Thursday, April 22, 2010

#109. The Pat Tillman Story


In 1997 Sport Illustrated ran a cover story where they asked the peculiar question “What Happened to the White Athlete?”:
Unsure of his place in a sports world dominated by blacks who are hungrier, harder-working and perhaps physiologically superior, the young white male is dropping out of the athletic mainstream to pursue success elsewhere.
It is a provocative piece and highly controversial, for the rise of Black people in the United States eerily parallels the rise of Black people in sports.

Perhaps it is fate that within that issue of Sports Illustrated, a white athlete was profiled that ostensibly answers that rhetorical question perfectly. His name, you might ask? Pat Tillman.

At the time a free spirited Arizona State University linebacker and honor student, the profile piece on Tillman depicted a warrior preparing for just another battle to overcome: those who doubted his ability to make the National Football League (NFL). Deemed “too slow” or “too small” to play in the a league dominated by Black athletes, Tillman knew he was capable of being a starter:

Most football players fit into a box. They're big, fast and strong (duh); they submit to authority without resistance; and if asked to define introspection, they would say it's what happens when the defense picks off a pass. Those who don't fit into the box rarely succeed at a major program. Then there is Arizona State senior linebacker Pat Tillman, who not only doesn't fit into the box but also would have to consult a travel agent to find it…

This season Tillman has become simply the best player in the country who doesn't have his own (fill in the blank: Heisman, Outland, Lombardi, Butkus) campaign, living proof that there is room at the highest level of the game for a guy without much size or blazing speed but with a brain and cojones. "He epitomizes what college football is all about," says Southern Cal offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who was an assistant at Arizona State during Tillman's first two seasons…

Predictably, Tillman isn't ready to retire from football. Just as he was told that Division I-A was beyond him, he is being told that the NFL is out of his reach. When asked how many times he can bench-press the standard 225 pounds, Tillman explodes in laughter. "How many times?" he says. "Like, dude, I max 225, and then I rack it." You can't measure or weigh or time guys like Tillman and get the story.

"I know he can play in this league," says Von der Ahe. "Strong safety, linebacker in a nickel package, somewhere. He's tenacious, he's smart, he's got great instincts."

"I've told NFL guys, 'If you don't want him on your team, don't take him, because he won't let you cut him,' " adds Snyder.

What will Tillman do if he doesn't make the NFL? "Beats me," he says, grinning like a man with no fear and, just in case, good grades. Grab a tree and swing in the breeze.

Interestingly, the NFL is a league populated with employees who have spent a surprising amount time in jail and sport impressive criminal resumes, and Tillman was no exception – having spent time in jail before college for defending a friend in a fight during high school – as he had that seemingly necessary qualification for employment in the pro football.

Tillman found himself drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 226th pick to play the overwhelming Black position of safety. Working hard as a rookie, he started 10 games. By 2001, he was regarded as one of the top safeties in the league:

All this so that a casual observer can glance at my all-pro list and sneer, "Pat Tillman! Who the hell is that? Dr. Z's going loony on us."

Pat Tillman, my all-pro strong safety from the Arizona Cardinals, is what is known as a chart monster. At the beginning of the grading period, which takes roughly three full days, there's a dim awareness that he has had some good outings and needs further analysis, and then, stringing together all his numbers, I discover, hello, that he has defeated the competition -- by a lot.

In an age of free agency, Pat Tillman found his market value dramatically improve with his performance on the field and was offered an astounding $9 million contract with the St. Louis Rams. However, out of loyalty to the team that picked him 226th in the NFL draft, Tillman stayed a Cardinal.

Free agency offers athletes a veritable blank check to shop their services to the highest bidder and Tillman refused to take part in a game where players become interchangeable and decided to remain unfaltering in his dedication to the Cardinals.

Mind you, a National Basketball Association (NBA) player – Latrell Sprewell – once put his services on the open market of free agency in hopes of signing a lucrative contract in the ballpark of $14 million so he could “feed his family”:

Latrell Sprewell says he'll ask to be traded if the Minnesota Timberwolves don't sign him to a contract extension by Wednesday night's opener. ''I think this thing is heading towards me leaving, personally,'' Sprewell told reporters after a practice this week. Earlier this preseason, Sprewell said he wanted a contract extension by the Wolves' opener, against the New York Knicks, or he would ask for a sign-and-trade deal or wait to become a free agent. Either way, Sprewell said he didn't want to negotiate during the season. But he took a tougher stance Sunday. Asked if he would play out the season and test the free-agent market, Sprewell said: ''Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me. I'm at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed.'' Sprewell is due to make $14.6 million this year. Sprewell, 34, described the team's latest offer, reported to be worth between $27 million and $30 million over three years, as ''insulting.''

