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[Pat Tillman was no red-necked, unthinking friend of the Neocons. Pat Tillman was a football star and a scholar. He was chillingly handsome; his oversized square jaw and Herculean physique made him look like GI Joe come to life. He had been openly criticizing the Bush Administration’s war on terror while serving as an active-duty US Army Ranger in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He knew the war was wrong, but continued to do his duty faithfully and energetically. He complained to Navy SEALs, fellow rangers, Special Forces; anyone who would listen. He was keeping a diary and he was looking forward to the day when he might return home to retake his position as a defensive safety for the Phoenix Cardinals.

Can you imagine what the fallout would have been if, on every sports show in the country, followed by every mainstream media outlet, the archetypal American hero had pulled the propaganda carpet fully and completely out from under Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld?

Pat Tillman’s diary never came home either.

Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in what the best-case indicates was a surreal blend of bad judgment, homicidal madness, panic, grotesque mismanagement, lies, and a cover up that is proving to have so many layers that FTW has decided to make this case a major, long-term investigative project. In part that is because we have already uncovered crimes, falsification of records, lies and—as Stan Goff will show you—disingenuousness of cosmic proportions. “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining,” Stan will tell you is an old saying. It seems like everyone’s been pissed on here—especially the American people.

Just before FTW published Part I of this series I drove to Mary Tillman’s residence in Northern California and spent an entire night hand-copying more than 2,000 pages of the Army’s investigation into Tillman’s death. All I will say is that Mary Tillman is a tough, bright, and unspeakably decent human being who does not want to be in the spotlight. She wants justice.

Except perhaps for the Kean Commission report on 9-11, in my 30 years of studying and writing criminal investigative reports, government inquiries, and court records I have never seen a more cooked and doctored piece of work than the US Army’s investigation into Tillman’s death.

There are crimes here. We will show you those crimes. Some of those crimes, we believe, lead directly to an already beleaguered Donald Rumsfeld. As just one example, Tillman’s posthumous Silver Star award was in the works even before the After-Action Report had been written. This is a complete violation of Army procedure. Who issued the orders to do that?

Many will suspect and want to know if Pat Tillman was deliberately murdered to prevent his coming home to guest spots on ESPN, CNN, and all the networks. There is no doubt that he intended to speak out. FTW can’t answer that definitively yet because Stan Goff and I have not finished going through the records. I can tell you that what we have found is enough to thoroughly discredit the Department of Defense and show multiple violations (some criminal) on the part of many officers and their civilian leadership.

We will take as long as we need to with this one. It may run into ten or more parts. It may take months. We will publish as we get each part completed.

And I can tell you that when Donald Rumsfeld decided to piss on Mary Tillman’s leg, on retired US Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Stan Goff’s leg, and on former LAPD detective Mike Ruppert’s leg, he pissed in the wrong place. We are representatives of and for the American people.

Pat Tillman was an honorable, brave, intelligent and strong-willed American. He did not support tyranny and he recognized it and name-called it when he saw it. His ultimate mistake was in believing that his fame would save him just before three American bullets blew his head off.

 “I’m Pat fucking Tillman!” he screamed. These were his last words. – MCR


The Disingenuous Boss

Stan Goff
Military/ Veterans Affairs Editor

© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.

May 18, 2006 1300 PST – (FTW)

Don’t piss on my leg, and tell me it’s raining.”

- An old expression from the military when someone insulted your intelligence with a cheap con.

[Redacted]:  Okay. Did you tell the family that saving the vehicle had to do with propaganda?

[Redacted]:  Yes sir.

[Redacted]:  And what did you mean by that?

[Redacted]:  Corporal Tillman’s mother said, “Why did you have my sons fucking dragging around this broken vehicle?” He said, “It’s $50,000. Y’all spend that all the time. Why didn’t you just run it off the side of a mountain and let it go?”

