by Cali Tamayo
This is the kind of movie that makes you mad and leaves you enraged…truly…I saw this preview at least 2 months ago and every time I think of the terrible miscarriage of justice that was served by a very dishonest U.S. military to the Tillman Family I want to throw some egg at some military knuckleheads, starting with that General who was recently asked to leave…
A few years ago, Patrick Daniel Tillman was an all-American boy who had all that is great, cool and vibrant about living in America. He was tall, strong and handsome. He grew up in a close-knit family unit with two swell brothers and incredibly hip and well-educated parents. Handsome as they come, he met the love of his life while still a teenager and married her in his early 20’s. And if any of this was not good enough, his day job was kick-ass: he was an admired defensive back for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Life can’t get any sweeter. This dude was living the dream…
Why this seemingly easy-going and private man choose to leave it all behind to enlist in the Army as a ranger will remain a mystery. The Tillman Story does not shed any light on this nagging question: Why would he walk away from it all? The fact remains that in 2002, at age 25 and seeing a true role for him to defend his country in the wake of 9/11, Tillman gave up his NFL career and along with his brother Kevin signed a three-year commitment with the U.S. military. With the stroke of a pen he became the most celebrated former NFL player and unfortunately for him, ‘the most famous enlisted man in the Army’. And I say unfortunately, not because he was a shy guy so modest as to almost be self-effacing, but because I have a nagging feeling that his celebrity may have contributed to his death.
This excellent and deeply disturbing documentary presents a clear eye story told from the Tillman family perspective also known here as the seekers of truth and justice.
And to think that Tillman did not even have to serve his full term. After his first tour in Iraq in 2003, he became very disillusioned with the military but his commitment to the duty he signed for kept him from accepting a secured early discharged…offered to him because of the continued interest of the NFL in their star player. But this kid had more balls than some military brass with 4 stars and fancy titles, and he remained in the Army and was sent to Afghanistan.
Director Amir Bar-Lev dedicates a good chunk of time to the events surrounding Tillman’s killing (I will not call it death as he was killed, plain and simple) on April 22, 2004 in a narrow canyon near the Afghani village of Magarah.
That someone in his team can ‘accidentally’ blow the head off (sorry to be so blunt) this fellow soldier is beyond me. But that someone in his team can ‘accidentally’ blow the head off of a super tall ranger who is screaming this is ‘Pat fucking Tillman, do not shot’ from less than 40 yards away is truly, truly beyond me and the stinks to high heaven of not an accident but a willing trigger-happy cowboy who may still be in the military. Yes, its troublesome that we never learn who shot him or what happened to that soldier.
And if this was not enough to make your blood boil, the subsequent Army cover up is unforgivable. Not only did the military lied about Tillman’s supposed ‘fog of war’ death and