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NOBODY HAS EVER REALLY PAID A PRICE FOR WHAT WAS DONE TO THE TILLMANS

July 26th 2010 Letter to The Tillman Story Director Amir Bar-Lev

we have all been betrayed. It isnt just our family. Every time they betray a soldier, they betray all of us. We had officers that we trusted. We had high regard for them. in your heart they are your kids and you turn them over, and we trusted. we knew they [Pat & Kevin] could die or they could come back wounded But we never thought that they would use him the way they did -- Mary Tillman, Congressional testimony (April 24, 2007) "There is another man who will not be in the room. That is Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal ... Because of his extraordinarily sensitive position with covert special forces, he is not appearing in public. And so he will not be questioned further by the [House Oversight] committee in an open hearing." [italics added] -- Barbara Starr (CNN, August 1, 2007) theres been no culpability on the second half of this tragedy, which is the higher ups trying to cover it up. to borrow a football metaphor, they [Tillman family] ran the ball 99 yards over four years time, they handed it off at the one-yard line to Congress and they fumbled it. -- Amir Bar-Lev (July 20th 2010) This is an unsolved mystery; nobody has ever really paid a price for what was done to the Tillmans, he said. No one has taken accountability or made an admission for a deliberate attempt to conceal the truth. This story is not over yet. -- Amir Bar-Lev, (June 24th 2010)

Letter to The Tillman Story Director Amir Bar-Lev


[edited from July 26, 2010 letter] On January 29th, shortly before the Sundance premiere of your film, The Tillman Story, I sent you a brief e-mail that described how the Democratic Congress and Obama Presidency have protected General McChrystal. You replied, thanks for your email -- Have you seen the film? I'm pretty hard on the Democratic Congress! Well, a month ago, I drove 10 hours from Michigan to finally see your film at the Silver Docs Film Festival in DC (and the following day drove a more sedate 13 hours back home). A bit extreme, literally driving half the weekend, but I wanted to see your film before its August 20 th release and possibly speak with you (and the road-trip was a good excuse to see an old college roommate). Thanks again for creating your beautiful film. The beginning and end of the film, with Pat just looking at the camera was especially poignant. And it was good to see Stan Goff on the screen again (I first saw him in 2004s Hijacking Catastrophe). And the Tillman family, especially Richard dropping his F-bombs, were f----ing great (I still like your films original title, Im Pat Fucking Tillman, it works on several levels, although I think your final choice is most fitting). [Postscript: WTF! What an obscenity the MPAA gave the film an R rating. Fuck them] During the Q & A session after your films Silver Docs screening, I asked why your film ended with Congressman Waxmans August 2007 hearing. I believe your films account of the coverup ended too soon; the cover-up continued through General McChrystals June 10th 2009 Senate confirmation as the Commander of the Afghan War (and continues to this day). Unfortunately, I never got the chance to talk with you afterwards. Just before you left the theatre, I did hand you a binder with an outline of my Feral Firefighters Tillman Files. I regret not pressing to speak with you further; I think we both would have enjoyed sharing our knowledge of the Tillman story. ... At the end of his April 2007 Tillman hearing, Congressman Waxman says in frustration, What we have is a very clear, deliberate abuse intentionally done. Why is it so hard to find out who did it? His House Oversight Committees July 2008 final report blamed a pervasive lack of recollection that made it impossible to assign responsibility. After finally seeing your film, I would still argue that you werent hard enough on Congress. True, your film does portray Congressman Waxmans Oversight Committee as fumbling in their questioning and ineptly allowing themselves to be stonewalled by a long series of I dont recall by Rumsfeld and top Army generals.

But, it wasnt just stonewalling by Bush and the Army. It wasnt a lack of Congresss courage or will. It wasnt Congresss loathing to call Rumsfeld and the Army generals out on their bullshit. In reality, the Tillman cover-up has been a thoroughly bipartisan affair. The Democratic Congress didnt just fumble the ball, they threw the game. The Army and Bush administration handed off its cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death to the Democratic Congress and Obama administration. Congressman Waxmans House Oversight Committees 2007 investigation was a pro-forma sham. President Obama nominated Gen. McChrystal to be promoted to the Armys highest rank despite apparently knowing of his key role in the cover-up. Then the Senate held a perfunctory confirmation hearing for McChrystals before confirming his promotion (and they had held a secret confirmation hearing in 2008 for McChrystals previous promotion). The untold story is that the Army made General Kensinger the scapegoat for General McChrystals key role in the cover-up, the Democratic Congress betrayed the Tillman family by pretending to investigate while they protected McChrystal from public scrutiny, and then President Obama and the Senate promoted McChrystal to the Armys highest rank despite his complicity in the cover-up: Waxmans House Oversight Committees so-called investigation (like the DoD IG investigation) was not an honest attempt to get at the truth. Despite the concerns raised by his Committee during their April 2007 hearing about the altered Silver Star witness statements and falsified award citation, they never looked further into Gen. McChrystals role, who was at the very center of these actions. They failed to scrutinize General McChrystals key role in writing the fraudulent Silver Star, altering witness statements, early knowledge of fratricide, failure to inform the family, and his deceptive P4 memo. It appears that Waxmans Committee acted to shield McChrystal from public scrutiny. Although McChrystal was invited to testify at the August 2007 hearing, McChrystal declined and never appeared. Yet, Waxman never explained his absence. [I recently found a CNN quote that appears to show the Committee held a secret, closed hearing with McChrystal]. 12-28-10 UPDATE: Ive placed the full transcript of the CNN 8-01-07 broadcast in Appendix D3 . Now, although a closed hearing was possibly held, I think its more probable Barbara Starr was referring to McChrystals interview with the DoD IG. During Spring 2008, after receiving my April 3rd letter asking him to help Mary Tillman, Senator James Webb conducted a secret review of McChrystals role in the Tillman case. Senator Jamess Webb betrayal of the Tillman family cuts me the deepest. Ive trusted his sense of honor for thirty years. If anyone in Congress should have cared, it would have been him. Webb, as a young Marine veteran, spent 8 years to clear the name

of a dead Marine for his mothers sake! Im hard on Webb not because I dislike the man, but that Im disillusioned by him. As an old man and politician, hes turned into exactly what he once reviled as a young veteran! On May 15th 2008, while Mary Tillman was in Washington, D.C. on her book tour, the Senate Armed Services Committee (headed by Levin and McCain) held a secret executive session where McChrystal testified in detail about his actions behind closed doors. Shortly afterwards, the Senate promoted him to Director of the Joint Staff. The following year, on May 11th 2009, President Obama nominated McChrystal to be his new commander of the Afghan War despite McChrystals key role in the Tillman cover-up. On May 13th, Obama gave the ASU commencement address at Sun Devil Stadium without once mentioning Pat Tillman, presumably to avoid embarrassing questions about his McChrystal nomination. That same day, Obama back-pedaled on his previous decision to release torture photos, presumably because some may have shown torture by JSOC forces under McChrystals command. On May 20th, Senators Lieberman, Graham, and McCain (working with the White House) introduced a bill (The McChrystal Protection Act of 2009) to change the FOIA law to block the release of photos showing detainee abuse. The Senate passed it the next day. On June 2nd 2009, The Senate Armed Services Committee held General McChrystals confirmation hearing for his promotion to four-star general and Afghan war commander. The hearing was strictly pro-forma. Senators Levin, McCain, and Webb didn't press McChrystal aggressively. The real hearing was held behind closed doors in 2008. On June 10th, the Senate confirmed General McChrystals promotion by unanimous consent after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made an impassioned plea on the floor. But, despite General McChrystals key role in the Tillman cover-up, he was barely a footnote in your film (only mentioned as the P4 memos author, his photo appeared briefly on a chain of command chart). However, I believe McChrystal is the thread to pull on, to unravel what you referred to as the unsolved mystery; nobody has ever really paid a price for what was done to the Tillmans. No one has taken accountability or made an admission for a deliberate attempt to conceal the truth. This story is not over yet. ... The Tillman Story will be released on August 20th. During your Q & A session, you urged the audience to spread the word to friends and hurry to see the movie, warning that documentary

