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Ranger told to conceal Tillman info
Yahoo! News ^ | 04/24/2007 | SCOTT LINDLAW and ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writers

Posted on 04/24/2007 11:30:12 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum

WASHINGTON - An Army Ranger who was with Pat Tillman when he died by friendly fire said Tuesday he was told by a higher-up to conceal that information from Tillman's family. ADVERTISEMENT

"I was ordered not to tell them," U.S. Army Specialist Bryan O'Neal told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

He said he was given the order by then-Lt. Col. Jeff Bailey, the battalion commander who oversaw Tillman's platoon.

Pat Tillman's brother Kevin was in a convoy behind his brother when the incident happened, but didn't see it. O'Neal said Bailey told him specifically not to tell Kevin Tillman that the death was friendly fire rather than heroic engagement with the enemy.

"He basically just said, 'Do not let Kevin know, he's probably in a bad place knowing that his brother's dead,'" O'Neal said. He added that Bailey made clear he would "get in trouble" if he told.

Kevin Tillman was not in the hearing room when Bailey spoke.

In earlier testimony, Kevin Tillman accused the military of "intentional falsehoods" and "deliberate and careful misrepresentations" in portraying Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan as the result of heroic engagement with the enemy instead of friendly fire.

"We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public," Kevin Tillman told a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing. "Pat's death was clearly the result of fratricide," he said, contending that the military's misstatements amounted to "fraud."

"Revealing that Pat's death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster in a month of political disasters ... so the truth needed to be suppressed," Tillman said.

The committee's chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., accused the government of inventing "sensational details and stories" about Pat Tillman's death and the 2003 rescue of Jessica Lynch, perhaps the most famous victims of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

"The government violated its most basic responsibility," said Waxman.

Lynch, then an Army private, was badly injured when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq. She was subsequently rescued by American troops from an Iraqi hospital but the tale of her ambush was changed into a story of heroism on her part.

Still hampered by her injuries, Lynch walked slowly to the witness table and took a seat alongside Tillman's family members.

"The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate tales," Lynch said.

Kevin Tillman said his family has sought for years to get at the truth, and have now concluded that they were "being actively thwarted by powers that are more interested in protecting a narrative than getting at the truth and seeing justice is served."

Lawmakers questioned how high up the chain of command the information about Tillman's friendly fire death went, and whether anyone in the White House knew before Tillman's family.

"How high up did this go?" asked Waxman.

Pat Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, said she believed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld must have known. "The fact that he would have died by friendly fire and no one told Rumsfeld is ludicrous," she said.

Tillman was killed on April 22, 2004, after his Army Ranger comrades were ambushed in eastern Afghanistan. Rangers in a convoy trailing Tillman's group had just emerged from a canyon where they had been fired upon. They saw Tillman and mistakenly fired on him.

Though dozens of soldiers knew quickly that Tillman had been killed by his fellow troops, the Army said initially that he was killed by enemy gunfire when he led his team to help another group of ambushed soldiers. The family was not told what really happened until May 29, 2004, a delay the Army blamed on procedural mistakes.

In questioning what the White House knew, Rep. Elijah Cummings (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., cited a memo written by a top general seven days after Tillman's death warning it was "highly possible" the Army Ranger was killed by friendly fire and making clear his warning should be conveyed to the president. President Bush made no reference to the way Tillman died in a speech delivered two days after the memo was written.

A White House spokesman has said there's no indication Bush received the warning in the memo written April 29, 2004 by then-Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command.

"It's a little disingenuous to think the administration didn't know," Kevin Tillman told the committee. "That's kind of what we hoped you guys would get involved with and take a look," he said.

Mary Tillman told the committee that family members were "absolutely appalled" upon realizing the extent to which they were misled.

"We've all been betrayed ... We never thought they would use him the way they did," she said.

The Tillman family has made similar accusations against the administration and the military before, but has generally shied away from news media attention. The family had never previously appeared together and summarized their criticism and questions in such a public, comprehensive way.

"We shouldn't be allowed to have smoke screens thrown in our face," Mary Tillman said. "You're diminishing their true heroism to write these glorious tales. It's really a disservice to the nation."

"Our family will never be satisfied. We'll never have Pat back," she said. "Something really awful happened. It's your job to find out what happened to him. That's really important."