Pat Tillman was killed in three wars, and falsified in two. There was the Energy War in Southwest Asia, where he was employed as a soldier on both fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan. There was a bureaucratic war of careers, and there was a political war of legitimacy. Fratricide happens in warfare, far more often than any non-combatant can ever know. So fratricide remains part of the shooting war—in this case, the Energy War. You can be killed by it, but not falsified—that is, misrepresented—by it.

In the halls of bureaucracy, however, especially with the Officer Personnel Management System (OPMS)—a cannibalistic culture—there is a constant and covert Hobbesian war of all against all for advancement up the narrowing career-pyramid. It rivals an Elizabethan drama. And in the stratosphere of high politics, there is that most ruthless of post-modern combats, the ceaseless struggle for legitimacy. The weapons in the latter two wars are innuendo, fraud, evasion, contingent conspiracies, spin, and plausible denial.

Disingenuous is a term that describes an act of phony innocence, of pretending we don’t know any better, of playing at being naïve.

About a decade and a half ago, the predecessors of the present-day neo-conservatives in the culture wars dusted off an old term and gave it new meaning: politically correct. This term (popularized with Dinesh D'Souza’s book Illiberal Education, 1991) was derisively employed to imply that the ideas of anti-racism, anti-sexism, multi-culturalism, and so forth were really part of a new left-wing conspiracy to organize an academic orthodoxy of “social engineering.” They framed this “political correctness movement” so effectively as a weapon of de-legitimation that the term itself became a kind of orthodoxy, and even gained such popular currency that it was initialized as simply “PC.”

I want to argue here that (1) two can play at this game, and (2) that there really is a common strategy of power that we should identify and popularize to the point that the powerful can no longer get away with it. I call it the Disingenuous Boss Syndrome, or DBS. It refers to those times when bosses—suddenly cornered by their own malfeasance—feign ignorance or selective memory as a defense, in such glaringly apparent ways that it is tantamount to pissing on the public’s leg and telling us that it is raining.

Let’s think about it for a moment.

Everyone who works for pay in this society knows that there is both a formal and informal relationship between you and your boss. The formal relationship is embodied in either a written or unwritten contract—including a job description: that publicly acknowledged set of expectations about what you will do and produce. If a third party, outside your work environment were to ask what do you do, then either you or your boss would answer that question in approximately the same way. That answer would take as its point of reference some result external to the actual personal relationship you have with your boss. You maintain the organization of an office; you cold-call strangers on the telephone to sell them something; you load, unload, and display frozen food; you cut the legs off of dead chickens; you rivet wheel mounts…

That is the formal, “productive” relationship; but there is a relationship between your boss, the person, and you, the person, if you want to keep that paycheck coming, too. It is informal, and many times even more immediately felt than the formal relationship. It involves smiling at him when you don’t feel like it, laughing at his stupid fucking jokes, accepting his condescension without complaint, biting back your resentment, surrendering your will and your dignity…even your integrity.

Union organizers will tell you that the most militant labor struggles often begin not about wages and benefits, but over questions of dignity and humiliation. Exploitation is almost bearable; domination is the tough part. But you can’t have one without the other.

The toughest part of many jobs in the so-called “new economy”—“white collar” jobs—as Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream points out, is that people are reduced to such fear and insecurity they feel compelled to get “personality makeovers” to render themselves more marketable. It is an utter surrender of their personhood.

Part of every job, in fact, especially among so-called professionals (like military officers), has always been this informal aspect of the job. It has been water-witching the boss’s unspoken desires, reading between his (or her) lines. We know that job evaluations are full of ambiguities like “judgment” and “professionalism” that give the boss a subjective Damoclean sword to enforce a properly clairvoyant and servile attitude. This is the source of that beta-primate smile that swallows the bile of resentment.

This domination is magnified among those professionals who are placed in competition with one another in “up or out” systems of advancement: advancement versus expulsion. Behind all the displays of collegiality is a jungle of diplomatic tooth and claw. This enforces a kind of decades-long hyper-obedience, where one internalizes the institutional-unspoken to such a degree that it becomes a sixth sense. One quits thinking about the boss and ahead of the boss, learning to think instead like the boss. What are his ambitions, his anxieties, his routes past the dangers and obstacles of upward mobility in the narrowing pyramid?

