BLACK AND WHITE AND FULL OF CRAP
May 12, 2005 8:06 AM   Subscribe

The real Pat Tilman story. Remember Pat Tillman? Tilman the former NFL player? Tilman the war hero who died saving his mates? Sure you do! "Tillman died trying to save fellow members of the 75th Ranger Regiment caught in a crush of enemy fire," the story went. Tillman, said a friend and comrade-at-arms, had told his fellow soldiers "to seize the tactical high ground from the enemy" to draw enemy fire away from another U.S. platoon trapped in an ambush. "He directly saved their lives with those moves. Pat sacrificed his life so that others could live." It was, as the Washington Post wrote, a "storybook personal narrative"--one recounted on hundreds of front pages and network newscasts. It was also a lie.
posted by acrobat (77 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: old news posted about before



 
All that said, he did turn down the NFL/millions of dollars to be a soldier. Let's hope that his sacrifice doesn't get tainted because of PR spins and sketchy obfuscations.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:12 AM on May 12, 2005


What robocop is bleeding said. (Love that handle, by the way.) Just remember that it wasn't Tilman who tried to deceive the nation, but his superiors.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:17 AM on May 12, 2005


They lied to his brother on the scene. Man that's cold.

Someday there is going to be some revenge had Shogun style by that angry young man.
posted by jmgorman at 8:19 AM on May 12, 2005


Let's hope that his sacrifice doesn't get tainted because of PR spins and sketchy obfuscations.

PR spins? Sketchy obfuscations? Cute. How about calling this by the proper name--outright lying.

He sure doesn't deserve the term "hero" by making what, on hindsight, seems to be a bad career choice.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:20 AM on May 12, 2005


And because he turned that contract down his story is much more important than the stories of all the other - how many are we up to now? - soldiers and of the uncounted number of "Collateral Damage".

A friend of mine who has served in Viet Nam summed it up in one sentence: "War is hell and chaotic" Not like the TV/Media makes us believe with all the clean guided smart missiles and stuff.
posted by nostrada at 8:21 AM on May 12, 2005


Hear, hear, robocop.

So much for honor as a military virtue.

Sometime in the future, there will be a carefully researched and authoratative analysis of the propaganda efforts conducted by the US government against the American people. It will be a long time coming.

In the meantime, we have The Truth from These Podia, more of a set of notes than an essay on the "information operations" used to confuse, disorient and manipulate the American public.
posted by warbaby at 8:22 AM on May 12, 2005


He sure doesn't deserve the term "hero" by making what, on hindsight, seems to be a bad career choice.

If Tillman was heroic, it was because he felt a sense of duty and put his money where his mouth was. Unlike the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.

The sacrifice at the bottom versus the chickenshit at the top seems more pronounced in this "war" than others. But maybe it's just the same as it ever was..
posted by kgasmart at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2005


Is this still news in the US? I assumed when the Guardian covered it last week that it must have been all over the US press by then.
posted by biffa at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2005


No one give a shit about Tillman the man. If they cared about him, or wanted to honor him, they wouldn't have lied about him in the first place.
posted by cytherea at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2005


As sharp-eyed readers learned a few months ago from single-paragraph articles buried deep inside their newspapers, Pat Tillman died pointlessly, a hapless victim of "friendly fire" who never got the chance to choose between bravery and cowardice.



The news on this is older than a few months, iirc several months after his memorial tribute we knew it.
Thought it was covered here on his true death; anyone recall the thread?
Bloogers: no news is news.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:29 AM on May 12, 2005


Brigadier General Gary Jones admits that the official cover-up even included "the destruction of evidence": the army burned [the] uniform and body armor to hide the fact that he had died in a hail of American bullets..

It's almost like a Tom Cruise movie subplot. But "war" seems to be more about the propaganda campaign these days than anything else (the US is unmatched in military might), I guess it would be wise to take any unsubstantiated reports (read:military versions) and subsequent media reports from the scene of battle, with a heavy pinch of salt.
posted by shoez at 8:30 AM on May 12, 2005


leftcoastbob..said "He sure doesn't deserve the term "hero" by making what, on hindsight, seems to be a bad career choice."

ya know, bob, that was cold.

