Inkwell doesn’t want to dredge up the General Stanley McChrystal saga this morning, but he has come up again. The Sunday L. A. Times had a piece by Mary Tillman, mother of Pat Tillman, the football star who gave up a big contract to serve his country in Afghanistan after 9/11 and was killed. McChrystal is a big player in Mary Tillman’s story:

McChrystal was in charge of Joint Special Operations Command in 2004, when my son, Pat, was killed in Afghanistan. But I didn’t become aware of him until March 2007. That’s when someone anonymously sent an Associated Press reporter a copy of a high-priority correspondence. The memo was written on April 29, 2004, by McChrystal and sent to Gen. John P. Abizaid, Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown and Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr. Its purpose was to warn President George W. Bush and other officials to avoid making public comments about Pat’s heroic death at the hands of the enemy, because it was beginning to seem “highly possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire.”

The memo went on to caution against “unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.”

We knew nothing about this memo at the time it was written. In fact, we did not learn until weeks after Pat’s memorial service that it was even possible he was killed by friendly fire.

These stories always floor me-yes, it’s horrible that Pat Tillman, a genuine hero, was killed by friendly fire, and embarrassing to the military, especially in an operation not fully embraced by the public. But how did a cover-up help?

 In fact, the story became big-it’s McChrystal’s role that’s new-and it would have been so much better had the leaders told the truth immediately. Friendly fire is accidental, and while it may be hard for a grieving nation to forgive, a lie is unforgiveable.

 Mary Tillman had every right to out the general and indeed everybody who played along with this unconscionable cover-up. The minute friendly fire became identified as the likely cause of Tillman’s death, it should have been made public.