Copyright by John T. Reed
I ripped General Stanley McChrystal up one side and down the other in recent years for his lying and covering up the Pat Tillman friendly-fire death in two articles at my Web site.
The main guy in the cover-up—a guy whom the Army’s own inquiry recommended be disciplined—got promoted to the highest rank in the U.S. military—four-star general—and promoted to head of Afghanistan, arguably the most sought-after job in the entire U.S. military at present.
McChrystal was also investigated for, and his appointment to director of the Joint Chiefs last year delayed, because of investigations into his treatment of detainees in Iraq, one of whom died from blunt-force injures and asphyxia [strangulation] while in custody.
Who is responsible for this continuing outrage with regard to the treatment of Pat Tillman’s death and the never-ending cover-up of it?
• CentCom commander David Petraeus who will became McChrystal’s immediate superior when McChrystal took over in Afghanistan
• Defense Secretary Robert Gates who said we need “fresh eyes” in Afghanistan. After five official inquiries into the Tillman incident, we could not find any honest eyes in the whole U.S. military. Perhaps the lack of integrity in the military is a higher priority than the “freshness” of the four-star general in charge of Afghanistan.
• Commander in Chief Barack Obama. This piece of “change we can believe in” is to see the Bush Administration’s cover-up and raise them one. “Hell, George! You merely refused to punish McChrystal. Wuss! Namby pamby! We’re promoting the son of a bitch to four stars and head of Afghanistan—where Tillman was killed no less! That was always your problem, George. You never had the guts to
spit in the faces of the gold star mothers.”
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell responded to the complaints by the Tillman family about McChrystal’s promotion thus,
We feel terrible for what the Tillman family went through, but this matter has been investigated thoroughly by the Pentagon, by the Congress, by outside experts, and all of them have come to the same conclusion: that there was no wrongdoing by Gen. McChrystal.
Geoff Morrell is yet another barefaced liar. The Pentagon’s own inquiry found that McChrystal gave misleading answers in the investigation and recommended that he be disciplined. As far as the wonderfulness of the military and congressional investigations, Senator John McCain said,
[the Army’s actions were] “inexcusable and unconscionable.”
Nevertheless, McCain supports the promotion of McChrystal. McCain is career military. He knows that lying by officers is standard procedure in the U.S. military. That’s why he has no problem with McChyrstal’s lying in the Tillman case.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D–Los Angeles), chair of the Congressional Oversight committee, said at the Tillman hearing:
The bare minimum we owe our soldiers and their families is the truth. That didn't happen for the two most famous soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. For Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, the government violated its most basic responsibility. Sensational details and stories were invented in both cases."
…news of [Tillman's] fratricide flew up the chain of command within days, but the Tillman family was kept in the dark for more than a month. Military officials sat in silence during a nationally televised memorial ceremony highlighting Pat Tillman's fight against the terrorists. Evidence was destroyed and witness statements were doctored. The Tillman family wants to know how all of this could have happened. And they want to know whether these actions were all just accidents or whether they were deliberate.
Obviously, this is not an approval by Congress of the various investigations related to the Tillman case.
McChrystal’s promotion turns out to be an integrity litmus test. Those opposed to the promotion (the Tillman family) have integrity; those in favor of promoting McChrystal (Petraeus, the U.S. Army, Secretary of Defense, Senator McCain, and Obama), do not.
I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions. If there are any errors or omissions in my facts or logic, please tell me about them. If you are correct, I will fix the item in question. If you wish, I will give you credit. Where appropriate, I will apologize for the error. To date, I have been surprised at how few such corrections I have had to make.