False military reporting: Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch. Pat Tillman was an NFL player who post-911 joined the Army and was killed in Afghanistan April 22, 2004. He was immediately mythologized John Wayne-style by the military. On May 28, 2004, it came out that he died in a friendly fire incident. Details of Tillman’s death and the coverup surrounding it continue to dribble out. On July 13, 2007, the Bush White House invoked Executive privilege on its communications with the Pentagon concerning the story pursuant to requests from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It is likely that Bush knew within a week of Tillman’s death that the initial accounts of it were false. Executive privilege has become an indispensable tool in the stonewall this Administration has constructed around itself.
On July 31, 2007, retired Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger who headed Army special forces received a letter of reprimand from Army Secretary Pete Geren for his role in the affair and may lose a star and a tenth of his retirement pay. Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal who heads the Special Operations (black ops) Command approved Tillman’s Silver Star citation on April 28, 2004 in which Tillman is described as being killed by devastating enemy fire. The next day he sent a back channel memo saying he thought Tillman may have been the victim of friendly fire. McChrystal remains on active duty and has never been punished although a Pentagon Inspector General’s report recommended that action be taken against him for misleading and inaccurate statements.
A July 14, 2008 report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sought to look up the chain of command to determine when top officials in the Bush Administration learned that Tillman’s death was from friendly fire and what they did with this knowledge, “But on the key issue of what senior officials knew, the investigation was frustrated by a near universal lack of recall.” The report noted that “On the day following his death, April 23, White House officials sent or received nearly 200 e-mails concerning Corporal Tillman” but that there was incredibly a “complete absence of any communications” from the White House on its learning of his death by friendly fire.
Jessica Lynch was a private in the Army. On March 23, 2003 during the invasion of Iraq, her convoy took a wrong turn in An Nasiriyah and was ambushed by Iraqi forces. Lynch was seriously injured when the vehicle in which she was traveling crashed into another. She was transported to an Iraqi hospital where she was treated for her wounds. She was rescued in a special night operation on April 1, 2003. On April 3, the Washington Post published a story leaked to it by the military that Lynch had been shot multiple times, had shot several Iraqis, and continued fighting until she ran out of ammunition. It was a huge story but completely fictitious as Jessica Lynch was the first to point out when she was able. Unfortunately, the report was unable to establish how this false story was disseminated as those involved suffered from the amnesia that always afflicts officials in this Administration when they are questioned about illegal or embarrassing activities.