Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a hero fired for a minor flap, is brought back into the fold, made useful again as the co-chair of a White House initiative on military families.
All is well with the world again, right?
Not according to Pat Tillman’s mom.
Mary Tillman told ABC News that McChrystal was part of the coverup of her NFL-star turned Army Ranger son’s friendly fire death seven years ago.
Mrs. Tillman has been dogging McChrystal over the years, saying she was vindicated by his firing over impolitic comments to a Rolling Stone reporter, blasting his appointment to a teaching job at Yale — and now his appointment to an advisory commission on military families.
She tells ABC News that “someone who has a heartfelt desire to help families would not have been involved in the cover-up of a soldier’s death, especially one that they used to promote a war.”
McChrystal — who declined comment to ABC News — was the commander of special operations in Afghanistan when Tillman was killed in April 2004. Soon after McChrystal wrote his commanders an urgent memo that, “It is highly possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire.”
Having heard President George W. Bush might speak publicly about Tillman, McChrystal wrote to his higher ups to make sure they knew the truth so as to “preclude any…public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.”
Tillman notes that McChrystal wrote “if this becomes public this could be an embarrasment to the administration. He didnt say ‘when’ this becomes public, ‘when’ we tell the family. So there was going to be an effort to cover this up.”
At the same time McChrystal was sending that confidential memo, he was part of the propaganda effort pushing a false narrative about Tillman’s death, the family charges.
He signed off on a Silver Star citation that is worded quite misleadingly, noting how “Corporal Tillman put himself in the line of devastating enemy fire” and in the next sentence referencing how Tillman, “(w)hile mortally wounded”” demonstrated “audacious leadership and courageous example under fire…”
At no point does the Silver Star citation that McChrystal signed even hint that the mortal wounds came from American guns.
Is it hypocritical to name a guy who lied to the Tillman family about the nature of their son’s death to a group dedicated to families?
Others agree with the Tillmans, including Amir Bar-Lev, the director of the critically-acclaimed documentary “The Tillman Story.”
“Putting Stanley McChrystal in charge of a commission on military families is a little like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of a commission on pensions,” said Bar-Lev.
While we’re on the topic, what do you make of the military’s track record when it comes to sharing information with families?[via ABC News , LA Times, NY Daily News, WaPo]