Everyone is familiar with this. Which of us has never been forced by circumstances to eat shit for some boss?

This informal but exceedingly powerful system not only reproduces power in times of relative stability; it preserves and protects it—yes, like a police force—in times of institutional crisis. It does this through formal disingenuousness.

When something has gone terribly wrong at a very bad time, something that threatens the legitimacy of the system, this overwhelming informal power is shielded behind legalistic formality, the strict scholasticism of formal power. In the up-or-out hierarchies, this often demands the ritual sacrifice of someone comparatively close to the bottom of the pyramid. These sacrifices are excommunicated, and thereby asked to carry the burden of sin outside the body of the institution.

Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich was the “Cross-Commander” at Khost (the base was named Salerno), Afghanistan overseeing the operation of which the fated Blacksheep Platoon of Company A, 2nd Ranger Battalion was a part on April 22, 2004, when Pat Tillman was killed by his own men. Kauzlarich was given the responsibility to re-do the Article 15-6 investigation of the killing after Captain Scott, the first investigator, concluded there were violations of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) and criminal negligence. This result would have created a firestorm of curiosity, and Pat Tillman’s death had already been spun—disingenuously—even adding a posthumous Silver Star award to flesh out the attempted myth. Kauzlarich is likely the person who ordered the two “Serials” to split in order to babysit a broken Hummer, which led directly to the fratricide later that very day. In any case, he was ultimately responsible for the conduct of this operation—and any sense of urgency he expressed to meet mission timelines was transmitted to subordinates through that subordinate-to-superior telepathy they develop.

Only when confronted—five weeks later—with the fact that 600 Rangers, who were about to redeploy back stateside had already learned through the grapevine that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, did the whole chain of command come to confront the grim sketchy business of letting the family and the press know that Pat Tillman was cut down by his own platoon’s automatic weapons. The legal disingenuity, however, was already prepared. The Silver Star write-up dissimulated; it was carefully written to support the initial spin of a heroic death in mortal combat with the enemy, but to deny lying when the truth would inevitably come out.


I was Corporal Tillman’s Company Commander at the time of his death. I was the one who was providing all the information…needed to write CPL Tillman’s Silver Star recommendation. Prior to completing that award submission, we became aware that his death was a possible fratricide. [In fact, in other statements, Captain Saunders indicated that everyone was sure of it within hours. We have copies of those statements too. –SG] …We did, however, only say that he died in the incident and not include that he died by enemy fire…”

Saunders’ commander was Kauzlarich, who conducted the second investigation, in which he also investigated himself. News articles show Kauzlarich as a Major (on the Lieutenant Colonel promotion list)—a MAJ(P)—in January 2004, a Lieutenant Colonel in Afghanistan (April 2004), a MAJ(P) again later in 2004, and a Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) again by 2006. Was Kauzlarich quietly reduced to Major, put on the promotable list, and given command of another infantry battalion since then, and subsequently re-promoted?

When the questions are asked more pointedly, was it standard operating procedure to split units and travel in daylight (which someone obliged them to do in the face of vigorous objection from Platoon Leader David Uthlaut), and who passed this Silver Star recommendation to the USASOC commander (it requires a General to formally recommend this award), then the answer will almost certainly be—Kauzlarich (though not as the person giving the actual directive—who appears to have been the A Company Executive Officer; but Kauzlarich was in command of the overall mission)…and he’s been punished. The average person won’t realize that busting an officer and leaving him or her on active duty is an exception to the rule…one also applied to Janis Karpinski at Abu Ghraib, another woman with dangerous stories to tell.

Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, the first in the chain of command with the requisite rank to actually recommend the Silver Star award, now has one degree of plausible deniability. Anyone with a shred of sense knows damn well that everyone right up to the Commander in Chief knew that Pat Tillman—the most famous enlisted man in theater—was killed by friendly fire. But Kensinger can now equivocate, perhaps even lie, and say he didn’t know. He can legally piss on our leg and tell us that it’s raining.

