Saturday, May 27, 2006

What Are They Teaching In Basic Training?

Anything? So far this week has not been kind to the military. This story makes me sick from anger and frustration. It was bad enough when we demonstrated to the world that we felt that the Geneva Convention was mutable, the Uniform Code of Military Justice seems not to have been taught at all and now this story reveals the real lack of training. Who was their firing instructor, Dick Cheney? The truth comes out, eventually. Maybe not in time to make a difference, but it does come out. - Investigation reveals new Tillman questions - May 27, 2006: "As they emerged from the canyon, the soldiers in the vehicle were firing with an abandon that one Army investigator said demonstrated gross negligence. The soldiers later said that they thought the enemy was all around them. As they fired in all directions, they began hitting U.S. troops. The platoon leader was hit in the face and another soldier shot in the leg.

From Tillman's position up on the ridge came anguished cries of alarm. First, the Afghan soldier was shot and killed by the soldiers in the Ranger vehicle. The soldier standing alongside Tillman described what he witnessed in a sworn statement.

'A GMV [vehicle] with a .50-cal rolled into our sight and started to unload on top of us,' he said.

'Tillman and I were yelling 'Stop! Stop! Friendlies! Friendlies! Cease fire!' But they couldn't hear us.'

According to another sworn statement obtained by CNN, the driver of the Humvee was initially confused when he saw the Afghan soldier with Tillman on the ridge -- and then realized others in his Humvee were firing on fellow Rangers.

'I yelled twice 'We have friendlies on top!'' said the driver. 'The crew must have not heard me because my vehicle opened fired on them. I screamed, 'No!' and then yelled repeatedly several times to cease fire. No one heard me.'
'We thought it was over'

Tillman threw a smoke grenade to signal they were Rangers, and for a few moments, it appeared to work.

'We thought the battle was over,' said the soldier next to Tillman. 'So we were relieved, getting up stretching out and talking with one another when I heard some 5.56 rounds coming from the vehicle. They started firing again. That's when I hit the deck and started praying.'

But Tillman didn't get down in time. He was hit.

'I know this because I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out: 'Cease fire! Friendlies! I am Pat (expletive) Tillman damn it!'' the soldier said. 'He said this over and over again until he stopped.'

Moments later, a sound caught the attention of the soldier next to Tillman.

'I heard what sounded like water pouring down,' he said. 'I then looked over at my side to see a river of blood coming down from where he was. I had blood all over my shoulder from him and when I looked at him, I saw his head was gone.'"
The military lied to his brother immediately and then lied to his family and the world for two years. When I joined they were worried that an all-volunteer army wouldn't want to fight when the chips were down. Well, he joined with the best of intentions and what did it get him? Killed by friendly fire with a coverup.

For someone who demonstrated so much honor, this is a shame. His poor family.

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