There is absolutly no reason to put this man down... I'm as anti-war and liberal as they come, but I've got some respect for someone that put his money (and his life) where his mouth is... and, in an age of lies, deception, and greed, that makes him a hero.. give it a rest!

and.., yep, this is old news....
posted by HuronBob at 8:31 AM on May 12, 2005


If they cared about him, or wanted to honor him, they wouldn't have lied about him in the first place.
No, they would have honored him at his home field. The military based he was stationed at and the other military installation around the US, than his former employment on the Football fields.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2005


See, I don't buy that he was hero in the first place. Sure, he gave up something he loved and lots of money, but that doesn't necessarily make him a hero. He's a little dim, actually-- he went off to do the dirty work of the rich folk that he was supposed to be among.

Anyone impressed with the story of someone who quit a good job to go hunting brown people won't care how he died. And make no mistake-- he was pissed off by the WTC attack and wanted to punch someone no matter how tenuous their connection to the actual incedent. Whether he was shot by afghanis or americans with low SAT scores is irrelevant to people who like muscle-flexing. They supported bombing anyone before Tillman enlisted, and their bloodlust wouldn't abate whether he was shot in the face by Condoleeza Rice or tipped a soda machine on himself.

All capitalist military activity starts with lies, so subsequent lies are of less importance.

Yeah, I know. "Shut up, Curley. That boy's a hee-ro! It were the gub'ment that failed him!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2005


but why . . why would they wait weeks before revealing that the cause was friendly fire? It's as if they expected his death to make the news or something.

I want the truth!
posted by petebest at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2005


Is this still news in the US? I assumed when the Guardian covered it last week that it must have been all over the US press by then.

Yeah, right. You obviously aren't that familiar with the U.S. media.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 8:37 AM on May 12, 2005


Cold? Sure. Hero? Not.

If you want to look at a heroic act during war time, look at Mohammed Ali. He had a difficult choice and took the moral high ground.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:37 AM on May 12, 2005


you know what, war has always been about the propaganda - ignore me. Working for a broadcaster you just hope that you are at least mindful of what you're being fed - and that others are too. In fact, just what Mayor Curley says.
posted by shoez at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2005




Do you have any evidence that war these days is any different than war has ever been? I'm no expert but it seems to me war in terms of how the public back home sees it has always been about propaganda. The French media during WWI is a good example. How about the way we drew Japanese people in posters and political cartoons during WWII? I don't think 'these days' are any different than 'olden times'.

posted by spicynuts at 8:40 AM on May 12, 2005


war seems to be more about the propaganda campaign these days than anything else

Do you have any evidence that war these days is any different than war has ever been? I'm no expert but it seems to me war in terms of how the public back home sees it has always been about propaganda. The French media during WWI is a good example. How about the way we drew Japanese people in posters and political cartoons during WWII? I don't think 'these days' are any different than 'olden times'.
posted by spicynuts at 8:41 AM on May 12, 2005


[!]
posted by sciurus at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2005


As someone else said: this "news" is substantially older than a week. The Jessica Lynch story was bullshit, so was the Pat Tillman one. And we still see people here - and elsewhere - blithely wondering why for many of us the default position towards any story coming from the military, the Bush administration or mainstream US media sources is, "this is probably propaganda or outright lies".

I only read the US media so that I can keep track of how much they're not telling people. This has been the case since 9/11.
posted by Decani at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2005


This government? It lies? They obfuscate and treat the truth like a prisoner at Abu Ghraib (get 'em Lynndie, now get me, yeah!).

His death was tragic then, its more tragic now.
posted by fenriq at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2005


he was pissed off by the WTC attack and wanted to punch someone no matter how tenuous their connection to the actual incedent.

Dude, read this. Tillman wasn't the two-dimensional character both right and left seem to want him to be:

Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.

"Pat isn't with God,' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.'

What? This didn't happen for God, as well as country?


(snip)

He was the same person who often talked late into the night with his linebackers coach at ASU, prying apart stereotypes about college football players and future soldiers.

"He talked about gays,' Lyle Setencich, the former ASU assistant said. "He asked me, 'Could you coach gays?'


(snip)

According to the speakers, he had read the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and he underlined passages constantly. Garwood recalled how he'd mail articles to friends, highlighting certain parts and writing in the margins: "Let's discuss.' A quotation from Emerson, found underlined in Tillman's readings, adorned the program.

