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well, shit. - Sisyphus Shrugged
Lasciate ogni speranza and put your feet up.
well, shit.
Remember Pat Tillman, the football player who gave up a big contract and left his new wife to go serve? Well, it looks like we killed him
Pat Tillman, the former National Football League safety who left the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was ``probably'' killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army said today.

Tillman had left his vehicle and moved into position to suppress enemy fire, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. His unit was ambushed with small arms and mortar fire while it conducted combat operations, the statement said.

The April 22 ambush occurred in ``very severe and constricted terrain with impaired light conditions,'' it said.

``There is an inherent degree of confusion in any firefight, particularly when a unit is ambushed, and especially under difficult light and terrain conditions which produces an environment that increases the likelihood of fratricide,'' the statement said.

Tillman, 27, enlisted in the Army with his brother, Kevin, seven months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He left behind a new bride, a NFL career and a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

There are a few points I'd like to make about this before everybody gets back from the three day weekend which the Army no doubt took into account when choosing when to release this story.

1) Pat Tillman's death seems to me to be tragic because he was willing to give up a great deal to do what he thought was the right thing. The main thing he put on the line was his life. This makes him one of many hundreds of young americans who gave up their lives to do what they believed to be the right thing.

I find it incredibly distasteful when supporters of the current administration try to shove him up on a pedestal because he could have been rich instead.I haven't found any other area of political discourse where you folks think that it's honorable and righteous and patriotic to consider anything over profits. Certainly none of your political heroes have.

If you think it's unamerican to bitch about Halliburton taking a record rakeoff and serving our soldiers rotted food, just leave Pat Tillman's name out of your mouth. He didn't die for your ideology. He died to show it up.

2) Unless you are a member of his family or one of his friends, you did not lose Pat Tillman (just as you didn't lose the people who died in the WTC and the Pentagon). The parents who gave birth to him and/or played catch with him in the back yard lost him. His wife lost him. His friends lost him. The guys in his unit lost him.

America lost a soldier. That should be enough for you. If you have any of those floods of grief left over, spread it over the other 800 soldiers America lost.

3) It seems to me not unlikely that the man's parents and his wife and his friends will be very unhappy about this news. It is possible that they will have something to say about that unhappiness to the media.

If you are a supporter of the war, and if you have been attempting to trick yourself out in Pat Tillman's sacrifice, this will undoubtedly be upsetting to you. As a strategy for coping with this unhappiness, may I suggest that you shut the fuck up.

Here, let's roleplay.
Media Person: [someone who actually knew and loved this young man], it turns out that he was killed by friendly fire. How do you react to this news?

[someone who actually knew and loved this young man]: While I understand that this is a risk that all soldiers take in the heat of battle, I am very unhappy to discover that it happened to someone I knew and loved, and possibly I question whether it could have been avoided if things had been handled differently.

You: [shuts the fuck up]

There now. Was that so hard?

OK, so we're agreed. Even if the very thought of Pat Tillman is just going to ruin the licensed NFL merchandise aisle of Target for you for just years to come, you will respect his family's slightly more personal grievance and just shut the fuck up.

If the common decency of this act of continence doesn't strike a chord for you, think of it as a good way to avoid looking like a complete swine who turns on gold star families who imagine that their loved one's life is more important than your having something really vehement to post over at LGF.

On behalf of those of us who chose to support our soldiers by trying to keep them from dying needlessly in a poorly-planned war, I thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
ahhhs. -- hmmm?
fiberpunk From: fiberpunk Date: May 29th, 2004 10:41 am (UTC) (linkie thing)


Feel dumb leaving a comment when you've said all there is to say. Thanks.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 29th, 2004 11:02 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
That role-playing made my day.
supergee From: supergee Date: May 29th, 2004 11:15 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
I just posted about this, but you said it better.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 29th, 2004 12:18 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I love this piece. You reflect my own feelings as an NYC resident after 9/11--who gave wingnuts the nation over the right to wave flags and start a war over something that didn't--and wouldn't in a million years--happen in their godforsaken corner of the nation? Sympathy, fellow-feeling, quietly expressed--all perfectly fine. But don't do what's been done for the last three years in our name.

There's a large measure of tragedy-envy at work around Tillman.