films dont usually have a long run. Hopefully, since much of the Tillman story is unknown to the general public, your film will be compelling enough to have a decent run on its own merits. However, as it now stands, your film wont create much controversy or news. Your film tells the story of how the Army and the Bush administration used Pats death as a propaganda tool to promote the war and take the edge off the Abu Gharaib torture scandal. Nothing that hasnt been reported previously (although your film does visually pull the story together). The Republicans have already dismissed the film as Bush-bashing propaganda and left-wing revisionism. The Democrats will look backwards and point to the evils of the past perpetuated by the bad Bush administration. You could create controversy and news (as a bonus more people will want to see your film and learn more about the Pat Tillman story) by telling the untold story of how the Democratic Congress & President Obama betrayed the Tillman family. In addition, your film would be seen as independently bashing both Democrats & Republicans. And, your film would piggy-back on the recent controversy surrounding General McChrystals recent firing by President Obama. How could you tell the untold story? Well, its probably far too late to reopen the film (as you did for Richards interview) but perhaps the release date could be pushed back to allow for further edits? Possibly, you could add an Epilogue to run at the end of your film? Perhaps more feasible would be to release some extra footage to the media as part of your promotional efforts prior to the films release? Or, at the very least, you could tell some the untold story using your DVD extras. ... During a Fox News interview, you said, nobody has ever really paid a price for what was done to the Tillmans. The release of The Tillman Story is your chance to make these politicians pay a political price. None of the higher-ups trying to cover it up will ever pay a price unless you also tell at least some of the untold story. Just before the 2006 mid-term elections, Kevin Tillman published his eloquent letter, After Pats Birthday at truthdig.com: Somehow torture is tolerated. Somehow lying is tolerated. Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated. Somehow a narrative is more important than reality. Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground. Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country. Somehow this is tolerated. Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In 2006, Kevin had hoped the election of a Democratic Congress would bring accountability back to our country. But, just as with warrantless wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brothers friendly-fire death have never been held accountable for their actions. As the Obama administration is fond of saying, Theyre moving forward, not looking backward. Its not surprising that after the initial fratricide cover-up fell apart, Army officers and the Bush administration lied to protect their careers. But the Democratic Congress, after they took control of both Houses of Congress in 2006, could have gone after those responsible. Or at least not promoted them! President Obama and the Democratic Congress are responsible for continuing the Bush administrations Tillman cover-up. Those most culpable (including Congressman Waxman, Senator Webb, Senator McCain, Senator Levin, and President Obama) have not yet paid any political price for their betrayal of the Tillman family. But, as your film currently stands, it gives these politicians a pass on their role in the cover-up. ... Since I returned home from my DC road trip, Ive been working on The [Untold] Tillman Story President Obama & Congresss Bipartisan Whitewash of General Stanley McChrystals Key Role in the Cover-Up of Pat Tillmans Friendly-Fire Death. Over the past few years, scattered throughout my Tillman Files, Ive told the story of the bipartisan Tillman cover-up. This document attempts to update the story and pull together the story into one place: The Tillman Story Congresss Oversight Committee Fumbled the Ball is a partial transcript of your films depiction of Secretary of the Army Secretary Gerens briefing on the Wallace Review and Congressman Waxmans hearing (obviously its not totally accurate or using precise quotes since its based only on my recollection of seeing the movie). The [Untold] Tillman Story Congress Didnt Fumble, They Threw the Game is my script that explains how the Army made General Kensinger the scapegoat for General McChrystals sins, uses McChrystals own testimony to show his complicity, and describes how Congressman Waxmans investigation was a continuation of the Armys cover-up. Ive broken the script up into sections using prose from my other Tillman Files to give background detail. The [Untold] Tillman Story -- Obamas Big-Time Fumble is an epilogue that describes events after The Tillman Story ends with the August 2007 hearing. It updates the story to the present day, by showing how President Obama and the Senate have protected General McChrystal from scrutiny (and promoted him twice.

And, Ive also posted my draft Appendices to The [Untold] Tillman Story with my working notes and links to source documents. These Appendices are a work in progress; some are pretty much completely edited, while others are simply a raw collection of notes.

THE TILLMAN STORY DVD REVIEW


(released February 2011) Amir Bar-Lev's film The Tillman Story contributes to the restoration of Pat Tillmans legacy by honoring the man, not the myth. The iconoclast, not the icon. As his mother said, Pat would have wanted to be remembered as an individual, not as a stock figure or political prop. Pat was a real hero, not what they used him as. Amir Bar-Lev, the films director, tells three stories that interweave together throughout his film: a biography of Pat Tillman (growing up, playing in the NFL, joining the Army Rangers with his brother Kevin after 9/11), how he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 and his friendly-fire death covered up by the Army, and his family's battle to learn the truth after smokescreens were thrown in their face by the highest levels of the Army and government (both Republicans and Democrats). The Tillman Story is an apt title. The film follows the outline of Mary Tillmans memoir Boots on the Ground by Dusk, many of the interviews are with members of the Tillman family (mother, father, brother, and wife) and the film is centered around their experiences in the aftermath of Pat Tillmans death. The Tillmans are a loyal, close-knit family that displays much more honor and integrity than their countrys leadership. The film uses nicely selected & edited news clips and interviews that portray an iconoclastic Pat Tillman not widely known to the public a fiercely independent thinker, an avid reader, and critic of the Iraq war (this war is so fucking illegal). Pat was a remarkable man who was driven by a core of honesty and integrity, led by personal example, and lived his life intensely. . See the film. Nearly everything most people think they know about Pat Tillman, his family, and the story is wrong. And the film has more humor and laughs than you would expect, especially if you don't mind a few f-bombs; the original title of the film was "I'm Pat Fucking Tillman!" which fits better in some respects: those were Pat Tillmans last words, the Tillman family drops F-bombs where appropriate (or not) and it suggests that Pat Tillman was more complex than his iconic image. The beginning and end of the film, with Pat just looking at the camera was especially poignant for me. In 2005, I was angered that the truth about Pats life and death had been buried by the media and government. Tillman was enshrined as an icon while the man fell by the wayside, his family used as props at his funeral for war propaganda. Pats family still dont have the meager consolation of knowing the full truth about his death. The truth may be painful, but its the truth, his mother said. If you feel youre being lied to, you can never put it to rest. I hope the Oscar judges are also moved by "The Tillman Story". It would be great if the film was awarded Best Documentary (or at least placed in the final five on 1/25/11). Except for Restrepo, I havent yet seen the other Oscar contenders. Perhaps The Tillman Story is not

technically the best documentary of the bunch, but I believe it tells the best, most compelling story. The Tillman Story documentary is a good introduction to the Pat Tillman story. However, the director Amir Bar-Lev tried to cover a lot of ground in only 94 minutes (he cut the film down from 2 1/2 hours). At times the film rushes through the material passing over the details (especially concerning the cover-up of Tillmans friendly-fire death). To fill in the details, Id suggest starting with Gary Smiths profile Remember His Name (si.com 9-11-06), Mike Fishs An Un-American Tragedy series (2006 espn.com), and the most recent profile by Mick Brown Betrayal of an All-American Hero (The Telegraph 10-07-10). For books, Id suggest Mary Tillman's memoir "Boots on the Ground by Dusk" (at blurb website with a preview) which the film was largely based upon, or Jon Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory" (revised paperback has more on Army cover-up). But, although Krakuaer has the best account of the actual friendly-fire incident and the Armys cover-up, his book is a flawed work since Krakauer lost the trust and cooperation of the Tillman family (except for Marie) and failed to describe how President Obama and the Democratic Congress continued the Bush administration & Army cover-up). For blogs, try John T. Reeds Tillman posts (see his military articles at johntreed website) and The [Untold] Tillman Story at the feralfirefighter blog. ... Amir Bar-Lev: when I've shown the film to left-wing audiences. Their takeaway is, what a horrible [Bush] administration we just had! I think that's letting yourself off the hook, as if there were just a handful of bad apples, and thank God they're gone. Shortly after Sundance, Bar-Lev emailed me that "he was pretty hard on the Democratic Congress in his film." True, his film does portray Congressman Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee as ineptly failing to get answers from the top military leadership during their hearing. However, the film missed telling the untold story that President Obama and the Democratic Congress continued the Bush & Army cover-up by shielding Gen. Stanley McChrystal (and other officers) from scrutiny of his central role in the cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death. This cover-up was a thoroughly bi-partisan affair. It wasnt just a case of the Bush administration and the Army stonewalling the Democratic Congress. Congress didnt just fumble the ball, they threw the game. It's not surprising that after their initial cover-up of Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death fell apart, Army officers and the Bush administration lied to protect themselves. But after they took control

of Congress in 2006, the Democrats (including Congressman Waxman, Senator Levin, and Senator Webb) could have gone after those responsible. Or at least not promoted them! Just before the 2006 mid-term elections, Kevin Tillman published his eloquent letter, "After Pat's Birthday" at truthdig.com: Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few bad apples in the military. Somehow torture is tolerated. Somehow lying is tolerated. Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated. Somehow a narrative is more important than reality. Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground. Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country. Somehow this is tolerated. Somehow nobody is accountable for this. Kevin had hoped a Democratic Congress would bring accountability back to our country. But, just as with warrant-less wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brother's friendly-fire death have never been held accountable for their actions.

Amir Bar-Lev: You don't make these films to show your friends and family. You make them to have an impact. Screening the film there was part of a larger strategy to return Pat to his family and to restore the legacy Pat would have wanted. Last July, I sent Amir Bar-Lev a letter arguing his film would have greater "impact" if he also told the untold story of the complicity of President Obama and the Democratic Congress in continuing the Bush administration & Army cover-up of Tillman's friendly-fire death up through Gen. McChrystals June 2009 Senate confirmation. But, he didnt update his film. Consequently, "The Tillman Story" was ignored by the news media since it didn't reveal any "news" about the Tillman story. The film simply wasn't very controversial. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who supervised much of the Armys cover-up and directed the writing of the fraudulent Silver Star (with fabricated witness statements), was barely a footnote. And, the film failed to show how President Obama and Democratic Congress continued the Bush administration and Army cover-up to protect Gen. McChrystal (among others). Largely because of a lack of publicity & controversy, the film had a peak showing at only 28 theaters (with a gross of only $800,000).

Hopefully, Amir Bar-Lev added extra features to his DVD that tell at least some of the untold story described in The [Untold] Tillman Story at the feralfirefighter blog (including parallels to Yoni Netanyahu who died at Entebbe in 1976 and Rachel Corrie who Pat Tillman called my hero).