Tillman signed a league minimum contract with the Cardinals, maintaining loyalty over money in hopes of perfecting his vocation as a ball-hawking safety for the franchise that gave him his shot. According to a recent book published on Tillman, Where Men Search for Glory: The Pat Tillman Story, he lived modestly choosing to ride a bicycle to work and then purchasing a beat-up car. No bling for Tillman.

In an age when Black people dominate sports, they have a curious inability to save money for the future, and yet Tillman was never plagued by such worries as he lived niggardly.

After the horrendous events of 9/11, the United States enjoyed unprecedented levels of national unity, yet Pat Tillman voiced a major concern for the virtual insignificance of his life thus far and the triviality of his chosen profession, which was more of an avocation:

Then tragedy spurred Pat Tillman to his greatest sacrifice. Teammates say the slaughter of 9/11 had a profound effect on him. “Pat has very deep and true convictions,” said Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis. (Usually when coaches say a player has “convictions,” they mean something entirely different.) “He’s a deep thinker,” McGinnis said of him. And Tillman began thinking deeply about family, duty and sacrifice. The day after 9/11, Tillman told a crowded press conference “My great grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has...gone and fought in wars, and I really haven’t done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line like that.” Cardinals defensive coordinator Larry Marmie says Tillman began telling him of his need to “pay something back” for the nation that had allowed a last-choice college football bencher to choose between multi-million dollar deals in the NFL.

In the film Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a Black wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals who famously tells his agent to ‘show him the money’ in his next contract. In real-life, Tillman was offered more than $3 million to stay with the Cardinals after a stellar 2001 season, but he took a $18,000 job with the United States military, attempting to replicate The Greatest Generation and become a Real American Hero.

Tillman was motivated by duty and honor, ideals cherished by Pre-Obama America yet displaced and an anachronism in this era, strangely lost on the current of sports stars, as few athletes sign up for military duty:

Former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman walked away from a lucrative football career to serve in wartime, ultimately giving his life in a military firefight.

He was the first pro football player to die in combat in more than three decades — a rarity in the generations that followed World War II.

“This particular sacrifice is noteworthy because of its unrepresentative nature,” military historian Peter Karsten said.

In World War II, 638 former NFL players served. Nineteen were killed.

Since then, athletes in the military have become less and less common.

Historians note that some athletes of previous generations had little choice but to serve. Those who weren’t drafted often volunteered to avoid dangerous assignments, they said.

The draft had its benefits. It made it possible for athletes who served to avoid backlash from people who were against the wars, since they didn’t have a choice, said Otis Pease, a retired University of Washington history professor who specializes in the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Athletes were actually sought by the military during World War II, because they were thought to be more likely to survive plane crashes, said Michael Gelfand, a University of Arizona history professor.

Without the draft, athletes are now often reluctant to join the military — especially with the amount of money they have to lose.

Cardinals center Pete Kendall commended Tillman for walking away from millions of dollars and a life of relative ease to put his life on the line.

“That is one of those things that is easy to say you might do, but Pat, to the best of my knowledge, is about the only one that I know presently in our modern day of athletics that did it,” Kendall said during a news conference Friday.

Before Tillman, the last pro football player to die in combat was Bob Kalsu, an offensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills, who served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division and was killed by North Vietnamese mortar fire.

Billy Shaw, a Buffalo Bills hall of fame guard and former teammate of Kalsu, said news reports of Tillman’s death reminded him of Kalsu.

“What a tremendous character makeup both of these individuals had to put their careers on hold to defend our country,” Shaw said. “They are the real Hall of Famers.”

Neither a Republican nor a Democrat, Tillman was an American, motivated by a sense of honor this era is woefully devoid of, and emboldened with an insatiable drive for adventure and living life to its fullest.

Unselfish and unburdened of an ego, Tillman refused interviews about his decision to leave the fame and fortune of the NFL for the rigors of life in the US Army. Unlike athletes desiring the limelight – Terrell Owens, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, Keyshawn Johnson, Reggie Bush and hundreds other come to mind – Tillman wouldn’t allow his decision to enlist cast him as a poster-child for the War on Terror and the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, only because he disallowed such association.

Regardless of his personal views on the war, Tillman became a member of the elite Army Rangers. Sadly, the tale of perhaps the ultimate warrior ended tragically as on April 22, 2004, Tillman was gunned down in a horrible incident of fratricide, a casualty of friendly-fire.

Oddly, Republicans rallied to defend the tragic sacrifice Tillman made on some God-forsaken rock in Afghanistan. Neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but an American, Tillman would have found the patriotic zeal that accompanied his death superfluous. His death is still shrouded in mystery, but his life remains a paragon of living by a code unencumbered by foolish procrastination and thoughts of “what if?”

“Whatever Happened to the White Athlete?” Sports Illustrated asked back in 1997. The answer was found in that very issue, in the life of Pat Tillman.

