Monday, April 11, 2011

Kick Him, Get Rewarded

When the movie "The Pat Tillman Story" was released in August, 2010, it appeared in precious few cities nationwide and died a quick death. Perhaps it was the tendency of the viewing public to cringe at anything suggesting venality, incompetence, or inefficiency on the part of the military brass, whom conservatives cherish conflating with "our brave troops." Or perhaps it was the deadly serious and boring title, which would have been better marketed as "Murder By Military," "Killed By Cover-Up," or something else. As CBS News noted at the time

Pat Tillman gave up his professional football career with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. Army Rangers after September 11.

In 2004, Pat was shot and killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire. But the story told by the government was quite different.

Mary Tillman, Pat's mother, documents her family's crusade to uncover the truth and expose the cover-up by senior military officials in her book, "Boots on the Ground by Dusk: Searching for Answers in the Death of Pat Tillman," which is being re-released to coincide with the August 20 release of the documentary "The Tillman Story."

On "The Early Show" Monday, Mary spoke with "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill from Mountain View, Calif., about some additional information that's coming out in the paperback version of her book, about former Gen. Stanley McChrystal's handling of her son's death.

Mary explained, "I wrote the book, came out in 2008, and I indicate that McChrystal was involved in orchestrating the cover-up. He falsified the Silver Star. He was very aware that Pat was killed by friendlies. And then, when he was going to be promoted to the head commander in Afghanistan, I had contacted President Obama, I e-mailed him and written a letter and contacted members of Congress, just trying to remind them that this man needed to be scrutinized very carefully. And in the end, it turned out that he was pretty much meant for that position. He was a shoo-in. Of course, he was promoted. And, that is part of the foreword."

A couple of months earlier, Matt Taibbi had reported in Rolling Stone that in the the fall of 2009, General McChrystal at a speech in London described the counter-terrorism strategy of the Vice President as "shortsighted" believing it would lead to a state of "Chaos-istan." He quoted the General as more recently calling National Security Advisor Jim Jones "a clown" and President Obama "unprepared" for a strategy meeting. Promptly, in one of the few bold moves of his presidency, Barack Obama removed McChrystal from the command of American forces in Afghanistan. But this is the "on the one hand, and on the other hand" presidency and McChrystal is back:

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was relieved of command in Afghanistan after a magazine profile quoted his subordinates as disparaging senior civilian leaders, has been invited back to public service by the Obama administration to help oversee a high-profile initiative in support of military families, White House officials said Sunday.

General McChrystal will lead the three-member advisory board for the initiative, called Joining Forces, whose aim is to encourage companies, schools, philanthropic and religious groups and local communities to recognize the unusual stress that is endured by families of active-duty personnel, reservists and veterans, and to strive to meet their needs.

The appointment is to be announced Tuesday by Jill Biden, as well as by Michelle Obama,who described McChrystal in an e-mail as "a unique and powerful advocate for the millions of Americans who serve our country selflessly.”

As journalist Jon Krakauer describes him, this is the guy the Obamas believe will be "a unique and powerful advocate" for members of the armed forces:

After Tillman died, the most important thing to know is that within--instantly, within 24 hours certainly, everybody on the ground, everyone intimately involved knew it was friendly fire. There's never any doubt it was friendly fire. McChrystal was told within 24 hours it was friendly fire. Also, immediately they started this paperwork to give Tillman a Silver Star. And the Silver Star ended up being at the center of the cover-up. So McChrystal--Tillman faced this devastating fire from his own guys, and he tried to protect a young private by exposing himself to this, this fire. That's why he was killed and the private wasn't. Without friendly fire there's no valor, there's no Silver Star. There was no enemy fire, yet McChrystal authored, he closely supervised over a number of days this fraudulent medal recommendation that talked about devastating enemy fire.

It is also the guy who disregarded the relationship traditionally assumed by military officials with the President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the armed services when called into the actual Service of the United States. And now Obama, who evinces mere contempt for his supporters, once again has demonstrated that getting your way with this President is as easy as standing up to him.

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