Interviews with The Tillman Story Director Amir Bar-Lev


Note: The following are re-arranged excerpts from interviews with The Tillman Story director Amir Bar-Lev from January 2010 to December 2010. See last page for Bibliography with links to interviews. ... Amir Bar-Lev, the director of The Tillman Story, didnt get going on the project until 2007, when he attended a key Congressional hearing into Tillmans death. They [the Tillman family] had been sorely disappointed in the media so far and they wanted to make sure we werent carrying on in the same superficial vein. the family just wasn't interested in a film that sought to deconstruct or psychoanalyze Pat. We felt a tremendous obligation to get the story right and Dannies [Mary Tillman] book did a lot of the work for us. Her book [Boots on the Ground by Dusk] is kind of the script for the film in some ways. So we worked really close with them. Without the Tillman family, I couldnt have done the movie, he says. Candid interviews with Tillmans parents, his wife and his closest buddy in the Army, who was there when Tillman died but was told to shut up, are interspersed throughout the documentary. We worked on the film for three years, and tried to be very deliberate and careful with our argument. Because of that, only a few people in the blogosphere have come back with some rather sloppy rebuttals of the film. Few people have found it to be partisan or one-sided. Most see it as capturing the real Pat Tillman. We wanted it [the film] to reflect our own experience, which was to start with the myth and unravel it. As far as Pat goes, we rode a fine line with the film, and that line was that we wanted to demythologize Pat, but we didnt want to dissect him. You get a sense where the Pat Tillman you thought you knew was a myth, but you also dont feel like you need to know exactly what the replacement myth is, you know? The director says he borrowed from the structure of films by Quentin Tarrantino and Serge Leones Once Upon a Time in America, which keep coming back to a pivotal day. You start with Pats death, but you also have to end with his death. It required us to create a braid of several narrative threads. we got excited early on about this sort of unconventional structure that the film has, which involves starting with his death and then taking a cloverleaf chronology so you come back to the death at a certain point.

Why did you change the films original title, Im Pat Fucking Tillman? We wanted to originally call it Im Pat Fucking Tillman but there were a couple of problems with that, not the least of which was that people kept thinking the film was [titled] Im Fucking Pat Tillman. It also limits the audience if youre being realistic about it, and theres an opportunity with this film to reach audiences that normally dont watch documentaries. [The Tillman family] liked that title. Whats most powerful about that old title, and it holds true as the line in the film, is theres a very supernatural foreshadowing on the part of Pat Tillman. [Not many know that those were his last words before being killed] and its really powerful when you get to that point in the film, but people dont get it leading up. his last words, Im Pat fucking Tillman, work on a couple of levels. The most obvious level is he was trying to tell his platoon mates who were shooting at him from 40 meters away that he was a friendly. And then the second level is hes swearing [which all the Tillmans do often]. But the third level, the prescient level, is it functions as a call from the dead to the future where he would have to insist on who he actually was. Its almost a call from beyond to say, Im not this person, Im just Pat Tillman. Thats why I liked it as a title because immediately, less than a minute after he said those words, that mythology and the lying began. And not just from the soldiers on the ground or the higher ups back at base, but all of us, the media, the culture, everybody. But The Tillman Story Ive come to like more. I think its the right title because its a film more about a story than it is about Pat.

The film is a powerful indictment of the military Its infuriating, adding insult to injury in the way they treated Pats family. As a documentary filmmaker, is it tough to remain objective when you feel strongly about a subject? I dont try and remain objective. I sympathize with the family, plainly. I think that what I aspire to, rather than objectivity, is not being a polemicist. And to the degree that there are counter arguments to my own, I try to present them but in this particular case, the counter argument to telling the truth is not very valid. we did at the very beginning think about trying to reach a wider audience, including those in the military community. Very early on, we understood that we had a unique opportunity to tell the story of a guy -- Pat Tillman -- with broad appeal across a wide political spectrum. Pat's story already had been co-opted by both sides of the aisle. We didn't want to do that again with our film.

We didn't set out to make an anti-war film. We set out to make an anti-myth film. I didn't want to take a position on whether we should be in Afghanistan or not, or whether we should have gone to Iraq or not for a number of reasons. I think that's a part of Pat Tillman's story, but I think it would make the film too topical. But to me, this was a story that I wanted to have resonance that was a lot more timeless than that. That had to do with things that have been happening since the time of Wittgenstein and since the time of the Iliad. My dad has been reading the Iliad and the Odyssey and I'd talk to him and he was really struck by the parallels. It's a very old story, that warriors are glorified. That the truth of war is shrouded in this golden patina.

What sort of research did you do for the film? Were there roadblocks from the military? One of the more interesting elements of the research was this conceptual scavenger hunt that we went on that involved pulling a lot of archival and responding to what we found. It broadened the film and then contracted it. The film was two and a half hours at one point. The first thing we did was collect every piece of news in any media about Pat Tillman every book about him and all the songs about him. uncovering new facts was not something we did a lot of -- we just reported on them. Theres really nothing in the film that another journalist couldnt have reported on. And it was shocking to us to seeI mean, there is some investigative journalist involved in what we did, but not muchwe couldnt believe that it hadnt been reported on! This is the thing -- a lot of whats in our film anybody could have gotten. It shows how thinly stretched todays journalists are. They dont have the time and resources to do good journalism anymore. And its amazing to read stuff that youve just downloaded that never made it to the press, shocking stuff. You feel like youre along with Dannie in how maddening it must have been for the family to be staring at this stuff in black and white and to have it not reported. But the military has been adroit in getting their message picked up and repeated by the press. As far as the military putting up roadblocks, they really didnt; they didnt feel like we were a threat to them. They didnt help us at all, but they didnt hinder us. they have a team of very good publicists that makes sure that their spin gets disseminated through the mainstream press, and they are wildly successful at it. And they think that a small documentary isnt going to have an impact on public sentiment. What Ive come to learn while making this movie is what the military has thats a stronger part of their arsenal than special ops is a team of publicists. All that matters is CBS, NBC and the rest getting the right sound bite into their mix, and they do that very readily.

The scene in the Congressional hearing [August 1, 2007] where those generals basically say the equivalent of, The dog ate my homework -- that worked. That was how it was reported. The reporting that night was, Generals apologize to Tillmans for errors in bungling the Tillman case It takes a wide berth around the fact that theyve never admitted to anything deliberate, even to this moment. The only f-ing idiots who buy that, the only fools who believe that, are the mainstream press. Its just so clear to everyone else, and its the equivalent of saying, Honey, I know that it looks like Im f-ing your sister, but actually I dropped my wallet, and then my belt fell down, and she happened to be there. Thats what the military has done in the Pat Tillman case.

One of the things that was also very striking to me was that there was this conjunction between him and the rescue of Jessica Lynch. It's like these two fictional narratives colliding. It was a happy coincidence for our film because you could almost tell a mini-story that is really talking about Pat Tillman in a lot of ways. There were quite a few of those. Great little loop-dloops, for lack of a better word, that we had while making this film, because we worked on it for three years. So it's not necessarily surprising that we started to draw all these connections. This kind of parallels what went on with Jessica Lynch. There was a false story given to the public of what happened to her convoy and her rescue. And as you show, it so happens that Tillman was involved in her rescue. That was one of those unbelievable coincidences.

In your research, did you explore the conspiracy theories that are out there, like that Tillman was assassinated? Absolutely. The myths about Pat Tillman are shared on the right and left And this kind of goes on what I get asked a lot at Q&As, which is, Has the military tried to silence you? Or are you worried? And I say, The military doesnt have to put a bullet in my mailbox; the reality is all the military needs to do to dominate this debate is what theyre great at, which is having a team of PR people. That's the big challenge for the film and for audiences, that there are no two people who agree on what happened that day. You know, Dannie Tillman, who studied this more than anybody still

doesn't feel that she understands what happened that day. Which leads to conspiracies that he was assassinated, which I don't believe. But it's very hard to understand how these soldiers on this vehicle could have fired between a minute to two minutes. and 40 meters is nothing. The closest thing in my mind to an explanation is that these soldiers were extremely keyed up and that there is a catharsis to using these weapons. To me, the kind of clue to beginning to understand this is when Dannie found those statements "I wanted to stay in the firefight." Those statements are little signposts that challenge the Tillmans and audiences to broaden their understanding of what combat is. Not to say combat isn't terrifying and horrible, it is all those things, I've never been in combat...but these are mostly 19-year-old kids, they don't want to go back and say "I didn't see any combat, I didn't see any action." and these soldiers basically became irrational. I was going to ask you about Richards eulogy at the memorial service, where he is clearly upset with the tone of the service. I dont really remember that happening. It was reported on -- Emotional words cause networks to scramble At first Kevin and Richard [the third brother]neither of them wanted to be in it [the film]. But at the last minute, Richard changed his mind. We finished the film without him, and we showed the family the film. We were pleased they liked the film, and Richard was so satisfied with the film he said, I wish Id said yes to you. We said, Can you get on a plane? And we literally put him on a red-eye, and he came out His brother Kevin [who enlisted with Pat, and was with him in Afghanistan] is noticeably absent from interviews in the film. Did you ever ask Kevin if he would go on camera? Of course. But hes a very private guy and I totally respect that. There are certain things that I'd be lying if I said we didnt wish we could have gotten. The interview with Kevin, the diary. We tried to get those things and we didn't get them. But he went to Congress and then decided to go public with his thoughts, and it went absolutely nowhere. He concluded, Im not going to do it anymore, I put myself out there, nothing came of it. So by the time we came around he was resolute, and I admire that. Kevin isnt in the film but he helped at key points, made introductions. Having the stamp of approval from this family was essential to making the film. Anybody we called they would say, I have to get back to you. And we knew they were calling the Tillmans to check us out.

