"Cease fire, friendlies."
July 27, 2007 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Three shots to the forehead from an M-16 from 10 yards away. -- New documents surface from the investigation into Pat Tillman's death.
posted by empath (167 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's pretty damning, but of precisely what I can't tell.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:26 AM on July 27, 2007


Sounds like he was fragged.
posted by localroger at 6:33 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's suspicious, but it's certainly still possible that it was a friendly fire incident. I suppose you could do a ballistics test to figure out who actually shot him, but I would imagine that most of the evidence is long gone.
posted by delmoi at 6:35 AM on July 27, 2007


Burning the evidence tends to do that.
posted by empath at 6:35 AM on July 27, 2007


It would be telling if fragging becomes as much a problem now as it was for the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, especially with a non-conscripted military.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:36 AM on July 27, 2007


Surprised
posted by tellurian at 6:37 AM on July 27, 2007


Perhaps you should change your title to "God isn't going to help you."
posted by odinsdream at 6:40 AM on July 27, 2007


That's pretty damning, but of precisely what I can't tell.
Of coverup, to avoid damaging the value of the pro-war propagandist lies that they had told about Tillman and his death.
posted by Flunkie at 6:40 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Pat Tillman story is a damning indictment of our military. In the dictionary next to the word hero is Pat Tillman's picture. He had courage. Those in the military who did everything they could to cover up how he was killed are the opposite, are cowards and should be cashiered right out of the Army. Ughh.
posted by caddis at 6:43 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Burning evidence and obfuscatory statements are, I'm sure, no indication that no-one involved in this case has anything to hide.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:48 AM on July 27, 2007


Pat Tilman, a very high profile fellow, became anti-war. Quite possible he was simply taken out.
posted by rmmcclay at 6:52 AM on July 27, 2007


Do you know who you're shooting at? DO YOU? I'm Pat fucking Tillman! No one shoots me three times in the forehead at close range!

You know, there's commanding, and then there's yelling that you're Pat Fucking Tillman. One gets things done, and one gets you shot in the face after the thousandth time you do it. Sucks that my kneejerk reaction to this story, back when it first came out that he was killed, seems to be true, but that's what happens.
posted by blacklite at 6:53 AM on July 27, 2007


Why would they frag Pat Tillman?
posted by DU at 6:56 AM on July 27, 2007


Blacklite, that seems to be the version that didn't really happen, at least if I read the story right.
posted by creasy boy at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2007


Pat Tilman, a very high profile fellow, became anti-war. Quite possible he was simply taken out.

Maybe in the movies. Blacklite's theory seems more plausible. Simple human weakness is always a strong candidate.

Or maybe it was an argument over a woman.
posted by notyou at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2007


Is Pat Tillman someone I'd have to be a patriotic American to know about?
posted by Meatbomb at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you know who you're shooting at? DO YOU? I'm Pat fucking Tillman! No one shoots me three times in the forehead at close range!

You know, there's commanding, and then there's yelling that you're Pat Fucking Tillman. One gets things done, and one gets you shot in the face after the thousandth time you do it.


Say wha. Do not follow. Was Pat Tillman notorious for screaming at people that he was Pat Fucking Tillman?
posted by billysumday at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2007


The most sinister scenario would be that he was killed because he was going around calling the war illegal, e.g., and had apparently planned set up a meeting with Noam Chomsky (according to The Nation).
posted by creasy boy at 6:59 AM on July 27, 2007


well, he was a liberal, wasn't he? one of those mouthy, self-righteous, morally superior types? there's only one way to handle those.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:00 AM on July 27, 2007


There are weird inconsistencies right there in the article. For instance, Spec. Sniveler was described as cowering in the face of fire, yet the investigation yielded no sign of enemy fire. The only reported sign of any fire, friendly or not, of which I am aware is the 3 bullet holes in Tillman's head, which apparently came from an M-16. One would think there would be other signs of FF - vehicle damage and so forth - if the incident was a true accidental FF death. From what I know, the armed forces of the United States do not simply fire a couple of rounds at a suspected enemy position . If the FF was ongoing, as suggested by the "cease fire, friendlies" story, surely something would have been struck unless the guys doing the shooting are bad guys from the A-team TV program. In which case, how do they luck out and plant 3 in a guy's forehead all of a sudden?

All of this points to an obvious conclusion: Pat Tillman was fragged and the army is covering it up because it's bad PR. The irony is that Pat Tillman's celebrity is the very thing that is keeping his family from seeing justice done in this case.
posted by Mister_A at 7:01 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Seems like a leap to imply that people disliked him for screaming that he was Pat Fucking Tillman when it seems he only did it after getting fired at by friendlies. Unless of course he had a history of saying it, thousands of times.
posted by billysumday at 7:02 AM on July 27, 2007


damn. and then they perversely tried to use his murder as a pro-war rallying point. what a bunch of sick fuckers.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:02 AM on July 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


There was always something suspect about the whole Tillman deal. People should know that if they're using their celebrity as a bargaining chip with the military, as the Tillman brothers did, said military is going to extract every last drop of blood they can while the celebrity will probably incur dislike amongst those who feel that treatment is unequal.

In other words, don't make a name for yourself: you'll regret it.

Assuming that I know nothing other than what I've read about Pat Tillman, and half of those lies aren't even true, I will say in a general sense that nice people don't end up with a three-round burst in their head for no good reason.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:03 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


meatbomb - living under a rock since at least April 2004.
posted by caddis at 7:05 AM on July 27, 2007


The only reported sign of any fire, friendly or not, of which I am aware is the 3 bullet holes in Tillman's head

No, there was lots of fire, but it was all friendly fire, which started after a mine blew up.
posted by caddis at 7:07 AM on July 27, 2007


3 times in the head from 10 yards sounds like straight up murder.

I mean, shouldn't he have had a helmet on? I could be wrong but if he didn't even have his helmet on and took three in the head that says to me there wasn't any fighting going at the time and it was more or less an execution. Am I wrong in coming to that conclusion (serious question)?
posted by The Straightener at 7:08 AM on July 27, 2007


Well let's not rush to condemn Tillman here. He may have been unpleasant, but we do not know, and those who served with him will certainly not divulge the truth of his battlefield demeanor now. It is also possible that one of Pat's comrades just despised him because of his wealth and celebrity. Maybe they talked about what they would do when they got back home:

Tillman: I will screw my beautiful wife, and swim around in my pool, and race my midget car on the weekends, and maybe buy a new 72" TV. Maybe I'll walk on to the Arizona Cardinals camp if I feel I'm in good shape.

Other guy: I will probably get a job at the mine/wal-mart/rendering plant for $7.50 an hour. Dick.

I'm not saying that jealousy was the cause, but it is a possibility. We don't know for sure that he was yelling, or ever yelled, "I'm Pat Fucking Tillman", and even if he did what of it? It's a war, there are many worse things you can do.
posted by Mister_A at 7:10 AM on July 27, 2007


No, there was lots of fire, but it was all friendly fire, which started after a mine blew up. - Caddis

What were the results of the enemy fire? Was there evidence of FF at the scene?
posted by Mister_A at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2007


So basically jsavimbi - it was justified for an individual of his own unit to shoot him through the head at close range three times?

