Last week I poked fun at Donald Trump’s possible run for president in 2012. The Donald says he’s going to make his official announcement on “The Apprentice.” How fittingly tacky. Trump, who declared corporate bankruptcy four times, the last in 2009, also said that he might not make his tax returns public until Obama shows his birth certificate. How juvenile.

Karl Rove commented that by focusing on Obama’s birth certificate, Trump became “a joke candidate.” Frankly, it’s spooky when I find myself agreeing with Karl Rove.

Trump responded that he was no fan of Rove, Bush or Obama. News flash: the Donald is only a fan of the Donald.

On a brighter note, Sunday is Easter and today is Good Friday. Being Jewish, I never understood why it’s “good.” On the Internet I discovered that it may be peculiar to the English language. In German its Karfreitag, which loosely translates to Mourning Friday. (Clearly, I have too much free time.)

This Good Friday marks the seventh anniversary of Pat Tillman’s death. I mention it because I recently watched the compelling documentary “The Tillman Story,” a DVD narrated by Josh Brolin. In 2002, Tillman was an NFL star who gave up a multi-million dollar contract to enlist in the Army along with his brother, Kevin.

To his chagrin, Pat became the military’s poster boy. He even received a personal letter from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (Whoopee.)

After becoming Army Rangers, the Tillman brothers were transferred to Iraq. Pat believed the Iraq war was unjust and illegal. He was also an avowed atheist. A few suspect that either might have factored into what subsequently happened.

Seven years ago today Pat and Kevin were part of a horribly ill-advised mission in Afghanistan. Their Ranger units were separated and Pat’s came under enemy fire, albeit ineffective, i.e. there were no bullet holes in their Humvee. What is clear is that Pat was killed by his fellow soldiers.

And yet the Tillmans were told that Pat died in a firefight with the enemy and had demonstrated such valor that he would be awarded the Silver Star. With her whole family being patriotic, Mary Tillman had no reason to be suspicious. And yet she recalls, “The story sounded like a bad ‘Rambo’ script.”

Pat always feared that, in the event of his death, the government might exploit it. Sure enough, his funeral was broadcast live on national TV.

It took five weeks before the Tillmans were told that Pat’s death was from “friendly fire.” But there are still no answers as to why his body armor was destroyed, his uniform was burned and his diary was missing.

Whereas other families might have been paralyzed with grief, the Tillmans devoted years searching for the truth. There were five Army investigations and two congressional hearings, but no one was held accountable, except for a lone scapegoat, a retired general who lost a star and thus some of his pension. (Big deal.)

In the news now is “Joining Forces,” a national initiative headed by Michelle Obama and Vice-President Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden. The program involves all facets of society in helping servicemen and women and their families. It sounds like a very noble cause but there’s a hitch that has drawn Mary’s ire.

President Obama appointed retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal as a top advisor. It was McChrystal who reviewed Pat’s Silver Star recommendation that included blatantly false information, including two altered witness statements.

Keep in mind that Pat was the most famous soldier in the entire military. And yet McChrystal’s excuse was that he hadn’t read the recommendation closely enough. (I’d sooner believe in the Easter Bunny.)

At his 2009 confirmation hearings to put McChrystal in charge of all forces in Afghanistan, the general conceded that the Tillman matter “looked like a cover-up” but he insisted it wasn’t. As I watched, all I could think of was the expression “if it quacks like a duck … .”

Amir Bar-Lev, the director of “The Tillman Story” said, “Putting Stanley McChrystal in charge of a commission on military families is like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of a commission on pensions.”

I voted for Obama and probably will again. But I’m so disgusted with politics that instead of the news I follow sports. Thankfully the Lakers evened their NBA first round playoff series with the Hornets. But in the meantime, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is appointing a trustee to oversee the once proud Dodgers. (Almost enough to make me return to the news.)

And yet, somehow I cling to the hope that Frank and Jamie McCourt will be forced to sell the team to Mark Cuban and the Dodgers will one day win another World Series. Evidently, when it comes to some things, I do believe in the Easter Bunny.

The Pat Tillman foundation is located at To read “The [Untold] Tillman Story” go to Jack can be reached at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *