Thursday, December 16, 2004

Hack on Pat Tillman

Retired Colonel David Hackworth is understandably unimpressed with the Army's handling of the friendly fire death of ranger and former football star Pat Tillman:

...I don’t blame the Rangers for Pat Tillman’s death. They do daring and dangerous work every day they’re out on the killing fields and are by far the Army’s finest and best-trained shock troops. But I do blame the Army brass for their shameful cover-up, especially since the powers that be knew from the get-go that Pat Tillman went down by Ranger machine-gun fire.

To make matters worse, a week after Tillman’s death, the Army awarded him a posthumous Silver Star for gallantry in action even though Tillman’s death, tragic as it was, wasn’t from contact with an enemy force and in no way justifies our country’s third-highest award for heroism.

The word is that Tillman did his best to turn off the friendly fire, that he reportedly exposed himself while yelling for it to stop and then was cut down. Under these circumstances a Soldier’s Medal for noncombat-related heroism would have been the appropriate award. But someone with pull pushed for a Silver Star – which had to have been approved by at least a major or lieutenant general.

The bottom line here: A Perfumed Prince with stars approved Tillman’s Silver Star and its use as a Pentagon P.R. tool for the same sick reason the Pentagon brass anointed Pvt. Jessica Lynch, gave her medals she didn’t earn and turned her into an instant Joan of Arc-like heroine.

A major in the know at V Corps in Iraq told me that when the Pentagon pressed the Corps commanding general to award Lynch a Silver Star, he reportedly told the brass in very rough terms that he saw no evidence of heroism on her part. Later, she admitted she was knocked out in a vehicle accident and never fired even one round at the insurgent force that ambushed her convoy. But she was still lionized with a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and four other awards.

Why does the Pentagon lie so blatantly? It’s the ingrained nature of a beast with a $400 billion annual habit to protect. It must always put its shiniest boot forward to protect its agenda, and the truth be damned.

I recently reported how the Army Recruiting Command was having a serious shortfall in enlistment and how that could impact on troop strength in Iraq. Within a day of my story's release, the Recruiting Command put out an order that read: “The daily production report (which I incidentally based some of my article on) ... is now considered a ‘For Official Use Only.’ ... Dissemination of that report with(out) the approval of this HQ ... is prohibited.”

When the truth in inconvenient, classify it.

There are also a number of articles about the humvee armor controversy up at Soldiers for the Truth. Check them out.


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