Monday, December 06, 2004

Tillman's death

There was a story from the Post today about how Pat Tillman really died. The reality is far from what the Army initially released. Instead of dying 'heroically' racing to the rescue of the other Humvee convoy, Tillman was shot down by his own comrades after a charlie-foxtrot resulting from a bad decision to split the column made by the remote Company commander. In any case, this takes away nothing from the life of this American hero. However, it does seem to raise questions about his Silver Star, which will no doubt be twisted by the MSM to mean that the Army lies about everything . First off, the army's 'hiding' was simply standard policy: "Army spokesmen said last week that they followed standard policy in delaying and limiting disclosure of fratricide evidence. "All the services do not prematurely disclose any investigation findings until the investigation is complete," said Lt. Col. Hans Bush, chief of public affairs for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg." Secondly, what you may not realize is that this has happened in every war. Take the case of Colin Kelly, for example. He was a B-17 pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for 'sinking' the Japanese battleship Haruna. In reality, he simply was shot down in flames after dropping his bombs on the battleship, leaving it undamaged. This takes nothing away from his heroism, but this sequence of events was repeated countless times in WWII, especialy in the early years of the war, and was rarely rewarded with a medal, much less a CMH. The reason he was awarded this medal was to boost morale and to provide America with a real hero, rather than a simple pilot doing his duty, sacrificing himself for his country. To those with knowledge of the military, the second reality would be enough. But for most of the country, a morale boost needs to be special, hence the first 'reality.' I believe the Army did something similar to this in the Pat Tillman story. In my eyes, they were justified for doing so.