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27 July 2007


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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).


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


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.

TR Stone

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!


"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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Sidney O. Smith III

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.

Cloned Poster

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.


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.


Dave of Maryland

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.


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?


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.


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."


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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.

Duncan Kinder

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.


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.


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?


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


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.


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.


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.

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