Saturday, March 04, 2006
Zemblan patriot B.K. informs us that the U.S. Army is planning to launch a criminal investigation into the death by friendly fire of Pat Tillman, who turned his back on a lucrative NFL contract to fight Osama bin Laden and soon found himself redeployed to Iraq instead -- a move that prompted his famous quote "This war is so fucking illegal":
A Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the new investigation has not been formally begun, said it would focus on possible charges of negligent homicide.
A second Pentagon official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said no specific soldier is under investigation at this point. He said the CID will conduct an overall death investigation and "let the facts take them where they may."
The official said that the CID's probe _ the fifth formal investigation into the incident _ will focus on the cause of Tillman's death, not necessarily on whether the previous investigations were done correctly. It is the first criminal probe.
Tillman's mother, Mary, told the Washington Post Saturday that the criminal investigation should have been launched at the onset. "The military has had every opportunity to do the right thing and they haven't," she said. "They knew all along that something was seriously wrong and they just wanted to cover it up."
His father, Patrick Tillman Sr., told the Post that he questioned whether another investigation would provide anymore answers.
"I think it's another step," he said. "But if you send investigators to reinvestigate an investigation that was falsified in the first place, what do you think you're going to get?" . . . .
A report by the Army later found that troops with Tillman knew at the time that friendly fire had killed the football star. Officers destroyed critical evidence and concealed the truth from Tillman's brother, also an Army Ranger, who was nearby, the report found.
More than three weeks after a memorial service in San Jose, Calif., the Army announced on May 29, 2004, that friendly fire rather than an enemy encounter caused Tillman's death. However, even at the time of the memorial, top Army officials were aware that the investigation showed the death had been caused by an act of "gross negligence," the report said.
Despite the Army's findings, the officer who prepared the Special Operations Command report, Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones, concluded there was no official reluctance to report the truth.