Perhaps you have heard of the UCMJ? You may even have heard of the Ranger Creed since it's drilled into the men 24/7 during training.

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.
Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move farther, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.
Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some.
Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.
Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.
Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.
Rangers Lead The Way!

GO RANGERS. No really. Go. Directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect three bullets to the head.
posted by longbaugh at 7:13 AM on July 27, 2007


On an M16 is there a semi-auto selector? 3 rounds per trigger pull...
/Honestly, I havent read MackBolan for YEARS.
posted by acro at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2007


Metafilter: you'll regret it.

On Pat Tillman the Screaming Boss: He may or may not have been a crappy leader and that may or may not have had something to do with him getting killed. I seconded the suggestion because it seemed more plausible than one of the alternatives. If he was murdered, I think it is more likely he was killed over something small and personal and close than because of his political views and his plans to express them.

Why does each side (pro-war, anti-war) keep trying to turn him into their own kind of hero/martyr?
posted by notyou at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know, there's commanding, and then there's yelling that you're Pat Fucking Tillman. One gets things done, and one gets you shot in the face after the thousandth time you do it.

Except if you read the article, you'd see that he supposedly didn't say that.
The chaplain said that O'Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman's side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling ..."
posted by delmoi at 7:22 AM on July 27, 2007


I will say in a general sense that nice people don't end up with a three-round burst in their head for no good reason.

What a disturbing sentiment.
posted by effwerd at 7:22 AM on July 27, 2007


Btw, according to a Sports Illustrated article Tillman was some kind of Nietzschean superman. Continually testing himself physically and intellectually, without a trace of fear and yet still utterly humble. Regarding his insatiable intellect the article produces this example: "Gays, for instance. By the last few years of his life, his narrow view of them as an adolescent had so altered that he would argue they were the most evolved form of man."
posted by creasy boy at 7:26 AM on July 27, 2007


I will say in a general sense that nice people don't end up with a three-round burst in their head for no good reason.

Wow. Worst comment so far?
posted by DU at 7:26 AM on July 27, 2007


I'm with Meatbomb. I had to wikipedia the guy.

Unless we're putting up a post about Jesus or Bush, we tend to give some context on who the hell we're talking about. Not everyone is following everything that happens in the news. This is also an internationally read site, and I'm guessing Tillman does not get as much press outside of the United States. Frankly, I felt like this post was most newsfilter than anything else. If this were Fark, it would have the UPDATE tag attached. This isn't the best of the web, it isn't even the mediumest. Apparently it's been known for years that he was killed by friendly fire, and now we know that the army covers things up. If this is news to you -- well, Meatbomb may be living under a rock, but obviously none of you have ever watched a movie about the US military.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:27 AM on July 27, 2007


It's a strange story, alright. We can sit here and construct all the narratives we want; we're just never going to know.

Tillman could have been a majore league ass. He wouldn't be the first pro baller to be an ass. Would it be enough to make men in his squad want him dead? Maybe; I could construct a plausible narrative for that. I could also construct a plausible narrative for accident, or for someone just wigging out under the pressure and putting a three-round burst into his sergeant's head.

I will say that I find the idea of him being fragged as part of some government conspiracy to be wildly implausible.
posted by lodurr at 7:29 AM on July 27, 2007


I will say in a general sense that nice people don't end up with a three-round burst in their head for no good reason.

Uh, something like 600,000 people have died in Iraq. I'm sure plenty of them were nice people. And the three shots could be from one trigger pull.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 AM on July 27, 2007


Apparently it's been known for years that he was killed by friendly fire, and now we know that the army covers things up.

First he was killed by the Taliban, then he was shot in a way that looks an awful lot like murder, and now it appears that there was no enemy fire at all. An Army Ranger appears to have been murdered and it appears to have been covered up at a high level? How long do we have to wait before we see Cheney screaming "You can't handle the truth!"?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:33 AM on July 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


Friendly fire and fragging are two vastly different things deathalicious. This is interesting and may not make the evening news here, as Tillman has been dead for three years, and Lindsay is going back to rehab.
posted by Mister_A at 7:34 AM on July 27, 2007


Murdering someone because you don't like them isn't justified. All I've said is that in my experience, the nice guys were never singled out for comeuppance.

And again, I reiterate that I know nothing about Pat Tillman or the case at hand. What I do know, however, is that regardless of the UCMJ or any other existing legal code, men under pressure will behave somewhat differently than those who are not. And more often than not, if a man thinks he can get away with something out in the field, he may take that chance.

Or whomever killed him just decided right then and there to shoot Pat Tillman in the head and simply lucked out when his brothers in arms decided to perpetrate a cover up.

Or maybe someone accidentally shot him and knowing that it would make a big stink to have a celebrity die in the middle of a PR campaign, someone else decided to make the story more plausible and in effect took a dump on every single person who has lost their life in this war. I simply don't know because I wasn't there.

Oh, and btw, creeds are for 18 year-old mental midgets who need easy rhymes to keep them focused on their job. Just ask Colonel Sanders.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:36 AM on July 27, 2007


I think the interest in this story is that us cosmopolitan liberal types might like to think: if this perfect fucking American hero was against the war and his death was whitewashed and possibly caused by military administration, this has to say something to Bush's America. But this cultural logic might be a little optimistic. After all Kerry was a football player, veteran guy who liked hunting, and by my reasoning this should appeal to the Rambo elements of American consciousness, particularly when juxtaposed point-for-point with the exact opposite, but apparently they found Bush more appealing.
posted by creasy boy at 7:36 AM on July 27, 2007


Given the number of military guys I know or know of who expressed similar views to Tillman, and given that they're all home safe, I find the "it was a hit" theory very questionable, even if he was PAT FKN TILLMAN.

What, they didn't want another John Kerry coming home and railing against the war? Like that would have made a difference, honestly. The GOP machine is masterful at character assassination, but most of them, despite getting it regular from the NRA, couldn't load an M-16.

Something else happened there. Guess we'll just have to wait for the umpteenth UPDATEFILTER installment to find out, since, you know, I get all my news from MetaFilter.
posted by dw at 7:42 AM on July 27, 2007


What, they didn't want another John Kerry coming home and railing against the war?

It's a little more plausible that they didn't want someone with scads of NASCAR-fan credibility coming home and railing against the war.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:47 AM on July 27, 2007


What were the results of the enemy fire? Was there evidence of FF at the scene?
posted by Mister_A at 10:11 AM on July 27 [+] [!]


There was no enemy fire.
posted by caddis at 7:48 AM on July 27, 2007


Oh, and btw, creeds are for 18 year-old mental midgets who need easy rhymes to keep them focused on their job.

