The Truth Behind the Death of Pat Tillman?

"I think it's wrong," Jones said. "I mean, you don't tell someone a story that didn't happen to try and make them feel better. There's not a whole lot that's going to make them feel better. You might as well just tell them the truth."

Aker said, "It was just handled completely idiotic. The first time I was interviewed was four months after it happened ... and the same with a lot of other guys within our platoon that were finally given a chance to talk."

Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch also disagreed with how Tillman's death was handled. "The military instills that in us, you know the honor codes but yet they can't be honest with our families when we're over there protecting and defending our country," she said.

Five weeks later, the Tillmans learned the truth.

The Investigation

Six investigations and countless hearings have been carried out since Pat Tillman's death.

In 2006, the Army sent a team of investigators to the site where Tillman was killed. The team was accompanied by two rangers from Tillman's platoon.

After reviewing the footage of the Army investigation, Krakauer said he was shocked by what he called a lax probe.

"As they're doing it, no one is asking the right questions, they're not asking any questions," he said. "They drive through this canyon, you know, where the shooting started -- there's nothing said, and no one says where did the shooting start? You know the soldier didn't say, this is where we started shooting, he was here, he was there. There's nothing, they just drive through the canyon -- 'We're done now, cut,'" Krakauer said.

Looking at the footage, Krakauer is able to pinpoint where the firefight took place.

"The shooting started, basically, as soon as this Humvee turned the corner -- shooting continually. Hundreds of rounds found," Krakauer explained. "At this point, it's only 35 yards away, 120 feet -- the difference between second base and home plate. And they are just unloading on these guys. Tillman throws a smoke grenade to try and indicate they're friendlies -- no good, they're shot and killed. And that's what happened."

Krakauer's vast knowledge of Tillman's death is the result of 3½ years of nonstop research -- all his waking hours, as he described it.

The writer has read through thousands of pages of documents from the investigations into Tillman's death and spent more than five months in Afghanistan.

He has searched for Tillman's platoon mates and fellow soldiers -- and interviewed as many as he could find.

Reactions From the Military

Krakauer said he believes the military and President George W. Bush's former administration will argue with his findings. But he is confident in his book.

"I've been very conservative with my fact checking," he said. "The stuff in my book is true. Stuff that I believe to be true but I couldn't prove is not in the book."

He said he's prepared for the objections.

"I mean, it's not a flattering portrait of Rumsfeld, Cheney especially, and I think the Army will be upset because some very senior members of the officer corps, generals, we're talking four-star generals, did not do the right thing with Pat Tillman," Krakauer said. "They did the wrong thing."

The role of the current leading commander of the military operation in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is discussed in the book.

"McChrystal is extremely quiet. He covers his tracks, he avoids publicity." Krakauer said.

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