The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication
Remembering Pat Tillman: Lies shield truth behind veteran’s death
May 28, 2012
Former NFL player Pat Tillman enlisted in the U.S. Army after the events of 9/11 in 2002. After completing several tours, he began to develop a strong anti-war sentiment and spoke to his fellow comrades about rallying against another George W. Bush term once he was stationed in Afghanistan. This disapproval grew when he met outspoken MIT professor Noam Chomsky, who could have helped elevate Tillman’s voice as a veteran against wars once he had completed his tour. Word about the veteran’s anti-imperialism stance spread, and government officials are believed to have ordered Tillman’s assassination under the guise of friendly fire.
According to the Army’s initial reports, Tillman was shot three times in the forehead and killed in an ambush near the Pakistan border on April 22, 2004. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Defense found that his death was caused when a platoon he was a part of was divided in two and shot at each other by mistake when an explosive went off nearby.The lieutenant general withheld details on Tillman’s death from his family for several months.
But army doctors who conducted the autopsy found the shots on Tillman’s forehead were too close together, suggesting he was murdered from a shooter a couple of yards away from him by an M-16 rifle, which the military does not use as a weapon. There were reports that snipers were in the second platoon group who used the explosive device to create chaos as the opportune time to shoot Tillman. No evidence of enemy fire was found, and no other soldier was injured or shot on the scene. Doctors who conducted the autopsy released a report to AP about their suspicion that the veteran was murdered, and that an investigation should begin immediately.
Three years later, on March 26, 2007, the Pentagon released a statement saying, “None of the investigations suggested that CPL Tillman’s death was anything other than accidental. Our review, as well as the investigation recently completed by Army CID, obtained no evidence contrary to those key findings.” His mother, Mary Tillman, commented, “”Nothing is going to bring Pat back. It’s about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived.”
The Obama administration has continued this war on whistleblowers, most notably with the detainment of Army soldier Bradley Manning who passed on classified government cables to shine light on war crimes and human rights violations all over the world. Tillman was approaching as a notable war opponent who would have brought his anti-war message home if he had not been gunned down by the U.S. Army.
So as we commemorate men and women who have given their lives in armed forces, we must question the legitimacy of the government that subjected Tillman and thousands of others to war in the first place. We must recognize the global bloodshed continuing to take place at the hands American imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries beyond. The troops must be brought home, and with the solidarity of veterans and servicemembers, we must bring an end to all wars.
- G. Razo
Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.