Morning Report 5/23/05Pat Tillman as Prop


Defensive regime used defensive back, spit him out, and polished him up all nice and shiny

Sgt. Scott M. Ash/Air Force


Celebrity festivities: Robin Williams and John Elway (left) break ground last December for the Pat Tillman USO Center at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Also leaning on shovels are General Richard “Quag” Myers and his wife, Mary Jo (right)

Now that Pat Tillman‘s family has spoken out about the government’s “disgusting” coverup of his futile death, the former NFL star (left) can finally rest in peace. It’s clear that his third and final career—as a propaganda tool for the Bush regime—is mercifully over. As Josh White writes in today’s Washington Post:

More than a year after their son was shot several times by his fellow Army Rangers on a craggy hillside near the Pakistani border, Tillman’s mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country. They say the Army’s “lies” about what happened have made them suspicious, and that they are certain they will never get the full story.

“Pat had high ideals about the country; that’s why he did what he did,” Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son’s death. “The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting.”

The Post‘s former managing editor Steve Coll dug up the coverup last year in a memorable series of stories. Coll wrote in December:

Tillman died unnecessarily after botched communications, a mistaken decision to split his platoon over the objections of its leader, and negligent shooting by pumped-up young Rangers—some in their first firefight—who failed to identify their targets as they blasted their way out of a frightening ambush.

The records show Tillman fought bravely and honorably until his last breath. They also show that his superiors exaggerated his actions and invented details as they burnished his legend in public, at the same time suppressing details that might tarnish Tillman’s commanders.

Meanwhile, the boss of Tillman’s commanders—Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld—wasted no opportunity to use Tillman’s death to make the Bush regime’s dirty war schemes sparkle. On September 10, 2004, before Coll broke the full story of the Tillman scandal, Rumsfeld took the podium at the National Press Club in D.C. to say:

A few short years after Osama bin Laden ridiculed the American soldier as a paper tiger, saying that after a few blows, they run in defeat, the names of Todd Beamer and Pat Tillman, and so many other brave Americans, live as symbols of our country’s courage and determination.

Yes, Tillman is a symbol of the bungled search for bin Laden, which was slowed to a crawl so the Bush regime could divert troops to Iraq, liberate Halliburton, and set the stage for a generation of war—the kind of profitable undertaking that the officials of Oceania would be proud of.