Perhaps we will never know the details surrounding his tragic death, but we do know that few people lived heroically and loyally like Pat Tillman. Like the Brad Pitt character Tristan Ludlow in the film Legends of the Fall, Tillman wore his blonde hair long, and listened to the voices in his head.

“Some people live by the inner-voices they hear... some who do this become crazy… or they become legend,” it was said in that film.

Pat Tillman died six years ago on the soil of a nation the United State was at war with and six years later, still are fighting. He wasn’t particularly fond of this engagement, but dutifully served anyways.

Before going to war, he married his long-time girl-friend Marie. Like Achilles before him, Tillman was cursed to never have children though his name will be written into history much the same. Still, in his final days on earth his lasting thoughts were on his wife (we are hard-pressed to believe Tiger Woods would feel the same):

On embarking on his three-year Ranger hitch, Tillman wrote, "Not only will the next 3 years make me a stronger person, mentally and physically, I know it will also free up my conscience to enjoy what I have. My hope is that I will feel satisfied with my accomplishment... enough to relax and just be. Be with Marie."

The cover-up surrounding Pat Tillman’s death is shameful. More shameful is the state of professional athletics and the squalid individuals who selfishly perform for millions, forsaking honor and glory.

Black athletes routinely go bankrupt upon leaving their respective sport or even go bankrupt whilst still engaged in their vocation.

Sports Illustrated asked the question of “What Happened to the White Athlete?”

Well, an athlete they profiled in that very issue answers that question in a way no study, use of statistics or thesis paper could hope to provide:

One day, God willing, Russell Baer was going to tell his son this story. One day, after the boy's heart and brain had healed, he was going to point to that picture on the kid's bedroom shelf of the man doing a handstand on the roof of a house, take a deep breath and say, Mav, that's a man who lived a life as pure and died a death as muddy as any man ever to walk this rock, and I was there for both. That's the man, when your heart stopped for an hour and they slit you open neck to navel, who I prayed to because ... well, because you wouldn't exist if he hadn't died, and I wouldn't be half of who I am if he hadn't taught me how to live. That's Pat Tillman, the man you take your middle name from, and I've been waiting for you to ask since the day you were born.

We at Stuff Black People Don’t Like ask now “What Happened to the Black Athlete?” and ESPN supplies the answer:

What does graffiti on a storefront have to do with being black, and what does any of this have to do with sports?

On the surface, everything.

At this point, anyone who still believes black culture, sports and violence are three topics existing in separate vacuums probably still listens to cassettes. The truth is, sometime between Melvin Van Peebles' "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" and Jay-Z's "The Black Album," the image of the black athlete went from being a symbol to rally around to a figure to take cover from, and that's not just because the mainstream media is reporting negative stories. It's also because a significant number of black athletes and celebrities are doing negative things, such as mimicking contrived images created in the early 1990s to market a mutilated form of hip-hop to eager, misinformed suburbanites.

Although the Gilbert Arenas and Marvin Harrison headlines are hardly significant enough to paint an entire group of people with a broad "thug" brush -- as many critics of the NBA, in which more than 75 percent of the athletes are black, tend to do -- these stories can't be categorized as anomalies. The black athlete is at a major crossroads, as is the black community, and we can no longer afford to keep the dirty laundry in the hamper because while we're busy trying to save face, our kids continue to die in our streets. I don't mean to exclude white teammates from the discussion, but there once was a time in which members of the black community more readily kept each other in check.

The Michael Oher story pulls at the heart strings of white people who feel every down-trodden young Black person can only be uplifted through the gracious love of a white family.

The Pat Tillman story shows what happened to the white athlete, shaming the majority Black NFL and NBA for their combined inadequacies.

Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes the Pat Tillman Story. No more explanation why is necessary









38 comments:

Phalluster said...

this story still chokes me up. tillman #40 is a throwback worth wearing.

CWN said...

Who fights the wars? Whites fight the wars. A shame that good whites have to die fighting for wasteful and useless wars. Nobody owes their life to their government, if that government is fighting unjust or illegal wars. Meaningless wars that won't change a thing, and probably make things worse.

I mean how many of our wars have we really needed to fight?

The civil war was a marxist, unconstitutional war by Lincoln, who didn't even like blacks.

Vietnam was a mess. And what changed there?

What was the point of WW1?

WW2 could have been avoided. Not that Hitler was such a sweet guy or anything. But still. We got into an unholy alliance with communists.

Korean war got us what? a permanant spot guarding koreans from one another?

It is all b.s. if you think about it.

The only real wars that we needed were the revolutionary war and the war of 1812.

But, we go to war every decade like it is some tradition we need to uphold. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

And who could ever forget Dallas Mavericks player Josh Howard's succinct explanation of why he doesn't participate in the National Anthem?:

"I don't celebrate that shit. I'm black."

