[in "honor" of the ignominous end of the career of Lt. General Stanley McChrystal, at the hands of Rolling Stone magazine, let’s take a moment to remember why Lt. Gen. McChrystal never deserved to be promoted lat year. He deserved to be indicted. In the name of Pat Tillman, I fervently hope that the next time McChrystal’s name is in the news, it’s to answer for his action’s after Pat’s death in a court of law. Here is a piece I wrote last year to make the case that McChrystal showed a criminal lack of judgment regarding the aftermath of Pat’s death. We now see he has shown a similarly criminal – and deadly – lack of judgment with his approach to the "surge" in Aghanistan. Good riddance. ]
When NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman died at the hands of US troops in a case of "friendly fire," the spin machine at the Pentagon went into overdrive. Rumsfeld and company couldn’t have their most high-profile soldier dying in such an inelegant fashion, especially with the release of those pesky photos from Abu Ghraib hitting the airwaves. So an obscene lie was told to Tillman’s family, his friends and the American public. The chickenhawks in charge, whose only exposure to war was watching John Wayne movies, claimed that he died charging a hill and was cut down by the radical Islamic enemies of freedom. In the weeks preceding his death, Tillman was beginning to question what exactly he was fighting for, telling friends that he believed the war in Iraq was " [expletive] illegal." He may not have known what he was fighting for, but it’s now clear what he died for: public relations. Today, after five years, six investigations and two Congressional hearings, questions still linger about how Tillman died and why it was covered up.
Now the man who greased the chain of command that orchestrated this great deception is prepared to assume total control of US operations in Afghanistan: Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was McChrystal who approved Tillman’s posthumous Silver Star, a medal given explicitly for combat, even though he later testified that he "suspected" friendly fire.
Yet despite this, both Democrats and Republicans are rushing to heap praise on McChrystal, including Sen. John McCain. It was McCain who rushed to speak at Tillman’s funeral and then, when the cover-up became known, pledged to help the Tillman family expose the truth. McCain later turned his back on the Tillmans when they raised the volume and demanded answers. As Pat’s mother, Mary Tillman, said last year, "He definitely eased out of the situation. He didn’t blatantly say he wouldn’t help us, it’s just that it became clear that he kind of drifted away."
And now the Tillman family, amidst bipartisan praise for Obama’s new general, must once again raise the inconvenient truth.