Commentary: Gavel to Gavel: Cowardly Cover-Up

By Howard, Gene | THE JOURNAL RECORD, August 2, 2007 | Go to article overview

Commentary: Gavel to Gavel: Cowardly Cover-Up


Howard, Gene, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Just when you think it can't get any worse, something else surfaces.

The death of an American hero in Afghanistan was originally described as being the result of enemy fire. Cpl. Pat Tillman was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart and given a posthumous promotion with a citation giving a detailed account of a supposed battle.

The Army commanders knew that the report was false, but persisted in the fiction that had been developed to take advantage of a tragic event.

At the memorial service, the citation was read with army representatives present, but his family was not told the truth that Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire, until weeks later.

Tillman's mother told The Washington Post: "The fact he was the ultimate team player, and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact they lied about it afterward is disgusting."

Tillman's father was incensed by the cover-up of the cause of his son's death, which he attributed to a conscious decision by the leadership of the U.S. Army to protect the Army's image.

Pat Tillman was the poster boy for patriotism and the fight against al-Qaida. After turning down a contract to play football for the Arizona Cardinals for $3.6 million over three years, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2002. He was first sent to Iraq as a part of the invasion in 2003 where he served a tour of duty before being redeployed to Afghanistan where he was killed on April 22, 2004, at the age of 27. Now evidence has surfaced in documents released to the AP last week that 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 the Army to investigate whether his death amounted to a crime.

One of the doctors examining the body after the incident told investigators "the medical evidence did not match up with the scenario described. …

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