Too many people deeply wish they had Tillman-quality drama in their lives in order to measure up vis a vis world events. To escape the anomie. Attaching one's self like a necrophiliac parasite to the corpse of Pat Tillman is function of the stunted and small straining to be big. Personally, I'm perfectly happy with that kind of anomie. Except when I write a post.
From: bookwormb Date: May 29th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I've read many of your posts (via Greyaenigma's friendlist) and never commented, mostly out of a lack of need to add anything to what was obviously well put, and often because the thoughts provoked were so complex that it would take too much effort and time to try and untangle them enough to verbalizing them, at least more than I'm usually willing or able to spend. But this one got me nodding - and untangling - more than the usual. I'm still wondering not just about how people of different convictions regarding war in general and this war in particular will receive these news, but also, about how some people's misplaced empathy (or 'tragedy-envy' as another poster described it) for a guy who happened to be a sports celebrity, might in fact affect their basic perceptions of what's wrong with our current situation. You know, for some, it may be that when so many anonymous, faceless soldiers are dying (by the way, does anyone else recoil at the term 'friendly fire', as if such a thing was even possible rather than a cruel oxymoron, regardless of what what it's INTENDED to mean!) the impact may not be enough to get, as it were, close enough to their ability to reason, while putting a name and face to one such example, might be just what it takes for the message to click: that these are REAL people, making a real choice to end their lives. You got me wondering if this news actually might help someone 'get it'- if the fact that some, rightfully or not, perceive themselves as having been connected to this guy, will allow them to gain that bit of insight necessary to connect the dots in a way they hadn't before. It's perhaps unlikely, but possible.
ramaba From: ramaba Date: May 29th, 2004 03:03 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
you said it wonderfully, thank you.
snuh From: snuh Date: May 29th, 2004 08:50 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Government uses Tillman to sell war on terrorism

When Tillman died in a remote region of Afghanistan, he put a face on the war_a strong, selfless, handsome face. He became the heroic symbol of the nation, a rallying point amid mounting casualties. And more than anything, we wanted to believe Tillman died charging up a hill John Wayne-like, ducking whizzing bullets, dodging bursting mortar shells and taking out dozens of terrorists before finally succumbing.

Army news releases and citations awarded Tillman after his death confirmed our desires. They said Tillman and his platoon, even though safely out of the area of attack, went back to rescue others from enemy fire.

"As they crested the hill, Tillman directed his team into firing positions," one citation said. "Through the firing, Tillman's voice was heard issuing commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground. Only after his team engaged the well-armed enemy did it appear their fire diminished."

Now we know that's not exactly how it happened and that the Army PR machine was apparently just re-writing the script from Sands of Iwo Jima. The Army investigation found that Tillman was likely killed by an American during a firefight with the enemy_if, in fact, there was an enemy.

An Afghan military official contradicted the Army investigation and told the Associated Press that Tillman died because of a mix-up between two groups of coalition soldiers, composed of both Americans and Afghanis. The official said the two groups became separated and began firing wildly in the confusion following a land mine explosion.

"It was a misunderstanding and afterwards they realized that it was a mine that had exploded and there were no enemy forces," the Afghan official said.

Unfortunately, "misunderstandings" don't sound nearly as gallant as "crested hills" and "well-armed enemies." It seems we treat our war heroes just like everything else these days: We want them pre-packaged and artificially augmented.

If you die by accident that doesn't make your sacrifice any less significant.

Just a lot less marketable.

From: (Anonymous) Date: May 30th, 2004 04:51 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Can we believe anything the government tells us? They give us this fantasy about how Tillman supposedly died which of course reminds me of the great heroics of Jessica Lynch that they told us about earlier. I am so tired of it all.
Soldiers are dying needlessly and I am tired of people saying I am not supportive of the troops when all I want is them home. I think most of would willingly give our lives for our country, but Iraq is not our country. This is all so wrong.
snuh From: snuh Date: June 2nd, 2004 02:33 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
Soldiers are dying needlessly and I am tired of people saying I am not supportive of the troops when all I want is them home.

How many wars would be fought if it were required that each nation's leaders fight them via a no-holds bared steel cage death match?
lokifrp From: lokifrp Date: May 30th, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
You: [shuts the fuck up]

Hahaha. That cracked me up.

Good point though. Well said.
ahhhs. -- hmmm?