And Russell Baer, who is also in the film, is not in the Army anymore, right? He went sort of AWOL after accompanying Pats body and Kevin back to the States, but then he did rejoin his platoon. The terrible irony there is that the people who were punished most in the whole platoon were Russ Baer, for kind of going AWOL [after coming back to the States], and the platoon leader, [LT Uthlaut] who had vehemently protested splitting up the platoon. He was really hit hard; he was a career guy, West Point guy, brillianteverybody loved himand they really derailed him. He received a much sterner punishment than the guys who shot [Pat]. Tillmans longtime friend Russell Baer, who was with him when he killed and accompanied his body back home, hopes the documentary brings some sort of closure in giving the American public a sense of what really happened to Tillman. If youve spent a lot of time in the service, they tell you to never lie. They hold you high with integrity and the truth and always sticking up for what you believe in and having each others backs, and when it came down to it they completely lied, Baer said. They completely held everyone out to dry, including Pat.

The pivotal, incriminating [P4] memo in the film was authored by General Stanley McChrystal, who has stayed on from the Bush administration and currently commands our forces in Afghanistan. How do you feel about that? One of the high-powered figures highlighted in the film for his alleged deception is Gen. Stanley McChrystal Prior to President George W. Bush addressing Tillmans death at a White House dinner [May 1, 2004], McChrystal, who reportedly knew that it was fratricide but chose to omit such details from his subsequent [Silver Star recommendation] paperwork, sent an urgent [P4] memo to Bushs speechwriters, warning them that "unknowing statements by our country's leaders ... might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death become public." But apologies are useless without accepting blame for the cover-up and Bar-Lev points the finger at Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who approved Tillmans Silver Star for bravery even as he wrote a classified P4 memo to Army brass that Tillman may have died due to friendly fire. McChrystal did not share his side of the story in the film, despite the filmmakers' request, BarLev said. The documentary alludes to the fact that the government put the all blame on Kensinger after he had retired from the military, .... While the family doesnt believe Kensinger is blameless, they do believe he was merely a pawn to protect then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Note: Actually, Kensinger was scapegoated to protect Gen. McChrystal who was not retired, was a rising star in the Army leading the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and whom Mary Tillman said was clearly the golden child of Bush and Rumsfeld. Also, Jeremy Schahill said in an NPR interview, I've also heard from people that Cheney helped coordinate the testimony of General McChrystal about the death of Pat Tillman and that Cheney actually colluded with General McChrystal to attempt to cover up that death. Reacting to McChrystal's forced resignation [June 23. 2010], Bar-Lev said he was shocked that McChrystal had made the remarks [in a Rolling Stone article] critical of the Obama administration that led to his resignation. I am quite frankly surprised," Bar-Lev told Pop Tarts. "In the Tillman case, he was much more strategic than he seems to have been in this Rolling Stone interview. Most people feel the McChrystal thing is over, said Bar-Lev. I am shocked with how little people understand how much he got away with in Tillman. General McChrystal is just one of several high-ranking figures whos never been called to account for his role, and the story continues to this very moment. He gets up there at his swearing-in [Senate confirmation hearing June 2, 2009] and basically says what has been said all along, which is, I know what it looks like. I know that it looks like we deliberately covered it up, but believe us that it was this Rube Goldberg-esque chain of mistakes, blunders, and errors that look like a cover-up. The only f-ing idiots who buy that, the only fools who believe that, are the mainstream press. Its just so clear to everyone else, and its the equivalent of saying, Honey, I know that it looks like Im f-ing your sister, but actually I dropped my wallet, and then my belt fell down, and she happened to be there. Thats what the military has done in the Pat Tillman case. The public perception is that (the Tillmans) have been apologized to over and over again ... its ludacrous, Bar-Lev said. The idea there was a mistake is itself a lie. Its a Rube Goldberg explanation. They (the military officials) say there was never any deliberate attempt to deceive anybody. How somebody can get away with a lie thats worse than the dog ate my homework and that he would be put in charge of the war effort is ridiculous. Listen, its not a complicated answer. No one in the government has ever admitted that there was a cover-up, and to watch the contortions that these public figures go to in order to publicly flagellate themselves without admitting whats pretty obvious to everybody that they tried to cover up Pat Tillmans death is absurd. ... I've shown the film to left-wing audiences. Their takeaway is, "what a horrible administration we just had!" I think that's letting yourself off the hook, as if there were just a handful of bad apples, and "thank God they're gone."

There may have been a little of that with these [West Point] cadets, those who might think "there were a handful of people who didn't live up to the standard we live up to in the military." It's easy to say "obviously I wouldn't take part in that!" I didn't want to people to be able to dismiss this and say, oh, it was those five people in the Bush administration's fault. I'm not saying they're not culpable. I think it [also] lies in the media and lies in the culture at large. It lies in Hollywood too.

Military service was a tradition in his family. I could tell that you were trying to protect Pats desire to never reveal the reason he enlisted. Were you curious? there's also this sort of weird maudlin mantra about the 3.6 million dollar contract he gave up. "He had everything, he had everything, he had it all but he gave it up" is in some way, on some subconscious level used to kind of tell young men, "and you could do this too." And it's such a simplification of why he enlisted and of the reasons why people enlist. people keep asking me about the Jon Krakauer [book Where Men Win Glory] and I wasnt given access to that until we had basically locked picture. But the diaries, we flipped right to that page. And he doesn't actually talk about his reasons for enlisting. Ill just say that when you look at the diary entry, theres no mention of 9/11, theres no mention of patriotism, theres no mention of America none of the things that his decision is associated with are in that diary entry. I feel like weve treated it right in the film. I think it was a combination of a bunch of different things. And it's hard, because I don't want to speculate, because it would be disrespectful to the family, but I'll just tell you that I think there was that, I think that he did respond to a sense of duty after 9/11. I think he, ya know, it's in the film. part of my reading list was stuff about Wittgenstein. It's not uncommon that people who live very safe lives volunteer to fight if you read about his reasons for enlisting, he talks about hoping to find himself. And I think there is a sense that people have that they will confront themselves in a way that is impossible to do outside of a life or death situation. That's in the film, I think it connects with parts of Pat's reasoning. But I mean, really, I don't know.

In your eyes is Pat Tillman a hero? It usually says more about the people calling someone else a hero than about the supposed hero we have to skew their qualities into something we can own, that reflect well on us. So you have these deeply insecure people who are taking Pat Tillman and in an almost Greek way inverting all of his qualities. He was a guy who was deeply thoughtful and curious and asked and had ideas and would challenge himself to think of things in the opposite way. So they turned him into this paragon of moral certitude. In so many ways they take his actual heroism out of the story. He saved a guy's life. How did he save his life? He told him to quit praying, get your head in this world. And that likely saved Bryan O'Neal's life. But as a society at large we did the same thing the military did. We took his actual qualities and replaced them with the opposite, this square-jawed paragon of moral servitude who had an idea and stuck to it no matter what. This sort of Bush-era fantasy, but in fact he was the opposite. He always took something and looked at it from every direction. He would take a conviction that he would have and challenge it. That was a quality of his that we couldnt accept as heroic so we had to replace it. He was absolutely a hero, but in none of the ways that he was made out to be. ... There's a line from Stan Goff in the film, "It's dangerous to lionize people like Pat. Because, when people who are attracted to the mystique of Pat Tillman begin to actually study who Pat Tillman was, they're going to find out that this story doesn't fit into something that's all tidy and mythic." Pat Tillman was put on a pedestal before a lot was known about him or who he was, and it's too late for them to keep the truth about Pat from the public. His statue is already in place. They have lionized a guy who wasn't perfect, wasn't superhuman, but was a truthful person that came from a family that valued truth telling. They are emblematic of some part of our time that people don't know the difference anymore. It's just spin or advertising or being persuasive or something. Also, one of the interesting things about this story is that one of Pat Tillman's greatest qualities was his self-confidence. And self confidence is very hard trait for people to admire. You can kind of give lip service to self-confidence. But most of us are not self confident. So selfconfident people intimidate the fuck out of us.

There's this Messianic narrative going on here, he's dying for our sins. That's so true, and I'm so glad you said that because not many people pick up on that. I can't tell you how many times we heard variations of that. Listen, don't get me started. The whole issue of Pat Tillman's "sacrifice" is fascinating. And it's in the very background of the film and I'm glad that it comes through a bit. Then there's also this sort of weird maudlin mantra about the 3.6 million dollar contract he gave up. "He had everything, he had everything, he had it all but he gave it up" is in some way, on some subconscious level used to kind of tell young men, "and you could do this too." And it's such a simplification of why he enlisted and of the reasons why people enlist. I think he serves as a proxy for people, for all the self sacrifice that was a part of our discourse right after 9/11 that just evaporated weeks later. The fact that he went and did something is seen as a proxy. everybody else just go back in, don't sacrifice, just shop.

Look, this is like the very first scene in Saving Private Ryan A lot of the story is about Hollywood. The very first thing the family was told by the government when they were told it was friendly fire, and Dannie asked some questions, they were told, "Look this is like the very first scene in "Saving Private Ryan." And it was just this great postmodern moment with the military referencing Hollywood which is supposed to be referencing the military. And you think, wow, it's something that goes all the way back from the beginning of time. Men have learned what war is through stories. It's the chicken or the egg thing. The stories obfuscate what war really is... WWII was a big part of it, in a way, because, and a lot of this ended up on the cutting room floor, if you read the way people talk about Pat Tillman it's almost invariably they liken him to a figure cut from the greatest generation. So then I started to do Lexus Nexus on transcripts of television where the words greatest generation were mentioned. and in the earlier cuts of the film we had this great footage. We had a line from Boston Public Radio or something, it was a guy saying "For years we have been living in what has loosely been called the postmodern' era in which nothing really matters, there is no truth, everything is morally relative. Suddenly a plane flies into the World Trade Center and people say Yes! There is truth.'" Yeah, 9/11 was fetishized. It's sort of a death cult. And that applies to Pat Tillman. Pat Tillman was worth more dead to America than alive. It's a maudlin fascination with his death just like it is with 9/11. You know, like, where you were that day?