It concluded with this: "But the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.'

posted by kgasmart at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2005


I could've sworn that at the time Tillman was killed I saw at least one story that it was a friendly-fire incident. It's still tragic, but I'm not sure it's really news.
posted by alumshubby at 8:55 AM on May 12, 2005


This was tragic, and McCain lost a lot of points in my book for jumping on the Tillman-praise bandwagon. Just let the guy rest in peace, given the violence and insanity of his death.
posted by bardic at 8:55 AM on May 12, 2005


posted by HuronBob There is absolutly no reason to put this man down... I'm as anti-war and liberal as they come, but I've got some respect for someone that put his money (and his life) where his mouth is... and, in an age of lies, deception, and greed, that makes him a hero.. give it a rest!

In an age of lies, deception, and greed, Pat Tillman indeed put his money where his mouth is. Unfortunately, lies, deception, and greed were the reasons for the war in which he lost his life. The real heroes are the ones who are refusing to fight this iditotic, poorly-planned, expensive war.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2005


http://www.metafilter.com/searched.mefi?option=2&search=tillman&date=3

We knew this back in December.
posted by sciurus at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2005


He did what he thought was right. The fact that I may or may not agree with his line of reasoning does not diminish the heroics of doing what he perceived was the right thing (that was hard and dangerous) for his country. And before you lash out at that, I understand the difference between country and government and government and politicians. There is a difference. And as others have said, what he did (despite the tragic circumstances) was far more heroic than the chickenhawk motherfuckers that sent him there
posted by ElvisJesus at 9:00 AM on May 12, 2005


I think that all those kids who enlisted and are over there fighting for their country are heros.

That being said, we're all being lied to by the government and the various media. I'm suprised when people are still shocked when these deceptions are revealed. So the army tried to create some heros so the folks back at home would support their bloody war... so what else is new?
posted by MotherTucker at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2005


Yeah, it seems like I knew this a couple of days after his death made news. And Ted Rall? Hardly a credible source. The guy's like the Ann Coulter of the Left.

Anyone impressed with the story of someone who quit a good job to go hunting brown people won't care how he died. And make no mistake-- he was pissed off by the WTC attack and wanted to punch someone no matter how tenuous their connection to the actual incedent.

WTF Mayor? The AQ were the ones responsible for 9/11, the Taliban was protecting them. How is that a 'tenious' connection. I dissagreed with the Iraq war, but I don't see the problem witht the war in afghanistan (Then again, I wanted to see the Taliban destroyed before 9/11).
posted by delmoi at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2005


I have to wonder that between the kevlar helmet and vest, exactly what volume of friendly fire it took to kill him? Was it a head or groin shot, or a mass of directed machine gun fire? A mortar?

I also wonder about how Tillman might have been mistaken for being an insurgent... he had a physical build that was more than a bit larger than most insurgents.
posted by buzzman at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2005


The U.S. Government will do and say anything to put a pretty face on this horrible war. This includes making up stuff about soldiers like Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman. They will spoon-feed the media and the public—in a global information age, not just the American public—lie after lie to get what they want (and I don't mean WMDs).
posted by terrapin at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2005


I assumed when the Guardian covered it last week that it must have been all over the US press by then.

More news you might not have heard about if you don't live in the UK (off-topic):
What had Palacio [Ecuador's President new president] done to get our Secretary of State's political knickers in a twist? It's the oil--and the bonds. This nation of only 13 million souls at the world's belly button is rich, sitting on 4.4 billion barrels of known oil reserves, and probably much more. Yet 60 percent of its citizens live in brutal poverty; a lucky minority earn the "minimum" wage of $153 a month.

The obvious solution--give the oil money to the Ecuadoreans without money--runs smack up against paragraph III-1 of the World Bank's 2003 Structural Adjustment Program Loan. The diktat is marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY," which "may not be disclosed" without World Bank authorization. TheNation.com has obtained a copy.

The secret loan terms require Ecuador to pay bondholders 70 percent of the revenue received from any spike in the price of oil. The result: Ecuador must give up the big bucks from the Iraq War oil price surge. Another 20 percent of the oil windfall is set aside for "contingencies" (i.e., later payments to bondholders). The document specifies that Ecuador may keep only 10 percent of new oil revenue for expenditures on social services.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2005


I think that all those kids who enlisted and are over there fighting for their country are heros.

