More on Tillman

This post will be my last word on my cartoon about Pat Tillman. Having read more than 6,000 emails about it, a number of random thoughts cross my mind.

First and foremost, this country is in the throes of a militarism that is frightening. Militarism is an ideology that sees war not as a means to an end, but rather as a self-perpetuating purpose in and of itself. The excitement of the waving flags, the sense of common purpose, the thrill of risking lives–ours and our fellow citizens’–in a grand crusade to expand our nation’s influence, avenge some slight, whatever.

Even what passes for the “left” in this country insists that we “support our troops.” Why? Because during Vietnam, some veterans reported having been insulted as “baby killers.” These stories are largely fictional, but whatever–let’s take them at their word. What irony! Vietnam vets, many of whom were drafted, were insulted. Now our army is 100% volunteer–and we’re not allowed to point out that picking up a gun and shooting people they tell you to shoot is a choice.

Others on the left point out that poor people from rural areas with high unemployment see joining the military as a means of overcoming economic disadvantage. At a starting salary of $12,000, however, your average private would do better taking a job at McDonald’s, where the pay is the same and nobody’s shooting at you.

Obviously the lion’s share of the blame for our current atmosphere of warmongering based on lies must be placed on the disgusting creature named George W. Bush as well as his demented greedhead cronies in the Administration. After that comes the media, which lionizes people like Tillman because they gave up everything–money, a bright future, even their life!–to serve their coun–well, to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Tillman fought first in Iraq, then Afghanistan.) It’s the same sales pitch used by Hezbollah and Hamas to recruit suicide bombers: die for the greater good. Except these wars are not good. They’re not defending us from terrorists; they’re recruiting them. And the 9/11 terror attacks remain utterly unavenged.

Even so it’s time for Americans to start boycotting the military. If there hadn’t been a spike in recruitment after 9/11, the Pentagon would not have had the ability to wage war in Iraq, where even now they are so shorthanded that they sent for another 47,000 troops. The last thing anyone should do with their life is sign it away as a blank check to George W. Bush–a man who did everything in his power to dodge the draft when he had his chance to fight in Vietnam, a war that he supported as long as other guys were doing the dying.

I’ve been asked what I would have done, as president, after 9/11. I’ve written about this extensively, in books and essays, but to summarize:

I would have leaned on Egypt, which receives $2 billion annually in US foreign aid, to track down the masterminds of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. IJ is the group that killed Anwar Sadat, and all 19 hijackers were members. They were also all Egyptian–the 15 “Saudis” merely held Saudi passports. I would have demanded that those leaders be prosecuted for mass murder on 9/11.

Regime change, if necessary, should have focused on Saudi Arabia, which funded the attacks, and Pakistan, which is–contrary to media myth–Al Qaeda HQ. General Musharraf’s ISI intelligence agency created the Taliban and spread militant anti-American Wahhabiism throughout South and Central Asia. Get rid of him, and you eliminate funding for the camps in Afghanistan, a nation that was before 9/11 nothing more than a back lot for Pakistan’s misdeeds.

There’s more–much, much more–but as I said, I’ve written about all this before and I am seriously tired.

Pat Tillman died for nothing. He may have been an admirable person in many respects–we’re all complicated–but he made a terrible decision by joining Bush’s mercenary military after 9/11. If someone dies because they screw up behind the wheel of their car, it’s a tragic accident. It’s awful and we’re sad–but it ain’t heroism, folks.

Heroism? That’s pretty damned rare. Shooting at people for pay, unless you’re defending your country, surely ain’t that particular bird. And America has never been endangered by Iraq or Afghanistan. North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, on the other hand…

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