I read and recommended to you Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tilman by Jon Krakauer. I have now seen and recommend to you The Tillman Story, a documentary directed by Amir Bar-Lev.
I will not recommend the book over the movie, now will I recommend the movie over the book. You should read the book and then watch the people described as they turn into living, speaking human beings, some of whom cry with grief and some of whom lie their asses off to protect their part in the cover- up of Pat Tillman's murder.
The details presented over the course of the book fascinate, while the film, which of course does not take as much time to watch as it does to read the book, encapsulates the events and allows us to quickly see lie after lie after lie perpetuated by the U.S. Army.
It was April 22, 2004. Pat Tillman, former big bucks NFL player, had enlisted in the U.S. Army after 9/11, thinking it was the right thing to do when the United States went into Afghanistan to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. Little did he know that he would be deployed to Iraq to fight what he believed was an illegal war. Redeployed, along with his brother Kevin, to Afghanistan, the military tried to claim that he was killed by the Taliban. Tillman was even awarded the Silver Star for bravery.
But there was no shoot out with the Taliban. In truth, Pat Tillman was murdered by a fellow Army Ranger. Although the euphemism for this type of killing is Friendly Fire, I prefer to be a little more blunt and tell it like it is.
The Tillman family has fought and struggled to try to learn exactly how Pat was killed that April 22nd. What they do know is that Tillman and the men with him realized that their own team was firing on them. The shooters were probably 20 - 40 yards away from Tillman who was screaming, I'm Pat Fucking Tillman.
Then someone blew his head off. Was it the excitement of the fire fight -- someone eager to earn the Red Badge of Courage by getting into the battle? Or maybe somebody got scared and thought, Oh my God, that's Pat Tillman right in front of me and I've been shooting at him and I already killed the guy next to him. I'd better go ahead and shoot him to shut him up.
God only knows what happens in the heat of these situations.
Krakauer's explanation of what happened that day is more precise than that which the Tillman family feels sure of, though they don't seem to feel really sure of anything except that a lot of generals used the words "I don't recall" repeatedly when they were asked about how Tillman died and when they found out that the cause of death was fratricide.
Everyone in the platoon was warned not to tell Pat's brother Kevin how Pat had been killed, but the truth will out, even if it's just the partial truth. After Kevin found out that Pat was murdered, he finished his tour of duty with their platoon.
The cover-up was just so pathetically obvious and even amateurish. The army burned Pat's uniform and other personal effects, which is against the law, unless the items are a biohazard. So they concocted a report that stated CPR was performed on Pat at the aid station. This was 45 minutes after he died, and he had no head. How do you perform CPR on someone whose head has been shot off?
I don't know what else to say to you about this kind of bullshit. Donald Rumsfeld, fuck you but not the horse you rode in on. George W. Bush, shame on you for trying to use Tillman as your poster boy for the army. Fuck you. Fuck all of you. The lie didn't originate with you, but you used it to the best of your limited ability.
Infinities of love to the Tillman Family,