Does that include those freedom fighter whom your government calls "insurgents?" Those are the only ones who are truly fighting for their country.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:12 AM on May 12, 2005


Unfortunately, lies, deception, and greed were the reasons for the war in which he lost his life. The real heroes are the ones who are refusing to fight this iditotic, poorly-planned, expensive war.

What lies, deception, or greed caused the war in afghanistan?
posted by delmoi at 9:12 AM on May 12, 2005


You people realize that Tillman died in Afghanistan, right?
posted by delmoi at 9:19 AM on May 12, 2005


And Ted Rall? Hardly a credible source. The guy's like the Ann Coulter of the Left.

Right. Except he actually, you know, knows his history. And is intelligent. And is more concerned with actual effective policy than scoring partisan points (he doesn't try too hard to be liked by anybody, including the Democratic Party). And whose citations in his books actually hold up to scrutiny. And finally, who's actually been blisteringly funny at times. But aside from those small things, they're exactly alike.
posted by the_savage_mind at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2005


Anyone impressed with the story of someone who quit a good job to go hunting brown people won't care how he died.

I AGREE WITH MAYOR CURLY! PAT TILLMAN WAS OBVIOUSLY A RACIST FUCK!!11
posted by Stauf at 9:22 AM on May 12, 2005


I think that all those kids who enlisted and are over there fighting for their country are heros.

No. Some of them are in it for money. Others are in it so they can get confirmed kills. Others are there because their parents forced it on them. There's a whole bunch of reasons why they are there, but to say they are all heros is a real stretch.

Some of them are.
posted by furtive at 9:22 AM on May 12, 2005


Ooh, Civil, that looks interesting. Wanna FPP it?
posted by klangklangston at 9:25 AM on May 12, 2005


You people realize that Tillman died in Afghanistan, right?

You realize that we tore down the Taliban at the behest of Unocal to build an oil pipeline, right?
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:25 AM on May 12, 2005


1. Old news.

2. They lied to his brother on the scene. Man that's cold. On one level, I agree with you. On another level, I can see where this might have been a case not so much as a coverup as it was an altruistic endeavor to take a tragic event death of a well-known soldier and embellish it to make his death easier to swallow, not only for the public but for his family.

I'm not saying this was the case, but it could have been. None of us were there that day; I can see troops in the chaos of a battlefield making up the story on the spot and then sticking with it in an attempt to honor and lionize Tillman. I'm sure the troops in the field see a decidedly different view of things than those of us who quarterback it from our easy chairs in the family room.

I'm against the war and I think it will badly in the end; but in this case I'm kind of inclined to have a little compassion for the soldiers who made a fatal error in judgment and tried to make it better with what turned out to be a second error of judgment.
posted by Doohickie at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2005


You realize that we tore down the Taliban at the behest of Unocal to build an oil pipeline, right?

Yes. Curley. It obviously had nothing to do with the fact that the people who left a gaping hole in the middle of downtown Manhattan are based there.
posted by unreason at 9:28 AM on May 12, 2005


leftcoastbob: He sure doesn't deserve the term "hero" by making what, on hindsight, seems to be a bad career choice.

mayor curley: See, I don't buy that he was hero in the first place. Sure, he gave up something he loved and lots of money, but that doesn't necessarily make him a hero.

bardic: McCain lost a lot of points in my book for jumping on the Tillman-praise bandwagon.

i suppose unless he was killed in a greenpeace zodiac nothing would make him a hero in your little red books. pity you three didn't have the chance to spit on him and call him babykiller.

rip pat tillman. i don't agree with what you did, but you're still a hero in my book.
posted by three blind mice at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2005


Stauf, please stop with your barbs. I'm scorched from the heat of your intellect. Particularly that fresh manuever where you pretend you're over-enthusiastic with the exclamation mark. Ha!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:35 AM on May 12, 2005


I know, Mayor Curley! It's just so hard to live up to your super-fresh and witty "brown people" insinuation which I, for one, have never ever heard on mefi. Ever.
posted by Stauf at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2005


It obviously had nothing to do with the fact that the people who left a gaping hole in the middle of downtown Manhattan are based there.

Yeah, that what's the US government said. Of course, they couldn't actually find the head of the organization where they said they would, and this whole thread is about how the govenrment lied to us.

But I guess if it's good enough you, unreason, then I should just shut up and take it at face value even though there's no evidence. I'll have some Jesus too while I'm at it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2005


As sharp-eyed readers learned a few months ago from single-paragraph articles buried deep inside their newspapers

Yes, yes we did.