Last month the military concluded in a pair of reports that nine high-ranking Army officers, including four generals, made critical errors in reporting Tillman's death but that there was no criminal wrongdoing in his shooting.

Tillman's death received worldwide attention because he had walked away from a huge contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the Army after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

___

Associated Press writer Scott Lindlaw contributed to this report from San Francisco.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: one; tillman; wot
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Follow-up to previous thread: Tillman's brother blasts military
1 posted on 04/24/2007 11:30:15 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

I’m wondering how many American soldiers since the Revolutionary War have died due to “friendly fire”? How would things have been different during WWII had those incidents been reported as such right after each death? While I can understand the family’s anger, I don’t see how any of this helps deal with the fact that this nation is at war with an enemy that began that war against us, not the other way around. And, I get the sense that the Tillman family is now being used by the liberals in this country in their war against the Bush Administration.


2 posted on 04/24/2007 11:38:59 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: SoldierDad
I’m wondering how many American soldiers since the Revolutionary War have died due to “friendly fire”?

Not to mention the fact that disease exposure and starvation claimed a lot more than the battles themselves.

War sucks, that's why we honor those who endure it for the rest of us.

3 posted on 04/24/2007 11:41:28 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims reserve the right to kill anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
War sucks, that's why we honor those who endure it for the rest of us.

True, all too true. Would that it were (J. Kerry's words) that we could have no war at all, ever. Alas, evil exists in the world and must be fought at every turn. May God Bless those willing to walk into the crucible of war.

4 posted on 04/24/2007 11:46:39 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
"The fact that he would have died by friendly fire and no one told Rumsfeld is ludicrous," she said.

She also said she had no evidence to back up this claim, but she had read a book about Rumsfeld and she just knows what kind of guy he is...right!

5 posted on 04/24/2007 11:51:16 AM PDT by Bahbah (Regev, Goldwasser & Shalit, we are praying for you.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Here's an interesting question:

You are a commander in hostile territory and soldier is accidentally killed by friendly fire. That soldier's hot-tempered brother is a convoy behind the dead soldier's.

Do you want to take the risk of telling a soldier who is already under incredible stress and strain that Billy over there just killed his big brother by mistake?

Does that sound like a scenario that will assist unit cohesion? Would it be better if the brother was informed right away and he snapped and killed another soldier or two?

Thisincident didn't happen on a daytrip to the mall.

6 posted on 04/24/2007 11:51:25 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

The fact there isn’t a single piece of ‘new information’ is the best indicator this was designed strictly for the partisan witch hunts that have begun.


7 posted on 04/24/2007 11:55:05 AM PDT by Badeye (Fast is fine, but accuracy is Final)
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To: wideawake
Do you want to take the risk of telling a soldier who is already under incredible stress and strain that Billy over there just killed his big brother by mistake?

Excellent point.

Kevin is proving that he is not able to control himself under pressure.

No telling what he might have done.

8 posted on 04/24/2007 11:55:33 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims reserve the right to kill anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
"He basically just said, 'Do not let Kevin know, he's probably in a bad place knowing that his brother's dead,'" O'Neal said. He added that Bailey made clear he would "get in trouble" if he told.

This Specialist O'Neal should have went up the chain, through the UCMJ, to tell the truth. He should know that Lt. Col. Bailey was giving him an illegal order.

I don't know what's more disturbing - officers ordering people to conceal the truth, or people not realizing that the officers are giving illegal orders.
9 posted on 04/24/2007 12:02:35 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
I don’t believe they were told to cover up but more like let’s wait till all the facts are in. This is the 2nd phase of congress making Iraq and Afghanistan into Vietnam, demoralize or minimize any possibility of heroes.
10 posted on 04/24/2007 12:06:03 PM PDT by tobyhill (only wimps believe in retreat in defeat)
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To: wideawake
Do you want to take the risk of telling a soldier who is already under incredible stress and strain that Billy over there just killed his big brother by mistake?

Probably not, but at the same time you do not continue that story once the brother is out of harm's way. Whether the family is being used or not, they did not deserve to have to wait as long as they did to find out the truth.
11 posted on 04/24/2007 12:07:24 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr; wideawake
I don't know what's more disturbing - officers ordering people to conceal the truth, or people not realizing that the officers are giving illegal orders.