Well they need somebody like that. They need that sort of hero narrative That's right. Narrative is a good word. In a way, it's a story about stories and so it's a film about the Tillmans and Pat Tillman. But it's also a film about who we wanted Pat Tillman to be and who we needed Pat Tillman to be. It's the way that everybody who admires Pat Tillman also kind of wants to own him for themselves. But the other way they've [Tillman family] had to fight is to kind of preserve his humanity and to defend his memory from the accretion of this sort of caricature that has settled on him in death. It [comparative religions] is a lens that I tend to see things through so far, and I think if you look at anything, you find some of these same processes that human beings are incapable of getting away from, which is that imposition of a narrative. The violence, even when you're admiring somebody, you're committing a sort of violence against them by imposing this narrative and sheering off any part of their character that doesn't fit into this little cartoon box that you've created.

The MPAA continues to be in the news for the harsh ratings it is handing down. The Tillman Story was one of the first films this year to fight back against the [R] rating it was handed [for profanity]. Any idea why the MPAA is reacting this way? it was just another case at sanitizing or attempting to sanitize Pat. Theyre willing to take the Fox News, statuesque, muscle-version of Pat where he cant speak because hes a statue, but theyre unable to accept the way that he talked. Which was, he had a foul mouth. I think that if kids are to be told about people and told that people are American heroes, then they should be told who those people actually were. What I found very troubling was the burning of Pat Tillman's diary. It was the essence of him, destroying it eliminated his account of the war. He really did second-guess his decision to enlist to degree. He seemed to realize, "I had everything, and now I've jeopardized it." I remember being a young man, and when things got too simple and too easy, I wanted to make them more complicated. It's something you outgrow, especially when you have a family, and you suddenly become very interested in safety. Pat had just begun being an adult. He had these transitional parts of his personality. And when he was out there, he started wondering why he'd done it.

Did you have to cut moments or story threads that it hurt to lose? Can you tell me something that you learned about Pat Tillman that didnt make it into the film? That didnt make it into the film? Well, theres so much that didnt make it into the film, actually. We could have made a six hour film. The film was two and a half hours at one point. This is the downfall of going from a two-and-a-half hour movie to 90 minutes. Theres so much that ended up on the cutting room floor that I hope [July 20, 2010] to put into DVD extras. One example is they wrote on Pats autopsy report and this is one of the things that drives Dannie Tillman crazy CPR administered, I could talk your ear off. In order to get as quickly as we could to the end, we had to skip over some very important chapters in the story. [Tillmans parents] forced several investigations to take place you see three [4-24-07, 7-31-07, 8-01-07], and we kind of conflate them a little bit. Whats missing from the film is this horrible moment where theyre going through the transcripts, and they realize that hes [Gen. Jones, 3rd 15-6 investigator] part of the conspiracy. Its, like, right out of a 70s movie like China Syndrome or something. You see him stopping the transcript and the investigation when things get too close to the truth, and then they take a 15-minute break and come back and the guy changes his story. So, to your question about whats not in the film, theres tons of stuff thats not in the film. We did get a bunch of information about his childhood, his friendships, the thing he did, for instance, with [Army Specialist] Brian ONeal, that soldier he saved. He was a very popular, charismatic guy who was always aware of who was being excluded from a group. So we have stories like that. Bar-Lev says hes busy [August 26, 2010] working on the DVD release of The Tillman Story which will include new developments and footage he was unable to include in the film. One of the heartbreaking things about this film and the reason we spent a year cutting it was we decided to have this conventional narrative structure where we braid threads and we had to leave so many things on the cutting-room floor, said Bar-Lev. We were slaves to the emotional arc of the story.

Documentaries, in particular, are such a living, breathing thing, and the story continues to evolve long after youve released your film. Exactly. Its so funny that you asked me because Im currently working [November 19, 2010] on the DVD extras, and theres really like an addendum film that can be made from the outtakes of our interviews.

You mention the DVD. Will they give you carte blanche to include everything that youd like to put on? Honestly, I dont know. Its a technical question, but I think you have at least 50 minutes or more to play with on one disc. But the truth is, I want to make two discs [November 19, 2010]. I have this idea for the DVD which may or may not fly. But I want to include documents so you can download them yourself and put yourself in the position that Pats mom was in and participate in the investigation in a way. And then as far as the footage itself, theres some shocking stuff, man. I mean, we got excited early on about this sort of unconventional structure that the film has, which involves starting with his death and then taking a cloverleaf chronology so you come back to the death at a certain point. But consequently, we ended up really killing our babies. There were really powerful things that didnt fit our structure that I would have liked to have included in the film that I still feel kind of obligated to include in the public record. But I have those photos, man, and I feel like the public needs to see them.

Do you think the film will help the family get the answers they are looking for? I dont know if I can answer that. The Tillmans have a lot more questions than answers, and they still to this day dont really know what happened. Nobody really understands what happened that day, and theres been no culpability on the second half of this tragedy, which is the higher ups trying to cover it up. I think, to borrow a football metaphor, they [the Tillman family] ran the ball 99 yards over four years time, they handed it off at the one-yard line to Congress and they fumbled it. I think you see in the film that [the family has] a sense of resignation. Theyve spent years with this and theyve moving forward in a different way. Something that the family said early on was they were focused on the film helping ensure that this doesnt happen again to others. I think thats probably more their focus. its a mistake to think this is about Pat Tillman. Its about what we as a country expect from our leaders. Should people be able to get up and lie about really important things without any accountability? The answer, in my mind, is No.

You're picking up the story after the congressional hearing and at the point where she [Mary Tillman] says she's done everything she can do. What do you want audiences to take away from the film? What do you want to happen? You don't make these films to show your friends and family. You make them to have an impact. Screening the film there was part of a larger strategy to return Pat to his family and to restore the legacy Pat would have wanted. No one has admitted that there was anything deliberate about this cover-up. In fact some see it being done with the best of intentions. I don't see it that way. In fact, a decision was made based on public relations, or spin, rather than a misunderstanding about rules and regulations up and down the chain of command. Also, in the Q & A following the showing with the Marine Corp [Colonels], there was that same sentiment: "it was a regrettable set of bureaucratic mistakes." I don't agree. This is a totally current story but a crime for which nobody has been held accountable and until somebody admits there was a deliberate attempt to deceive the American public, they have to stop apologizing, Bar-Lev said from his Brooklyn home last week. The military issued a statement [August 16, 2010] yet again apologizing to the Tillmans for mistakes. Thats what their public relations agents have decided is the position, said Bar-Lev. The people who lied about it should begin by admitting they lied and apologizing to the family. Thats the manly thing to do. Thats the first thing that comes to mind when you ask me what I hope comes from the film. This is an unsolved mystery; nobody has ever really paid a price for what was done to the Tillmans, he said. No one has taken accountability or made an admission for a deliberate attempt to conceal the truth. This story is not over yet. Nobody has really been held accountable. The guys who actually shot at Pat were given the same punishment as if they had forgotten to clean their weapons. Personally, though, my ire is directed to the people who continue to cover it up to this day. Note: Most prominent among those people involved in this bi-partisan cover-up include Congressman Henry Waxman, Senator Carl Levin, Senator John McCain, Senator James Webb, New York Times reporter Thom Shanker, Andrew Exum at the Washington think-tank CNAS, the Washington Posts Bob Woodward, and Jon Krakauer.

It seems like, in "My Kid Could Paint That," the story is in medias res, that there's something going on that you become involved in and then actually become personally involved in the story. Is that going on here?...

Bibliography of Interviews with Amir Bar-Lev, Director of The Tillman Story


Amir Bar-Lev On What You See (and What You Don't) In His Hot Sundance Doc The Tillman Story Kyle Buchanan, movieline.com -- January 28, 2010 ... Interview with Amir Bar-Lev, director of "The Tillman Story" (Part 1) Peter Keough, The Boston Phoenix, Outside the Frame August 31, 2010 [June 20, 2010] Interview with Amir Bar-Lev, part 2: Peter Keough, The Boston Phoenix, Outside the Frame September 1, 2010 [June 20, 2010] Interview with Bar-Lev, Part 3: Peter Keough, The Boston Phoenix, Outside the Frame September 6, 2010 [June 20, 2010] Filmmaker Says McChrystal Part of Pat Tillman Cover Up, Surprised at His Obama Remarks Hollie McKay -- Pop Tarts FOXNews.com -- June 24, 2010 The Fog of War Jason Guerrasio, filmakermagazine.com -- July 20th, 2010 ... The Tillman Story: Amir Bar-Lev Kristin McCracken, tribecafilm.com August 18, 2010 Quit Apologizing Over Pat Tillman, Director Amir Bar-Lev Says Linda Barnard, thestar .com August 26, 2010 ... Director Amir Bar-Lev on How The Tillman Story Came Together Jack Egan, btlnews.com -- September 7, 2010 The Tillman Story Director Amir Bar Lev For Your Consideration Sean O'Connell, Hollywoodnews.com November 19, 2010 An Interview with Amir Bar-Lev, the director of The Tillman Story Linda Flanagan, The Huffington Post 12-15-10

Review of The Tillman Story DVD Bonus Features:


