Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on, as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're through! You join Tyrannosaurus Rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.”     Robert A. Heinlein,    Address at the U.S. Naval Academy April 5, 1973

April 24, 2007

The Pentagon’s Public Relations Disaster

by Doug Mataconis

Every war has it’s heroes, and in the case of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two heroes that received the most accolades from the Pentagon were Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. Tillman, you will recall was the NFL star who left his football career behind to join the NBA where he died a hero under fire from the Taliban. Lynch, of course, was a supply clerk with a Maintenance Company who was captured in an ambush after her convoy made a wrong turn. Lynch was held prisoner for a week before being released in a raid by American forces.

In the official stories released by the Pentagon, they were lauded as heroes. Now, it turns out the Pentagon was lying through its teeth:

Military and other administration officials created a heroic story about the death of Cpl. Pat Tillman to distract attention from setbacks in Iraq and the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the slain man’s younger brother, Kevin Tillman, said today.

Testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mr. Tillman said the military knew almost immediately that Corporal Tillman, an Army Ranger who left a career as a pro football player to enlist, had been killed accidentally in Afghanistan in April 2004 by fire from his own unit. But officials chose to put a “patriotic glow” on his death, he said.

Mr. Tillman said the decision to award his brother a Silver Star and to say that he died heroically fighting the enemy was “utter fiction” that was intended to “exploit Pat’s death.”

In addition to exploiting Tillman’s death, it’s pretty clear that Pentagon officials were lying about it as well. For more than a year after the incident, they stuck to the story that Tillman was killed by the Taliban when it was known fairly quickly that it was in fact friendly fire that resulted in his death. The fact that they withheld the truth from the American public and, more importantly, Tillman’s family in order to preserve the elaborate tale of heroism woven by some PR Officer somewhere is, quite frankly both cynical and deceitful.

And Lynch’s story similarly turned out to be much less than initially thought:

Former Pvt. Jessica Lynch leveled similar criticism today at the hearing about the initial accounts given by the Army of her capture in Iraq. Ms. Lynch was rescued from an Iraqi hospital in dramatic fashion by American troops after she suffered serious injuries and was captured in an ambush of her truck convoy in March 2003.

In her testimony this morning, she said she did not understand why the Army put out a story that she went down firing at the enemy.

“I’m confused why they lied,” she said.

(…)

Ms. Lynch said she could not know why she was depicted as a “Rambo from West Virginia,” when in fact she was riding in a truck, not fighting, when she was injured.

(…)

For her part, Ms. Lynch said in her testimony that other members of her unit had acted with genuine heroism that deserved the attention she received. “The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideas of heroes, and they don’t need to be told elaborate tales,” she said.

Yes, but when you are fighting a war that seems to depend more on public relations than on strategy, creating a fake hero every now and then makes perfect sense.

TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2007/04/24/the-pentagons-public-relations-disaster/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •

21 Comments

  1. THIS IS ANOTHER GROSS MISREPRESENTATION BY OUR BRAIN DEAD ADMINISTRATION AND THEIR BAND OF MERRY NEOCONS.

    Comment by allan tibbitts — April 24, 2007 @ 2:54 pm
  2. Has anyone seen the movie: Wag the Dog?

    Comment by Newman — April 24, 2007 @ 3:14 pm
  3. Sure, why doesn’t little Jessica give back all the money she made on the backs of her dead comrades. She was more concerned with showing her little tail, than learning how to fire her rifle.

    Comment by Brian — April 24, 2007 @ 3:14 pm
  4. “fake hero” – are you kidding. Friendly Fire or not, Pat is a hero. He fought for his country. Same goes for Jesica.

    Comment by Ben — April 24, 2007 @ 3:14 pm
  5. Doug says:
    “Yes, but when you are fighting a war that seems to depend more on public relations than on strategy, creating a fake hero every now and then makes perfect sense.”
    Lying makes perfect sense? A cover-up makes sense to this poster too then! One wonders if there is any line to be drawn where nefarious behavior does not make perfect sense. Crime makes perfect sense to criminals.

    loftlore.com

    Comment by E. S. Hudler — April 24, 2007 @ 3:22 pm
  6. Why, Brian, look at what you wrote. Admit it, you’re actually Ann Coulter, aren’t you?

    Comment by Shelah — April 24, 2007 @ 3:25 pm
  7. Obviously that last sentence wasn’t snarky enough.