See Post #6.

12 posted on 04/24/2007 12:07:24 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims reserve the right to kill anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Kevin Tillman said his family has sought for years to get at the truth, and have now concluded that they were "being actively thwarted by powers that are more interested in protecting a narrative than getting at the truth and seeing justice is served."

Years?

Tillman was killed on April 22, 2004, after his Army Ranger comrades were ambushed in eastern Afghanistan. Rangers in a convoy trailing Tillman's group had just emerged from a canyon where they had been fired upon. They saw Tillman and mistakenly fired on him.

Though dozens of soldiers knew quickly that Tillman had been killed by his fellow troops, the Army said initially that he was killed by enemy gunfire when he led his team to help another group of ambushed soldiers. The family was not told what really happened until May 29, 2004, a delay the Army blamed on procedural mistakes.

Sounds more like 37 days, rather than years.

I'm sorry for their loss.

I'm sorry for our country's loss.

It is most likely that the officer used poor judgment in an effort to temporarily spare Pat's brother from hearing that it was his fellow soldiers that accidentally shot Pat.

However, it is still true that Pat let his group of Rangers against enemy forces that were attacking his group, and that he died as a result of that engagement. They had just come under fire, and the other soldiers thought that he was one of those attackers rather than a fellow American.

His actions were no less brave because he died as a result of friendly fire.

His brother should have been told the truth right away, instead of 5 weeks later.

However, I find it hard to believe that the officer that chose to keep that information from him thought it could be kept form him long term.

Dozens of soldiers knew what had happened right away. Such secrets spread quickly.

It was likely what the officer thought was a little white lie to help ease the initial shock for Pat's brother that spiraled quickly out of control.

This is unfortunate, and it was the wrong thing for that officer to do. However, the only reason that this has remained in the public eye for so long is that there are those who want to use this issue to demoralize our troops and to attack the administration.

13 posted on 04/24/2007 12:12:14 PM PDT by untrained skeptic
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To: af_vet_rr
He should know that Lt. Col. Bailey was giving him an illegal order.

An illegal order?

He was ordered by his superior not to divulge information - an order that his superior had every legal right to give and which he had every legal obligation to comply with.

An illegal order is an order in which a superior instructs a subordinate to violate the laws of war.

I am unaware of any provision in the UCMJ or the Geneva Convention which makes it compulsory for a officer to immediately report the circumstances of a soldier's death to his family.

The Army, as a matter of policy, traditionally waits until a uniformed service member can contact the family in person.

If not telling the family immediately is illegal, the Army has been routinely breaking the law for centuries.

14 posted on 04/24/2007 12:15:48 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: af_vet_rr; wideawake
Probably not, but at the same time you do not continue that story once the brother is out of harm's way. Whether the family is being used or not, they did not deserve to have to wait as long as they did to find out the truth.

Army Public Affairs is the guilty party here...

15 posted on 04/24/2007 12:15:57 PM PDT by meandog (Protect your 2nd Amendment Rights...Join the NRA!)
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To: af_vet_rr
Whether the family is being used or not, they did not deserve to have to wait as long as they did to find out the truth.

I agree - but when stuff like this happens and different versions are circulated, the Army has a responsibility to confirm precisely what happened and that can take time.

16 posted on 04/24/2007 12:18:36 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: af_vet_rr
I don't know what's more disturbing - officers ordering people to conceal the truth, or people not realizing that the officers are giving illegal orders.

What LCol Bailey was protecting was the integrity of an on-going investigation. What he doesn't want is 1 eyewitness giving his personal account before the investigators have finished their work. Eyewitnesses don't always get the details right & a partial story given out too early could prove problematic. This eyewitness account would probably have been accurate in general, but you can't know that before the fact.

Now, assume that LCol Bailey is in fact running a coverup. The 'investigation' comes out & it insists that Tillman died as the initial reports said he did. Every man in Tillman's squad knows the Truth. Somebody will tell Tillman's family. Col. Bailey surely knows this. THAT is why this is not a coverup -- it would never 'stick'.

