Jon Krakauer has woven an exploration of the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into the story of Pat Tillman who was killed by friendly fire in an isolated gorge in southeastern Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.
Tillman had a promising career in the NFL. He walked away from it, May 22, 2002. The 9/11 terrorist attack compelled him to join the Army to do his part to fight the threat to America. He had no idea what he had signed himself up for and even though he and his brother, Kevin, who joined at the same time, were disappointed and disillusioned, they persevered and made it into the elite Army Rangers. They deployed together first to Saudi Arabia and then to Afghanistan. Pat left Marie, his wife of 18 days and his family to fight in a conflict that was destined to fail. He was involved in the rescue of Jessica Lynch, an earlier victim of friendly fire. When he was pinned down on that hill in Afghanistan, there was no rescue for him. Tillman died when his own unit fired on him and two fellow soldiers, one an Afghan. What followed was more horrifying than his actual death which was terrible. The Army and the chain of command all the way to the White House, Dick Cheney and the Commander in Chief, President George Bush, maintained the bald lie that Pat Tillman had been killed by the Taliban in a heroic battle. A third of the book is devoted to the duplicity of the Army, their reluctance to tell the truth about Tillman's death and the lengths his mother and family had to go to to get to the truth. This is an American tragedy.
"...21 percent of the casualties in World War 11 were attributable to friendly fire, 39 percent of the casualties in Vietnam, and 52 percent of the casualties in the first Gulf War." page 343- Where Men Win Glory.
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