(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama appointed retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal to co-chair a commission on military families this week, but according to perhaps the most prominent military family of the last decade, McChrystal is unfit for that duty.
Mary Tillman, mother of Pat Tillman, the former professional football player-turned-Army Ranger who was killed by friendly fire seven years ago, is angered by McChrystal’s appointment, telling ABC News he was part of the propaganda effort pushing the false tale that Tillman had been killed by the enemy, and keeping the truth from the world -- and their family.
“I was actually pretty shocked to hear it; I don't think it’s the appropriate choice,” Tillman told ABC News. “Considering that we have plenty of evidence indicating that McChrystal was involved in the cover-up of Pat’s death...he's not the right person for that kind of a job.”
Tillman said the president's appointment of McChrystal "makes him look foolish, frankly."
She told ABC News that "someone who has a heartfelt desire to help families would not have been involved in the cover-up of a soldier’s death, especially one that they used to promote a war.”
McChrystal -- who declined comment to ABC News -- was the commander of special operations in Afghanistan when Tillman was killed in April 2004. Soon after, McChrystal wrote his commanders an urgent memo that, "It is highly possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire.”
Having heard President George W. Bush might speak publicly about Tillman, McChrystal wrote to his higher ups to make sure they knew the truth so as to “preclude any...public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death become public."
Tillman noted that McChrystal wrote "if this becomes public this could be an embarrasment to the administration. He didnt say 'when' this becomes public, 'when' we tell the family. So there was going to be an effort to cover this up."
At the same time McChrystal was sending that confidential memo, he was part of the propaganda effort pushing a false narrative about Tillman's death, the family charges.
He signed off on a Silver Star citation that is worded quite misleadingly, noting how “Corporal Tillman put himself in the line of devastating enemy fire” and in the next sentence referencing how Tillman, “(w)hile mortally wounded” demonstrated “audacious leadership and courageous example under fire...”
At no point does the Silver Star citation that McChrystal signed even hint that the mortal wounds came from American guns.
“I would do this differently if I had the chance again -- in retrospect they look contradictory, because we sent a silver star that was not well-written,” McChrystal testified before the Senate in 2009. “And although I went through the process, I will tell you now I didn't review the citation well enough to capture -- or I didn't catch that if you read it you could imply that it was not friendly fire.”
The Pentagon Inspector General recommended disciplinary action against McChrystal, but the army ultimately cleared him of any wrongdoing in 2007.
Mary Tillman said McChrystal let her family agonize on a national stage for years for never helping them find out the truth about their son's death.
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