17 posted on 04/24/2007 12:19:08 PM PDT by Tallguy (John Corzine: NJ Governor or Crash Test Dummy?)
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To: untrained skeptic

‘Friendly fire’ has been the reason for a number of deaths otherwise reported. It is bad enough that a loved one is killed, let alone by his own troops by mistake. It is the same issue when the family wants to know, “Did he suffer?” Get real, what are you going to say....the truth when it serves no purpose other than to take the loss into the realm of agony?

This is not as black and white as dillitantes such as Waxman like to paint it.

God rest Tillman’s soul and may his family find some peace.


18 posted on 04/24/2007 12:20:51 PM PDT by Stashiu (RVN, 1969-70)
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To: af_vet_rr

***...they did not deserve to have to wait as long as they did to find out the truth.***

We are at war! They did not have to know the truth ever. How did it serve them to know that their son was shot accidentally? It only makes their pain worse. They have been led by the cowardly leftists to the point of making an issue out of it.

There was a scene in a TV movie some years ago in which the father of a murdered girl had to go to the morgue to i.d. her. The morgue attendant gratuitously lifted the sheet to allow her father to see the horrible gashes in her stomach. The father turned to the attendant, and DECKED him. Rightly so.


19 posted on 04/24/2007 12:25:23 PM PDT by kitkat
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

It’s only okay to alter or embellish the details behind a casualty when it involves John Kerry.


20 posted on 04/24/2007 12:27:33 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Duncan Hunter 2008 (or Fred Thompson if he ever makes up his mind))
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To: SoldierDad
While I can understand the family’s anger, I don’t see how any of this helps deal with the fact that this nation is at war...

Irrelevant. The Administration for some stupid reason covered this up. As Michael Smerconish said, how is death by friendly fire any less heroic than death in combat? It is not. Pat Tillman was a great hero, and shame on the Pentagon for trying to script his death for P.R. purposes--and that when it wasn't even necessary!

21 posted on 04/24/2007 12:36:06 PM PDT by montag813
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To: wideawake

your explanation makes perfect sense........just don’t expect the family to care they are on a witch hunt and not likely to stop.


22 posted on 04/24/2007 12:39:54 PM PDT by tioga
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To: Tallguy

your comments make good sense as well........his family wants to deck rumsfield or bush for it though......


23 posted on 04/24/2007 12:42:08 PM PDT by tioga
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To: montag813

I don’t agree that my statement is irrelevant to the times. The only purpose all of this has in the public forum is to fan the flames of anti-Bush BS that has preoccupied the liberals in this country since his election in 2000.

I also would ask for any evidence that exists which directly implicates the Bush Administration in the cover-up of how Tillman died. The Pentagon is not the Bush Administration, but a Government agency tasked with specific actions during war time. Their actions and behaviors regarding how Tillman’s death was initially reported was reprehensible to say the least. And, as you said, it does not lessen his heroism in the field.


24 posted on 04/24/2007 12:43:44 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

I can see a screw-up at a high level. I can even see an attempt at a cover-up at a high level given this administration’s history of covering up perfectly legal things.

But at this level all I see is a commander who, during a mission, wanted to spare a soldier under him the stress of knowing his brother was just killed by friendly fire.


25 posted on 04/24/2007 12:44:16 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Probably since the beginning of history there has been a tradition of warriors telling family members back home that a man “died heroically while fighting the enemy” even when that wasn’t exactly the case. The fact that he was there side-by-side on the front with them and happened to suffer a different bit of bad luck than those actually killed by the enemy was just something that others didn’t need to know. The omission of the details isn’t some government conspiracy...it is a respect paid between fighting men.

I think this escaped Kevin Tillman somehow.

26 posted on 04/24/2007 12:44:28 PM PDT by Gator101
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To: kitkat
We are at war! They did not have to know the truth ever.

This kind of good-intentioned thinking is how abuses-of-power start.


27 posted on 04/24/2007 12:52:40 PM PDT by canuck_conservative
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To: montag813
The Administration for some stupid reason covered this up.

No they didn't.

It took them 37 days to issue an official report which, given the enormously high profile the media had given the incident by then, may well have been justified.

28 posted on 04/24/2007 12:55:57 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: SoldierDad; montag813
The only purpose all of this has in the public forum is to fan the flames of anti-Bush BS that has preoccupied the liberals in this country since his election in 2000.

