June 1, 2007  


For twisting the truth to such an extent, in a misguided attempt to create media heroes, that the service’s credibility is seriously harmed. Congressional hearings into what happened in the cases of Cpl. Pat Tillman and former Pvt. Jessica Lynch revealed that senior Army officers, including four generals, helped create a web of misinformation and deception. Tillman’s death in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan was a tragedy; what followed was a travesty. A false story of Tillman being killed during a gunfight with enemies was deliberately conjured up even though the truth was known early on. Witness statements were changed; Tillman’s family was misled; and senior leaders rushed approval of a posthumous Silver Star for Tillman in time for a nationally televised memorial for the soldier because he was a high-profile former professional football player. In Lynch’s case, the Army and Pentagon leaked a trumped-up tale of how she was captured following a heroic gunfight with insurgents, when she was in fact knocked out of the fight when her vehicle crashed. Such deceptions are unnecessary and gravely disturbing. The Army has heroes aplenty; they serve and risk their lives every day. It does not need to dishonor them with false honors. And it needs to take a lesson from the Bard: “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.”