Part I: What Happened to Amir Bar-Levs Extras?
Note: DRAFT version. Last worked on 2/11 After The Tillman Story was released, I eagerly awaited receiving my pre-ordered copy. Although I had already seen the film, I anticipated viewing it again, along with its extras. However, I was surprised to find the only extra feature was the commentary by the films director Amir Bar-Lev. This was a bit of a mystery to me for a couple of reasons. First, before the DVDs release, the Barnes & Noble review listed an extra feature, Look Behind the Scenes: Pat Tillman, The Man, The Mission, The Legacy. However, now their website lists only the Directors Commentary as the extra feature. What happened to this missing feature? Or was it just the working title for the commentary? Second, I remembered reading several of interviews with Amir Bar-Lev mentioning he was working on his DVD extras. Heres some excerpts: the downfall of going from a two-and-a-half hour movie to 90 minutes theres tons of stuff thats not in the film. We could have made a six hour film. There were really powerful things that didnt fit our structure that I would have liked to have included in the film that I still feel kind of obligated to include in the public record. I have those photos, man, and I feel like the public needs to see them. July 20, 2010: Theres so much that ended up on the cutting room floor that I hope to put into DVD extras. August 26, 2011: Bar-Lev says hes busy working on the DVD release of The Tillman Story which will include new developments and footage he was unable to include in the film. November 19, 2010: Im currently working on the DVD extras, and theres really like an addendum film that can be made from the outtakes of our interviews. I think you have at least 50 minutes or more to play with on one disc. But the truth is, I want to make two discs. I have this idea for the DVD I want to include documents so you can download them yourself and put yourself in the position that Pats mom was in and participate in the investigation in a way. What happened to these extra features Bar-Lev had been working on over the past few months? Why didnt any of the extra material Bar-Lev was eager to place into the public record appear on the DVD? Its obviously not an issue of disk space (e.g. with a 94 minute film, theres about 165 extra minutes left to play with). Was it politics? Was there material on the extras the Weinstein Brothers and/or Sony Home Entertainment didnt want placed on the DVD release?

Perhaps it was merely the cost of adding extra features to the DVD? I can see where Weinstein and/or Sony might be too cheap to pay the cost of a second disk. I can see how purchasing new footage and editing it would add additional cost. But I dont understand how including cut footage would add much, if any, additional cost to the DVD. Update 2/26/12: This is pure speculation. But, I read that one (or both) of the Weinstein brothers had raised a boat-load of money for President Obamas 2012 re-election campaign. I would imagine they wouldnt be keen to release DVD extras that made the Obama administration look bad by showing their role in the whitewash. Regardless of the reason behind the missing DVD extras, its disheartening the DVD failed to include any extras beyond the commentary. Amir Bar-Levs film covered a lot of ground in only 94 minutes and passed over many details. I believe The Tillman Story is a film that needed extras to fill in details, to update the story with new developments of the past four years, and to describe at least some of the untold story (see feral firefighter blog) of how the Obama Administration and Democratic Congress continued the Bush Administrations cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal (among others). P.S. Much of Bar-Levs commentary echoed his responses during interviews. Id suggest reading the interviews listed above in the Bibliography of Interviews with Amir Bar-Lev, Director of The Tillman Story or my edited summary, Interviews with The Tillman Story Director Amir Bar-Lev, also above.

Review of The Tillman Story DVD Bonus Features:


Part II: Director Amir Bar-Levs Commentary on The Tillman Story
The only bonus feature on The Tillman Story DVD is the Commentary with Amir Bar-Lev. Amir Bar-Lev, the director of the film, narrates a solo audio commentary and discusses the original title of the film, background on the Tillman family and other figures in the film, how people from the left and right tried to fit Pat into a box, how the media echoed the militarys message, etc. In his commentary, Amir Bar-Lev says that Gen. Philip Kensinger was one of the most important figures in the story and film and describes how he was blamed for everything. But, I believe Kensinger was scapegoated primarily to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal from scrutiny. And, despite Kensingers prominence in the film, he actually played a minor role in the cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death. In contrast, Gen. Stanley McChrystal was actually the key figure in the cover-up and the central figure linking the bottom to the very top of the chain of command. Yet, despite McChrystals central role in the cover-up, he was barely a footnote in the film. McChrystal is only mentioned once as the author of the P4 memo, and his only appearance is a brief glimpse of his face as the camera pans from Gen. Kensinger up the chain of command chart to President Bush. The Tillman Story portrays Congress as ineptly allowing their investigation to be stonewalled with a chorus of I dont recall from Secretary Rumsfeld and the top generals. I believe Amir Bar-Lev, the films director, should have included new footage in his DVD extras to show it wasnt just a case of the Bush administration and the Army stonewalling the Democratic Congress. Congress didnt just fumble the ball, they threw the game. ... In his commentary, Bar-Lev discusses only one episode of what happened after the scope of the film. He discusses President Obamas promotion of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the new commander of the Afghan War and describes Gen. McChrystals June 2009 Senate testimony saying he had made mistakes and somehow failed to catch that the Silver Star citation he signed off on didnt mention friendly fire. But, instead of merely talking about McChrystals testimony, why didnt Bar-Lev put McChrystals testimony into his extras? And show Senators Levin, McCain and Webb tossing soft-ball questions at McChrystal during the their pro-forma hearing?

Bar-Lev failed to comment on any of the other events after the scope of the film including: Senator Webbs secret 2008 Senate review of the Tillman case, McChrystals closed 2008 Senate hearing, how President Obama covered-up torture photos to protect McChrystal after he nominated him to head the Afghan War in 2009, etc. Its unfortunate Amir Bar-Lev failed to place any extras on The Tillman Story. This film needed extras to fill in more details about the Tillman story, and to update the story with developments over the past four years, and to describe at least some of the untold story (see the feral firefirefighter blog) of how the Obama Administration and Democratic Congress continued the Bush Administration cover-up to protect Gen. McChrystal from punishment for his key role in the Tillman case. ... In his commentary, Bar-Lev discussed how the film ends with Mary Tillman saying Theres not any more we can do. Amir Bar-Lev said he initially disagreed with her, thinking that perhaps his film would prompt a re-opening of the Tillman case. Last July, I wrote a letter to Bar-Lev that argued his film would have greater impact if it also told the untold story of the complicity of President Obama and the Democratic Congress in continuing the Bush administration and Army cover-up. Unfortunately, Bar-Lev didnt update his film before its theater release. Consequently, "The Tillman Story" was ignored by the news media partly because it didn't reveal much "news and wasn't very controversial. The film peaked at only 28 theaters (with a gross of only $800,000). Its a shame. The Tillman Story is a good film, telling a moving story about a compelling family, and deserves a wider audience. I can understand why reopening a film at the last minute would be difficult and costly. However, I cannot understand why Bar-Lev didnt include any of The [Untold] Tillman Story as extras with his DVD release.

Review of The Tillman Story DVD Bonus Features:


Part III: Congress Didnt Fumble, They Threw the Ball
The only extra bonus feature on The Tillman Story DVD is the Commentary with Amir Bar-Lev. Amir Bar-Lev, the director of the film, narrates a solo audio commentary giving background on the events and people portrayed in the film. ... In his commentary, Amir Bar-Lev says that Gen. Philip Kensinger was one of the most important figures in the story and film. The film shows the July 2007 press briefing where Kensinger (who happens to be retired) is blamed for everything and made the Armys scapegoat to protect those higher on the chain of command. But, I believe Kensinger was scapegoated primarily to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal from scrutiny. Bar-Lev failed to include footage from the same press briefing that showed the Army protected McChrystal and cleared him of all wrong-doing. Despite Kensingers prominence in the film, he actually played a minor role in the cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death. In contrast, Gen. Stanley McChrystal was actually the key figure in the cover-up. McChrystal appears to have supervised the Ranger RGTs cover-up on the ground in Afghanistan, the writing of the fraudulent Silver Star recommendation, the alteration of SGT ONeals Silver Star witness statement, and wrote the arse-covering prevaricating P4 memo. ... Unfortunately, neither the film nor Bar-Levs commentary discussed Gen. McChrystals apparent involvement in the alteration of SGT ONeals Silver Star witness statement. During the April 2007 hearing, IG Gimble was asked who would have been the most likely person to have made alterations? He replied, We were unable to determine who in the chain of command actually did the alterations of it. I could speculate, but I just prefer not to. It is somewhere in the approval chain that it got edited. (Gen. McChrystal, COL Nixon, and LTC Kauzlarich were the officers in that approval chain). There is some great footage of Mary Tillman, Kevin Tillman, SGT ONeal, IG Gimble, etc. that should have been included in the extras. ... In addition, McChrystal was the central figure linking the bottom to the very top of the chain of command. Unlike Kensinger, McChrystal was not retired. He was a young general and a rising star in the Army who led the Special Forces of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). In her book Mary Tillman wrote that McChrystal was clearly the golden child of Bush and

