With three bullet holes in his forehead, with his diary and uniform burned, with his opinion of the war ("so fucking illegal") well-established, with his access to mainstream American media absolutely guaranteed, there was never any reason to accept the Army's changing story of Pat Tillman's not-so-accidental death.
Quite simply, the former Arizona State and NFL star could not be allowed to return home to tell what he had seen. He couldn't even be allowed to talk to Noam Chomsky on the telephone.
According to "news" reports which have mostly tried to paint her as crazy, Pat Tillman's mother has felt all along that her son was killed deliberately -- by people who should have been on his side. I have felt the same thing ever since I heard he was dead, and especially once the details of the tragedy began to emerge.
The Army has told lie after lie after lie about this, and the media have gobbled them up, as in the following stenography by Julian E. Barnes, who disgraces the Los Angeles Times:
Tillman, the NFL player who gave up a multimillion dollar contract to enlist in the Army, was mistakenly killed in Afghanistan by another member of his platoon. The Army initially announced that Tillman died in combat and not from friendly fire. Although officers knew the truth soon after the shooting, the military waited a month before telling Tillman's family he was not killed by Afghan militants.With "reporting" such as this "leading the way", the media have managed to contain the discussion to questions like "Did the Army lie?" and "Who in the Army lied?"
They've stayed away from more dangerous questions, like "Why did the Army lie?" and the even more explosive "Why was Pat Tillman killed?", even though the answers to these questions are entirely obvious.
One can hope -- faintly, perhaps -- that the following article will change all that ... extended excerpts from Martha Mendoza of the AP, via the Washington Post:
AP: New Details on Tillman's Death
SAN FRANCISCO -- Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.
The doctors -- whose names were blacked out -- said that the bullet holes 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.
Ultimately, the Pentagon did conduct a criminal investigation, and asked Tillman's comrades whether he was disliked by his men and whether they had any reason to believe he was deliberately killed. The Pentagon eventually ruled that Tillman's death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.
The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Among other information contained in the documents:
* In his last words moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop "sniveling."
* Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.
* The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions.
* No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene -- no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck.
The Pentagon and the Bush administration have been criticized in recent months for lying about the circumstances of Tillman's death. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers.
The documents show that a doctor who autopsied Tillman's body was suspicious of the three gunshot wounds to the forehead. The doctor said he took the unusual step of calling the Army's Human Resources Command and was rebuffed. He then asked an official at the Army's Criminal Investigation Division if the CID would consider opening a criminal case.
"He said he talked to his higher headquarters and they had said no," the doctor testified.
Also according to the documents, investigators pressed officers and soldiers on a question Mrs. Tillman has been asking all along.
"Have you, at any time since this incident occurred back on April 22, 2004, have you ever received any information even rumor that Cpl. Tillman was killed by anybody within his own unit intentionally?" an investigator asked then-Capt. Richard Scott.
Investigators also asked soldiers and commanders whether Tillman was disliked, whether anyone was jealous of his celebrity, or if he was considered arrogant. They said Tillman was respected, admired and well-liked.