Won't find any disagreement here. That HOO-AH shit annoys the hell out of me.
posted by longbaugh at 7:53 AM on July 27, 2007


The most telling thing I've ever seen about this whole controversy was from an earlier comment here on Metafilter; sadly, I don't remember who it was anymore.

Right after it first broke that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire, that person, whoever it was, pointed out that these are Rangers, and their bullets go exactly where they want them to. Back in the initial shock and surprise, he or she said that if Tillman died from friendly fire, it probably wasn't accidental. That has really stuck with me.

This new evidence, of a tight group of three bullets to the head from a Ranger, strikes me as absolute proof that it was a deliberate killing.
posted by Malor at 7:58 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


What were the results of the enemy fire? Was there evidence of FF at the scene?

I typed that wrong. What I'm getting at is, what evidence of friendly fire (FF) was there at the scene, other than three particularly unfriendly-looking M16 rounds in a corporal's corpse?
posted by Mister_A at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2007


To address a couple points from above: M-16s fire in bursts of three -- or at least can be toggled to do so; And its an assault rifle, so I think at 10 yards it'd still go through your head helmet or no helmet.
posted by chunking express at 8:02 AM on July 27, 2007


Oh, and btw, creeds are for 18 year-old mental midgets who need easy rhymes to keep them focused on their job.

Um... yeah. Right. Patronize, much?
posted by lodurr at 8:08 AM on July 27, 2007


some kind of Nietzchean superman

I don't know, maybe he was a great guy. I can't imagine an Ubermensch getting somehow lulled into thinking volunteering for the army, during the Iraq war, is a good idea. It would make much more sense to, I don't know, help with the command effort, or something, if you're going to do something like that.

The fact that he was in the NFL and took off to go fire guns on the front lines, then got himself shot in the head, doesn't make it sound like he was excessively intelligent, or all that nice.

Though wouldn't it be handy if it turned out it was some multi-level right-wing conspiracy, I bet any money it wasn't, and they just wanted to keep it hush-hush so no one would pay too much attention to the fact that people are getting fragged in Iraq.

And just so everyone knows, the M16 fires three-round bursts in burst mode, which is almost certainly why there were three bullets.
posted by blacklite at 8:12 AM on July 27, 2007


Oh, chunking beat me to the burst-fire thing.
posted by blacklite at 8:13 AM on July 27, 2007


blacklite, THERE WAS NO IRAQ WAR WHEN TILLMAN VOLUNTEERED. It is also worth noting yet again - he was killed in Afghanistan, not Iraq.
posted by Mister_A at 8:16 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


On paper, an M-16 round should go through a standard issue helmet at up to about 50 meters. That said, there's a good chance a round would glance off the front unless it were right dead on (because it's curved), so there's a good chance Tillman wasn't wearing his helmet. I gather from footage I've seen of Rangers moving in-country in Afghanistan that they don't always wear their helmets, so that might not mean anything.

Any keyboard-driver evidence we can generate, we can also counter. We just don't know. That's the hell of it.
posted by lodurr at 8:16 AM on July 27, 2007


Metafilter astounds me sometimes. There's new evidence that Tillman may have been murdered by one of his own soldiers. And the discussion here is focussed on "maybe he had it comin to him, he was a jerk". Amazing.
posted by Nelson at 8:19 AM on July 27, 2007 [10 favorites]


M855 SAP rounds might penetrate a K-Pot from that range. Possibly.
posted by longbaugh at 8:20 AM on July 27, 2007


Yeh I also take his demi-god status with a grain of salt. But there were suggestions here that he was an arrogant commander, hence the fragging, and that Sports Illustrated article suggests otherwise. They also present his joining the military as really being more of a Nietzschean attempt at self-purification than a patriotic gesture. I don't think it's a piece of objective journalism. But still it sounds like Tillman was a nice enough guy.

I don't know shit about football -- does anyone know how he was presented on sports TV before leaving the NFL?
posted by creasy boy at 8:20 AM on July 27, 2007


Oh, lighten up, Francis. Get your outrage somewhere else. There's a very important difference between "maybe he had it coming to him" and "maybe I can explain why it happened." What I see here is the latter. And I don't really have much sympathy for anyone but a Tillman who gets upset with people speculating on the latter.
posted by lodurr at 8:21 AM on July 27, 2007


longabaugh, as I recall, you would know these things, so I gladly defer. I just happened to be reading about specs on armor piercing rounds last week, and that's what I could remember.
posted by lodurr at 8:23 AM on July 27, 2007


blacklite, THERE WAS NO IRAQ WAR WHEN TILLMAN VOLUNTEERED.

Okay. Global War On Terror. I'm sorry. It all mushes together. We've always been at war with EastAsia, though, right?
posted by blacklite at 8:25 AM on July 27, 2007


No, oceania :)

Duh.
posted by Mister_A at 8:27 AM on July 27, 2007


Really? I thought it was Eura....

I mean, yes: Oceania. We have always been at war with Oceania.
posted by lodurr at 8:31 AM on July 27, 2007


Um... yeah. Right. Patronize, much?

Only to those whom believe that creeds/slogans/jingoisms have equal standing with binding legal documents. Not that binding legal documents have a lot of street cred.

I'm sorry if I come across as aloof, I'm trying to explain basic concepts of military life to people who are unaware of the three-round burst compendium and the ramifications of of using it.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:31 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's a little more plausible that they didn't want someone with scads of NASCAR-fan credibility coming home and railing against the war.

So, what you're saying is the GOP, in cahoots with the Army Rangers, had Pat Tillman's killing elaborately staged because he was going to say bad things about the war, but couldn't even get their shit together enough to pull together a plausible explanation? A conspiracy that stretches across the globe, involving probably dozens or hundreds of people, yet none of them are competent enough to kill one man and make it look like an accident?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if a Ranger is motivated enough to kill you and wants to make it look like an accident, he'll do it and he'll do it well. This is just a case of friendly fire (and from what I've heard, the men in his unit liked and respected him.) and a poorly attempted cover-up by the PR wing of the administration.

You guys will believe any conspiracy, as long as Bush is involved....

As for friendly fire, the DOD claims no incidents of friendly fire when their AFATDS targeting software is used.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:32 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


jsavimbi, I wasn't getting anything like a commentary on legalism or military culture. I was hearing you say that only idiots are influenced by creeds. When my own (non-military) experience has provided abundant evidence of highly intelligent people being influenced, consciously or otherwise, by documents far hokier than the "Ranger's Creed."
posted by lodurr at 8:36 AM on July 27, 2007


The three shots thing suggested M-16 to me when this first hit the blue.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:37 AM on July 27, 2007


I wanted to repeat this because it just so neatly sums up how I feel about most conspiracy theories:

... had Pat Tillman's killing elaborately staged because he was going to say bad things about the war, but couldn't even get their shit together enough to pull together a plausible explanation? A conspiracy that stretches across the globe, involving probably dozens or hundreds of people, yet none of them are competent enough to kill one man and make it look like an accident?

