Cross-posted throughout the known Scoop-o-sphere.

Via Americablog, Cunning Realist catches an article on SFGate on NFL star Pat Tillman, and his family’s continuing effort to find the truth about his death in Afghanistan last year.

Things I didn’t know: Tillman signed up expecting to serve in Afghanistan, but was first diverted to the Iraq invasion, to which he was vehemently opposed. He was openly critical of the administration and read Noam Chomsky. And he was shot three times in the forehead.

The heart of it is excerpted after the break. Below that is the next article I read, which knocked me right off my feet.

Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.
Pat Tillman, according to testimony, climbed a hill with another soldier and an Afghan militiaman, intending to attack the enemy. He offered to remove his 28-pound body armor so he could move more quickly, but was ordered not to. Meanwhile, the lead vehicle in the platoon’s second group arrived near Tillman’s position about 65 meters away and mistook the group as enemy. The Afghan stood and fired above the second group at the suspected enemy on the opposite ridge. Although the driver of the second group’s lead vehicle, according to his testimony, recognized Tillman’s group as “friendlies” and tried to signal others in his vehicle not to shoot, they directed fire toward the Afghan and began shooting wildly, without first identifying their target, and also shot at a village on the ridgeline.

The Afghan was killed. According to testimony, Tillman, who along with others on the hill waved his arms and yelled “cease fire,” set off a smoke grenade to identify his group as fellow soldiers. There was a momentary lull in the firing, and he and the soldier next to him, thinking themselves safe, relaxed, stood up and started talking. But the shooting resumed. Tillman was hit in the wrist with shrapnel and in his body armor with numerous bullets.

The soldier next to him testified: “I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out, ‘Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat f—ing Tillman, dammit.’ He said this over and over until he stopped,” having been hit by three bullets in the forehead, killing him.

Another disputed detail was whether the soldiers were firing while speeding down the canyon or whether they stopped, got out and continued shooting. In testimony in the third investigation, the soldiers said they did not stop. However, the medical examiner’s report said Tillman was killed by three bullets closely spaced in his forehead — a pattern that would have been unlikely if the shooter were moving fast.

As I was blogging Pat Tillman article, today’s libertarian newsletter landed in my Inbox. The lead article was a speech Rockwell gave at an anti-war rally over the weekend, where he was the “token non-lefty,” as he put it. Below is why I heart real libertarians. It was made even more poignant by the fact that it was the next thing I read after the Tillman article.

War leaves in its wake orphans, widows, parents without children, sickness, hatred, and spiritual and psychological trauma. It gives power to dictators on all sides. It is based on a lie that mass death can ever accord with justice. It attempts to silence those who tell the truth.

Indeed, war is a kind of totalitarianism. It is a policy without limit. It demands from us all that we have to give: our money, our children, our minds, even our souls. Too often people give it all. Too often, Americans give it all.

George Bush was brazen enough to make the doctrine explicit. If you are not for him, he says, you are for the terrorists.

He said it because the state fears the advocates of peace. It fears the truth, and those who tell the truth. It fears those who dare to judge the state by normal standards of morality.

The state fears you. Why? Because you hold the opinions that you do, and refuse to surrender your mind, your talents, your soul. By joining the resistance, you help thwart their plans. You help establish the basis for peace in the future. You help preserve and develop civilization, for the human family can only thrive in a setting of peace.

So I say to you: Keep making the sacrifice. Believe in peace. Proclaim peace. Stand up to the state. Be a dissident. Tell what is true. And do not fear the emperor-pirates. They, after all, fear you. For you help tilt the balance of history against their barbarism, and in favor of peace and freedom.

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