The late Pat Tillman’s choice to spurn the NFL for the Army – only to be killed by friendly fire – is the stuff of legend, and legendary controversy. It’s been covered in a book. It’s being covered in a documentary. And as any number of news reports show, there was – and is – plenty of controversy to mine.
And recently, as part of the buildup surrounding that documentary’s release, the Weinstein Company, which owns the rights to the film, sent the Huffington Post two letters Tillman’s father, Pat Sr., wrote to Brigadier General Gary M. Jones, who led the Army’s investigation into Tillman Jr.’s death. HuffPo published them yesterday. The letters contain a good deal of rage, and can be tough to read because of Tillman Sr.’s obvious anguish. But they sure are compelling.
We’ve embedded the letters (again, via HuffPo) below. Tillman Sr.’s bitterness is more than understandable – his son made a decision to serve his country that just about no one in human history would have made in his place, only to die under still-disputed circumstances. Here’s the bulk of the conclusion of the second letter, the most forceful passage:
You are a General…[t]here is no way a man like you, with your intelligence, education, military experience, responsibilities (primarily for difficult situations), and rank (authority – both apparent and real), believes the conclusions reached in the March 31, 2005 Briefing Book. But your signature is on it. I assume, therefore, that you are part of this shameless bullshit.
The Rangers stand for something – to this day, in my mind, the best. None of the five (5) soldiers on the ground, nor anyone in a discretionary capacity involved in the “Briefing Book,” deserve to be affiliated with the Rangers. If your uniforms are so decorated, you should remove those items.
In sum: Fuck you … and yours.
Patrick K. Tillman
Nothing left to say, except that the letters in full are below (click the “view full screen” icon – second from the right at the top).