    I don’t mean to endorse what the Pentagon did here. If nothing else, though, it really isn’t all that surprising given how these wars have been fought from the beginning.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 24, 2007 @ 3:25 pm
  8. Ben,

    Then why did the Pentagon feel compelled to lie about both of their stories ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 24, 2007 @ 3:26 pm
  9. The Iraqi doctors had already questioned Pentagon’s version of the story when it came out after the rescue but the media was too willing to go along w/ the Pentagon’s version. They are now claiming they’re shocked, shocked……

    Only if they are honest w/ themselves, it will be much harder for the Pentgon/Adminstration cons to get away w/ this time and again

    Comment by ivy — April 24, 2007 @ 3:37 pm
  10. Doug;

    “Fake hero” is a good start, if more precision, “fake war hero” does the man more justice as there is more to the story, something far more sinister. Tillman was known to have turned against the war, particularly the Iraq adventure, and let his mates know it. He was reading Chomsky and had told his parents he had hoped to meet the leftist upon his return. He was an anti-war titan in the making, but like Odysseus, the Gods weren’t going to let him come home.

    Comment by Charles Bowen — April 24, 2007 @ 3:37 pm
  11. Ivy,

    Oh I agree with you, the media was clearly complicit in the Jessica Lynch lie. After all, it made for great TV didn’t it ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 24, 2007 @ 3:53 pm
  12. I remember reading that not only was it not the heroic action depicted but Iraqi ambulance drivers tried to bring Lynch to the U.S. Forces and the refused to take her so the Iraquis took her to a hospital. It was then that she was rescued.

    Comment by toby delacorte — April 24, 2007 @ 4:26 pm
  13. I’ve gotta call B.S. on that, toby. It just doesn’t make sense.

    In any case, if you want to find out what really happened to Pvt. Lynch in An Nasiriyah, check out this story.

    As for Cpl. Tillman, I wouldn’t say he’s a fake hero. Regardless of what some idiotic PR hack in the Pentagon may have done, the man turned his back on a multi-million dollar career in the NFL to enlist, and then volunteered for the Rangers, one of the toughest units you can get in in the Army, knowing full well in doing so he’d likely get sent to combat.

    Comment by mike — April 24, 2007 @ 5:15 pm
  14. You are linking to a Rich Lowry/Weakly Standard article for what really happend? LOL. Any magazine that publishes Stephen Hayes is Der Sturner level propaganda…didn’t they hang Streicher in the end?

    Comment by Charles Bowen — April 24, 2007 @ 5:58 pm
  15. If you read the article, you’d see that a) it’s a Richard S. Lowry article, someone totally different from the conservative pundit, and that b) he’s written an entire book about the battle for An Nasiriyah called Marines in the Garden of Eden. As it says in the article, he spent 2+ years researching and interviewing survivors of the battle in order to write the book.

    But I’m sure you know way more about the battle than he does…after all, he chose to write for the “Weakly Standard.”

    Comment by mike — April 24, 2007 @ 6:21 pm
  16. mullah cimoc say amerika right now this moment being destroy.

    No. 1, him barak obama him working for the hilary clinton woman. divert the money from the real competitor with fake campaign. him test water on issues for clinton woman, see what safe for her.

    No. 2, real mr. imus story of get the fired him. this been planning long time. imus him just convenient target, could have been anyone, if white and the male. this real purpose to terrorize media persons for lose job if tangle with this woman hilary clinton and the most important for signal true end of white male controlling usa. now this white man him target of new devil/satanic coalition made of lesbian, africa man, mexico man, and the white woman hate the man. This call the impose discipline.

    this all part god plan yes. thising for purify white society to cleanse of the bad. so bad time for tattoo having people when cleansing time come. them get it very very first. like big neon sign on head say: i scum, please cleanse me.

    Comment by Mullah Cimoc — April 24, 2007 @ 8:21 pm
  17. Does anyone else read the “Pearls Before Swine” comic? Mullah Cimoc really reminds me of the crocodile.

    Nick

    Comment by Nick M. — April 24, 2007 @ 8:38 pm
  18. I think the poster is actually parodying the real Mullah Cimoc. It can’t be the real thing because its missing a rant against lesbians.

    Comment by tarran — April 24, 2007 @ 10:11 pm
  19. Yeah, but he’s got the end of white males down pat.

    Comment by Nick M. — April 24, 2007 @ 10:23 pm
  20. Oh crap… Nobody tell Mullah Cimoc that I’ve got a couple tattoos!

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 24, 2007 @ 10:34 pm
  21. Yeah, I’m screwed.

    Nick

    Comment by Nick M. — April 25, 2007 @ 9:42 am

Comments RSS

Subscribe without commenting

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Eric • Banner #1, #3, #4 by Stephen Macklin • Banner #2 by Mark RaynerXML