IOW: If they were good enough to think up the conspiracy in the first place, they'd probably have pulled it off better.
posted by lodurr at 8:38 AM on July 27, 2007


Also - it's more likely that it was an M4A1 carbine, although they may be carrying the M16 as it's got maybe another 150yd-200yds range over the carbine which would be useful in Afghanistan. The M4A1 is full-auto, not 3rb but correct usage (when shooting at enemies rather than comrades...) would be semi-auto unless clearing a room or providing suppressive fire - in which instance you'd use 2-3 round bursts by using trigger control, not a selector switch.

Soldiers in Iraq prefer the shorter carbine as it's lighter and handier in urban areas whilst in Afghanistan having range is more useful - hence the preponderance of longer barrel M16 variants out there (c.f. SPR, Mark 12 Mod X etc.)

/fucking firearms pedant
posted by longbaugh at 8:38 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for illuminating the helmet question, lodurr, et. al.
posted by The Straightener at 8:38 AM on July 27, 2007


A very wise man once said something to the effect of, "Don't look for evil when stupid will do." I think this was stupid—the government didn't want the bad PR that goes with "Hero football stud fragged by angry comrade"; they wanted the good PR of "Hero football stud killed by brown people from Oceania, some of whom have blue eyes, but come on, they're the enemy." So they did the stupid thing and tried to cover it up after the fact, not the evil thing of murdering a goddamn war hero in country. I wonder what they had planned for the guy who pulled the trigger? I wonder if that cat ever made it out of the 'Stan?
posted by Mister_A at 8:39 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's a little more plausible that they didn't want someone with scads of NASCAR-fan credibility coming home and railing against the war.

Still, the political machine could have taken care of him. A little mumble about his atheism, a little dumpster diving around Tempe, and suddenly he's just CRAZY JOHN MURTHA WITH 331 CAREER TACKLES!

And again, you have scads of guys coming back who are against the war. Tillman wasn't some magic celebrity who could have said, "This war is wrong," and by golly the troops would be rolling out that night. No, he would have said it, led to a debate, been sideways questioned by Hannity about why he turned native in Afghanistan, and that probably would have been about it.

And also, I don't think Tillman was due to rotate out of Afghanistan until after the election, anyway, and Rangers aren't exactly the type to have the time and scheduling to show up on national TV.

Maybe this was a political hit. But I'll put money on Vince Foster being a political hit before I put it on Pat Tillman. And I'll lose money in either case.
posted by dw at 8:41 AM on July 27, 2007


There are no shortage of angry vets coming back from Iraq trying to get people to listen to them.
posted by chunking express at 8:48 AM on July 27, 2007


Maybe it was just someone who's really opposed to dog fighting?

/doesn't follow football.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:48 AM on July 27, 2007


Reminds me of a Illuminati card game,
The "Bavarian Illuminati" uses "Army Rangers" in an attack to destroy "Football Hero"
posted by Tenuki at 8:48 AM on July 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


I am absolutely not saying this as a troll...I hate the Iraq war, the Bush administration, all of it.

But 3 rounds into someone's forehead from 30 feet sounds like some pretty good shooting, no? Isn't that akin to putting three bullets into the "spalding" on a basketball at that distance? That doesn't sound like something that can be done by accident, or by anyone that's panicked.

And I think that it's disgusting that Tillman was used as a propaganda tool by Bush et al, to the extent that he was. I think that's the reason that this is coming out, not the left taking up the big banner with his name and running with it. Again with the Bushes and the right as a whole: It's the hypocrisy, stupid.
posted by nevercalm at 8:50 AM on July 27, 2007


But 3 rounds into someone's forehead from 30 feet sounds like some pretty good shooting, no?

They're army rangers! We paid a lot of money to train them to be able to do that. They should be able to do that in their sleep. It's not as impressive as you think it is.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:56 AM on July 27, 2007


jsavimbi, I wasn't getting anything like a commentary on legalism or military culture.

My bad. Reading what you wrote reminded me of F. Lee Bailey embarrassing himself during the O. J. trial with his "word of a Marine" nonsense.

And yes, people being people, are far more likely to band together with others who are in agreement with the tenet. No matter how hokey is sounds. I use any form of religion as an example.

Anyways, we're going to have to wait until the movie comes out to find out what really happened out there. I'm going with Shawn Hatosy as the hunky ex-football player turned mysterious special forces guy and Julia Stiles as the broad.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:56 AM on July 27, 2007


This is what comes from reading Chomsky
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:58 AM on July 27, 2007


Ooh! And Steve Buscemi as the villainous Specialist Sniveley, who always had it in for the football hero.
posted by Mister_A at 8:59 AM on July 27, 2007


If they were good enough to think up the conspiracy in the first place, they'd probably have pulled it off better.

You mean like the WMDs, the graduate thesis dodgy dossier and the aluminum tubes? Never misunderestimate the cheap and cheerfulness of team war.
posted by srboisvert at 9:00 AM on July 27, 2007


You mean like the WMDs, the graduate thesis dodgy dossier and the aluminum tubes? Never misunderestimate the cheap and cheerfulness of team war.

There are differences between traditional "conspiracy" theories and lies.... The examples you give are just plain lies.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:02 AM on July 27, 2007


Why not get ex-NFL "star" Brian Bosworth to play Tillman? He was great in Stone Cold.
posted by longbaugh at 9:03 AM on July 27, 2007


So, what you're saying is the GOP, in cahoots with the Army Rangers, had Pat Tillman's killing elaborately staged because he was going to say bad things about the war, but couldn't even get their shit together enough to pull together a plausible explanation?

I don't see where anyone in this thread besides you has suggested anything remotely resembling the elaborate conspiracy theory you're whining about here, ya little french poodle.

Me, I think one of his men probably killed him because they considered him to be smug and morally superior, and they probably hated his politics, too, and decided to put him in his place once and for all. These days the amount of contempt many Americans feel for anyone they suspect of having a commitment to higher moral principles shouldn't be underestimated. The mere fact that Tillman might have objected to the war on moral grounds, if word of that got around, was probably plenty to make a few of his fellow soldiers want to see him dead. It's not hard to see how covering-up the real facts in such a case would be hard to resist--and we've seen plenty of other cases in which the US government has shown it has no qualms whatsoever about making the truth slap itself in the face for its amusement.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:04 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bosworth already has a TV gig.

NSF eyes - bad hair and tattoos.
posted by Mister_A at 9:05 AM on July 27, 2007


Well, he could have been tortured in a basement.
posted by davy at 9:08 AM on July 27, 2007


With a name like "Snively", you know he's got to be evil!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:11 AM on July 27, 2007


I don't see where anyone in this thread besides you has suggested anything remotely resembling the elaborate conspiracy theory you're whining about here, ya little french poodle.

Really. Maybe you need to study up on your reading comprehension, because it jumped out at me right away. Also, how did you know I'm French? Is my writing swishy or something? Can you smell the cigarette smoke?

