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Thursday, 26 July 2007

Decidedly Unfriendly Fire

Continuing hearings into the death of Corporal Pat Tillman have shown that the Army and the administration have been lying and covering up the details of his death. Unfortunately for them the truth is coming out. And an ugly truth it is. Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan in 2004 of supposedly "enemy fire" despite the lack of an enemy in the area. It took some 5 weeks of pushing for information by his family to reveal that "friendly" fire took his life.

Now more details are coming out. It looks like the fire was not so "friendly" at all. That the "friendly" fire may have been deliberate. Pat Tillman was a fairly outspoken atheist and kept a journal during his tour in Afghanistan. That journal was supposedly later burned by his fellow soldiers after his death.
It has been widely reported by the AP and others that Spc. Bryan O'Neal, who was at Tillman's side as he was killed, told investigators that Tillman was waving his arms shouting "Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" again and again.

But the latest documents give a different account from a chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman was killed.

The chaplain said that O'Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman's side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling ..."
and
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.
and
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.
How the hell can you not recognize someone from about 30 feet away? Since hearing about this some months ago, I've been very suspicious that he was murdered. But I thought that perhaps I was being a little paranoid.

I wonder who really shot Cpl. Tillman and if his atheism had something to do with it. And the fact that I'm speculating about this at all is the sad result when religion is pushed in the military. The military cannot afford to let religious zealots compromise unit cohesiveness. A soldier then cannot trust his fellow soldiers to guard his back and support him when needed the most.

There have been horror stories of religious coercion coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan since the war started. Is this the result when a soldier tells someone to fuck off when they are trying to push their religion? That later under a stressful situation, something untoward may happen? And what about those that hid the truth and the ones who may have indeed killed him on purpose, will they be punished? Or perhaps they will have to live with his death on their conscience, or do they really care at all? According to some of these evangelical Christians, what's one more dead atheist after all.

6 comments:

Eight Hour Lunch said...

Chilling. I hope it's not true, or things are worse than I thought.

Anna Lemma said...

I sincerely hope that he was not killed because of his atheism. Perhaps I'm being overly paranoid, but I'm simply reacting to what was in the news story. I was in the Air Force in the 80's and early 90's and never had any problems.

Anna Lemma said...

Eight Hour Lunch, I really like your podcasts. I've started going through them and are about halfway through. Very enjoyable.

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Thanks,
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