Pat Tillman's family: Gen. McChrystal "a liar"

I’m happy to see Gen. McChrystal’s arrogance has landed him in trouble:

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, was ordered back to Washington on Tuesday after a magazine article portrayed him and his staff as openly contemptuous of some senior members of the Obama administration, the United States ambassador to Afghanistan and senior European officials….

The article shows General McChrystal or his aides talking in sharply derisive terms about Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Ambassador Karl Eikenberry; Richard C. Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and an unnamed minister in the French government. One of General McChrystal’s aides is quoted as referring to the national security adviser, James L. Jones, as a “clown.”

I utterly distrust Gen. McChrystal because he masterminded the cover-up of Army Ranger Pat Tillman’s murder by a fellow Ranger. I say “murder” rather than “manslaughter” because that’s what the evidence strongly suggests it was. When you stand up in your uniform, wave your arms, and repeatedly scream your name at the top of your lungs to fellow Rangers before they put THREE bullets in your skull, that’s murder, as Tillman’s dad slowly grew to suspect.

Patrick K. Tillman stood outside his law office here, staring intently at a yellow house across the street, just over 70 yards away. That, he recalled, is how far away his eldest son, Pat, who gave up a successful N.F.L. career to become an Army Ranger, was standing from his fellow Rangers when they shot him dead in Afghanistan almost two years ago.

“I could hit that house with a rock,” Mr. Tillman said. “You can see every last detail on that place, everything, and you’re telling me they couldn’t see Pat?”

…“All I asked for is what happened to my son, and it has been lie after lie after lie,” said Mr. Tillman…

All of it, [Tillman’s dad] said, has even left him suspicious of the military’s central finding in their son’s case so far: that the killing was a terrible but unintentional accident.

“There is so much nonstandard conduct, both before and after Pat was killed, that you have to start to wonder,” Mr. Tillman said. “How much effort would you put into hiding an accident? Why do you need to hide an accident?”

An examination by The New York Times of more than 2,000 pages of documents from three previous Army administrative reviews reveals shifting testimony, the destruction of obvious evidence in the case and a series of contradictions about the distances, the lighting conditions and other details surrounding the shooting.

The former NFL star who threw away millions of dollars a year to defend his country had woken up to the scandal that the Iraq war/occupation was completely unnecessary and illegal and that we weren’t really going after Osama bin Laden. Tillman would soon be leaving Afghanistan and had scheduled a meeting with Noam Chomsky upon his return and reportedly planned to campaign for John Kerry. Tillman hated President Bush and told friends the war in Iraq was “so f—-ing illegal”.

Even after murdering Tillman, U.S. Army special forces — then commanded by Gen. McChrystal — proceeded to commit further crimes against their fellow soldier:

One day after his death someone burned his body armor. Two days later someone burned his uniform. At some point his journal, which he religiously wrote in, went missing. With that journal disappeared Tillman’s voice.

McChrystal was the cover-up puppet master:

On April 29, Major General Stanley McChrystal — commander of the task force that the Rangers served in Afghanistan, and head of the most secretive joint-service force in the US military — sent a memo to John Abizaid, telling him to warn everyone all the way to Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, an investigation “will find that it is highly possible Cpl. Tillman was killed by friendly fire… I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Cpl. Tillman’s death become public.”

Despite knowing Tillman’s fellow troops killed him, McChrystal tried to cover up the murder by making up a completely false story about Tillman leading a fight against insurgents before they shot him:

The Army issued Tillman a postmortem Silver Star for bravery, explaining in the process how, “through the firing Tillman’s voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating hill ground.” And this is the story the media reported to the world. …Two weeks after his death the Army’s official casualty report stated that he was killed by enemy forces.

According to his father, “The administration clearly was using this case for its own political reasons. This cover-up started within minutes of Pat’s death, and it started at high levels.”

Tillman’s parents hold McChrystal responsible and opposed his nomination to head U.S. forces in Afghanistan:

Pat Tillman Sr. accused Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal of covering up the circumstances of [his son’s] 2004 slaying.

“I do believe that guy participated in a falsified homicide investigation,” Tillman Sr. said.

Despite great political pressure generated by the Tillman family’s relentless search for the truth about their famous son, the U.S. military has steadfastly blocked a real investigation and refused to release its evidence:

The latest report failed to identify the shooter who pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Tillman. According to Patrick Tillman Sr., “They said it is not important. On top of that, they misidentified even the caliber of bullet that killed him.”

The family, Tillman’s father said, has also been frustrated in its attempts to gain access to a report written by Capt. Richard Scott in the days immediately following the firefight. That report, the family says, raised the possibility that those who fired on Tillman might have been criminally negligent and also recommended the Army’s criminal unit be brought in to investigate.

Just last year, McChrystal was still lying about Tillman’s case, says Tillman’s mother, who remains furious the military and the Bush Administration used her family as props in a nationally televised Silver Star ceremony and funeral for her son that military leaders, including McChrystal, and Bush Administration officials knew was a fraud:

Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he helped expedite the Silver Star award for Tillman before confirming that the Army corporal was killed by friendly fire in 2004.

Tillman’s family has long complained that the memorial service, which included the Silver Star presentation, deliberately avoided mention of fratricide.

McChrystal acknowledged the problem Tuesday, calling it a mistake. He said the Silver Star citation was “not well-written” but denied any intent to mislead….

Mary Tillman said McChrystal knew at the memorial service that her son died from friendly fire.

“McChrystal was lying,” she said of his comments Tuesday. “He said he didn’t know for certain Pat was killed by fratricide. That isn’t true in and of itself, but the fact is, it doesn’t matter whether he knew it for certain.”

Army protocol at the time required families to be told of possible fratricide, whether or not it had been confirmed, she said….

“If the Army chain of command didn’t know what happened to Pat, why did it present us with a false story” at the memorial service? Tillman asked. “That is not an error; that is not a misstep; that is deliberate deception. McCain was at Pat’s service. He was read a false narrative like the rest of us. Where is his outrage? Did he know all along?”

Investigations by the Army’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Defense Department’s inspector general concluded that officers in Tillman’s chain of command knew almost immediately that he had been killed by fire from his own platoon. That information, however, was withheld from his family for more than a month, in violation of Army regulations.

Posted by James on Tuesday, June 22, 2010