More Details Emerge

The latest from truthout shows that we may never fully know what happened to Corporal Pat Tillman. There are too many conflicting details. Just a few days ago, I posted about an ABC report describing differing accounts from one of Pat Tillman’s fellow soldiers and an unnamed chaplain.

The latest report gives more details about what happened from the soldier who was beside Cpl. Tillman when he died. He described the man known by many as a strong, caring man who did not put anyone down at all.

As bullets flew above their heads, the young soldier at Pat Tillman’s side started praying. “I thought I was praying to myself, but I guess he heard me,” Sgt. Bryan O’Neal recalled in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press. “He said something like, ‘Hey, O’Neal, why are you praying? God can’t help us now.”‘

Tillman’s intent, O’Neal said, was to “more or less put my mind straight about what was going on at the moment.”

“He said, ‘I’ve got an idea to help get us out of this,”‘ said O’Neal, who was an 18-year-old Army Ranger in Tillman’s unit when the former NFL player was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004.

O’Neal said Tillman, a corporal, threw a smoke grenade to identify themselves to fellow soldiers who were firing at them. Tillman was waving his arms shouting “Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!” again and again when he was killed, O’Neal said.

But some unnamed chaplain gave a different version of the story. Why is the chaplain’s name blacked out? I could understand those who talked with the chaplain, but why black out the chaplain’s name. Perhaps there was not a chaplain. Perhaps this was just a smear on Pat Tillman.

A chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman’s death later described this exchange to investigators conducting a criminal probe of the incident. But O’Neal strongly disputes portions of the chaplain’s testimony, outlined in some 2,300 pages of transcripts released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The chaplain told investigators that O’Neal said Tillman was harsh in his last moments, snapping, ‘Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God’s not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling …”

“He never would have called me ‘sniveling,”‘ O’Neal said. “I don’t remember ever speaking to this chaplain, and I find this characterization of Pat really upsetting. He never once degraded me. He’s the only person I ever worked for who didn’t degrade anyone. He wasn’t that sort of person.”

The chaplain’s name is blacked out in the documents.

I wonder who in the unit the chaplain talked to (if there was any chaplain involved at all). With the troubles occurring with the chaplains in the Army lately, one cannot know who to believe. And the largest group of chaplains in the military belong to evangelical pentecostal denominations who have little love for atheists.

Soldiers and commanders who worked with Tillman have repeatedly testified that he was respected, admired and well-liked.

In the same testimony, medical examiners said the bullet holes in Tillman’s head were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

O’Neal said the shooters were “close, close enough for me to recognize them, but they sure weren’t 10 yards away. They were further than that. I’ve thought about this plenty of times. They wouldn’t have been more than 50 yards away.”

This sort of makes one wonder if there were those in Cpl. Tillman’s unit who wanted him dead. Perhaps not O’Neal, but the ones doing the shooting and just maybe pretending not to recognize who they were shooting at. Just maybe I’m too cynical about the whole incident. But having been at the receiving end of death threats issued to my face by these sorts of Christians, I’m not surprised by the amount of hate carried by “God’s enforcers”.

Decidedly Unfriendly Fire

Continuing hearings into the death of Corporal Pat Tillman have shown that the Army and the administration have been lying and covering up the details of his death. Unfortunately for them the truth is coming out. And an ugly truth it is. Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan in 2004 of supposedly “enemy fire” despite the lack of an enemy in the area. It took some 5 weeks of pushing for information by his family to reveal that “friendly” fire took his life.

Now more details are coming out. It looks like the fire was not so “friendly” at all. That the “friendly” fire may have been deliberate. Pat Tillman was a fairly outspoken atheist and kept a journal during his tour in Afghanistan. That journal was supposedly later burned by his fellow soldiers after his death.

It has been widely reported by the AP and others that Spc. Bryan O’Neal, who was at Tillman’s side as he was killed, told investigators that Tillman was waving his arms shouting “Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!” again and again.

But the latest documents give a different account from a chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman was killed.

