Pat Tillman, Hero. Shot In The Head. Three Times. By US Soldiers.
You would think, in a story with nothing but losers, I would feel something for someone. Regret for Pat Tillman, an NFL player inspired by 9/11 to enlist and serve in the US Army. Sympathy for his family, who were cheated of an accurate explanation of his death, humiliated by the very military their son and brother gave up a promising life to serve. Contempt for the media machine that tried to spin such an ugly, embarrassing situation into some hero bullshit. Or pity, for the military that required seven investigations to get the plain facts and has only summary censures to hand out.
I suppose it's a sad statement on me alone that I want to rub this ugly fact in the face of everyone who ever spat angrily at the notion that we've turned the Middle East into another Vietnam. If there was one fact that stuck me as a young child, trying to understand what Vietname was, it was the accounts that US military reports did everything but dishonorably discharge soldiers who died from friendly fire, dangerous as they were to putting a positive light on the war effort.
Pat Tillman died from friendly fire. Among his wounds: three shots, to the forehead, at close range. The military still maintains this event was an accident. The censure issued to General Philip Kensinger addressed the facts of the cover up itself, which included posthumously awarding Tillman the Purple Heart (for injury in combat) and the Silver Star (for gallantry in combat). What remains unanswered, however, is evidence that makes a poor case for accidental friendly fire. On the face of it, only one of those three words is without controversy.
Do you know how hard it is to hit a small stationary target? From 30 feet? Three times? While you are moving? In a firefight? I know Mel Gibson can shoot a smiley face out of a paper target 50 feet away in a poorly-lit indoor range; after that, I'm not sure.
Ok, I can feel this: imagine giving up a glamorous, high-paying career, playing the game you love to play, and doing it to serve your country as a soldier. You take three shots to the head in an Afghani firefight, from one of your own. Your country plays you up as a hero in the media, lies to your family, tarts you up in all the seemly decorations for a man of your courage, determination, and sheer physical ability. Everyone around you when you were killed clams up, presumably in the name of some greater good, but possibly some greater evil.
That doesn't bode well for what those people thought of you, Pat Tillman. Skeptical as I am of the choice you made, no one deserves what was done to you. I hope your family finds the truth and gets justice for your memory.