One year ago today I wrote about Pat Tillman, football star, who gave up his career and volunteered to join the army to defend his country, and died under suspicious circumstances.
One year on, and the story is darker, murkier and a lot more suspicious than it was back then.
- Army doctors who examined his body suggest he was shot at close range in the head three times, probably by an American M16 rifle. Their attempts to have the death investigated were railroaded.
- Army attorneys passed around emails congratulating each other for avoiding a criminal investigation.
- A three-star general, who initially deceived the public about Tillman's death, told investigators seventy times that he couldn't recall details of his actions.
- Tillman's personal diary has disappeared instead of being returned to his family.
- His body armour and uniform was burnt.
- And most suspicious of all, the Whitehouse has refused to release documents regarding the death of Tillman, claiming Executive Privilege.
If it were just an innocent, tragic case of friendly fire, why would the Bush administration make the documents secret?
The "forgetful" general was punished for his role in deceiving the public about Tillman's death: his retirement package, estimated at $10,000+ per month, was cut by $900 a month.
Was it an accident? A fragging of an unpopular atheist officer? It has been suggested that perhaps some of the men in Tillman's unit were involved in the opium trade, and he was killed because he wouldn't go along with it. Or was it more sinister?
Tillman made a great American Hero, the poster boy for the US Army: football star and patriot, he didn't wait to be drafted, he gave up safety and a massive salary to volunteer. With his chiseled good looks he could have been a real life Captain America.
But this Captain America was known to oppose the Iraq occupation, and was planning to campaign against President Bush in the 2004 elections, and had arranged to meet with Noam Chomsky as soon as he could leave Afghanistan. Instead of the poster boy for Bush's war becoming a political embarrassment, he became a hero to be buried. What a lucky coincidence that was for Bush Co.
More about Tillman on the DailyKos and on Wikipedia.