Pat Tillman was a brave man and a good soldier. No one will deny that. But he was not killed in a terrific firefight, as the word “ambush” often suggests. He was killed at the end of a sporadic contact that lasted over 20 minutes, in which not one soldier was wounded by enemy fire, and not even one bullet hole was discovered in anyone’s vehicle. Serial 2, the lead vehicle of which killed Pat Tillman, had emerged from a contact with a handful of lightly armed assailants, firing from beyond the maximum effective range of their own weapons, on terrain that was high, but not conducive to placing effective fire on anyone.

The write-up of his Silver Star award was intentionally designed to conceal the fact of fratricide and create the impression of fierce combat. It was, in a word, a lie. Carefully worded; but a lie nonetheless, and an intentional one:

Through the firing, Tillman’s voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground.

Only after his team engaged the well-armed enemy did it appear their fires diminished.

While Tillman focused his efforts, and those of his team members without regard to his personal safety, he was shot and killed.

We will cover these events in much detail further along. But the enemy was not well-armed, nor effective. There was no enemy fire when Pat Tillman was killed. The efforts he made were focused on trying to stop his own men while they killed him and one Afghan attachment. The commands he issued were actually Pat yelling at Staff Sergeant Greg Baker’s gun-vehicle to cease-fire.

Law is deeply religious—a potent combination of mythology, faith, and ritual. It is a religion of the powerful, imposed on us all—like missionaries converting natives at the point of a bayonet.

In those rare instances when the powerful who wield the law stumble, and the law falls into our hands, and they themselves are then exposed to the blade, formality becomes their shield and the “presumption of good will and good faith” becomes their armor. This latter is a journalistic standard—informal—that is exercised with respect to powerful political figures (that are not informally official foreign enemies). The American press presumes that American political leaders are exercising good will and good faith until proven otherwise. Given the preponderance of precedent, I haven’t a clue why this would be—aside from plain class loyalty, that is.

That presumption will not operate here. Bad faith has been amply demonstrated in the case of the death of Pat Tillman, and the only questions remaining are the depth of that bad faith, and the height of the responsibility for it.

The Energy War in Southwest Asia is a real, ball-and-powder, shooting war. But Operation Mountain Storm, in which Pat Tillman was participating on April 22nd, the last day of his life, was also part of the war to defend the falling political legitimacy of the Bush administration, and from there it was translated into the war for career.

On May 6, 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was called before a Senate investigative committee over the revelations at Abu Ghraib. He did not show up alone. At his side were General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Les Brownlee, Acting Secretary of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Lieutenant General Lance L. Smith, Deputy Commander of the United States Central Command (Centcom), and Dr. Steve Cambone, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. What may have looked like a good faith effort to the non-skeptical to give the committee access to as many perspectives as possible turned out to be anything but that. It was a stunningly cynical exercise of Disingenuous Boss Syndrome (DBS).

Rumsfeld led his so-called testimony with this disclaimer:

I want to inform you of the measures under way to improve our performance in the future. Before I do that, let me say that each of us at this table is either in the chain of command or has senior responsibilities in the Department of Defense. This means that anything we say publicly could have an impact on the legal proceedings against those accused of wrongdoing in this matter. So please understand that if some of our responses to questions are measured, it is to assure that pending cases are not jeopardized by seeming to exert command influence and that the rights of any accused are protected.

So then he showed his disingenuous face. Donald Rumsfeld’s urine was beginning to trickle down our legs, as his whole phalanx of subordinates stood by to confirm that this hot liquid precipitated from the clouds.

There were exchanges like this between Senator Carl Levin and Rumsfeld:

LEVIN:  Secretary Rumsfeld, would you agree that people who authorized or suggested or prompted the conduct depicted in the pictures that we've seen as well as those who carried out those abuses, must be held accountable? That anybody who authorized, knew about, prompted, suggested in the intelligence community or otherwise, that conduct must be held accountable? That's my very direct question to you.