The chaplain said that O’Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman’s side, “crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God’s not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling …”

and

Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman’s forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player’s death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

and

The doctors whose names were blacked out said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

How the hell can you not recognize someone from about 30 feet away? Since hearing about this some months ago, I’ve been very suspicious that he was murdered. But I thought that perhaps I was being a little paranoid.

I wonder who really shot Cpl. Tillman and if his atheism had something to do with it. And the fact that I’m speculating about this at all is the sad result when religion is pushed in the military. The military cannot afford to let religious zealots compromise unit cohesiveness. A soldier then cannot trust his fellow soldiers to guard his back and support him when needed the most.

There have been horror stories of religious coercion coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan since the war started. Is this the result when a soldier tells someone to fuck off when they are trying to push their religion? That later under a stressful situation, something untoward may happen? And what about those that hid the truth and the ones who may have indeed killed him on purpose, will they be punished? Or perhaps they will have to live with his death on their conscience, or do they really care at all? According to some of these evangelical Christians, what’s one more dead atheist after all.

This is Becoming Rather Cliche

Another conservative sex scandal has erupted, so to speak. Coy Privette, an activist for several conservative Christian groups was charged with several counts of solicitation of a prostitute.

“We have a responsibility to reserve judgment,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director, “but it’s also important to preserve the integrity of this organization.”

Yeah, sure you’re reserving judgment. Perhaps he was just emulating Jesus, who seemed to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors.

“Just as his pastor, I’m trying to reach out to him and his wife and let him know we still love him,” Prather said.

Looks like a lot of conservative Christians looking for love in all the wrong places.

Another Conservative Kinkster

From Crooks and Liars. Bob Allen, McCain’s Florida Campaign Co-Chair, was arrested by an off duty police officer for trying to pay the officer to get a blow job from Allen for $20. You know, I think he did this backwards. Isn’t someone supposed to pay to get a blow job?

Looks like he’s going down. Heh Heh Heh.

Nazi Chaplains: Just Say Nay?

In a previous post I discussed the army chaplain, Capt. Nay. I was flabbergasted at his lack of judgment. In fact I was so taken aback, I needed to take some time to put a really proper response to his outrageous actions of setting up an alleged neo-Nazi display at an officer’s club of all places.

In the military, one does not have completely free speech. It is easy to see why. The military follows a strict chain of command, it is not an armed mob. As it has been said, “The military is here to preserve democracy, not practice it“. One voluntarily gives up a portion of one’s constitutional rights upon joining the military. Capt Nay is not free to spout his racist, antisemitic garbage. Especially on a military base in an officer’s club. By doing so, he undermines command authority. Subordinates who see these actions taken by a superior officer would lose their trust in the authority of such an officer. In particular, those subordinates that are the subjects of his bigotry would loose any respect for such an officer. As an officer, he should know this. And as a chaplain, he should know that his job is to minister to all military members, not just the ones he approves of.

As a former Air Force officer, I’m dismayed by the actions of this chaplain and his superiors. One would think that the first action they would take would be to conduct an investigation and then remove him from his capacity as a chaplain if the investigation warrants it. Apparently from the article from truthout, the Army investigated him and found that the allegations against Nay were true. Chaplains are officers first and ministers second. Like all military members, they take an oath to uphold the constitution. Chaplains are also charged with providing for the spiritual needs of all military members, not only those they agree with theologically. If he is not willing to do so, then he should be discharged.

By displaying Nazi paraphernalia in such a manner and not discouraging the resulting anti-Semitic remarks, he has displayed his utter unfitness to be either a chaplain or any other type of military officer. What junior officer or enlisted person would trust this person or the chaplaincy chain of command for allowing such behavior?

It appears that Capt. Nay is not cut out to be a military chaplain. He should be discharged and perhaps he can be a minister in some church, perhaps a Christian Identity type of church. There he can find like minded individuals who can fully appreciate his racism and antisemitism.

Update:
I was contacted by Chaplain Nay. Here is our conversation. He seems to be a believer in many conspiracy theories.

Save Vitter’s Penis

Hilarious, just hilarious. Someone should take up a collection and air the ad in his district. I wonder if Pampers would be a sponsor.

