Pat Tillman’s Parents Slam Military

Eric was one of numerous correspondents to email me about the following story:

I’m sure you have probably come across this already, but just in case you have not, Yahoo! currently has story up about how Pat Tillman’s parents are upset (to say the least) with the Army’s efforts to put a positive PR spin on their son’s death (e.g. lying to them about the details and then using it for political gain). Of course, as AGF mentioned a few days ago, perhaps they should just “get over it.”
P.S. Apparently the story is originally from the Washington Post…

While my first (egotistical) response was to say “I told you so”—after all, right-wing blowhards spent much of 2004 insulting me as treasonous and anti-American for pointing out that Tillman made one hell of a stupid decision by enlisting in Bush’s oil-company security service after 9/11—even the death threats I’ve received pale next to the devastating loss suffered by Tillman’s parents. One of the money quotes from the Washington Post piece:

“After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this,” Patrick Tillman said. “They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy.” […]”Maybe lying’s not a big deal anymore,” he said. “Pat’s dead, and this isn’t going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has.”

Which was, of course, the point of my cartoon. Even under a functioning democracy like the one we enjoyed until December 20, 2000, everyone who joins the military signs up to be used. But enlisting in the military under an illegitimate, non-democratically elected imposter worsens an already bad bargain from the standpoint of a soldier.
Pat Tillman, many have forgotten, did not enlist after 9/11 to go to Afghanistan. At the time, in 2002, that war was considered over. He, like millions of Americans who believed Bush’s lies, thought Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. And in fact, that’s the first tour of duty he did, in Iraq. Only later, when Afghanistan heated up again, did he go there—where he was shot to death in a “friendly fire” accident. In every sense of the word, then, Tillman was used. He enlisted based on the false premise that the U.S. military was fighting the terrorists who hit us, even though it has not yet even attempted to do so. He fought under the false premise that the U.S. military takes every step to keep their personnel safe. Even the circumstances of his death were covered up so that his story could be used as a “poster boy” for recruitment.
Tillman’s story, once told as the ultimate example of why and how young men and women should join Bush’s anti-Muslim oil crusade, has become exactly the opposite: a cautionary tale of a promising life squandered by misplaced hopes and beliefs.

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