RUMSFELD:  The pictures I've seen depict conduct, behavior that is so brutal and so cruel and so inhumane that anyone engaged in it or involved in it would have to be brought to justice. [“Engaged or involved”…note the latter term’s ambiguity. –SG]

LEVIN:  [Levin attempts to hold Rumsfeld’s feet a bit closer to the fire. -SG] Would that include anybody who suggested it, prompted it, hinted at it, directly or indirectly? I just want to know how far up this chain you're going to go. Are you going to limit this to people who perpetrated it? Or are we going to get to the people who may have suggested it or…

RUMSFELD:  That [To what does “that” refer? -SG] is exactly why the investigation was initiated, that is why it's being brought forward, and we'll find what their conclusions are. And I'm sure they will make recommendations with respect to prosecutions. [This, of course, has nothing to do with what Levin just asked. –SG]

LEVIN:  But in terms of the standard, does anybody who recommended or suggested, directly or indirectly, that conduct in order to extract information, are they also in your judgment, if that occurred, violative of our laws and standards?

RUMSFELD:  Certainly anyone who recommended the kind of behavior that I have seen depicted in those photos needs to be brought to justice. [Admits only that action will be taken in extremely specific instances…“depicted in those photos.” –SG]

And that, dear readers, is how it is done. Now let’s look further into Rumsfeld’s penchant to duck and dodge.

Here’s a sample of the really tricky bit, when Senator McCain questioned Rumsfeld about the chain of command (something we will be asking about the Pat Tillman case, by the way):

MCAIN:  Now, Mr. Secretary, I'd like to know—I'd like you to give the committee the chain of command from the guards to you, all the way up the chain of command. I'd like to know.

RUMSFELD:  I think General Myers brought an indication of it, and we'll show it.

MCCAIN:  Thank you.

I'd like to know who was in charge of the—what agencies or private contractors were in charge of interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were their instructions to the guards?

RUMSFELD:  First, with respect to the...

SMITH:  We did not bring it.

RUMSFELD:  Oh, my.

SMITH:  Yes, oh my is right.

RUMSFELD:  It was all prepared.

SMITH:  Yes, it was, indeed.

RUMSFELD:  Do you want to walk through it?

MCCAIN:  Anyway, who was in charge? What agency or private contractor was in charge of the interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions that they gave to the guards?

SMITH:  I'll walk through the chain of command and...

MCCAIN:  No. Let's just—you can submit the chain of command, please.

WARNER:  General Smith, do you want to respond?

MCCAIN:  No. Secretary Rumsfeld, in all due respect, you've got to answer this question. And it could be satisfied with a phone call. This is a pretty simple, straightforward question: Who was in charge of the interrogations? What agencies or private contractors were in charge of the interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions to the guards?

This goes to the heart of this matter.

RUMSFELD:  It does indeed.

As I understand it, there were two contractor organizations. They supplied interrogators and linguists. And I was advised by General Smith that there were maybe a total of 40.

MCCAIN:  Now, were they in charge of the interrogations?

SMITH:  Thirty-seven interrogators, and...

WARNER:  The witnesses’ voices are not being recorded. You'll have to speak into your microphone.

Would you repeat the conversation in response to the senator's question?

SMITH:  Yes, sir. There were 37 interrogators that were...

MCCAIN:  I'm asking who was in charge of the interrogations.

SMITH:  They were not in charge. They were interrogators.

MCCAIN:  My question is who was in charge of the interrogations?

SMITH:  The brigade commander for the military intelligence brigade.

MCCAIN:  And were they—did he also have authority over the guards?

SMITH:  Sir, he was—he had tactical control over the guards, so he was...

MCCAIN:  Mr. Secretary, you can't answer these questions?

RUMSFELD:  I can. I'd be—I thought the purpose of the question was to make sure we got an accurate presentation, and we have the expert here who was in the chain of command.

