Pat Tillman: Get Over It?

AGF writes:

Do you know that the military is dangerous? That people get killed in training? In peacetime? From friendly fire? You can bash the troops, piss on the flag, and hump your Noam Chomsky blowup doll all you want, but I’m sick and tired of you running around like you’re Bob Woodward and this is Watergate. Yes, Pat was shot in the back by his own troops. Get over it.

I’m surprised that AGF is so obtuse. Of course what happened to Pat Tillman has happened in every war. There’s nothing particularly newsworthy about the way that he died. The way that he died, however, is not the point of my column. (And I’ve hardly played Bob Woodward here. I’ve quoted mainstream media courses throughout the piece as prima facie proof that I was commenting on a reported story rather than uncovering new facts.)

What’s noteworthy is the massive gap between what the American people believe happened–because the government told them via their state-controlled media–and the truth. The credibility chasm is made all the more worthy of discussion by the fact that the government used Tillman’s death to sell the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Had the Bushies and their media poodles settled for issuing an “ain’t that sad” statement after his death (even if they’d lied about the friendly fire aspect), this story wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But they didn’t. They broadcast a nationally televised paean to the man and the war in which he fell. They set him up as an example to emulate.

A few months ago an interviewer asked me: “Don’t you care about Pat Tillman?” “No,” I told him. Because it’s too late to care about Pat Tilllman. Had I met him before he enlisted, I would have strongly advised him not to serve in a patently immoral cause under a despotic, idiotic and careless commander in chief. But I didn’t. Now I care about the young men and women who might (mistakenly) view Tillman’s example as one worth copying. Deconstructing the Tillman myth–and it is a myth–is part of desconstructing the whole post-9/11 myth that we’re invading oil-strategic nations in order to defend ourselves. Tillman’s story is one of foolishness, brashness and misguided ideals.

It is a cautionary tale, and one that should be retold until not one single American continues to believe the official lie.

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