One of the endemic problems in making a mistake in journalism is that a correction rarely garners the same attention as the mistake. Often the same is true of official lies. The Tillman Story, the documentary by Amir Bar-Lev, delves into the story behind such a case. It's not clear whether the bogus announcement of his heroic death did more to prop up support for the war in Afghanistan than the eventual truth did to undermine confidence in Army brass and/or the war effort.
Pat Tillman was a pro-football player when terrorists attacked the United States on 9-11. He left football to join the Army Rangers (he and his brother enlisted in June 2002), and his choice was both inspiring and also used as propaganda to support the war. Pat Tillman was killed on April 22, 2004. The initial story released to the media and public was that he was killed in an ambush, while trying to urge on fellow soldiers. Again, the story of his sacrifice was propagandized. Unfortunately, the account was fabricated. Tillman died from friendly fire. But it was not easy to get details or accountability from the Army, and Tillman's family refused to accept less than the truth.
It's one thing to ask a soldier to give his or her life for the nation, but it's another thing to shroud the truth because it doesn't fit a political purpose. The film probes what the government and the nation owe to soldiers in uniform. It's at Chalmette Movies this weekend.
In Oct. 2006, Kevin Tillman penned an angry statement that also seemed to have its own political agenda.