Tuesday, July 31, 2007

General in Pat Tillman Probe Reprimanded, Panel Receives Demotion Referral

"A friendly fire investigation was begun one day after Tillman's death but the soldiers and some commanders believed the information was "close hold" and classified due to the nature of the mission Tillman and his fellow Rangers were participating in at the time of his death.

Tillman was 27 when he was killed on April 22, 2004. He had joined the Rangers after walking away from a $3.6 million pro football contract. The Army has conducted seven investigations into the incident. Geren said Tuesday the Kensinger referral would be the last.

The Army secretary said they did not find any intentional cover-up. The Army inspector general did not conclude that Tillman was killed as a result of a criminal act.

"It's a perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership," Geren said. Still, he said, "We have made mistakes over and over and over, an incredible number of mistakes in handling this. Still, he said, "the facts just don't support this conclusion. There was no cover up."

I've stayed away from commenting upon the Tillman story until I had most of the available facts. Well I still don't, but the one thing that was repeated over and over was the fact that the Army personnel involved thought they were following procedure in not disclosing sensitive information concerning a classified mission. If Pat Tillman were just another Joe Blow Jr. little of this would have mattered in the long run. The family would have been lied to, along with the media, then a formal (but without fanfare) apology would have been forthcoming as soon as the family members understood the gravity of the situation and were asked not to discuss it with anyone. There's an awful lot of bullshit lurking in that average-guy scenario, but thats how the Army works. It has always taken itself far too seriously regarding the sanctity of man-made laws that at the end of the day are mere formalities. Yes, he was involved in a secret endeavor. Yes, he was killed by friendly fire. Both of these unequivocal affirmations should have been a done deal, without the details, at the very START of the process to disseminate the truth. Secrecy Is important, but there are a myriad of ways in which to disclose the facts without making it appear to be a cover up from the get-go.

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