Brother of NFL player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman calls Iraq war 'illegal'

Monday, October 23rd 2006, 11:51 am
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) _ The brother of NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan, has written a scathing indictment of the war in Iraq, calling it ``an illegal invasion.''

Kevin Tillman, a former Army Ranger, had remained silent since his brother's death in 2004, but in an article in the Web magazine Truthdig, he sharply criticizes the invasion of Iraq, the indefinite imprisonment of terrorism suspects and other events since the brothers enlisted together in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

``Somehow, the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes,'' Kevin Tillman wrote.

``Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground,'' he wrote.

After playing for the Arizona State University Sun Devils, Pat Tillman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 1998. He played with the team for four years. He was on the verge of signing another contract with the Cardinals in 2002 when he decided to join the Army instead.

The brothers, both ASU graduates, were initially sent to Iraq, then returned to the U.S. for Ranger training and later were sent to Afghanistan.

Pat Tillman, who played defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed by friendly fire near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in April 2004.

The Defense Department is investigating allegations of a cover-up, including failure by the Army to tell Tillman's family for several weeks that he had been killed by gunfire from his fellow Army Rangers, not by enemy fire as they initially were told.