Aside from the grim mirth we might all experience at all these “Oh my”s, the essence of this excerpt, emblematic of the whole inquiry, is that when Rumsfeld is being asked a question for which he might be legally held accountable at a later date, he develops selective amnesia, and punts to one of the pre-selected others in his retinue. This is a masterful exercise of Disingenuous Boss Syndrome. And the subject of it—Donald Rumsfeld—figures directly into this account of the death of Pat Tillman and the subsequent cover-up.

Here are a few comments about Herr Rumsfeld:

  • Since the day he took command of the Pentagon, Rumsfeld has been using his famous "8,000-mile screwdriver" to tilt the civil-military balance his way. According to his critics, he is Robert McNamara reborn—an arrogant micromanager, contemptuous of soldierly expertise and certain of his own infallibility. (Andrew Bacevich, Los Angeles Times)
  • To counter critics' description of Rumsfeld as a micromanager who did not listen to military leaders, the Pentagon circulated a one-page memo late last week detailing the defense secretary's frequent contacts with numerous uniformed and civilian advisers. (Associated Press)
  • If a civilian such as Donald Rumsfeld seeks to exercise from Washington functions that were traditionally those of soldiers, he should take the customary consequences. (Max Hastings, Washington Post, entitled “To the Micromanager Goes the Blame”)
  • It says Mr Rumsfeld has held 139 meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff since the beginning of 2005, and 208 meetings with the senior field commanders. The retired generals complained that Mr Rumsfeld was a "micromanager" who often ignored the advice of senior commanders. (Mark Mazzetti and Jim Rutenberg, Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Was Donald Rumsfeld a micromanager? Yes. Did he want to be involved in all of the decisions? Yes. (Michael DeLong, New York Times)
  • DoD lawyers deny the allegation, but Rumsfeld's management style, the infamous micromanagement, lends credibility to it. It's logical that a micromanager would utilize the tools of technology available to him to direct interrogations from a distance. (Daily Kos)
  • Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, former deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, said Monday he suspected Rumsfeld's critics simply didn't like Rumsfeld's management style and personality. “His management style is a tough management style,” DeLong said on NBC's “Today” show. “He's tough to work with. He is a micromanager, but he's very effective. He's very competent but very dogmatic and tough when he deals with people.” (Albuquerque Tribune)

A Google search with the terms “Donald,” “Rumsfeld,” and “micromanager” yields 10,600 results. The point being…Rumsfeld, a world-class micromanager, does not have the reputation of someone who is incapable of remembering the chain of command from himself to a high-profile, scandal-ridden military prison in Iraq.

This is not a generic demonstration of DBS, because Rumsfeld was certainly not hands-off in the case of Pat Tillman. And if Rumsfeld was interested—given the career interests of every officer below him, and the legitimacy crisis of the administration of which he is a part—everyone was interested.

The very idea that there was not involvement in the aftermath of Pat Tillman’s death that went all the way to the top of this hierarchy, including the office of the Commander-in-Chief, is absolutely ludicrous.

We can get as legalistic as we like, playing shithouse lawyer for those who consistently enjoy that journalistic “presumption of good will and good faith,” but we are trying to unearth the truth. Truth does not confine itself to the law; and these people have sacrificed—by their actions over the last three-and-a-half years—any entitlement to presumptions of good faith or good will. Exactly the contrary.

Pat Tillman was killed in three wars, and falsified in two. There was the Energy War in Southwest Asia, where he was employed as a soldier on both fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan. There was a bureaucratic war of careers, and there was a political war of legitimacy. Fratricide happens in warfare, far more often than any non-combatant can ever know. So fratricide remains part of the shooting war—in this case, the Energy War. You can be killed by it, but not falsified—that is, misrepresented—by it.

Readers have now been duly inoculated against legalism, the presumption of good will and good faith, and the Disingenuous Boss Syndrome as it applies to Donald Rumsfeld and his subordinates.

In the next edition of this investigative series, we will look at one pivotal falsification: “game planning” the crisis.

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