Why Is Pat Tillman Dead?

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As the pomp
and circumstance surrounding the September 11th commemoration
finally winds down, one question haunts me. Why is Pat
Tillman
dead? One of my favorite TV shows, HBO's "Inside
the NFL", had a special segment on how one of Tillman's best
friends, Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, is dealing with
the tragedy of Tillman's death. (Yes, I watch football highlight
shows. So sue me.) Like just about everyone involved, Plummer is
wondering aloud about some pretty basic issues like honesty and
truth. From where I sit, the wondering should just about be over.

What Is
Obvious to Everyone

A few things
are pretty obvious to almost anyone with even a passing interest
in sports and world affairs for instance:

  • Pat Tillman
    was a professional football player. He attended college in Arizona
    and played professionally there as well. As I understand it, he
    had a penchant for sincerity, was renowned for his leadership
    and zest for life, and had a quality that seemed to attract all
    to him.
  • Tillman
    volunteered to join the Army and go to Afghanistan. During
    his deployment he was killed by "friendly fire" during
    an encounter with the "enemy" although the details remain
    sketchy.
  • Following
    the tragedy, the U.S. Army lied about Tillman's death, going so
    far as to officially report that Tillman died leading a heroic
    up-hill charge against the enemy. He even received the Silver
    Star
    posthumously!

Subsequent
to that first lie, the truth, or some reasonable facsimile thereof
— in several different versions — has come out. In fact,
to date there have been something like four (4) official investigations
or statements into what happened that day in Afghanistan and how
Tillman actually died. As this article goes to print, the Army is
supposedly conducting a fifth investigation. The family is demanding
that they finally be told the truth, as they should. And apparently,
the Army vows to finally tell the truth, this time anyway.

What Is
(Apparently) Not Obvious to Everyone

A few things
seem pretty obvious to those of us who see the Army for what it
is — the "strong-arm" component of a government seemingly
bent on world domination at almost any cost. At the risk of appearing
either insensitive or unpatriotic or both, I feel compelled to toss
out a few of those apparently not-so-obvious items, including:

  • Pat Tillman's
    death was not the first significant event about which the U.S.
    Army has lied, nor will it be the last. Given that we are still
    looking for WMDs in a country apparently with none, lying is about
    par for the course!
  • Tillman
    was not the first U.S. soldier to be killed by "friendly
    fire" nor will he be the last. Heck, the possibility exists
    that he was not the first such victim even in Afghanistan!
  • It takes
    an exceptional brand and quantity of moxie to send someone
    to a funeral to lie about an event such as this, not to mention
    the kind of person it would take to actually carry out such an
    order if he actually knew the facts.

Let's be honest
here, no matter how much it hurts. Even the staunchest "Ditto
Head" (a disciple of Rush Limbaugh) or "Dodo Head"
(a disciple of Bill O'Reilly — okay, I made that one up) would have
to admit that lying for effect is part and parcel of the game of
propaganda. And propaganda is one of the most effective weapons
in the arsenal of any effective army. In other words, if the U.S.
Army is truly the best in the world, then its leaders have
to be effective liars, even when those lies are being told to the
very ones who foot the bills.

Effective strategy
aside, after such a display of bold-faced lying, it would take quite
a bit of child-like navet to believe any "official statements"
that may come out in the future. I suspect those who grieve most
for Pat Tillman are already aware of this; certainly they have my
sincere sympathy for their loss. To any others who think the next
investigation will yield "real" answers let me make this
offer: I am in possession of a fantastic piece of real estate containing
a bridge, a railroad, and airstrip, and inhabited by a herd of unicorns.
I am offering it for a fantastic price, but only to those
who show up wearing a Yankee Doodle hat and driving a car — preferably
American made — with an "I Support the Troops" magnetic
ribbon proudly displayed. This property will not last long!

Conclusion

So
why is Pat Tillman dead? He is dead because he so believed in his
country and what he thought its flag stood for that he left
a comfortable life in the National Football League to volunteer
to join the U.S. Army as a Ranger and go to Afghanistan ostensibly
in pursuit of Osama bin Laden. I sincerely believe he thought
he was going to "fight for freedom", although what he
and his comrades are actually fighting for is debatable.
What is most assuredly not debatable is this. Subsequent to his
death — via the bullets of his own countrymen — the government he
represented chose to reward his "gift" by lying to his
family (and everyone else) repeatedly about how he died. If they
would lie about an event such as this — where a key issue in play
is the feelings of those who loved Pat Tillman, versus any item
of legitimate national security interest — what else would they
lie about?

And exactly
how much longer are we going to give these people a free pass to
treat us as they please?

September
20, 2006

Wilt
Alston [send him
mail
] lives in Rochester, NY, with his wife and three
children. When he's not training for a marathon or furthering his
part-time study of libertarian philosophy, he works as a principal
research scientist in transportation safety, focusing primarily
on the safety of subway and freight train control systems.

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