If there were any doubt about SoldierDad's assertion, just look at the timing of these Congressional hearings. Many of us are putting the best face we can on the known facts because we believe that the Army & its officers are basically an honorable institution. Congressman Waxman has other fish to fry. He's taking the same known facts & attempting to stretch them to cover he's 'conclusion' that this was a 'Lie', 'Coverup', or a 'Crime'.

I mean just look at the point about Bush's public disclosure about Tillman's death coming 2 days after a memo from Gen McChrystal to Gen. Abizaid! The conclusion that Waxman wants us to draw is that Bush knew the Truth & lied. Sorry, but I have a hard time believing that Bush ever saw the memo until much later -- after Abizaid had a chance to advise Rumsfeld & so on. Waxman wants us to think Bush was "cc'ed" on an email, or something of the sort.

29 posted on 04/24/2007 12:55:59 PM PDT by Tallguy (John Corzine: NJ Governor or Crash Test Dummy?)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
The media needs to be taken over. I've heard this story every hour on ABC radio news.

Tillman and Waxman have a problem that the Army took a month to investigate and release the death of a high profile solider; while painting it as a political coverup? Give me a break.



"I was ordered not to tell them,” U.S. Army Specialist Bryan O’Neal told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“He basically just said, ‘Do not let Kevin know, he’s probably in a bad place knowing that his brother’s dead,’” O’Neal said. He added that Bailey made clear he would “get in trouble” if he told.

In earlier testimony, Kevin Tillman accused the military of “intentional falsehoods” and “deliberate and careful misrepresentations” in portraying Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan as the result of heroic engagement with the enemy instead of friendly fire.

“We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public,” Kevin Tillman told a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing. “Pat’s death was clearly the result of fratricide,” he said, contending that the military’s misstatements amounted to “fraud.”

“Revealing that Pat’s death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster in a month of political disasters ... so the truth needed to be suppressed,” Tillman said.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., accused the government of inventing “sensational details and stories” about Pat Tillman’s death and the 2003 rescue of Jessica Lynch, perhaps the most famous victims of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

“How high up did this go?” asked Waxman.

Pat Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, said she believed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld must have known. "The fact that he would have died by friendly fire and no one told Rumsfeld is ludicrous," she said.

Tillman was killed on April 22, 2004, after his Army Ranger comrades were ambushed in eastern Afghanistan. Rangers in a convoy trailing Tillman’s group had just emerged from a canyon where they had been fired upon. They saw Tillman and mistakenly fired on him.

Though dozens of soldiers knew quickly that Tillman had been killed by his fellow troops, the Army said initially that he was killed by enemy gunfire when he led his team to help another group of ambushed soldiers. The family was not told what really happened until May 29, 2004, a delay the Army blamed on procedural mistakes.

“We’ve all been betrayed ... We never thought they would use him the way they did,” she said

30 posted on 04/24/2007 12:56:40 PM PDT by Vision ("Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him." Jeremiah 17:7)
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To: Stashiu
It is the same issue when the family wants to know, “Did he suffer?” Get real, what are you going to say....the truth when it serves no purpose other than to take the loss into the realm of agony?

Friendly fire is different than the question of if he suffered simply because the truth is going to eventually come out, and then the family is not only devestated by the truth but they feel betrayed by having been misled. Then they might start questioning if the friendly fire was actually accidental.

I agree that it isn't a black and white issue. However, in instances of friendly fire, especially when a considerable number of people are aware of the truth, telling the family the truth is the only real option. Telling the white lie just delays telling the truth, and causes distrust.

I also feel that Tillman being killed by friendly fire makes him no less of a hero. Tillman's heroism should be honored. Instead his death is being twisted for political means.

God rest Tillman’s soul and may his family find some peace.

Amen.

31 posted on 04/24/2007 12:57:35 PM PDT by untrained skeptic
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To: Gator101
Probably since the beginning of history there has been a tradition of warriors telling family members back home that a man “died heroically while fighting the enemy” even when that wasn’t exactly the case.

There's a long standing, unspoken tradition that every soldier who dies in combat dies a hero -- even if they died of because of their own stupid mistake.

