Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another Jessica Lynch Story with a Sad Ending

This is another Jessica Lynch story, a Pentagon fabrication to imbue legends of heroism to its military in an illegal war. To be fair to Jessica Lynch, she wasn't a willing partner to the Pentagon's misuse of her unfortunate circumstances.

But in Pat Tillman's case, the Pentagon's fabrication was to hide a terrible and tragic ending for one of America's football stars.

Tillman was a patriotic American. He gave up a football career that offered him a US$3.6 million contract because he wanted to serve his country after the 9/11 attack. I have an enormous respect for such a man, one of few who may be truly termed a patriot - not one of those numerous scoundrels who drabbed themselves with the national flag or waved symbolic weapons and called themselves patriots in order to hide their shame or selfish motives. Regardless of our disagreement with the USA for illegally invading countries at its whims and fancies, we must salute such a man.

Tillman joined the Rangers and was sent to Afghanistan, where he was killed last year just at age 27, in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.

His family and the American public were told of his heroic sacrifice, of how he led his troops on a charge up an Afghan hill that was under enemy fire. The US Army cited him being killed in combat with the Talibans. He was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry and a Purple Heart for combat wounds. President Bush hailed the young American football and combat hero as "an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror."

Six weeks later, things went sour. The Army admitted to Tillman's family that their son was actually killed by friendly fire, meaning he was shot by members of his own army detachment - A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Apparently, Tillman had climbed a hill with another US soldier and an Afghan militiaman, in an advance on enemy position. A second Ranger group who arrived shortly after, saw the Afghan militiaman and thought Tillman and the other two were the enemy. They opened fire on the trio.

Tillman sought shelter behind a rock, and attempted to signal to his buddies who he was, including screaming his name and setting off a smoke grenade.

Have any of you seen the 1st Rambo film, First Blood, where the National Guards thought they cornered Rambo in a disused mine? Do you recall how that mob just opened fire with everything they had, with no one really in control or able to stop their wild hail of bullets? Well, I can imagine how it must have been so for the unfortunate Tillman and the other two. They were riddled with bullets.

Now the Army is reopening the case on the urgings of Tillman’s parents There have been so many discrepancies in the last two investigations that they wondered who the Army was shielding. The parents are particularly aggrieved that the top people have not been criticised for the monumental failure in their control of the battle situation, and the ensuing lies that followed.

For example, Tillman's bullet-riddled flak jacket was burned immediately after his death instead of being preserved for a later investigation.

If the American military could lie to their own people, just imagine .........................

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