Liar, Liar, the Army’s Pants are on Fire

Ever since the U.S invaded Iraq in 2003, the entire war has felt shrouded in a strange type of mystery. Pictures from the front are strangely absent from most newspapers or media outlets, and we can never be sure exactly how many solders or civilians have died—each political persuasion claiming the other is either inflating or diminishing numbers.

As with any war that goes on for a long period of time, casualty numbers are slowly becoming just that, numbers. Because information is not at our fingertips, many of us are losing track of exactly what’s going on overseas, exactly who’s dying and why, and exactly what we’re hoping to accomplish.

Democrats want to pull out, many want to leave immediately. Republicans claim pulling out is going to cause catastrophes and civil war. Couple those opinions with a burgeoning presidential race, and you’ve got a confusion sandwich with a side of personal gain.

No one seems free of twisting the truth these days, even the U.S Army. In a developing story on CNN.com, the trail concerning the death of NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman has just taken a turn for the worse.

For those of you not familiar with this story, Tillman was killed in 2004 in Afghanistan in what the Army initially referred to as a “courageous counterattack in an Afghan mountain passâ€?. According to Tillman’s friend and fellow platoon member, Spc. Bryan O’Neal during a trail proceeding on Tuesday, that ‘courageous counterattack’ was a complete lie that he was told to pass along to Tillman’s family. According to CNN.com, O’Neal explained that his superior, then-Lt. Col. Jeff Bailey, “made it known I would get in trouble, sir, if I spoke with (Tillman’s brother) on it being fratricideâ€?. Fratricide refers to death at the hands of one’s own brother, or in military terms, friendly fire. Since their initial press release, the Army has since admitted that Tillman was killed by his fellow soldiers.

Pat’s brother, Kevin Tillman, expressed his anger to members of The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this week, claiming that the Army used his brother’s fabricated heroic death as a way to build support for a failing war in Afghanistan.

At the same hearing, former Pfc. Jessica Lynch, a familiar face in 2003 after the Army claimed she was captured by enemy forces while leading a heroic attack and subsequently saved in a similarly gallant effort, testified the Army made up parts of her story as well. Lynch never fired a shot on the raid against her and 11 other platoon members, eight of whom died, and apparently there were never any enemy forces guarding the Iraq hospital she had been brought to. At one point, Lynch said, hospital members even tried to get her back to other Americans.

“The truth of war is not always easy.â€? Lynch is reported as saying, “the truth is always more heroic than the hype.â€?

Her opinions are valued and heartfelt, but don’t seem to be shared by the U.S Army and certain government officials. And while I’m much more inclined to listen to soldiers who have actually fought on Iraq soil over an Administration Mouthpiece, it seems like more and more of these compelling and genuine voices are being squashed by men on Capital Hill. Men who can afford to make up lies, men who will never be in danger of being sent into this war, men who value their personal gain over the lives of brave soldiers.

Don’t allow yourself to be lied to. Do your own research. Find multiple sources, and trust in an old but sadly still true adage: everyone’s got an agenda.

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