[A-List] US military: soldiers rebut false tales of heroism
michael011 at fastmail.fm
Wed Apr 25 01:26:24 MDT 2007
Heroine attacks Pentagon over lies about her capture
Tim Reid in Washington
The Times, April 25, 2007
Jessica Lynch, the US army private who became the heroic American face
of the Iraq war when her convoy was ambushed soon after the invasion,
lambasted the Bush Administration yesterday for lying about the
She was testifying to Congress, along with the brother of Pat Tillman,
the US Army Ranger who gave up a lucrative career as an American
football star only to be killed by his own platoon in Afghanistan, and
the two decried the Pentagons deceit in turning their disastrous
experiences into false tales of heroism.
Ms Lynch was injured badly when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq on March
23, 2003, the third day of the war. The Pentagon said initially that she
was shot after emerging from her vehicle, guns blazing, before being
abducted. It later emerged that she was injured in the ambush and was
incapable of fighting. She was taken to an Iraqi hospital by Iraqi
troops and owes her life to Iraqi doctors, who even tried to return her
to American troops.
Speaking to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ms
Lynch told of waking up in hospital with terrible injuries, unaware that
the Pentagon was circulating the story of the little girl Rambo from
the hills of West Virginia who went down fighting.
It was not true, she said yesterday. Im still confused as to why
they choose to lie and try to make me a legend.
The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their
own ideals for heroes, and they dont need to be told elaborate lies.
Kevin Tillman, in angry and emotional testimony, accused army officials
of destroying his brothers uniform, equipment and notebook, falsifying
witness statements and rewriting the field hospital report in order to
concoct an inspirational story that his brother had died leading a
charge against enemy fighters. For five weeks after his brothers death
the Pentagon and the White House told that story, Mr Tillman said,
including at his memorial service.
He said that his brothers death came soon after the dual rebellions in
Najaf and Fallujah, the call-up of more troops to Iraq, and White House
knowledge that the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal was about to break.
Revealing that Pats death was fratricide [friendly fire] would have
been yet another political disaster during a month already swollen with
political disasters . . . so the facts needed to be suppressed, Mr
In addition to destroying and falsifying evidence, the Pentagon had
suppressed an initial investigation that reported his brother was killed
by friendly fire, he claimed.
Mary Tillman, his mother, accused Donald Rumsfeld, the former Defence
Secretary, of being complicit. These are intentional falsehoods that
meet the legal definition of fraud, Mr Tillman said. The Pentagon has
said that there was no attempt at a cover-up, merely errors of judgment
which created the perception of concealment.
However, the soldier who was with Tillman when he died testified last
night that he had been told by his superiors to conceal the
circumstances from Tillmans brother. I was ordered not to tell him,
Specialist Bryan ONeill said.
These are deliberate acts of deceit, Mr Tillman said yesterdayThis
narrative was intended to deceive the family, but more importantly to
deceive the American public.
Mr Tillman also cited other friendly fire cases that he claimed had
been covered up, including Sergeant Patrick McCaffrey, whose family was
told that he was killed in Iraq on June 22, 2004, after an ambush by
insurgents. Two years later they discovered that the insurgents were
the Iraqi troops he had been training.
Before his death he told his chain of command that these same troops he
was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep
his mouth shut, Mr Tillman said.
Mrs Tillman said: The fact that he would have died by friendly fire and
no one told Rumsfeld is ludicrous. Henry Waxman, the Democratic
chairman of the panel, said: For Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, the
Government violated its most basic responsibility.
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