Corrections and exposés should always run bigger, longer and more often than initial, discredited stories.

Good luck with that one. I'd rather have a military commitment against dissembling in the first place. (Dissemble is my new favorite word. Reading the news lately, it's a good one.)

The real heroes are the ones who are refusing to fight this idiotic, poorly-planned, expensive war.

Hear, hear!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2005


I know, Mayor Curley! It's just so hard to live up to your super-fresh and witty "brown people" insinuation which I, for one, have never ever heard on mefi. Ever.

So all you do is bad sarcasm, huh? Well, look at it this way--

1. Tillman wanted to get the bad guys.

2. The bad guys fit an ethnic profile.

3. The Bush administration said "These people of the same ethnic group were the ones who did it!"

4. It wasn't really established that his is the case. (Even though you're going to get mad that I pointed this out.)

5. Tillman said "Good enough for me. You say it's these people and they look like the bad guys so I will shoot them no questions asked."

Do I need to further simplify it? Let me know what steps are too hard.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:46 AM on May 12, 2005


i suppose unless he was killed in a greenpeace zodiac nothing would make him a hero in your little red books. pity you three didn't have the chance to spit on him and call him babykiller.

Saying that he wasn't a hero is a far cry from spitting on him and calling him a babykiller, 3bm.

People die every day--car crashes, gang shootings, overdoses. Merely dying doesn't make a person heroic. Sometimes it just makes them f'ing dead.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:47 AM on May 12, 2005




"The guy's like the Ann Coulter of the Left."

Tell you what, Delmoi. When Ann Coulter actually goes to Afghanistan as a reporter, as Ted did, and runs the actual risk of dying, as Ted did (Afghan bandits knocked at his door one night, and when he didn't answer knocked on the door of another journalist and then killed him), and spends a substantial amount of time in the 'Stans (as Ted has over the years), then she might be the Ted Rall of the right. However, asking Ann Coulter to do anything more than fart hate through her larynx is a little much to ask for. Ted is unapologetically partisan and he's more than occasionally rude, but he's definitely a cut or two (possibly three) above Coulter.

(standard disclosure: Ted's a friend of mine)
posted by jscalzi at 9:48 AM on May 12, 2005


he felt a sense of duty and put his money where his mouth was. Unlike the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.

so very true.

what I find surprising is that, if you really analyze it, the whole Tillman narrative wasn't even about the circumstances of his death -- the really huge thing seems to be that he gave up a lot of money to enlist. that seemed to be the "that's incredible!" part of the story. and it does say a lot about our society.
guess what, maybe he just didn't share the majority's fetish for money. that's all.

the fact that Tillman was killed by American fire isn't even relevant -- of course the Pentagon tried to prop him up as some kind of war hero (echoes of "Jessica Lynch was shot, stabbed and fought to the death"?, anybody?). that's the military/politician's propaganda job -- to prop up as heroic deaths what were in fact serious fuck-ups. and of course, to blame all the bad stuff on a bunch of bad-apple soldiers to supress the fact that they were simply following orders (Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, "softening up" the prisoners for interrogation, "make sure they have a bad night").


in your little red books.

comedy gold. what are you, 80?
posted by matteo at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2005


So all you do is bad sarcasm, huh?

Hey man, I just work with what you give me.

Do I need to further simplify it?

Actually, it looks like you went off the deap end with the simplification. Yes, I'm sure Pat Tillman gave no further thought to it than you imply. Uh-huh.

Look. Even assuming Tillman's reasoning sucked, why do you assume racism on his part? Despite your over-simplified liittle list, there's no evidence he was motivitated by any "I'm gonna kill the brown people cause all the brown people are evil" crap. It's just lazy, baseless acussations on your part.
posted by Stauf at 10:00 AM on May 12, 2005


You realize that we tore down the Taliban at the behest of Unocal to build an oil pipeline, right?

What are you smoking? For crying out loud, Jimmy Carter would have attacked Afghanistan after 9/11. Your unsupported and slanderous charge that Tillman was some sort of racist who just wanted to hunt brown people makes you look loony. If anybody is spewing hate right now it is you.
posted by caddis at 10:00 AM on May 12, 2005


Does that include those freedom fighter whom your government calls "insurgents?" Those are the only ones who are truly fighting for their country.



