Monday, May 23, 2005

"They Blew Up Their Poster Boy"

 Posted by Hello

The above is a quote from Pat Tilman Sr, the father of Pat Jr late of the Arizona Cardinals NFL franchise and the the US Army Rangers. Tilman Jr was shot by his own men who mistook him for the enemy while fighting in Afghanistan. The Army, mindful of the fact that Tilman was a celebrity- indeed the closest thing this generation of recruiters had to a Ted Williams in Korea or James Stewart in the Second World War- made up a battle myth about the poor man, essentially claiming publicly that he was killed while single-handedly charging a multitude of enemy, dagger clenched in teeth and armed only with the sharp end of the staff of the American flag he was carrying. In short, they tried to leverage the death of a young man who used to be paid to play games in order to influence kids. Why should we be surprised? They did similar with Jessica Lynch, except she inconvenienced the Pentagon by living.

What the PR people and the slick-handed Generals who stage manage American military death didn't count on was the refusual to play along by Tilman's family. After feeding them a line of horseshit while the media frenzy swept around them and the dead football player, they quietly let them in on the truth after the national spotlight moved on. Proving that incompetent management in the US military does not restrict itself to the supply chain, post war planning, prison management, or even standing up to a president who's on a mission from God to start the wrong bloody war while another one is still going on departments, the flacks and spinners at the Pentagon blew it, and the Tilmans are out to see heads roll for the callous disregard for the loss of their son. MSNBC has a good article from the Washington Post on the shameful incident:

"After a tour in Iraq, their unit was sent to Afghanistan in spring 2004, where they were to hunt for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Shortly after arriving in the mountains to fight, Tillman was killed in a barrage of gunfire from his own men, mistaken for the enemy as he got into position to defend them. Immediately, the Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman's family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill, barking orders to his fellow Rangers. After a public memorial service, at which Tillman received the Silver Star, the Army told Tillman's family what had really happened, that he had been killed by his own men."
Tillman's parents lash out at Army

For a rememberance of the non-famous war dead from New England alone (with memorial day just around the corner, after all) visit here.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Patriotism is an utter crock of shice, IMHO. From flying the flag in front of one's house, to all the yellow ribbon magnets and other patriotic BS adorning gargantuan SUV's clogging our roadways, America is trapped in a a psychological state of denial that keeps us trapped in some form of historical "groundhog's day" loop. Just try having an honest discussion about U.S. foreign policy with the average Joe, over a couple of beers. They'll get all crazy and be ready to fight you, if they don't first call you a "commie".

In the ultimate irony, played out countless of thousands of times, a soldier like Tillman, who "had high ideals about the country", ends up being screwed over by commanders and other officials who had pissed on those ideals long before.

So much of the patriotic blather that accompanies media campaigns like Tillman's death, Jessica Lynch and countless others, are all designed to tug at the patriotic "chip" that is implanted in us by countless indoctrination, much of it received during our school years.

I can't say it any better than good ole' Howard Zinn, so I'll leave with this:

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."