May 19, 2011

Happy Thurs. Pale day here with some overcast that could bring rain, or maybe not.

We watched The Tillman Story over the weekend. Should be required viewing for all high school US government classes. The use of Pat Tillman’s celebrity and death as a propaganda tool by the Pentagon and the White House was despicable and incensed his family, who fought for three years to get the truth. The military did everything they could to shut them up, and failed. Tillman’s mother Danni is interviewed in the film and makes an eloquent case for the essential mendacity of the military top command, who all claimed they didn’t know he was killed by friendly fire. This was belied by a memo leaked to two days after the top brass and Don “stuff happens” Rumsfeld lined up to lie to a congressional committee. The news of their most famous ranger being killed by friendly fire must have been known right up to the top within hours of the incident, but four generals and Rummy all said, “I don’t recall.” Cowards. The film also reviews briefly the Jessica Lynch incident, which was similarly used for propaganda purposes. The military delayed “rescuing” her after getting a call from the Iraqi doctor who was caring for her so they could send in a film crew to stage a dramatic rescue. Despicable.

Anyway, the Tillman film is a fascinating look at middle Americans with strong patriotic feelings who learned to their disgust, not to mention sorrow, that their son was not killed heroically leading his unit against the enemy, as President Bush told the nation, but was killed in a friendly fire incident that the family concluded was the result of fear and testosterone. The two soldiers who were with Tillman and were also fired upon but survived basically said the troops below could not have failed to know it was them. Tillman was screaming “I’m Pat fucking Tillman!” when they blew his head off from 40 yards away. Makes you wonder if Tillman’s celebrity was resented a wee tad by some in his unit. The film is well produced and will take you back to 2004 and the duplicitous powers that were at that time. Well worth watching. Available from Netflix.

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