You're not a freedom fighter if you're not fighting for freedom. Fighting to reimpose Baathist hegemony over Kurds and Shia doesn't count. Blowing up people who are trying to vote doesn't count.

The people who voted, despite the risk of getting blown up by those fuckers you admire so much, are the one who are fighting for their country. I admire them and wish them the best. You, Sir, suck, and I thank God that people like you are out of power for the forseeable future.
posted by snout at 10:02 AM on May 12, 2005


From the linked article (emphasis mine):
"We didn't want the world finding out what actually happened," one soldier told Jones. A perfect summary of the war on terrorism.
posted by page404 at 10:03 AM on May 12, 2005


4. It wasn't really established that his is the case. (Even though you're going to get mad that I pointed this out.)

Wow, you *actualy* belive that Al-Quada was not based in Afghanistan? Or do you belive that Al-Quada was not responsible for 9/11?

2. The bad guys fit an ethnic profile. What ethnic profile would that be, by the way? There are a hell of a lot of 'brown' people in the world, from romanians to thai. Pashtun are pretty white looking to me personaly.

The Bush administration said "These people of the same ethnic group were the ones who did it!"

I never once heard bush talking about an "ethnic group". I guess if it was up to you we'd only ever go to war with white people? Yes, bush laid the blaim for 9/11 on the Taliban and Al-Quada. But Al-Quada is a multi-ethnic thing, from Orental Filipinos to White people from Kosovo and Chechnia. Now, Of course Arabs run it.

The Taliban was mostly run by Pashtuns. What "Ethnic group" are you even trying to talk about here?

I mean, my god. By your logic, because the people who actualy exicuted the 9/11 attack were not white, and the people who funded the and coordinated 9/11 attack are not white, it is racist to go after the people who funded and coordinated the 9/11 attack.

(Apperantly "not white" is an ethnic group in your mind)

You're about as far removed from reality as Rumsfeild and perl and all those who thought Iraq had WMD.

---

Or if not, please show us the evidence that says there might not have been a connection between the taliban and the people who commited 9/11.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 AM on May 12, 2005


hey, glad to see you here jscalzi. I love your What My Jesus Would Do bumperstickers. Ted's a really good guy who gets a hell of a lot of shit that he willingly stirs up. I respect him for that.
posted by the_savage_mind at 10:10 AM on May 12, 2005


haha good one Tommy Gnosis, the problem I find with Chomsky is that he takes just too long to make the damn point! But this book also makes some salient points about US foreign policy and its campaign to create acceptable norms of engagement.
posted by shoez at 10:11 AM on May 12, 2005


Ooh, Civil, that looks interesting. Wanna FPP it?

I'm debating it. There's already so much negative WTO press around that it will probably just be greeted with a bunch of "So what?"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:15 AM on May 12, 2005


Also, I notice by your logic. Everyone serving in the US armed forces, who enlisted after 9/11 is a racist. Every single one. Even the black ones and arab ones and everything.

Facinating.
posted by delmoi at 10:15 AM on May 12, 2005


The real heroes are the ones who are refusing to fight this iditotic, poorly-planned, expensive war.
I don't recall one current draft dodger; just poorly informed recruits or those that thought their military enlistment would be playing a soldier. This is something I have heard many times: "I picked a military duty that I thought was safe from combat, guess what mom, I'm in a war now. How do you pick an occupation with the title soldier in it and think, safe or being correct work?
I have little compassion for those that used it for college or a job as one was stated at the beginning of this comment. Especially when welfare does not include the issuing of a weapon.

I have a brother who is on a 6-month deployment in a combat zone yet there is no war that is current news or actively known to us. Is he afraid of dieing, no; does he know our government tells us what they want, yes. He even told me 1 yr before Iraq, nothing to find and your lil brother will be seeing action.

For the ones here who feel in recent times or the last several decades the government is a deceiver. Wake up, Old news! Go read the authors who filled their newspapers with the articles about the Revolutionary’s War fist shots and history’s true account, because two different tales. Note some of these authors we think of as Forefathers. Then talk to your WWII vets and ask them how the government uses. You may find them being the ones who don't boast their heroic actions and rarely discuss the combat field. The death on both sides in that war makes them sick is why their combat roles are lightly discussed. Bu them you will find it has long been known about our government from a war too.