32 posted on 04/24/2007 1:02:34 PM PDT by Terabitten (Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets - E-Frat '94. Unity and Pride!)
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To: SoldierDad
Most soldiers died From disease, cold, or hunger until WWII. Fratricide rates today are at amazingly low! Historically you’re looking at rates that are up to three times todays rate and that despite a faster pace fight with more moving pieces on land sea and in the air on the modern battlefield.

Historically we run between a 12 and 15% fratricide rate on average.
http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/1995/steinweg.htm

Like car accidents, it happens. No one wants it and it’s regretful when it does, but it happens. Like a car which you need to get around but has the associated risk of an accident, fratricide is a simple reality of doing business as a soldier. You try to minimize it, but you can’t eliminate it unless you don't do what soldiers are supposed to do.

Issues like this are typically picked up on and distorted for political gain. Tillman was famous and his death controversial. We have over 3,000 dead and 20,000 wounded. His fate is special because politically some see a benefit in opening up this wound and pouring salt into it, rubbing it around, and pulling the bloody flesh back apart and asking "does this hurt?". Of course those doing this “care for the soldier”./sarc

33 posted on 04/24/2007 1:04:36 PM PDT by Red6 (Come and take it.)
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To: untrained skeptic

I will say, that in this instance, with family on the scene itself, it would appear that the truth of the matter would have been better settled early. However, in many instances, it is not uncommon for combat brothers to agree to hold back on the details of someone’s demise. It is usually done in the spirit of a gift to the family. When done for other reasons, it is heinous.


34 posted on 04/24/2007 1:05:59 PM PDT by Stashiu (RVN, 1969-70)
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To: SoldierDad
I’m wondering how many American soldiers since the Revolutionary War have died due to “friendly fire”? How would things have been different during WWII had those incidents been reported as such right after each death? While I can understand the family’s anger, I don’t see how any of this helps deal with the fact that this nation is at war with an enemy that began that war against us, not the other way around.

For a little perspective on this case, please see this very interesting article. The Barham "Conspiracy"

Following are some excerpts:

IN late November 1941 the British battleship HMS Barham was attacked and sunk by a U-boat off the coast of Egypt....Realizing an opportunity to mislead their enemies and protect home-front morale, the Admiralty censored Barham’s sinking. News of the loss of one of the Royal Navy’s fifteen remaining capital ships was confined to the chambers Admiralty and White Hall....

On November 27, two days after Barham’s loss, Winston Churchill telegrammed Australian Prime Minister John Curtain to describe the objectives of the censorship campaign: “This [the loss of Barham] is being kept strictly secret at present as the enemy do not seem to know, and the event would only encourage Japan.” Under the strain of two years of constant war, the embattled leaders of Britain grasped every advantage they could.

Many steps, both elaborate and subtle, were taken to prevent the truth from reaching the public or the Axis powers. One extraordinary measure included the printing and mailing of Christmas and New Year’s cards for the crew of the sunken battleship, even those who had perished. Admiralty officials realized that withholding the cards would have raised suspicions about the Barham’s status.

More traditional forms of deception were employed as well. On January 8, 1942 Adm. Cunningham reassured the readers of the Glasgow Herald with an article headlined “All’s well with the Navy in the Mediterranean.” Although Cunningham admitted his forces “had to fight and win against some pretty long odds at times,” his upbeat appraisal hardly reflected the actual situation of three British battleships in the Mediterranean sunk or disabled in as many months.

The censorship campaign also extended to the Admiralty’s monthly “Naval Supply and Production” statistics. These documents charted the number and types of British warships ordered, launched, damaged and destroyed for each month during the war. The supply and production records for November 1941 failed to register the loss of the battleship Barham, although the December 1941 statistics accounted for the sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse in the South China Sea. Since these documents were circulated throughout the Admiralty, all traces of the Barham’s loss had to be removed.

After a delay of several weeks, the War Office decided to alert the next of kin of Barham’s dead, but they added a special request for secrecy. The notification letters included a warning not to discuss the loss of the ship with anyone but close relatives, stating it was “most essential that information of the event which led to the loss of your husband's life should not find its way to the enemy until such time as it is announced officially…” The wives and families receiving these letters were undoubtedly devastated by their grief yet were prevented from making any public announcement of their loss.