Rumsfeld. And Jeremy Schahill, in a December 2009 NPR interview, spoke of an incredibly cozy relationship between Rumsfeld, Cheney and General McChrystal, I've also heard from people that Cheney actually colluded with General McChrystal to attempt to cover up that death. Yet, despite McChrystals central role in the cover-up, he was barely a footnote in the film. McChrystal is only mentioned once as the author of the P4 memo, and his only appearance is a brief glimpse of his face as the camera pans from Gen. Kensinger up the chain of command chart to President Bush. ... In his commentary feature, Bar-Lev discusses CNNs Wolf Blitzer summing up the August 2007 hearing as, Generals apologize to Tillmans for errors in bungling the Tillman case However, Bar-Lev failed to include Barbara Starrs CNN footage that showed Congressman Waxman allowed McChrystal, although invited to testify, to decline to appear: let's be clear, there's a couple of people who will not be in the room today. So what is not being said may be equally interesting. Lieutenant General Phillip Kensinger There is another man who will not be in the room. That is Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal. was cleared of any wrongdoing yesterday. Still, because of his extraordinarily sensitive position with covert special forces, he is not appearing in public. And so he will not be questioned further by the committee in an open hearing. While we heard from Rumsfeld today, we did not hear from Philip Kensinger, Just yesterday, he was censored for "a failure of leadership" Committee Chairman Henry Waxman says Kensinger was invited to testify, refused to appear. He was subpoenaed, but could not be located. ... The Tillman Story ends with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Generals leaving after the August 2007 Congressional hearing. Congress is portrayed as ineptly allowing their investigation to be stonewalled with a chorus of I dont recall from Secretary Rumsfeld and the top generals. However, the cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death was actually a thoroughly bi-partisan affair. Congress didnt just fumble the ball, they threw the game. I believe Amir Bar-Lev, the films director, should have included new footage in his DVD extras to show it wasnt just a case of the Bush administration and the Army stonewalling the Democratic Congress. This is a film that needed extra footage to fill in details about the Tillman story, to update the story with new developments, and to describe at least some of the untold story of how the Obama Administration and Democratic Congress continued the Bush Administration cover-up to protect Gen. McChrystal.

Review of The Tillman Story DVD Bonus Features:


Part III: Congress Didnt Fumble, They Threw the Game (expanded)
The Tillman Story portrays Congress as ineptly allowing their investigation to be stonewalled with a chorus of I dont recall from Secretary Rumsfeld and the top generals. However, the cover-up of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death was actually a thoroughly bi-partisan affair. I believe Amir Bar-Lev, the films director, should have included new footage in his DVD extras to show it wasnt just a case of the Bush administration and the Army stonewalling the Democratic Congress. Congress didnt just fumble the ball, they threw the game. In his commentary feature, director Amir Bar-Lev says Gen. Philip Kensinger was one of the most important figures in the story and film. But despite Kensingers repeated appearances in the film, he actually played a minor role in the cover-up. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of JSOC, was actually the key figure in the cover-up and was the central figure linking the bottom to the very top of the chain of command. McChrystal appears to have supervised the Ranger RGTs cover-up on the ground in Afghanistan, the writing of the fraudulent Silver Star recommendation, the alteration of SGT ONeals Silver Star witness statement, and he wrote the arse-covering prevaricating P4 memo. ... Unfortunately, neither the film nor Bar-Levs commentary discussed Gen. McChrystals apparent involvement in the alteration of SGT ONeals Silver Star witness statement. There is some great footage of Mary Tillman, Kevin Tillman, SGT ONeal, IG Gimble, etc. that should have been included in the extras.: Mary Tillman said, I think that the Silver Star has been focused on a great deal, and one reason that has been the case is because it leaves a paper trail. It is not the most outrageous lie or coverup that is part of this story, but it does leave a paper trail. Kevin Tillman said, To falsify a witness statement in a Silver Star award, fabricating it with these kids names on it, that is an example of something that it is sitting right here. Why isnt it addressed in the conclusion? How come no one is held accountable for this? The whole thing is riddled with nonsense, sir. Congressman Clay pointed out that the Silver Star citation was written so that anyone reading it would believe that Pat was killed in a firefighter with enemy forces and there is nothing in here at all about friendly fire. Ranger ONeal testified that someone had altered his Silver Star

witness statement, removing his references to friendly fire and adding references to devastating enemy fire. Mr. Gimble, the Dept. of Defense Acting Inspector General, preferred not to speculate on who altered the witness statements. However, he did say that it was somewhere in the approval chain that it got edited. Mr. GIMBLE. We were unable to determine who in the chain of command actually did the alterations of it. So we concluded that when people approved those statements or those citations based on those statements, being the Battalion [LTC Bailey], Regimental [COL Nixon] and Joint Task Force [MG McChrystal] Commanders, that they were accountable for the misstatements and inaccuracies. Mr. BRALEY. Did you ever determine in the course of your investigation who, out of all the possible people who had contact with that statement, would have been the most likely person to have made alterations to the statement originally prepared by Specialist ONeal? Mr. GIMBLE: Actually, no, we could not determine that. I could speculate, but I just prefer not to. It is somewhere in the approval chain that it got edited. So we really cant pin a face to the actual, who did the keyboard changes on it. So that left us the only action we had after that is when you sign up on something. So when you have the signatures on those citations and recommendations, they become accountable for it. (p.98, HOC 4-24-07) The IG couldnt determine who made the alterations? There were only three people in the approval chain who could have made the alterations to the Silver Star recommendation to remove all references to friendly fire: LTC Kauzerlich, Col Nixon, and Gen. McChrystal. Why didnt the Committee press Gimble to speculate? [DoD IG Report: Appendix E: Silver Star Award Process Flowchart showing only three officers in that approval chain: LTC Kauzlarich, Col Nixon, and Gen McChrystal] ...

But, McChrystal was barely a footnote in the film. McChrystal is only mentioned once as the author of the P4 memo, and his only appearance is a brief glimpse of his face as the camera pans from Gen. Kensinger up the chain of command chart to President Bush. Why didnt Bar-Lev include extra footage showing McChrystals central role in the story? For example, heres an excerpt from a December 2009 NPR interview:

MR. SCAHILL: I've talked to former Bush administration officials that have described an incredibly cozy relationship between former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Vice President Dick Cheney and General McChrystal, where General McChrystal was essentially reporting directly to Rumsfeld and Cheney on operations, and they were effectively carving JSOC out of the broader military chain of command. I've also heard from people that Cheney helped coordinate the testimony of General McChrystal about the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, which was determined to be a friendly-fire incident, and that Cheney actually colluded with General McChrystal to attempt to cover up that death. ... The film shows Secretary of the Army Pete Gerens July 31, 2007 press briefing where Gen. Kensinger (who happened to be retired) is singled out, blamed for everything and made the Armys scapegoat for a cover-up that began much higher. The film implies that Kensinger was scapegoated to protect Rumsfeld and President Bush. But, I believe Kensinger was blamed primarily to protect Gen. McChrystal. However, Bar-Lev failed to include footage from the same press briefing that showed the Army protecting Gen. McChrystal (who was not retired, was a rising star in the Army leading the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and whom Mary Tillman said was clearly the golden child of Bush and Rumsfeld) from punishment. Heres an excerpt (see The [Untold] Tillman Story at feral firefirefighter blog for more details): REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, could you explain -- we understand that Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who was singled out in the DOD IG report for inaccurate awards information -- can you explain why he will not receive any punishment? SEC. GEREN: General McChrystal, when notified of the friendly fire incident, he alerted through his P-4, General Abizaid, General Brown and General Kensinger. So he did notify his chain of command REPORTER: But if McChrystal is sending a [P4] message to Abizaid saying it's highly possible it was friendly fire, why couldn't McChrystal just have called the family? GEN. CODY: we do not encumber the JSOC commander [McChrystal] with all of that; that's done by the regiment and done by the Army through the United States Army Special Operations Command [Kensinger]. [Note: it was McChrystals responsiblity] SEC. GEREN: So it was General Kensinger's responsibility.

SEC GEREN: As far as approving the Silver Star award, General McChrystal said that he was aware of the circumstances of his death, that it was friendly fire, when he approved the Silver Star award. SEC GEREN: General Wallace concluded and I agree that he [McChrystal] reasonably based his conclusions on the recommendations that came from the field and had no reasonable basis to call into question the recommendation that came up endorsed by the commanders in the field who were there and had first- hand knowledge of the circumstances of his death and his heroic actions. ... In his commentary feature, Bar-Lev showed CNNs Wolf Blitzer describing the August 1, 2007 Congressional hearing as, Generals apologize to Tillmans for errors in bungling the Tillman case However, Bar-Lev failed to include CNN news footage from earlier that same morning showing Congressman Waxman permitted McChrystal (although on the witness list) to decline to testify and that Waxman lambasted Kensingers failure to appear despite a subpoena, yet didnt mention McChrystals refusal to appear: HEIDI COLLINS: Well, Barbara, is there anything that any of them [Rumsfeld, generals] are expected to say that could actually change the investigation or the way possibly the family, who we understand will be in the room, will feel about how things happened? STARR: I don't think that is likely from any of these very top officials. But let's be clear, there's a couple of people who will not be in the room today. So what is not being said may be equally interesting. Lieutenant General Phillip Kensinger He will not appear today. There is another man who will not be in the room. That is Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal. It should be very clear to everyone, General McChrystal is the head of covert special forces. The so-called dark or black forces. The ones who stay under cover. General McChrystal also was somewhat implicated in the case for knowing some of the details. But he was cleared of any wrongdoing in that investigation that was made public yesterday. Still, because of his extraordinarily sensitive position with covert special forces, he is not appearing in public. And so he will not be questioned further by the committee in an open hearing. ... BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, nothing has really changed, Wolf. Rumsfeld was back and he is the same Don Rumsfeld, certain about what he knows and

what he doesn't know While we heard from Rumsfeld today, we did not hear from Philip Kensinger, the retired three star general who led Army Special Forces at the time of Pat Tillman's death. Just yesterday, he was censored for "a failure of leadership" -- that's a quote -and was found "guilty of deception. Committee Chairman Henry Waxman says Kensinger was invited to testify, refused to appear. He was subpoenaed, but could not be located. ...