Also, most soldiers in combat are fighting for their comrades’ life not the governments.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:17 AM on May 12, 2005


Fighting to reimpose Baathist hegemony

wait, you changed story again?
I was under the impression that it was religious "Islamofascist" terrahists from Al Qaeda, not secular Baathists! bah.

the people who funded and coordinated the 9/11 attack.

you mean Saddam Hussein?


Blowing up people who are trying to vote doesn't count.

no, they're blowing up people every day, about 60 attacks a day, many of them by suicide bombers -- the fact Iraq's lousy with terrorists and the Americans don't basically control anything except their bases is the thing that tells you Bush is losing the war, very bad. check this out:


posted by matteo at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2005


Even assuming Tillman's reasoning sucked, why do you assume racism on his part?

Because he was very ready to run into Afghanistan guns blazing, even though he only had the government's word that he would be fighting The Enemy.

Do you think he would have been willing if the Bush administation had declared "The Norwegians are harboring the mastermind of this horrible act! Help us invade Norway!"

Keep in mind that the rank and file of Norway's army has as much to do with September 11th as the Taliban conscripts that we happily shot and the Afghan civilians that we gladly bombed.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2005


please show us the evidence that says there might not have been a connection between the taliban and the people who commited 9/11.

"Please prove a negative..."

And all I'm asserting is "Afghan does not necessarily mean Taliban, and neither term necessarily means Qaida."

We were told that the Taliban was aiding terrorists. Really, the Taliban was merely allowing terrorists to live there. None of the hijackers were Afghans, none of the money to fund them came from the Taliban. But there was bombing, shooting and a regime change anyway. And, magically, an agreement for a pipeline that a US company had been begging for.

"Racist" is too broad. But Tillman didn't question any of the missing facts. And he would have if it was a European country.

Lastly, you stole that "Jimmy Carter would have bombed..." from David Cross. Make proper attributions.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:30 AM on May 12, 2005


Do I need to further simplify it? Let me know what steps are too hard.

You've certainly simplified enough for yourself. You don't know one lick of what you're talking about... nothing but assumptions. Why don't you just shut it already... fucking toolbag.
posted by Witty at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2005


Matteo writes:

"If you really analyze it, the whole Tillman narrative wasn't even about the circumstances of his death -- the really huge thing seems to be that he gave up a lot of money to enlist. that seemed to be the 'that's incredible!' part of the story. and it does say a lot about our society."

I disagree. I think the "that's incredible" part of it has less to do with the money and more to do with the fact that here was a young man who had every reason not to choose to serve his country in this way -- including a quite obvious financial reason -- and willingly chose to accept the material deprivation and personal sacrifice to do it. I would submit it does take a certain amount of moral courage to walk away from millions of dollars to serve your country when you believe your service is required. Marvelling over the money is simply the easiest way to express that larger concept.

Tillman is heroic in that he made difficult moral choices and stuck with them in the face of obvious temptation; I suspect most people who honor him do so for that reason. I suppose one could argue whether Tillman's moral choices were fundamentally sound, but to the extent I know of them, I think they were; he felt it was his duty to defend his nation, and in the immediate wake of 9/11 I think that was a positive moral choice to make. Not everyone will agree with me on that, but that's fine, too.

I think one is perfectly able to criticize the handling of the Tillman death and its aftermath by our military and our government without tearing down Tillman himself. He made his choices, he stood by them, and he died for them and because of them. By all indications, he did his duty with honor, and I think that's worth recognizing. Would that the military and government he served have recognized that honor by treating his death with the genuine honor it deserved: By being truthful about it.

the_savage_mind: Glad you like the bumperstickers. And yes, Ted is a good guy. He and I differ in opinion from time to time, but I never doubt the sincerity of his opinions, and his willingness to back them up.
posted by jscalzi at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2005


Tillman said "Good enough for me. You say it's these people and they look like the bad guys so I will shoot them no questions asked."

Curley. Shut up. You sound like a moron.

You can believe the war was wrong or that war in general is immoral but your going to far with this ignorant generalization.

My brother who was in Afghanistan is a racist? My friend Val who is there now? Who are BOTH married to black women. Two people that I know for a fact have fought their entire lives against the bigotry you so glibly mischaracterize as part and parcel of our Armed Forces? Fuck you asshole.
posted by tkchrist at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2005


Even assuming Tillman's reasoning sucked, why do you assume racism on his part?