------------------------------------

Only those with a complete ignorance of military history are up in arms over the Tillman "cover-up". When news of a tragic death could undermine morale, embolden the enemy, and put more of our men in danger, you'd better d@mn well believe that our military brass will cover it up.
35 posted on 04/24/2007 1:09:38 PM PDT by Antoninus (I won't vote for a liberal, regardless of party....)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
In questioning what the White House knew, Rep. Elijah Cummings (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., cited a memo written by a top general seven days after Tillman's death warning it was "highly possible" the Army Ranger was killed by friendly fire and making clear his warning should be conveyed to the president. President Bush made no reference to the way Tillman died in a speech delivered two days after the memo was written.

In other words, there was no cover-up on the part of the president.

The Tillmans are entitled to their grief. They are not entitled to think their grief is unique, or that clumsy efforts to delay bad news are motivated by evil. If Tillman's cause was noble, his sacrifice was noble. If his death had been reported accurately, right away, he would still be dead, and we would still be at war in Afghanistan.

Remember that the Afghan War is the one that is supposed to be the "good" war, the one that supposedly the Democrats are for.

Accidental deaths happen all the time. Telling the family that their loved one died bravely, when the truth might be a little different, is as old as time. In our hyper-legal style of war-fighting, that may be a court-martial offense, but it does not for a moment diminish the importance of what Tillman was doing when he gave his life. It does not diminish the importance of the war that Bush ordered these men to wage. Delaying the full accounting for a month is not evil, it may be clumsy, but the enemy is not Bush or the war department, it is the men that Tillman and his comrades were fighting at the moment he lost his life.

36 posted on 04/24/2007 1:14:31 PM PDT by marron
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

You know, this is the first time I have felt that I am reading about a fight I have no business reading about. It all sounds so personal like the family has an agenda more out of losing their loved one than anything else; and it must be so hard for them; but I honestly am not sure what this feeling is; but I am uncormfortable.


37 posted on 04/24/2007 1:19:24 PM PDT by freekitty
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To: wideawake

There is a lot more too this story (and we may never know the truth) - if I can find the article, I’ll post a link, but there were soldiers who were told not to reveal what they knew - that constitutes an illegal order when you have an ongoing investigation. It’s very close to tampering with witnesses (and some legal types would argue that it was).


38 posted on 04/24/2007 1:28:07 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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This story while accurate, sure is misleading.  I watched the entire testimony today on C-Span and the author is leaving a bunch out. First, the Tillman's came across nearly as lunatics.  I'm not saying they didn't encounter a terrible tragedy, but they really had the tin foil wrapped tightly. They could not answer a single question asked of them and continuously wandered back to rambling.  The I.G. that investigated states flat out that none of several reports and investigations ever said Tillman was killed by anything other than friendly fire. 

Rep. Issa of California had the best questions.  He kept asking them who "they" was in their stories. They didn't know.  He asked if they had even a shred of evidence that any of this was done for political reasons and their response was all hypothetical.  Not a bit of evidence.  Just answers like "Everyone knows that military-101 says you don't split into two groups."  Huh?

IMHO the media created the hero persona not the Pentagon. As soon as the possibility of fratricide made it to the political levels, I'd bet that people thought it best to to leave it alone for a few weeks and do a thorough investigation before telling the family.  Every single time Waxman or a Democrat tried to imply that "they" invented another lie to support the war, and that yet another investigation should take place, the I.G. said that they DID find the people accountable and that appropriate action was already in the works.  "They" by the way can hardly be interpreted as anyone other than people in the administration.

How in the world do you tell a woman a day after she finds out her son died, has been turned into a gladiator hero in the press and is going to receive a Silver Star that no, his head was blown off by a .50-caliber bullet when he stood up in a friendly firefight?

As far as Jessica Lynch is concerned, she herself said it was the press that invented the story and turned her into a Rambo, not the Pentagon.  Once she said that, the only Democrats that returned their attention to her were the ones that simply spent their entire 10 minutes blaming the administration and never asked her any question. 

I'm very serious.  I learned absolutely nothing new from this hearing. Nothing.


39 posted on 04/24/2007 1:28:29 PM PDT by HawaiianGecko (A word to the wise ain't necessary -- it's the stupid ones that need the advice.)
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To: kitkat
They did not have to know the truth ever.

