In the documentary, which opens next month, Amir Bar Lev explores the myth-making by the government and the media following the death of professional football player turned Army ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Bar Lev points his finger directly at McChrystal for perpetuating what the Tillman family believes is a massive, ongoing cover-up.
Initial accounts claimed Tillman was shot in an enemy ambush; later the government admitted he was killed by friendly fire. After Tillman’s death, McChrystal was involved in the decision to award Tillman a medal for valor, based on the report that he had died under enemy fire. McChrystal then sent a memo to several top generals and to White House personnel warning that there might be questions about Tillman’s death and cautioning speechwriters against making direct reference to what happened the day Tillman died in President Bush’s speech for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Tillman’s parents allege the government is still lying about what really happened the day Tillman died, and has used their son’s death to further their pro-war agenda.