The only saving grace in the Pat Tillman scandal is that he was fighting terrorists in Afghanistan instead of manufacturing them in Iraq. We learned from Viet Nam that modern guerilla warfare is confusing and produces high incidences of friendly fire deaths. Some esitmates for friendly fire casualties in Viet Nam exceeded forty percent. So what happened to Tillman, sadly, isn't very surprising. Unfortunately, the implication that the Pentagon fudged the information to boost the heroism impact of Tillman's sacrifice isn't very surprising either.
Tillman's parents deserve bravery citations for telling the truth about their feelings. Surely the Bush administration was expecting otherwise. Maybe the gushing outpourings of "patriotic" response to Tillman's heroism a year ago can now be replaced by sober and serious reflection on the overall bill of goods which is being sold to the public. Since Osama Bin Ladin slipped through the "noose" at Tora Bora, administration on the ground has been turned over to the warlords, Taliban is re-emerging in rural territories, and the heroin crop is bigger than ever in Afghanistan.
Pat Tillman deserved a far better legacy for his legitimate and admirable desire to serve his country. His parents deserved something simpler: the truth.