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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/9/10

No Tillman movie at Army, Air Force theaters

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Ralph Lopez
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Lest it rile soldiers who are just supposed to be obeying orders, the ArmyTimes says "The Tillman Story" will not be shown at most on-base theaters.

Theaters on Army and Air Force installations will not show "The Tillman Story," according to Chris Ward, spokesman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which operates the theaters.

Navy Installation Command public affairs officials could provide no information about the Navy Motion Picture Service will show the movie on Navy and Marine Corps bases. But it is not listed in upcoming screening schedules on the NMPS website

Why should the soldiers be allowed to see, without driving to the next city, something which concerns them? It's not too surprising, though, given the scene toward the end showing the generals and Rumsfeld smiling broadly and shaking hands at having snookered a congressional If that doesn't make soldiers question who they are following and why, I don't what will. Still, it is galling that they are good enough to die for their country, but not good enough to trusted with the truth.

It emerges from the mother Mary Tillman, who makes if easy to see where Pat got his values and moral compass, that the real story is Pat's death was used in a ghoul's parade to promote a war he had turned against, the Iraq War. Pat and his brother Kevin returned from an Iraq deployment having witnessed what looked to them like less of an invasion for national security than a brutal occupation and slaughter of civilians. George Bush went on the Arizona Cardinals Jumbotron at Cardinals Stadium, where Tillman played, and the draft-dodger proclaimed him as one who had "made the ultimate sacrifice" in the "war on terror."

The problem was, as Tillman in his and his brother's colorful language might have said (for which they receive a good-natured ribbing in the film) Tillman believed the war in Iraq had not a goddamn-f*cking thing to do with the "war on terror."

The film's most poignant moment is when Tillman's youngest brother Michael takes the stage at the memorial service, attended by generals and luminaries from John McCain on down. Visibly distraught, in a tee-shirt and beer in hand, he says to the pious and patriotic gathering,

"Pat isn't with God. He's f*cking dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f*cking dead."

I finally saw this, and my best take from what Mary Tillman says and the facts as presented is that it was a shooting spree in which soldiers were caught up in bloodlust and almost didn't care who they were shooting at. The film suggests strongly that there is almost no way the soldiers engaged in the orgy could have mistaken Tillman's broad profile, wearing an American helmet and Kevlar, for anything but a "friendly." Tillman had hit upon the idea of popping a smoke grenade (which insurgents do not have) to identify himself and the man he was pinned down with, Private O'Brien.

The hailstorm of fire then ceased, but Tillman had been hit through his Kevlar and his pain could be heard through his voice. Waving his arms and yelling "I'm Pat f*cking Tillman!", the firing began again. This time it took off his head.

One puzzling inconsistency, and anyone with more knowledge please jump in. This is what the blogosphere is for. The testimony in the film says Tillman's head was completely gone, as from a round from a .50 cal., with blood pouring down the rocks from the prodigious wound sounding like a stream. But in the Army's official account, Tillman died of 3 closely spaced-shots to the forehead, probably made by a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) which fires a smaller M-16 round. If the head was gone, how was there a forehead?

The main testimony on-film comes from O'Brien, who was pinned down with Tillman, who is also incredulous that the shooting continued.

Now as the ruinous wars which have so far cost us $30,000-$40,000 per household continue unabated, with troops taken out of Iraq merely being shifted to Afghanistan, those who sidelined Afghanistan so it could become as big a disaster as Iraq have the historical revision machine in high gear.

Colin Powell has floated his excuse to a Japanese, not an American newspaper, trying out the line that he regrets the intelligence on WMD in Iraq was bad, but they thought it was good. But even my struggling remaining braincell remembers this one clearly.

Historycommons.org :

The case officer at the German intelligence agency BND who supervises the Iraqi defector "Curveball" is aghast at Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN presentation, particularly Powell's reliance on data supplied by Curveball as if it were verified fact. "Mein Gott!" he will later exclaim. "We had always told them it was not proven.... It was not hard intelligence."

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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