Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman was a professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals when the World Trade Center Towers fell on 9/11. Profoundly affected by the events of that day, Tillman finished out the season and enlisted in the Army in May of 2002, thus walking away from his $3.6 million contract to enlist in the Army. He would become the most well-known active soldier in the military and the Bush administration often invoked his name to promote the war on terror.

Two years later, Tillman was killed in Afghanistan as the result of friendly fire, but that information was withheld in order to spin a more heroic tale for the media to latch on to. As that story began to unravel and the Tillman family's demand for answers grew louder, a disturbing cover-up would come to light with many unanswered questions that have yet to be resolved to this day.

Yet the cover-up is only one facet of this whole story; the second one being Pat Tillman himself. In Jon Krakauer's excellent book Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey Of Pat Tillman, Krakauer describes, in the wake of Tillman's death, the misguided attempts to define who he really was:
Unencumbered by biographical insight, people felt emboldened to invent all manner of personae for Tillman after his passing. Most of these renderings were based on little more than rumor and fantasy. The right-wing harridan Ann Coulter claimed him as an exlemplar of Republican political values. The left-wing editorial cartoonist Ted Rall denigrated him in a four-panel comic strip as an "idiot" who joined the Army to "kill Arabs."

A documentary film about the Tillman affair -The Tillman Story- was released last week will be released this coming Friday, September 3; and where government misconduct shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, to those unfamiliar with Pat Tillman, his extraordinary life certainly will be.

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