By David Walsh in the USA:
Pat Tillman’s brother denounces the US military’s “deliberate and calculated lies”
26 April 2007
In impassioned testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee in Washington Tuesday, Kevin Tillman accused the US military and the Bush administration of “deliberate and calculated lies” in regard to his brother’s death by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
Pat Tillman, a college and professional football star, joined the military after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, walking away from a multimillion-dollar contract in the National Football League.
His death on April 22, 2004 became the occasion for an outburst of flag-waving by the American government and media.
Tillman was proclaimed a role model of courage and patriotism.
The White House, in its statement at the time, declared, “Pat Tillman was an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. His family is in the thoughts and prayers of President and Mrs. Bush.”
In fact, the US military concocted a story about Tillman’s death at the hands of the enemy when it knew within days that he had been killed by his own comrades.
Tillman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the second highest US military decoration for valor, even though those involved in the awarding were aware that the “heroic” version of his death was a fraud.
In his statement Tuesday, Kevin Tillman, who appeared alongside his mother Mary, offered a cogent political explanation for the military’s actions.
He first noted that while his brother’s death had been a devastating loss for family and friends, “to others within the government, it appears to have been an opportunity.”
April 2004, he continued, was turning “into the deadliest month to date in the war in Iraq
The dual rebellions in Najaf and Fallujah handed the US forces their first tactical defeat as American commanders essentially surrendered Fallujah to members of Iraq resistance, and the administration was forced to accede to Ayatollah Sistani’s demand for January elections in exchange for assistance in extricating US forces from its battle with the Mahdi militia.”
Twenty thousand more US troops were called up and another 20,000 had their tours of duty extended.
In the midst of all this, the White House learned that journalists “were about to reveal a shocking scandal involving massive and systemic detainee abuse in a facility known as Abu Ghraib.”
Kevin Tillman, also a former US Army ranger, who was in a convoy behind his older brother’s at the time of the latter’s death, bitingly explained that in the days leading up to Pat’s nationally televised memorial service on May 3, “media accounts, based on information provided by the army and the White House, were wreathed in a patriotic glow and became more dramatic in tone.
A terrible tragedy that might have further undermined support for the war in Iraq was transformed into an inspirational message that served instead to support the nation’s foreign policy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.