Me, I think one of his men probably killed him because they considered him to be smug and morally superior, and they probably hated his politics, too, and decided to put him in his place once and for all.

And to you Army Rangers are caricatures as outlandish as the swarthiest Muslim on 24. I feel confident in saying you've never met an Army Ranger.

The mere fact that Tillman might have objected to the war on moral grounds, if word of that got around, was probably plenty to make a few of his fellow soldiers want to see him dead.

Or an enlisted solider...
posted by SweetJesus at 9:18 AM on July 27, 2007


The White House is claiming executive privilege to withhold information from Congress related to Tillman's death. I smell a rat.
posted by EarBucket at 9:19 AM on July 27, 2007


Non-snark, Ranger-training question:

Are they trained to shoot for the head, or the center of mass? A shot to the head would be more likely to kill/disable the target, but it's still a harder shot to make.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:23 AM on July 27, 2007


I think it's a big mistake to generalize Army soliders as a bunch of rightwing christian fundy nutjob goons who are committed to the cause of furthering the interest of a great, god fearing nation.

The Army is actually astonishingly diverse, en moreso in elite groups like the Rangers who, because they are elite, typically have more intelligent and worldly members among their ranks than the regular grunt outfits do.

The rightwing fundy nutjob christian org you're really thinking of is the US Air Force.
posted by psmealey at 9:24 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Or an enlisted solider...

You mean like a corporal?
posted by lodurr at 9:26 AM on July 27, 2007


What if soldiers aren't heroes?

Maybe they are simply trained killers with a taste for blood, as the government enshrouds them with heroism and mystique to make the killing easier, to make the dying painless.

Murder glows so well under a wind whipped flag.
posted by four panels at 9:27 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


The White House is claiming executive privilege to withhold information from Congress related to Tillman's death. I smell a rat.

That makes me suspicious, but OTOH, this White House would withhold information about what the president's name is under "executive privilege" if it could.
posted by dw at 9:29 AM on July 27, 2007


How long do we have to wait before we see Cheney screaming "You can't handle the truth!"?

Son, we live in a world with oil, and that oil needs to be taken by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Speaker Pelosi? I have a greater sense of misanthropy than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Tillman, and curse this administration. You have that luxury! You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Tillman's death, while tragic, probably made me money. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is, well, grotesque and incomprehensible. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me making money on this war, you need me making money on this war. We use words like war, terrorist, insurgent. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent fleecing the public. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very uneasy fear that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just remained shit-scared of the Bogeyman, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you amass a fortune, start lying, and run for office. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
posted by quite unimportant at 9:31 AM on July 27, 2007 [23 favorites]


Maybe they are simply trained killers with a taste for blood, as the government enshrouds them with heroism and mystique to make the killing easier, to make the dying painless.

Or maybe they're just looking to pay for school and get the fuck out of a small town, and maybe some feel a moral duty to help their country.

No wait, your explanation makes more sense. They love blood.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:31 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow four panels, you're deep!
posted by Mister_A at 9:31 AM on July 27, 2007


Perhaps this is a stupid question, but how would someone shoot him three times in the head if Tillman was standing, unless it was one shot to the head, then he falls down, then two more shots while he's lying on the ground?

Was there any evidence to suggest he was shot while lying down? (I haven't read the link)
posted by Pastabagel at 9:32 AM on July 27, 2007


Pbagel, most speculation seems to revolve around the three-round burst-fire setting on the M-16. If there's not a lot of deflection, I think the thinking is going, then a well-trained shooter could plausibly group a three round burst in the space of a forehead. Especially a forehead that large. (Is it just me, or did Tillman not have an un-naturally large head?)
posted by lodurr at 9:35 AM on July 27, 2007


Well, since the M-16 fires 3-round bursts, it doesn't seem implausible that all 3 could have struck his head in rapid succession before he hit the ground. I don't know the timing of the bursts, but I guess it happens very quickly.
posted by Mister_A at 9:35 AM on July 27, 2007


Perhaps this is a stupid question, but how would someone shoot him three times in the head if Tillman was standing, unless it was one shot to the head, then he falls down, then two more shots while he's lying on the ground?

The M16/AR15 has a rate of fire between 650-800 rounds a minute. In burst mode, you'd fire 3 bullets in less than a second.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:36 AM on July 27, 2007


Pat Tillman was going to marry Jessica Lynch and together they planned on raising an army of supermen.
posted by Sailormom at 9:38 AM on July 27, 2007


sweetjesus:

omg yr right! i've never even met an enlisted soldier! in fact, my dad wasn't one!

No wait, your explanation makes more sense. They love blood.

soldiers are people. surprise! there are lots of different kinds of them, doing what they do for all kinds of different reasons. some of them approaching heroism; some of them approaching shit scum.

i doubt even army rangers are immune to being human, but if you know better, by all means, preach it!
posted by saulgoodman at 9:42 AM on July 27, 2007


omg yr right! i've never even met an enlisted soldier! in fact, my dad wasn't one!

Oh good, I'm glad. It makes your irrational characterizations that much easier to understand. If your dad had been a solider, it would be a little harder to understand why you think they're all cartoon characters.

It would give me pause for concern.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:44 AM on July 27, 2007


SweetJesus!

Yeah. Cartoon characters are known for resenting other cartoon characters for being smug in their moral superiority.

Actually, spite appears to be a uniquely human emotion, so all I'm saying is maybe a human killed him.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:48 AM on July 27, 2007


pause for concern? are you sure that's the idiom you want?
posted by Mister_A at 9:48 AM on July 27, 2007


Wow. Sigh.
posted by salishsea at 9:56 AM on July 27, 2007


"I think one of his men probably killed him because they considered him to be smug and morally superior."

So he did belong on Metafilter! "...Come sit right here by me."
posted by davy at 9:57 AM on July 27, 2007


Said caddis: "In the dictionary next to the word hero is Pat Tillman's picture."

And yours is next to "trite."
posted by davy at 9:58 AM on July 27, 2007


They killed him because he was an atheist.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:01 AM on July 27, 2007


:-P
posted by caddis at 10:01 AM on July 27, 2007


Several people in this thread are focusing on the three round burst connection to the M-16. The odd thing is, they switched the M-16 from full auto to burst because it wastes ammunition, but more importantly, by the third round recoil has pushed your rifle completely off target. Also, the recoil pushes the weapon vertically, so your first round would have to hit the bottom of the forehead and the next two would have to squeeze into six inches or so as the impacts rise.

Ten yards is awfully close, but still I can't see putting three rounds in that tight a group on burst or (as previous posters have mentioned is nearly certainly the case with the rangers) full auto. On the other hand, it would be impossible for Tillman to stand still long enough for you to put three single rounds there.
posted by Nahum Tate at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2007


And to you Army Rangers are caricatures as outlandish as the swarthiest Muslim on 24. I feel confident in saying you've never met an Army Ranger.

