Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poster of the Week

Friendly Fire

John Jota Leaños

Offset, 2004

United States

This week marks the 1,000th American soldier to die in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001. There are no accurate figures for Afghani deaths, but thousands of civilians have been killed directly by U.S. military actions, and tens of thousands of Afghani civilians have died indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war.

CSPG’s poster of the week commemorates the death of one soldier who died in Afghanistan in 2004. Patrick Daniel "Pat" Tillman (1976–2004) was an American football player who left his professional sports career and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He joined the Army Rangers and served multiple tours in combat before he was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan. Although he died in service to his country, he opposed the war in Iraq and was critical of President Bush.

Details about the circumstances surrounding his death have been the subject of controversy and military investigations. The army initially claimed he was killed in an enemy firefight before changing the story to state that he was killed by “friendly fire” (inadvertently shot by one’s fellow soldiers). It was weeks after his memorial service before the Pentagon acknowledged he was gunned down by fellow Rangers, although some senior Army officers knew of that fact prior to the service. In 2007, three years after the initial cover-up, Tillman’s autopsy report was sent to the Associated Press, indicating that he had been murdered. When the Pentagon finally conducted a criminal investigation, they ruled that Tillman's death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident. His mother and other family members continue to share the view that he was murdered.

A timeline of events in Afghanistan:

  • 1950s-1970s: The United States was actively involved in Afghanistan until the 1979 assassination of the U.S. ambassador in Kabul.
  • 1973: Afghanistan king is overthrown by former Prime Minister Daoud.
  • 1978: Daoud is overthrown by Afghan army under leadership of People’ Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) is created. Local Islamic mujahedeen groups form in opposition to brutal imposition of land reforms and changes to marriage laws
  • 1979: President Carter authorized funding for anti-communist guerrillas in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet invasion. The CIA provided extensive weapons and training to the muhajedeen. Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wanted to entrap the Soviet Union into its own Viet Nam War.
  • 1979: The Soviet Union deployed its military in Afghanistan on the side of the DRA, a Marxist faction within the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA).
  • 1979-1989: The Soviet–Afghan War was a ten-year conflict between the Marxist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan supported by the Soviet Union, and the Islamist Mujahedeen Resistance assisted by the US, Saudia Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt. During this time the CIA organized, trained and armed Islamic militants, including Osama bin Laden, to fight the Soviets.
  • 1989: Soviet Union withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in defeat.
  • 2001: September 11, US attacked. On October 7, President George W. Bush orders bombing of Afghan military bases thought to be where al-Qaeda was training.
  • 2001-present: US engaged in war against the Taliban movement for harboring Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. In attempting to capture or kill al Qaida or Taliban forces, the U.S. military has caused thousands of civilian deaths and dropped bombs on the wrong targets, including a Red Cross warehouse and a UN mine-removal office.
  • 2009: NY times reports Afghan civilian deaths increase by 40% in 2008
  • 2009: President Barack Obama escalates war in Afghanistan
  • 2010: 1,000th U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan


  1. There is no mystery to the cause of Tillman's death. Check of Stan Goff's "Fog of Fame" or my

    Tillman was hit by a SAW from only 35 meters away. The SAW fires 600 - 800 rounds per minute. That 3 rounds hit Tillman in the head (others missed and others hit his chest armor) is not the act of a sniper, etc.

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