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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Still Wondering

by digby

Back in the day I wondered on this blog if Pat Tillman might have been fragged. (I was disabused of that when a reader reminded me that fragging was something that was done only to officers, so I stood corrected on the terminology.) But, I always wondered if he might have been killed on purpose because of this:

Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.

I got some grief for saying it around the blogosphere and even among some of my commenters:

Guys, it's sad that Pat Tilman is dead, and brutal that he was killed by friendly fire. Certainly the facts surrounding his death were covered up. But to use such slim evidence to jump to the conclusion that Tilman was murdered or "fragged" is pure paranoia. Get a grip. There are plenty of concrete problems for you to deal with.

Last night, Keith Olberman asked Pat Tillman's mom about it:

OLBERMANN: Do you have clearly in your mind what you think happened in Afghanistan to your son? Not what they‘re saying, not what they told you the first time, not what they told you the second time, not what they told you the third time, not what they told you the umpteenth time, and not what they said yesterday. Can you go through this, because I don‘t want to leave any doubt in anybody‘s mind, what do you think happened and why to your son?

TILLMAN: I don‘t know. I think there‘s three scenarios possibly, and I‘d rather not get into them, but I really don‘t know what happened, because we have been told so many different things. I can‘t say that I really do know ultimately what happened to him.

OLBERMANN: But you have included among those three things the possibility that someone deliberately shot him?

TILLMAN: I‘m not excluding that.


TILLMAN: I don‘t think we can at this point.

I don't know any more today than I did then. It was probably an accident that the government tried to cover up and then twist to make into a heroic tale for PR purposes. But I frankly still wouldn't find it altogether surprising if it turned out that the most famous recruit in the Army might have been purposefully killed at that time if he was becoming radicalized. US triumphalism and arrogance was at its zenith and they thought they could get away with anything. Media manipulation and control was always thier first priority. (Jessica Lynch anyone?)

It's an awful thought but this is an administration that says they believe Islamic terrorism is the most serious existential threat in human history, so much so that they must ignore or repudiate all constitutional protections, international treaties and common law that might inhibit them from conducting it however they choose. At the time Tillman was killed, they were fully engaged in a torture and indefinate detention regime, so let's just say it's not beyond the realm of imagination that they could go this far. I'm sure it sucks not to get the benefit of the doubt on something like this, but that's the price you pay for thinking it's a good idea to ignore civilized norms and base your strategy on appearing to be ruthless and mercilesss. People tend to lose faith in your decency and good intentions.