New Facts Appear In Tillman Shooting Affair

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The latest inquiry into the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman is scheduled to end in December. However, the Associated Press has studied thousands of pages of documents, conducted a number of interviews, and has uncovered some rather interesting facts:

Staff Sgt. Trevor Alders, one of the shooters, underwent a PRK laser eye procedure not long before the Tillman incident, and his vision was “hazy.” In the absence of “friendly identifying hand signals,” he assumed that both Tillman and an Afghan ally were enemies.

Spc. Steve Elliott described his excitement over seeing rifles, muzzle flashes and “shapes.” Spc. Stephen Ashpole said “he saw two figures, and just aimed where everyone else was shooting.” Squad leader Greg Baker whose vision is 20/20, claims to have tunnel vision. He says he shot at who he thought was the enemy, but who turned out to be the allied Afgan fighter who was giving cover to the American soldiers.

None of the four shooters identified his target before firing, a violation of military training. Tillman’s platoon had also run out of supplies, a condition which could contribute to fatigue and lapses in judgment. The same commander who was reprimanded for his role in the shootings was also responsible for delivering punishment to those in his command who fired the shots.

And there’s even more: According to a field hospital report, someone tried to start Tillman heart with CPR after his head had been partly blown off and his corpse wrapped. Tillman’s body armor and uniform were burned.

“I will not assume his death was accidental or ‘fog of war’,” said Tillman’s father, Patrick Tillman Sr. This is the fourth investigation of the incident, which the Tillman family believes has been repeatedly covered up by the Pentagon.

The AP has many more details, which are available here.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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