anti-Christ…

So:

  1. Why is it “BS”?

  2. I understand the “Fog if War”, “Heat of Battle” and all that, but here’s the deal…

a) These guys in these Ranger and Special Forces Units are cross-trained and at ANY time are qulified enough to be full-fledged snipers.

b) A U.S. soldier in full Body Armour is “mistaken” for Afghan rebels? (Now that could be so, especially in the “Heat of Battle”).

c) Tillman is shot at relatively close range.

At this point,I’ll admit that I’ll probably not believe ANY “official” inquiry on this thing.

The more they “investigate” it, the less credible everything sounds.

I say “leave it be”…

Mufasa[/quote]

Not every special operator, Ranger or otherwise, attends sniper school. Many may go to an abbreviated course but I would hesitate to say that they are all qualified to be a sniper at any time. More importantly, even if they were, close range small arms engagements are a totally different scenario and if the guy behind him is laying suppresive fire with a SAW he is not in any way shooting like a sniper with accuracy.

In the dark, with explosives and small arms fire going off all around you, it is very easy to mistake a enemy combatant and a friendly. Keep in mind that while someone may be in a Ranger unit, they may still be young and relatively inexperienced. Badass for sure, but still could be confused in the thick of things.
I think the only reason that they have had this circus with his death is because of who he was prior to joining.

When I was in, my First Sergeant was the baddest mofo I have ever met. A real life version of all the spec ops movie characters you see. He was killed on a mission with all kinds of cloudy details behind his death. There was no hoopla like this and he truly had served his country longer and more valiantly than Tillman and warranted a full blown investigation.

Thanks for the insights, Storey…

I’m sure that 99.999% of people have NO IDEA what being in the middle of a firefight is like (me included)…

But I DO know it ain’t the movies…

Mufasa

My gut feeling is that a “hero” joined the Army and died because of some stupid shit and, as some people are bound to see it, in vain.

Now that does not make for a good propaganda story on prime time like his enlistment did.

So some people cover it up.

Now that they got caught noone will ever believe that the “cover-up” involved maybe 3 nervous, political, military officers and not 2/3 of the White House.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

b) A U.S. soldier in full Body Armour is “mistaken” for Afghan rebels? (Now that could be so, especially in the “Heat of Battle”).
Mufasa[/quote]

Was he in full Body Armour? Sometimes the special forces dress like the locals so they can better blend in.

Historically, “creating” heros has been a VERY risky endeavor.

Awarding medals and recognizing Valor is one thing…but “icon creation” is another thing entirely.

It amazes me that people who know the History of War far better than me should know that it will often place you on a very slippery slope.

Mufasa

It wasn’t much of a chore to create a hero in Tillman. Just because of who he was pretty much guaranteed he would get notoriety above and beyond the normal OCS candidate.

I think this is just the american press in action. They love to build someone up almost as much as they love to tear them down.

How much did Tillman himself have to play in this? I’d say very little beyond his enlistment - or commission - or whatever the proper term is for him quitting a multi-million dollar job to join the army.

Now they want to villify him, or create a scandal, or both.

There are 3000 other US military deaths in this war - why is this one so damn imortant?

Please don’t think I am trying to minimize the value of life, or any other soldier’s contribution to this war - I honestly don’t know why the circumstances surrounding Tillman’s death is so fucking important.

RJ:

I think the point you bring up illustrates very clearly just ONE of the problems you begin to run into when you try to “create” heros…

Mufasa

If you wanted to frag a guy - I’d think you’d wait until you are actually engaging the enemy. …

I may be missing your point, Horatio…

They were in the middle of a Firefight with Rebels when Tillman was shot.

Mufasa

[quote]orion wrote:
My gut feeling is that a “hero” joined the Army and died because of some stupid shit and, as some people are bound to see it, in vain.

Now that does not make for a good propaganda story on prime time like his enlistment did.

So some people cover it up.

Now that they got caught noone will ever believe that the “cover-up” involved maybe 3 nervous, political, military officers and not 2/3 of the White House.[/quote]

Those are my suspicions as well, though I wouldn’t put hero in quotes.

This made a lot of sense to me, especially given the source, a former Green Beret and DIA officer who has been a fierce critic of Bush and the neo-cons:

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=1504515

I had a few posts on this earlier. No offense meant Mufasa but you must be reading something different than I’ve seen. The last I had read (and I admit this is just mainstream online media) they were still saying the same thing that they had for the last few years, that there was no enemy firing at them just the two halves of the group of Rangers firing at each other. �?? No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene.

Apparently the ones who shot him were supposedly aiming at the friendly Afghan with an AK next to and supporting Tillman.

Have you read the Sports Illustrated article on this? Sept 2006. I must point out that I am not a football fan and this is the only issue of SI I’ve ever purchased. I don’t give a damn about football just that this guy had a lot and gave it up to serve despite totally opposing the Irak thing and then was killed by a screw up and the bureaucracy tried to cover it up.
�?? Army attorneys sent one another congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or noncriminal, punishments.

While ONeal as the last one to see him alive has been quoted as having Tillman yell some stuff at him in the last moments while their team members fired on them he has come out saying that his testimony was altered from what he gave and that he never spoke to the Chaplain who claims Tillman said these things:
�?? In his last words, moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop “sniveling.”

according to O’Neal this is how it happened: http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20070729/APA/707290521

bullets flew above their heads, the young soldier at Pat Tillman’s side started praying. “I thought I was praying to myself, but I guess he heard me,” Sgt. Bryan O’Neal recalled in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press. “He said something like, ‘Hey, O’Neal, why are you praying? God can’t help us now.’”

Tillman’s intent, O’Neal said, was to “more or less put my mind straight about what was going on at the moment.”

“He said, ‘I’ve got an idea to help get us out of this,’” said O’Neal, who was an 18-year-old Army Ranger in Tillman’s unit when the former NFL player was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004.

O’Neal said Tillman, a corporal, threw a smoke grenade to identify themselves to fellow soldiers who were firing at them. Tillman was waving his arms shouting “Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!” again and again when he was killed, O’Neal said.

A chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman’s death later described this exchange to investigators conducting a criminal probe of the incident. But O’Neal strongly disputes portions of the chaplain’s testimony, outlined in some 2,300 pages of transcripts released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The chaplain told investigators that O’Neal said Tillman was harsh in his last moments, snapping, 'Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God’s not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling …"

“He never would have called me ‘sniveling,’” O’Neal said. “I don’t remember ever speaking to this chaplain, and I find this characterization of Pat really upsetting. He never once degraded me. He’s the only person I ever worked for who didn’t degrade anyone. He wasn’t that sort of person.”

The chaplain’s name is blacked out in the documents.

Tillman gave up a multimillion-dollar football contract to enlist with his brother in the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. It was only weeks later, when the truth was about to be published, did the Pentagon acknowledge that he was gunned down by fellow Rangers.

The Pentagon conducted a criminal investigation and ruled that Tillman’s death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.

Congress is preparing for another hearing this week, while the Pentagon is separately preparing a new round of punishments.

Soldiers and commanders who worked with Tillman have repeatedly testified that he was respected, admired and well-liked.

In the same testimony, medical examiners said the bullet holes in Tillman’s head were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

O’Neal said the shooters were “close, close enough for me to recognize them, but they sure weren’t 10 yards away. They were further than that. I’ve thought about this plenty of times. They wouldn’t have been more than 50 yards away.”

Even this thread has conflicting information…

No; I don’t have anymore “reliable” information than any of the rest of you have. It appears to me that “reliable” will end up being what the officially accepted account is.

I say this because you will never be able to get into the minds of the Soldiers who were there.

Mufasa