I feel confident in saying you've never watched 24.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2007


Sorry - should have been -

They killed him because he was an atheist.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:04 AM on July 27, 2007


Ranger-training question:

Are they trained to shoot for the head, or the center of mass?


I believe they are still trained to shoot center mass. It's more likely to hit than a head shot.
posted by quin at 10:12 AM on July 27, 2007


The chaplain said that O'Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman's side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling ..."

I think the chaplain did it.
posted by quin at 10:14 AM on July 27, 2007


I believe they are still trained to shoot center mass.

Would an M16 round penetrate kevlar body armor at that range?
posted by psmealey at 10:14 AM on July 27, 2007


quin - chaplains don't carry firearms. That's why there are chaplain's assistants.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:20 AM on July 27, 2007


Ok, I think the chaplain's assistant did it.

In both cases, I'm joking of course. Though based on this information, I'm pretty confident that he was executed. I just have no idea as to why.
posted by quin at 10:24 AM on July 27, 2007


I don't know if Pat Tillman was in the habit of running around yelling "I'm Pat Fucking Tillman" to get things done or to impress people, but it seems to me that in a situation where his men are shooting at him, presumably accidentally, screaming his name with an expletive for good measure isn't at all out of line, and would most likely be for the purpose of positively identifying himself so as to avoid being killed. But maybe that's just me.

And if they WEREN'T being shot at by the enemy, but were instead under minimal fire from friendlies, a guy who by his own admission was hugging the ground and calling out for god to help him deserved to be told to stop fucking sniveling.

I can't speak for Tillman's leadership ability or address whether his men liked him or whether he was killed on purpose for any number of reasons; but on the basis of their testimony, the men he was serving with sound like they might have been a bit difficult to command. Again, maybe that's just me.
posted by jennaratrix at 10:24 AM on July 27, 2007


Might be his atheism didn't resonate well with the troops. I have to say if I was suddenly an Army Corporal running my own platoon in Afghanistan I would probably let people do whatever they want, religion-wise. It's not my business.

But uh, anyway. We can armchair-army all we want, the fog of war isn't just something in video games. Fucked up stuff happens down there.
posted by blacklite at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2007


I think the chaplain's assistant did it.

I think the butler did it.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm going to approach this from the other way: Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire. When they looked at the body, they saw those three little holes in his forehead and realized that there was NO WAY that they were going to be believed that it was an accident. Hence the hasty and idiotic coverup. Occam's Razor folks!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:36 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


When being shot at you will shout ANYTHING, do ANYTHING, you think will stop the hail of lead. Even if that is something that may be seen as blasphemous, impolite, or egotistical. Why, you may even make references to sexual congress with your own mother.
posted by tkchrist at 10:43 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to understand this whole "his men", "command" and "leadership" talk. He was a Specialist. An E-3. Posthumously promoted to Corporal. E-4. In other terms, he was a nobody.

Please people, keep it straight.

And if you've ever seen a chaplain, let alone their assistant, they wouldn't exactly strike you as the kind of people who could frag a man. Even if they wanted to.

Kevlar-based flak jackets and helmets are designed to protect the wearer from shrapnel and fragmentation, which usually travels in non-uniform paths at subsonic speeds. Kevlar will not protect you from a round fired from a rifle. (Excludes those "lucky" few whose helmet deflects the path of the round).
posted by jsavimbi at 10:43 AM on July 27, 2007


I feel confident in saying you've never watched 24.

You'd be wrong.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:46 AM on July 27, 2007


jsavimbi: As for me, I was speaking generically; I realize he was not officially in charge of anything, but it would appear from the little bit we know that he had taken charge in this situation. Personally, if I'm being shot at by the guys I'm serving with, I'm going to goddamn good and well order them to cease fire, even if I'm not "in command."
posted by jennaratrix at 10:47 AM on July 27, 2007


Was anybody else surprised to read this in the SI link:

"Everyone took off but Pat. Already, even in the wake of high school pranks that backfired, he lived by a creed of accountability, by a motto he'd soon hear from his Arizona State football coaches and make his own: Take it in the forehead. "

There is an obvious joke here about Tillman taking that advice too far, but I won't make it, because I'm above that.
posted by autodidact at 10:58 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Would an M16 round penetrate kevlar body armor at that range?

An assault rifle at 10 yards is going to shoot through all sorts of shit; the bullets travel very fast. As I understand it, you can get Kevlar vests that can stop rifle fire, but I'm not sure that's what gets issued to soldiers though.
posted by chunking express at 10:59 AM on July 27, 2007


Would an M16 round penetrate kevlar body armor at that range?

Again, the M855 probably wouldn't penetrate PASGT with the ISAPO inserts or Interceptor but I don't believe the Rangers would have been issued with that at the time - if they were wearing armour it would likely have been the PASGT (and it would likely have been issued with ISAPO) they probably wouldn't as a rule be wearing the plates. So er... Probably not. M855 is "ball" ammo - i.e. standard FMJ but it is effectively Semi Armour Piercing (not like an actual AP round). It has some penetration capability, a lot more than the old M193 but still probably not enough to penetrate the standard vest.

Further to my earlier comment on the penetration of the PASGT helmet - it's possible for the round to penetrate put that would be most likely if it was coming at a right angle to the point of penetration - check out what the Fritz helmet looks like and you can see it's designed to make this as hard as possible (hence the coalskuttle shaping). According to the wiki there are tales of the PASGT stopping a 7.62x39mm round from an AK47 at a range of 25m. Whilst the 5.56mm is a higher velocity, it is considerably lighter than the old Russian round. I've seen an equivalent helmet (a UK Mk.6 stop an SS109 round - the original term for the M855).

Are they trained to shoot for the head, or the center of mass?

Centre mass. Same as virtually every other military unit.

Ten yards is awfully close, but still I can't see putting three rounds in that tight a group on burst or (as previous posters have mentioned is nearly certainly the case with the rangers) full auto.

Ever seen Heat When they do the armoured truck at the beginning? Remember the double tap at close range to ensure the person was dead? A round hits Tillman (for whatever reason - Negligent Discharge or what have you), he goes down but he's not dead. Panic hits or maybe they decide it's easier to put him out of his misery. The Medivac isn't going to get there in time - he's begging his friends and comrages to shoot him. There's all sorts of reasons it might have happened.

It's pretty unlikely that that's how it happened but who knows. It's all guesswork for us here - very few people will know what happened and there is no real likelyhood of them confessing.
posted by longbaugh at 11:06 AM on July 27, 2007


but I'm not sure that's what gets issued to soldiers though.

It isn't. Or at least, it hasn't been. That kind of armor is what you would see on a SWAT team about to do a dynamic room entry. It provides excellent protection, but it's kind of bulky and would really suck to have to lug around a desert.

