Support Our Troops!

From Holden:

Assholes. This is not entirely new information about Pat Tillman, Tool of the Empire, just confirmation once again that propaganda concerns override any consideration of Our Troops! and their families.

The first Army investigator who looked into the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman in Afghanistan last year found within days that he was killed by his fellow Rangers in an act of “gross negligence,” but Army officials decided not to inform Tillman’s family or the public until weeks after a nationally televised memorial service.

A new Army report on the death shows that top Army officials, including the theater commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, were told that Tillman’s death was fratricide days before the service.

[snip]

The documents also show that officers made erroneous initial reports that Tillman was killed by enemy fire, destroyed critical evidence and initially concealed the truth from Tillman’s brother, also an Army Ranger, who was near the attack on April 22, 2004, but did not witness it.

[snip]

After the shooting, Tillman’s brother was not informed about what had happened and was flown back to the United States with his brother’s body. Officers told the soldiers not to talk about the incident “to prevent rumors” and news reports.

“I mean, it’s horrible that Pat was dead. Absolutely horrible. But it hurts even more to know that it was one of our own guys that did it . . .,” one soldier told [Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones who prepared the report]. “We just, we didn’t want to get anything, you know, bad said about the regiment or anything like that. That was my guess to what the whole thing was about. We didn’t want the world finding out what actually happened.”

The first report about Tillman’s death within Army channels — sent at 4:40 p.m. April 22 — said that Tillman died in a medical treatment facility after his vehicle came under direct and indirect fire, attributing the gunshot wounds he received to “enemy forces.” An investigation was immediately launched, and several documents show that the local chain of command was largely convinced it was fratricide from the beginning.

The next day, Tillman’s Ranger body armor was burned because it was covered in blood and was considered a “biohazard.” His uniform was also burned. Jones noted that this amounted to the destruction of evidence.

Soldiers reported they burned the evidence because “we knew at the time, based on taking the pictures and walking around it it was a fratricide. . . . We knew in our hearts what had happened, and we weren’t going to lie about it. So we weren’t thinking about proof or anything.”

An initial investigation found fratricide just days later. Top commanders within the U.S. Central Command, including Abizaid, were notified by April 29 — four days before Tillman’s memorial service in San Jose, where he was given a posthumous Silver Star Award. Jones concluded that Tillman, who was bravely leading his fire team into battle, was given the award based on what he intended to do.

The family learned about Tillman’s fratricide over Memorial Day weekend, several weeks later. Commanders felt they could not hold on to the old version because the Rangers were returning home and “everybody knows the story,” the documents show.