Thursday, October 28, 2010

Linda Norgrove, Pat Tillman and the lies told in war

photo from the funeral of Linda Norgrove on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides

There has been little reporting here in Australia about the death in Afghanistan of British aid worker Linda Norgrove who was killed by US Special Forces in a failed rescue attempt.

On October 8, US navy special forces attempted to rescue Norgrove from her Taliban captors, however she was killed by a fragmentation grenade thrown by US forces into the compound where she was being held. Afghan negotiators were planning to negotiate her release at the time the US forces attacked.

Originally the US claimed that Norgrove had been killed by her captors, however investigation by the Guardian newspaper confirmed that she had been killed by a grenade thrown by an US soldier, who is subsequently being investigated for failing to tell the truth about what happened.

The Guardian's investigations are a reminder that the official reports of incidents in battle are usually self serving and inaccurate.

Norgrove's death is reminiscent of the death of Pat Tilman, the former US footballer who gave up a million dollar contract to serve in Afghanistan only to be killed in action by fire from other US soldiers. Tillman’s unit burned his body armour and uniform in an attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by friendly fire.
US military authorities, including senior White House officials exploited Tillman's death by concocting a story he had been killed in action by the Taliban.  Military authorities and the Bush White House then covered up the real events in order to exploit Tilman's story and the return of his corpse to maximize recruitment opportunities and avoid negative publicity about the war. Tilman's story is documented in a book and a new film.  

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