Monday, March 06, 2006

Tillman: Army Announces Criminal Investigation

Saturday the Army announced that it will begin a criminal investigation into the 2004 death of Pat Tillman that was originally ruled accidental.

A pentagon spokesperson (anonymous) said the new charge could be "negligent homicide"...though no specific soldier is under investigation.

"Two initial fact-finding investigations were conducted at the unit level right after Tillman's death. He was a member of the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment. A third investigation was conducted by U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and a concurrent investigation was done by the Army's Safety Center.

Tillman, 27, died on April 22, 2004, when he was struck by gunfire during a firefight along a canyon road near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Army said at the time that the barrage of bullets came from enemy fire.

A report by the Army later found that troops with Tillman knew at the time that friendly fire had killed the football star. Officers destroyed critical evidence and concealed the truth from Tillman's brother, also an Army Ranger, who was nearby, the report found.

More than three weeks after a memorial service in San Jose, Calif., the Army announced on May 29, 2004, that friendly fire rather than an enemy encounter caused Tillman's death. However, even at the time of the memorial, top Army officials were aware that the investigation showed the death had been caused by an act of "gross negligence," the report said." (source)

As a civilian, I am at a loss as to what this means --isn't any "friendly fire" "gross negligence"? Can anyone give some examples of a scenario that might be worse than just F-ing up and shooting your buddy? If they thought other Rangers did it deliberately I would assume the investigation would be looking at specific soldiers (which they say it isn't) and that the charge would be homicide and not negligent homicide...?

(Also, looking for pics of Tillman this morning I came across this article from academia. It seems Ted Rall wasn't the only one that thought Tillman was an Idiot and not a Hero...)

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