'The Tillman Story' is a big hit at Sundance


One of the most talked about films at the year’s Sundance Film Festival is a new documentary on Pat Tillman, the NFL player who quit a lucrative career in pro football and enlisted in the Army. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004, but the circumstances of his death were inaccurately reported by the government at first and still remain under question by his family.

The Tillman Story,” directed by Amir Bar-Lev, chronicles the Tillman family’s fight to find the truth about Pat Tillman’s death. According to a description on the Sundance Web site, the documentary “not only shines a light on the shady aftermath of Pat’s death and calls to task the entire chain of command but also examines themes as timeless as the notion of heroism itself.”

A Los Angeles Times writer ranked “The Tillman Story” as one of his seven must-see movies from Sundance, saying it “does what many great documentaries do: takes a small subject and turns it into something epic.”


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  1. Jon Krakauer blamed the Bush administration and Army for the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death. However, the untold story is the cover-up was a thoroughly bi-partisan affair.

    In particular, the Democratic Congress and the Obama Presidency protected General Stanley McChrystal from punishment for his role in the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death.

    Note: email from Amir Bar-Lev says he was pretty hard on the Democratic Congress in “The Tillman Story”.

    The documents at http://www.feralfirefighter.blogspot.com describe how General McChrystal has been protectd by Congressman Henry Waxman, Senator James Webb (along with Senators Carl Levin and John McCain), the New York Times Reporter Thom Shanker, the Center for a New American Security’s Andrew Exum, and President Obama.

    It’s not surprising that after the initial cover-up fell apart, Army officers and the Bush administration lied to protect their careers. Reprehensible, but understandable. But the Democratic Congress, after they took control of both Houses in 2006, could have gone after those responsible. Or at least not promoted them!

    Just before the 2006 mid-term elections, Kevin Tillman published his eloquent letter, “After Pat’s Birthday” (truthdig.com). Kevin hoped a Democratic Congress would bring accountability back to our country. But, just as with warrantless wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brother’s friendly-fire death have never been held accountable for their actions.

    Five years ago, Pat Tillman’s family were handed a tarnished Silver Star. It was a travesty of justice that General McChrystal was promoted to the Army’s highest rank, and handed his fourth star.

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