The real trick to stopping a rifle round isn't actually the kevlar, it's the heavy duty trauma plate. And our soldiers who have body armor, do have trauma plates, but they only provide protection in the center mass of the chest (of course, as I mentioned above, this is the place you are most likely to get hit.)
posted by quin at 11:08 AM on July 27, 2007


TKers ruin the fun for everyone.
posted by rhizome23 at 11:15 AM on July 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


You learn something new everyday.
posted by chunking express at 11:20 AM on July 27, 2007


The Medivac isn't going to get there in time - he's begging his friends and comrages to shoot him.

Did you go out for a three-martini lunch?

Of all the armchairing today, including my own, that is the most preposterous, far-fetched scenario yet.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:30 AM on July 27, 2007


Agreed, jsavimbi. I don't want to say that this thread sets a new standard for specious bullshit on Metafilter, but it has to be pretty close.
posted by psmealey at 11:46 AM on July 27, 2007


Three shots to the forehead? Sounds like PFC William Santiago committed suicide.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:53 AM on July 27, 2007


Lady Bird Johnson did it. She was going senile and thought she was back on that grassy knoll, a Real American Hero in her sights...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:07 PM on July 27, 2007


The more conspiratorial posts aren't even worth addressing, but all those positing that Tillman was fragged due to antipathy from his fellow Rangers haven't provided a shred of evidence that this scenario potentially could be true.

No quotes from or rumors from any family members or peers or members of the military.

The most likely scenario is...

"I'm going to approach this from the other way: Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire. When they looked at the body, they saw those three little holes in his forehead and realized that there was NO WAY that they were going to be believed that it was an accident. Hence the hasty and idiotic coverup. Occam's Razor folks!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:36 AM on July 27"


It fits in with some attributes of the US military that have been demonstrated many times over the past decades. When they screw up so that stupid/small mistakes (not being able to maintain transportation integrity) snowball into much bigger ones (friendly fire incidents), they try to keep it from public view.

PS Tillman Skeptics: The reason why so many people admire Tillman, other than the typical hero crap (i.e. giving up NFL $ to serve, etc.), is that he was able to hold starkly contrasting viewpoints without being a hypocrite and that he was deeply introspective without being uber-pretentious.
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 12:36 PM on July 27, 2007


It's always impressive to me how a certain segment of Metafilterians are willing to think the best about people they'll never meet from places they'll never go to, but can't manage the same for people back home. Once we solve this breast cancer thing, let's try to raise money for some used moccasins and a few miles each in them.
posted by yerfatma at 12:36 PM on July 27, 2007


Moccasins aside.

but all those positing that Tillman was fragged due to antipathy from his fellow Rangers haven't provided a shred of evidence that this scenario potentially could be true.

We at MeFi simply do not have the evidence at hand to make a judgment call one way or another.

What we do know is that he was shot and subsequently died of his wounds while serving his country in Afghanistan. Those are the facts and they are undisputed. Such information should suffice in the living memory of Pat Tillman.

But this is America, the Biggest Banana Republic of them all, and there's no way this story is ever going to die. It's just too juicy.

I'm down with Sydney Pollack as Noam Chomsky and Ben Kingsley playing some sort of supporting role. Maybe a high school guidance counselor that visits him in his dreams. Kathy Bates to play Mary Tillman. This movie is shaping up already.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2007


It’s a disgrace to lie about the manner in which he died. Seems to me that’s been the case for more than just Tillman.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:01 PM on July 27, 2007


... thread sets a new standard for specious bullshit on Metafilter, ...

<SIGH />

It's fun to get righteous, enit?

I especially thought it was really cute the way jxavimbi took longabaugh's comments out of context so he could have the chance to make a disparaging comment about them.

But hey, you guys are having fun, so keep it up. "Yo, Metafilter's trivial, dude!"
posted by lodurr at 1:01 PM on July 27, 2007


Here's my plausible scenario:
"not panicking" Rangers are shooting bursts into the bushes trying to suppress the "insurgents". As one guy pulls the trigger on a M4 or M16A2 it's burst goes screaming downrange at approx 3000 feet per second. The 3 bullets are travelling at 2050 miles per hour and would all hit the same target in less than 1/4 of a second. At 10 Meter ranges from a bench rest all 3 bullets have been know to go in the same hole in a target.
In that exact moment Tillman jumps up and his head enters the line of fire.

GUN---------Tillman---------Target

It isn't as unlikely as it might seem It seems more likely than a "fragging" or an execution by right wing ninjas

As for those who said that M4 don't have burst fire, that would be a M4A1.


On the helmet/no helmet question, There is ,to my knowledge, very few man portable armors that can stop a high velocity rifle round at less than 10 meters. Certainly not a standard issue helmet.
posted by Megafly at 1:02 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did I miss the line in MeFi's creed that states the opinions contained within are NOT trivial nor are they to be taken lightly?

Please tell me where I missed the context in his commentary.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:10 PM on July 27, 2007


... all those positing that Tillman was fragged due to antipathy from his fellow Rangers haven't provided a shred of evidence that this scenario potentially could be true.

No quotes from or rumors from any family members or peers or members of the military.


The article says: "Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, who has long suggested that her son was deliberately killed by his comrades, said she is still looking for answers."
posted by caddis at 1:11 PM on July 27, 2007


"... haven't provided a shred of evidence that this scenario potentially could be true."

Funny choice of words: "shred of evidence". My guess is that is the shape of much of the evidence.
posted by srboisvert at 1:15 PM on July 27, 2007


Please tell me where I missed the context in his commentary.
It's pretty unlikely that that's how it happened but who knows. It's all guesswork for us here - very few people will know what happened and there is no real likelyhood of them confessing.
So, well, it just looks to me like you're looking for something that's not there. longabaugh was just doing a little scenarizing, and was well aware that he was out there and hey! he declaimed as much, too!

So get off your high horse and either join in the fun or shut your yap.
posted by lodurr at 1:32 PM on July 27, 2007


Just to be clear, my comment was just a response to redgrendel2001's assertion. I highly doubt he was murdered, and I also doubt that the coverup of the friendly fire incident in the field was done to protect the military. More likely it was done to protect the soldiers who f***ed up, protect Tillman's family, especially his brother who was right there, and allow him to have the honor of a hero's death. That sort of stuff seems to happen all the time in the military. It is done with good, not bad intentions. However, when the person is a celebrity the follow on scrutiny is too intense. The lies took on a life of their own and snowballed. The higher ups just kept protecting the guys below them. The general who approved the medals knew at the time that it was probably friendly fire. He should have put a stop to the lies but he lacked courage. Perhaps even some in the Whitehouse, such as Rumsfeld, knew the score and not only lacked courage but were crass enough to use this death for political gain. My guess is that it started out innocently enough and like a wildfire grew out of control. It's just speculation, but it could easily have happened.
posted by caddis at 1:33 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


So get off your high horse and either join in the fun or shut your yap.

I'm sorry. I didn't realize that there was fun to be had in the death of a soldier. I guess I'm entirely out of context here.

Here's another scenario: Mark Wahlberg as the disgruntled, former tae-kwon-do aspirant who feels jilted that Tillman receives all th attention when he himself gave up a [potentially] successful martial arts career to join the Rangers, and decides to give Tillman three in the hat.