Nazi Chaplains: Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that I had met Mikey Weinstein at a book lecture and signing at the Center for Inquiry West last month. During the Q&A session I asked him a question about any links between the dominionists and hate groups. He acknowledged that there were some problems occurring, but really did not answer the question directly.

Well just today, there is a very disturbing article on truthout, Swastikas at Hunter Airfield and a Rabbi on the Run. He was contacted by Rabbi Jeffrey Goldman last month. This may have been the reason Mikey Weinstein was reluctant to discuss the matter at the book lecture.

Mikey Weinstein, head of the watchdog group The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said Goldman approached him last month after reading a story reported by Truthout in which Weinstein exposed a pattern of anti-Semitism displayed in Biblical teachings by chaplains at Fort Leavenworth.

In another post, I had wondered if there were any links between dominionists military chaplains and hate groups. I guess today’s article answers my question with a resounding “Yes”. Behaving this way openly, indicates that this chaplain may be deeply involved in some sort of hate group.

According to documents obtained by Truthout, an investigation by the Army Inspector General into Goldman’s claims of anti-Semitism shows that in May 2001, Captain Robert Nay, a Christian chaplain at the Fort Stewart Army base, hung Nazi uniforms and swastikas on the wall of the officers’ club at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, during a May 23, 2001 interfaith prayer breakfast Goldman was ordered to attend.

There are so, so many things wrong with this on so many levels. I almost don’t know where to start. Even though I’m not Jewish, as a former Air Force officer, I would have been extremely offended if I walked into an officer’s club and saw this type of display. And I don’t think these Nazi items were there as part of a WWII display. This type of behavior has no place on a military base, where military members and their families all live and work together. It certainly does not promote a unified military force and certainly tears apart any semblance of order at this army base.

This bigoted chaplain, Capt. Nay, certainly seems to have forgotten that he is first and foremost a military officer, not some sort of drunken, ignorant, Klan/neo-Nazi member living in a shack/trailer/compound. As a military officer, he is expected to uphold a certain standard of behavior, which I see he is sadly lacking in.

Goldman says he complained about Nay’s anti-Semitic tirades to his Fort Stewart chaplain supervisor, Major Larry Sharp. In a sworn affidavit, Goldman said Sharp told him that he “needed to get along with people who hate Jews.” Moreover, Goldman was then informed by Sharp that he would now be reporting directly to Nay. Goldman said he immediately contacted Rabbi David Lapp, head of the Jewish Chaplains Council in New York, who had sponsored Goldman’s chaplain service in the military.

Holy Shit! WTF? He has to work for the asshole who is making bigoted remarks and actions? I hope he sues and wins big time. This is unbelievable, absolutely un-fucking-believable.

“I would have willingly gone to Afghanistan,” Goldman said. “I just didn’t want to be subjected to anti-Semitism at Fort Stewart. The whole reason I volunteered to become a chaplain is because I was eager to help Jewish kids who chose the military and needed spiritual guidance while being far away from home serving” in the Army. “Rabbi Lapp told me over and over again not to rock the boat in the military and that I should just do what the goyim(gentiles) want and keep four meters away from the people who were anti-Semitic.”

He would rather go to Afghanistan than to Ft. Stewart. That in itself tells me how bad the situation was. That he felt that the anti-Semites at Ft. Stewart were worse than the ones in Afghanistan (Muslim extremists). It also sounds like Rabbi Lapp is a rather frightened appeaser, someone who 60 years ago would have simply gotten on a train or stepped in a shower in order to “not rock the boat”.

The Army’s criminal division responded to McTeague’s letter on October 13, 2004, saying the desertion charges would stand and urging Goldman to turn himself in to US military authorities to face a court-martial. Moreover, the Army said there was no truth to any of Goldman’s claims of anti-Semitism – in contradiction with the Army’s own internal investigation.

Looks like the Army was trying to cover this up. The military really needs to get rid of these Nazi chaplains. This is what happens when the army scrapes the bottom of the barrel for recruits and ignores its own directives about not hiring hate group members.

Update:
I was contacted by Chaplain Nay. Here is our conversation. He seems to be a believer in many conspiracy theories.