As a parent and uncle of service members in and around the Gulf region, I strongly disagree with this. If you had children or nephews and nieces serving, I suspect you'd feel the same way as I do. The truth is very important to families who lose loved ones, and it's the least that can be done when they suffer a loss of a loved one.

It's 2007, we wouldn't still be discussing this if it had been handled better by the military.
40 posted on 04/24/2007 1:31:14 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
How many times is the Tillman family going to waste my tax dollars on this non stop bitterness crap.
Yes the guy died of friendly fire , its sad to say but occurs often.
So, there bitterness over who told them when means they give the Dems another mud throwing session at the WH all for the 2008 election cycle.
The bitter mother and brother go around making wild accusations .
The Tillman family’s personal Dem oriented politics are now showing !
Enough is enough.
41 posted on 04/24/2007 1:54:34 PM PDT by BurtSB (the price of freedom is eternal vigilance)
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To: HawaiianGecko
I'm very serious. I learned absolutely nothing new from this hearing. Nothing.

Thanks for the synopsis. The fact that this has gone on so long shows how the MSM pretty much says whatever they want about anything.

42 posted on 04/24/2007 2:24:32 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims reserve the right to kill anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: All

Oversight Committee Holds Hearing on Tillman, Lynch Incidents

Full Video of the Hearing

http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1267


43 posted on 04/24/2007 2:30:40 PM PDT by Vn_survivor_67-68
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To: SoldierDad; wideawake
Their actions and behaviors regarding how Tillman’s death was initially reported was reprehensible to say the least. And, as you said, it does not lessen his heroism in the field.

That is all I am saying. He was a hero. He didn't have to go down in a hail of Taliban bullets to earn that respect. I don't know of any "evidence" either way, only what some of those who were on the ground are saying about it. And those some are saying that the brass squelched the friendly-fire story for much longer than they should have. We will find out much more soon.

44 posted on 04/24/2007 2:59:26 PM PDT by montag813
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To: Red6

Your comments are right on point.


45 posted on 04/24/2007 3:00:36 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: Antoninus
When news of a tragic death could undermine morale, embolden the enemy, and put more of our men in danger, you'd better d@mn well believe that our military brass will cover it up.

And rightly so!!!! Great post. Thanks.

46 posted on 04/24/2007 3:03:15 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: montag813
We will find out much more soon.

Ah, but I wonder whose version we will be given? When there is politics being played you can rest assured that spinning will be in full effect.

47 posted on 04/24/2007 3:05:04 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: Bahbah

I was going to come on this thread and say that if I were a family member of someone killed by “friendly fire”, I would rather not know that. It doesn’t bring him back and it seems like it would hurt even more.

But after reading Pat Tillman’s mother’s quotes, this is just another attempt to lynch the WH.

Way to go, Tillman family. Pat would be so proud. Bet you have Cindy Sheehan on speed dial.


48 posted on 04/24/2007 3:06:02 PM PDT by Let's Roll (As usual, following a shooting spree, libs want to take guns away from those who DIDN'T do it.)
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To: Let's Roll
after reading Pat Tillman’s mother’s quotes, this is just another attempt to lynch the WH.

That is all this is.

49 posted on 04/24/2007 3:09:54 PM PDT by Bahbah (Regev, Goldwasser & Shalit, we are praying for you.)
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To: montag813

I cannot believe all of the posters on this thread who support lying to this family.

This was not a white lie told to protect an investigation or calm a potentially volatile brother.

The Army spun an entire set of lies that hid the truth about Tillman’s death and on top of that they developed a false scenario to try to turn his death into a dramatic, heroic act to use him as a poster boy. His leavine a lucrative career was heroic. His volunteering for the Rangers and combat was heroic. Then they saw his death as an opportunity- ghoulish.

They hurt this family and the realization by the American people of what happened has weakened the war effort.

If you are a family in Iowa, listening to a military officer describe how and why your son is not coming home, how many mothers and fathers are going to doubt the story. How many, now have a tiny grain of doubt, “If they lied to the family of Pat Tillman, how can I know that they are not lying to me?”


50 posted on 04/24/2007 3:23:25 PM PDT by berstbubble
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