Buscemi to play the guy who deliberately botches the investigation.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2007


Ever seen Heat When they do the armoured truck at the beginning? Remember the double tap at close range to ensure the person was dead? A round hits Tillman (for whatever reason - Negligent Discharge or what have you), he goes down but he's not dead. Panic hits or maybe they decide it's easier to put him out of his misery.

In this scenario, the body would have powder burns to the face, neck, etc, from the discharges at such a close range.

But really, by all means, let's all keep up with the hysterical speculation.

The truth is certainly not what was initially proffered. But the real answer is probably quite mundane, which makes it both more horrifying and sad.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:52 PM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


My personal theory is that he was fragged intentionally by the other guys for personal reasons, and the army and the government covered it up for political reasons.
posted by empath at 2:32 PM on July 27, 2007


I said it in the thread that got close, and I'll say it here too; SpeculationFilter. We don't know what's going on, the linked article doesn't know what's going on, and there's every possibility that there's no one person, anywhere, that knows what's going on.

When someone finds the smoking gun and matches the fingerprints, then I'll be interested, but this is still just he-said-she-said nonsense. Yes, there are inconsistencies, but this isn't the JFK assasination.
posted by lekvar at 2:35 PM on July 27, 2007


From my understanding, Tillman's unit was wearing irregular garb -- not standard uniforms or helmets. They were dressed like locals, and while maybe they had vests on, they didn't have helmets on. I mean, who knows, but that's what I read.

jsavimbi, you really, really need to go outside and smell some flowers. We get it. You're hardcore. Death does not phase you, not a whit. But the reason this story will never go away is not because non-military mefite pussies have nothing better to twitter on about. Sure, it involves celebrity, but you had guys like John McCain eulogizing the bravery of this guy, and either he was lying, or generals were lying to him, and that's kind of a big deal.
posted by bardic at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2007


(The fact that all of Tillman's clothing and his possessions were burned has always screamed cover-up to me, but covering up what, I'm not sure.)
posted by bardic at 3:11 PM on July 27, 2007


has always screamed cover-up to me, but covering up what, I'm not sure

It reminds me of the Roswell hysteria. Where everyone saw a cover-up over aliens, the real cover-up involved nuclear weapons and spying on Soviets. Again, far more mundane and even more tragic.

Something is being covered-up. It probably won't be what you think it is.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:18 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Generals and politicians are lying about something? Now there's a first. I bet Ol' Man McCain showed off some of his scars at the wake.

Now, the Lindbergh Baby, there's a true whodunit. I still don't think that Hoffman character did it, not matter what Schwarzkoff Sr. says. A true scandal.

I'm siding with Lekvar here. It's all he said, she said.

Now I'm back to watching those manualist videos. That guy's got talent.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:21 PM on July 27, 2007



Previously in the blue. Why would they burn his journal and uniform and body armor, except to destroy forensic evidence? Did the bloodstain path show him standing when they shot him with his arms cuffed behind his back?

Like him or not, by all accounts Pat Tillman was an authentic human being... which is more than can be said for the likes of Dick Cheney, whose friend had to apologize for getting shot in the face by him.
posted by Huplescat at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2007


Dick Cheney, whose friend had to apologize for getting shot in the face by him.

Maybe Tillman came up behind the Vice President and surprised him.
posted by EarBucket at 6:03 PM on July 27, 2007


"He was a Specialist. An E-3. Posthumously promoted to Corporal. E-4. In other terms, he was a nobody."

Uh, I don't know what Army you serve in, but in the U.S. Army, which I'm in, a specialist is an E-4.. So's a corporal. It's a lateral promotion, although the latter is considered an actual NCO.

While you're right that an E-4 is a 'nobody', he was a Ranger, for chris'sakes.. In a world of 'nobodies', he'd be the badass.
posted by SeanMac at 8:54 PM on July 27, 2007


While you're right that an E-4 is a 'nobody'

Thank you.

ps. I never got that whole specialist thing either.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:13 AM on July 28, 2007


Thanks lodurr. Saved me a lot of time and said it much better than I could.

And if you've ever seen a chaplain, let alone their assistant, they wouldn't exactly strike you as the kind of people who could frag a man. Even if they wanted to.

BTW, I think jsavimbi also took quin's two posts seriously despite them:

a) obviously being jokes.
b) quin pointing out that they were jokes.

Thanks for the laffs.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:37 AM on July 29, 2007


Of all the armchairing today, including my own, that is the most preposterous, far-fetched scenario yet.

As lodurr mentioned above - that's why I added text "I made this up - like all the rest of us are doing". Was it not obvious enough? Perhaps gigantic 72pt flashing marquee would assist in some way.
posted by longbaugh at 5:53 AM on July 30, 2007


Soldier denies Tillman berated him.
posted by caddis at 7:19 AM on July 30, 2007


Soldier allegedly called 'sniveling' says that wasn't the case. Says "Tillman's intent, O'Neal said, was to
"more or less put my mind straight about what was going on at the moment.""
and
"He never would have called me 'sniveling,'" O'Neal said. "I don't remember ever speaking to this chaplain, and I find this characterization of Pat really upsetting. He never once degraded me. He's the only person I ever worked for who didn't degrade anyone. He wasn't that sort of person."
posted by delmoi at 9:46 AM on July 30, 2007


Sgt O'Neill's taking the whole thing into Rashomon territory. Maybe the Chaplain did it, after all. There's an additional irony in that, for Pat Tillman, the only thing that he thought would live on after he died was the memory of what he did in life. So now we have a chaplain casting him as an abusive bully, and one of his squad-mates casting him as a supportive natural leader.

There's a line from Nietzsche to the effect that the greatest violence is usually done after a person's death. Sometimes vagueness has a reputational violence all its own.
posted by lodurr at 5:19 AM on July 31, 2007




Much of the excitement in liberal circles about attacking Bush centers around Fredo and the US attorney firings. They might get Fredo, but probably not more. If anything could bring down this administration it would be the Tillman cover-up. There doesn't even need to be anything in the original incident, just the covering up process can kill them. He was a war hero and their cover up of his death is seen as dishonoring a war hero. Not patriotic, not sympathetic, not smart. The USA mess was all about illegally using their power to affect elections, a far bigger crime than the Tillman cover-up (unless they actually had him killed, which seems unlikely), yet the lever of political power on the Tillman issue is far stronger. Are Reid and Pelosi Machiavellian enough to pull it off?
posted by caddis at 7:36 PM on July 31, 2007


Why do you say that, caddis? Have there really been any indications so far that the Tillman cover-up extends beyond military circles? Sure, there were civilians hyping the story and using Tillman for propaganda (as anyone at the time knew there would be), but I revert to the earlier-cited maxim that stupid usually makes more sense than evil.

OTOH, if you think it's a last straw in public relations terms, I think you might have something. Time would tell. It always does, at least that much.
posted by lodurr at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2007


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