The Tillman Story ends with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Generals leaving after the August 2007 Congressional hearing. In July 2009, I sent Amir Bar-Lev a letter arguing that he should add an Epilogue to his film (or to his DVD extras) to show how the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress continued the Bush administration cover-up to protect Gen. McChrystal through his June 2009 Senate confirmation. Unfortunately, none of the film footage mentioned above was placed into the DVD extras.

(Next: Part IV, Obamas Big-Time Fumble)

Review of The Tillman Story DVD Extra Feature:


Part V: Obamas Big-Time Fumble

Note: the rest of this document is a rough draft. You can find all the material in The [Untold] Tillman Story

The Tillman Story ends with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Generals leaving after the August 2007 Congressional hearing. However, the film did not show any of the new developments in the Tillman story over the past four years. I believe Bar-Lev should have included an Epilogue in his DVD extra that showed Obamas Big-Time Fumble of continuing the Bush administration cover-ups of torture and of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal. In his commentary feature, the only new development Bar-Lev mentions is President Obamas 2009 nomination of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the commander of the Afghan War and his description of Gen. McChrystals June 2009 Senate testimony of mistakes and somehow failed to catch that the Silver Star citation he signed off on didnt mention friendly fire. But, instead of merely talking about McChrystals testimony, why didnt Bar-Lev include the footage of McChrystals testimony in DVD extras? For example:

**** And Bar-Levs commentary doesnt discuss how Senator Levin, McCain and Webb tossed softball questions during the pro-forma 2009 Senate confirmation of Gen. McChrystal (nor the secret 2008 Senate confirmation for his previous promotion). Here are some excerpts from the 2009 Senate Confirmation that could have been placed into the DVD extras: ***

...

I didn't want to take a position on whether we should be in Afghanistan or not, or whether we should have gone to Iraq or not for a number of reasons. I think that's a part of Pat Tillman's story, but I think it would make the film too topical. this was a story that I wanted to have resonance that was a lot more timeless than that. That had to do with things that have been happening since the time of Wittgenstein and since the time of the Iliad. My dad has been reading the Iliad and the Odyssey and I'd talk to him and he was really struck by the parallels. It's a very old story, that warriors are glorified. That the truth of war is shrouded in this golden patina. A lot of the story is about Hollywood. The very first thing the family was told by the government when they were told it was friendly fire, and Dannie asked some questions, they were told, "Look this is like the very first scene in "Saving Private Ryan." And it was just this great postmodern moment with the military referencing Hollywood which is supposed to be referencing the military. And you think, wow, it's something that goes all the way back from the beginning of time. Men have learned what war is through stories. It's the chicken or the egg thing. The stories obfuscate what war really is...

The director says he borrowed from the structure of films by Quentin Tarrantino and Serge Leones Once Upon a Time in America, which keep coming back to a pivotal day. You start with Pats death, but you also have to end with his death. It required us to create a braid of several narrative threads. we got excited early on about this sort of unconventional structure that the film has, which involves starting with his death and then taking a cloverleaf chronology so you come back to the death at a certain point. Clover-leaf, keep returning to different NFL game/superbowl scene th, myth *** ... A: [Replay footage of 2004 Cardinals game which began the film: Bush on jumbotron. Fighter jet fly-over stadium. we will never forget you) [Replay 2007 shot installing Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium]

B: [New Footage from 2009 Superbowl XLIII: Faith Hill sings national anthem. Army SOCOM honor guard. B1 bomber fly-over]. I remember watching pregame footage that showed Congressman Raul Grijalva -AZ giving President Obama a Tillman #40 jersey at White House superbowl party.) Gen Petreaus doing the coin toss.

Note: Nothing honoring Pat Tillman televised. Five years after his death, hes forgotten/ignored [Replay 2007 shot of Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium] Note: During 2009s Superbowl XLIII, only five years later, Pat Tillman was barely a footnote. (forgotten). The NFL sent out a news release with the trumpeting headline: NFL salutes service, courage and bravery in Super Bowl XLIII. But it had nothing to do with Pat Tillman. Replay 2007 shot of Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium]

C: [New footage of 2011 Superbowl, flyover, SSG Guinta, Medal of Honor recipient, honored on the field as the wars new poster boy (reminiscent of the film Flags of Our Fathers). ] Note: Ironically, Guinta received the MOH for a battle shown in the documentary Restrepo (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/11/16/sal_giunta_story) which somehow edged out The Tillman Story for this year Oscar nomination for best war documentary. Perhaps the Academy thought a SSG Guinta sitting in the audience with his MOH around his neck would play better than the aggrieved Tillman family? A bit of politics rearing its head? The Tillman Story is a bit awkward, not a Hollywood ending. ... I believe Bar-Lev should have included an Epilogue in his DVD extra that showed Obamas Big-Time Fumble of continuing the Bush administration cover-ups of torture and Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal. [Replay 2004 footage of #42 jersey retirement at ASU Sun Devil Stadium, never forget you] [Replay 2007 shot of Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium] [New footage showing President Obama, shortly after he nominated McChrystal, ignoring Tillman (Col. Sanders and Kurt Warner got the nod) during his May 13th ASU commencement speech at Sun Devil Stadium] *** Why no mention? [New footage showing President Obamas May 11th nomination of Gen. McChrystal, May 12th back pedaling on release of torture photos and May 20th pushing through law to block release.]

Review of The Tillman Story DVD Extra Feature:


Part VI: Barely a Footnote
The Tillman Story ends with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Generals leaving after the August 2007 Congressional hearing. However, the film did not show any of the new developments in the Tillman story over the past four years. I believe Bar-Lev should have included an Epilogue in his DVD extra that showed Obamas Big-Time Fumble of continuing the Bush administration cover-ups of torture and of Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal. ...

I didn't want to take a position on whether we should be in Afghanistan or not, or whether we should have gone to Iraq or not for a number of reasons. I think that's a part of Pat Tillman's story, but I think it would make the film too topical. this was a story that I wanted to have resonance that was a lot more timeless than that. That had to do with things that have been happening since the time of Wittgenstein and since the time of the Iliad. My dad has been reading the Iliad and the Odyssey and I'd talk to him and he was really struck by the parallels. It's a very old story, that warriors are glorified. That the truth of war is shrouded in this golden patina. A lot of the story is about Hollywood. The very first thing the family was told by the government when they were told it was friendly fire, and Dannie asked some questions, they were told, "Look this is like the very first scene in "Saving Private Ryan." And it was just this great postmodern moment with the military referencing Hollywood which is supposed to be referencing the military. And you think, wow, it's something that goes all the way back from the beginning of time. Men have learned what war is through stories. It's the chicken or the egg thing. The stories obfuscate what war really is...

The director says he borrowed from the structure of films by Quentin Tarrantino and Serge Leones Once Upon a Time in America, which keep coming back to a pivotal day. You start with Pats death, but you also have to end with his death. It required us to create a braid of several narrative threads. we got excited early on about this sort of unconventional structure that the film has, which involves starting with his death and then taking a cloverleaf chronology so you come back to the death at a certain point.

Clover-leaf, keep returning to different NFL game/superbowl scene th, myth *** ... A: [Replay footage of 2004 Cardinals game which began the film: Bush on jumbotron. Fighter jet fly-over stadium. we will never forget you) [Replay 2007 shot installing Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium]

B: [New Footage from 2009 Superbowl XLIII: Faith Hill sings national anthem. Army SOCOM honor guard. B1 bomber fly-over]. I remember watching pregame footage that showed Congressman Raul Grijalva -AZ giving President Obama a Tillman #40 jersey at White House superbowl party.) Gen Petreaus doing the coin toss. Note: Nothing honoring Pat Tillman televised. Five years after his death, hes forgotten/ignored [Replay 2007 shot of Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium] Note: During 2009s Superbowl XLIII, only five years later, Pat Tillman was barely a footnote. (forgotten). The NFL sent out a news release with the trumpeting headline: NFL salutes service, courage and bravery in Super Bowl XLIII. But it had nothing to do with Pat Tillman. Replay 2007 shot of Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium]

C: [New footage of 2011 Superbowl, flyover, SSG Guinta, Medal of Honor recipient, honored on the field as the wars new poster boy (reminiscent of the film Flags of Our Fathers). ] Note: Ironically, Guinta received the MOH for a battle shown in the documentary Restrepo (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/11/16/sal_giunta_story) which somehow edged out The Tillman Story for this year Oscar nomination for best war documentary. Perhaps the Academy thought a SSG Guinta sitting in the audience with his MOH around his neck would play better than the aggrieved Tillman family? A bit of politics rearing its head? The Tillman Story is a bit awkward, not a Hollywood ending. ... I believe Bar-Lev should have included an Epilogue in his DVD extra that showed Obamas Big-Time Fumble of continuing the Bush administration cover-ups of torture and Pat Tillmans friendly-fire death to protect Gen. Stanley McChrystal. [Replay 2004 footage of #42 jersey retirement at ASU Sun Devil Stadium, never forget you]

[Replay 2007 shot of Tillman statue at University of Phoenix Stadium] [New footage showing President Obama, shortly after he nominated McChrystal, ignoring Tillman (Col. Sanders and Kurt Warner got the nod) during his May 13th ASU commencement speech at Sun Devil Stadium] *** Why no mention? [New footage showing President Obamas May 11th nomination of Gen. McChrystal, May 12th back pedaling on release of torture photos and May 20th pushing through law to block release.] **** ...