Because he was very ready to run into Afghanistan guns blazing, even though he only had the government's word that he would be fighting The Enemy.


Right, so anyone who goes off to fight a country inhabited by anyone but Nordics, like all the Americans who fought in the Pacific in WWII, can be assumed to be racists. Mayor, I try to like you, I really do, but you sure seem determined to out-asshole Ted Rall. And that ain't easy. (No, I'm not saying Rall is "the Ann Coulter of the left," and yes, he endangered himself to get the story, but he's still a huge asshole.) Why is it so important to you to shit on Pat Tilman? No, I wouldn't have gone over there to fight myself, but that doesn't mean I consider everyone who did a murderous racist. Get a grip.
posted by languagehat at 10:51 AM on May 12, 2005


Lastly, you stole that "Jimmy Carter would have bombed..." from David Cross. Make proper attributions.

I don't know who David Cross is; Jimmy Carter was just the most pacifist president who came to mind, and he would have attacked the Taliban.
posted by caddis at 10:52 AM on May 12, 2005


The truth is it takes a certain amount of bravery to volunteer to go to Afghanistan or Iraq and fight, as misguided as those efforts might be. It's like Bill Mahrer said, the attackers of the WTC can be called a lot of bad names, but not cowards. Pat Tillman was certainly not a coward. But overcoming fear, in and of itself is not heroism.

I appreciate the insight kgasmart's link gives to the complexity of the man. There is no evidence he was racist, just poorly informed on these matters despite his well-read nature. I also agree with Mayor Curley that we really don't know the real reason we invaded Afghanistan. I don't doubt Al Qaida had a large base there, but we sure didn't seem too anxious to get Bin Laden. We kinda subbed it out to local incompetents. And don't get me started on the rationale for Iraq. I don't know where the support for that is coming from at this late date. Even my most ardently pro-Republican friends have bailed on that one a long time ago. Of course, I don't live in Jesusland.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:53 AM on May 12, 2005


Calling it a waste just because he got killed by friendly fire isn't quite right. A significant percentage of all war casualties are caused by our own troops. I've led an infantry platoon - it is damn hard to keep track of everybody in the middle of the night. People have zones in front of them, they see a shape, and they shoot. It's not like they can see his face.

It's unfortunate, and we try like hell to avoid it, but it is barely controlled chaos. What's amazing to me is that we can hold the casualties as low as they are, especially with the amount of close air support that we have these days.
posted by mtstover at 11:01 AM on May 12, 2005


My brother who was in Afghanistan is a racist? My friend Val who is there now? Who are BOTH married to black women.

So some of their best friends are black, eh? Your personal anecdotes would have been better counters to my assertions if they involved US soldiers married to muslims.

Two people that I know for a fact have fought their entire lives against the bigotry you so glibly mischaracterize as part and parcel of our Armed Forces?

You're making assumptions on my part. Most people do not join the military because of racist assumptions. Most join because they are amoral and willing to agree to kill whomever they are told to for money and training. So thank your brother and your friend Val for protecing US business interests overseas. You might tell yourself "it's serving the country to protect democracy" but it's really serving corporate desires to prevent working at the mill in your shitty hometown.

Mayor, I try to like you, I really do, but you sure seem determined to out-asshole Ted Rall.

You better than most have probably seen the unusual connection between linguistics degrees and foaming left politics. I just think that anyone who fights the Capitalsts' (with a capital "c") war for them deserves scorn.

And I'm not suggesting that the motivation stems from a flaming race hatred. I'm just saying that it's a lot easier to pin blame on people different from you and that lack of questioning is racist.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:05 AM on May 12, 2005


If you're not careful, you just may pass me on the "Mefi Dicks" list. Amoral for joining the military? You're an idiot.
posted by Witty at 11:09 AM on May 12, 2005


It's unfortunate, and we try like hell to avoid it, but it is barely controlled chaos. What's amazing to me is that we can hold the casualties as low as they are, especially with the amount of close air support that we have these days.

Very good point. Especially when you have international forces all operating in close proximity. And these long range guided weapons. What a nightmare.

The point of friendly fire is also good. WWII was a good example.

Still, I don't understand why the Pentagon, or the State department, or who ever, lied. The truth eventually comes out. What that kind betrayal does to Tillman's family and the morale of his unit is unconscionable.
posted by tkchrist at 11:09 AM on May 12, 2005


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