Tuesday, October 04, 2005


KPFK, a Los Angeles-area radio station with Bolshevik tendencies did a segment Sunday morning on the life and death of Pat Tillman, as described in an article by Robert Collier of the “San Francisco Chronicle.”

Tillman was a man who gave up a multi-million contract with the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League, to sign up with the military and be part of the hunt for Osama Bin-Laden.

Of course, that’s what everybody except for the scribe believed the administration wanted to do, hunt Osama Bin-Laden.

Which it didn’t.

What it wanted was to start a war with Iraq, which it did. Pat Tillman got caught up on the false current and drew a tour of duty there before finally getting his wish to go to Afghanistan where he died, doing what he wanted, hunting for Osama Bin-Laden.

His death came a week before the Abu Ghraib torture scandal broke. Collier writes that, “The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as ‘an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror’.”

Which is what the administration does best; twist around the lives and deaths of others to fit the bloody narrative they’ve written for the nation.

It turns out that Tillman was killed by comrades from his own platoon, guys who were guilty, at the very least, of some very sloppy soldiering. In fact, there is little that is inspiring about how he went, just the same old lonely brutishness.

Collier notes that the soldier next to him, when he was shot, testified: “I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out, ‘Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat fucking Tillman, dammit.’ He said this over and over until he stopped. I then looked over at my side to see a river of blood coming down from where he was...I saw his head was gone.”

Very heroic.

The fact he was killed by fellow soldiers was not revealed to his parents until five weeks later, when Tillman’s battalion got home.

Collier’s article achieves considerable depth regarding the three, count ‘em, three investigations into Tillman’s death and another that is ongoing. The upshot is that there have been contradictions, lying, deletions, and evasiveness from a military clearly hiding something.

Did they want Pat Tillman’s hide? That’s for the conspiracy folks. It’s hard to imagine how they’ll ever “get to the bottom” of what happened in that distant place in a moment of violent chaos.

Here’s the piece: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/25/MNGD7ETMNM1.DTL

What interests the scribe, and the reason whereby he is up writing about Tillman instead of catching some hot actress on Jimmy Kimmel Live, is that the crazy football-player-cum-martyr was not what they painted him to be.

Here’s Collier again:

“Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known – a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.”

Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League, “Tillman not only memorized the playbook by the time he reported for the Cardinals’ rookie camp but pointed out errors in it.”

Then he got a masters degree in history.

“Pat Tillman’s enlistment grabbed the attention of the nation – and the highest levels of the Bush administration. A personal letter from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, thanking him for serving his country, now resides in a storage box, put away by Pat’s widow, Marie.”

Marie, she is one of the people with what is known as a shattered life. Wed to a force of a man, physically and intellectually, a success in the most conventional and material terms, but clearly offering much more, she has lost all he proffered.

Ann Coulter felt the loss too and, in a frightening example of Nazi-speak, observed how Tillman was “an American original – virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male could be.”

From an anarcho–syndicalist perspective, we could not agree more!

There’s a snobby subtext to hits here piece by the scribe. It’s not just that the administration lied about who Tillman was, about how he died, and for what. It’s that he wasn’t your common grunt. Not because he played football, but because he (gulp) read books! Literary books!

It’s really amazing in today’s perpetual idiot entertainment arcade how striking someone who reads books appears to the larger populace and more bedazzling still that more don’t take the hint and pick up one of those old-fangled contraptions, if only out of vanity.

But the war dead are not trophies to anyone. Not to the administration and not to Blue-Staters hungry for patriotic credentials. Their stories should be their own, and nobody else’s.

If Pat Tillman had planned to meet Noam Chomsky before he was killed, people should know about that when his extinguished life is reviewed and celebrated.

Then maybe Chomsky could do a victory lap of his own as an all-American hero instead of living his life cast away as a dirty little anomaly.

The latest litter surely don’t measure up.

***

And the date for our reading at 331/3 books has to be changed (“the scribe reads, Omar Torrez weaves,” Oct. 2). Omar is going to Russia and Egypt and someplace else. the scribe will have to check in with book store and then back with Omar, before getting back to you. Target is first week in December.

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