“I Was Ordered Not To Tell Them”

April 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Bush Administration, Military, War | Leave a comment

U.S. Army Specialist Bryan O’Neal testified today in Congress that he was ordered “not to tell them” meaning Pat Tillman’s brother or family that Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

He said he was given the order by then-Lt. Col. Jeff Bailey, the battalion commander who oversaw Tillman’s platoon.

Pat Tillman’s brother Kevin was in a convoy behind his brother when the incident happened, but didn’t see it. O’Neal said Bailey told him specifically not to tell Kevin Tillman that the death was friendly fire rather than heroic engagement with the enemy.

“He basically just said, ‘Do not let Kevin know, he’s probably in a bad place knowing that his brother’s dead,'” O’Neal said. He added that Bailey made clear he would “get in trouble” if he told.

Kevin Tillman was not in the hearing room when O’Neal spoke.

In earlier testimony, Kevin Tillman accused the military of “intentional falsehoods” and “deliberate and careful misrepresentations” in portraying Pat Tillman’s death in
Afghanistan as the result of heroic engagement with the enemy instead of friendly fire.

“We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public,” Kevin Tillman told a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing. “Pat’s death was clearly the result of fratricide,” he said, contending that the military’s misstatements amounted to “fraud.”

“Revealing that Pat’s death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster in a month of political disasters … so the truth needed to be suppressed,” Tillman said.

It’s a good thing Democrats won in November 2006. Republicans certainly would not have held this kind of hearing. I wonder, the more we peel back this administration, just how many cockroaches will we find?

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