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/10982668

XD .45

Desiree said...

Clearly this is someone you admire?

Well, maybe you can explain this to me: Was Tillman just naive or was he just plain stupid? Because I cannot, for the life of me, understand why any *reasonable* human being would decide to fight electively in a 'war'. Just because his forefathers fought? That doesn't seem like a good reason to risk your life when you have a spouse!

I'm guessing you included this on your list of stuff we don't like because black athletes allegedly lack the morality and general good character of Tillman? Well, okay, but I hardly think that his story deserves any type of 'hero' adoration: once again, was he not just a dummy (risk aversion is a sign of higher intelligence) with a great face who tried to play superman?

I don't mean to bash your idols but this 'Tillman Story' and the airplay he got always perturbed me as a typical continuation of American hero worship.

Also Sprewell is hardly a lone case of greed. Think of all the white CEOs who 'donate $1 from your purchase' to charity, like KFC donating 25 cents to cancer research for ever bucket o' chicken sold, when a bucket is $20+? I'm not shifting blame but, come on, greed and stupidity are not racially exclusive.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding us of Mr. Tillman. Reading your blog article was a great, uplifting way for me to start my day. This will be one of the entries I'll think about for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

I've been in U.S. Army for 8 years. I did not know Pat Tillman personally, but I do know plenty of White kids just like him, most of them from rural, middle-American (you know, those despised fly-over states, so dull and non-vibrant in their lack of diversity) who join the military to serve a country that has no problem telling White kids, especially males, that they are evil, inferior, responsible for all the miseries that plague non-whites. Yet, they still serve, they still join up, knowing its not a matter of if, but when, they will be sent to war.

There is a huge disconnect between real, true America, and what the NY and LA media want us to believe. Whites are not a defeated people. To the public at large, Pat Tillman may seem like an anomilty, but there are plenty of White service members who are waking up and seeing what the country they sacrifce for is turning into. I know this site hates Tea Parties, and probably with good cause. But Tea Parties are just the start. There will be a White backlash against 40 years of communist brainwashing nonsense. It may be years away, but it is coming.

Steve said...

Desiree; Pat Tillman represented and stood for things you will never understand. Im sure in your complex lexicon words like Duty, Honor and Country have no place. You wring your hands and complain about the country and all its evils but some people have great pride in the USA and are willing to stand up when their country asks.
People like Tillman and many many others gave up their lives for your right to talk shit.

Anonymous said...

SBPDL,

I'm going to step away from this issue of race for a while. Remember Mr. Tillman among with thousands of American citizens died fighting a corporate war predicated on a lie and a sham that is being continued by Barry the half breed.

That is the saddest thing of all.

-Black guy

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Black Guy,

I don't disagree with that view in the least. Both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are unnecessary, foolish and misguided.

However, what Tillman did - holding conflicting views of honor and duty while being against the war - is truly admirable.

Without giving too much away, I was quite young when that article came out in 1997 that profiled Pat Tillman while he was at Arizona State.

His story had a profound impact on me then. Reading about a player who loved life more than football, lived by his own rules and was driven by something missing in 99.9 percent of humanity was inspiring.

I have that article to this day, which has a picture of Tillman on top of the Arizona State football field lights (at least 20 - 25 stories up) that he would climb to meditate.

Desiree,

Tillman's story wasn't hero worship. He wouldn't allow Bush to use him as a poster-child for the military. He just did what he thought was right.

The newspapers, ESPN and media outlets are full of stories of Black athletes who continually do the opposite.

I have a feeling that in one day Tillman lived more passionately than most of us do in a lifetime.

Read the book "Where Men Win Glory: The Pat Tillman Story" by Jon Krakauer to understand what I mean.

Hirsch said...

Desiree's comments on this story are disgusting. Either she is wholly ignorant of the way it makes her look, or she really doesn't care.

You know, Martin Luther King Jr. was not conscripted into the civil rights movement, and he knew the dangers involved and had a wife. I suppose, Desiree, that since he died for something other than himself, we should regard him as stupid.

I think she meant her comments to garner attention, so I'll ignore them from here on out.

Regarding issues of race and conscription, blacks served in disproportionate numbers, in the most dangerous positions during Vietnam. Two good books about this subject are "High John the Conqueror" by A.R. Flowers, and "Bloods,an Oral History of the Black Vietnam Experience."

Blacks typically took the "point" position with an M-60 and died at a higher rate than any other race.

This war, in Iraq, of course is much different. Speaking from personal experience, Infantry, Special Forces, and Rangers seem mostly populated by whites, while rear units, like supply or quartermaster, sycophantic and sedentary by nature, are peopled with blacks who accumulate rank through milking the system, while white boys die or come back injured and of the same rank as when they went into the field, taking orders from their black superiors.

Tillman was killed while I was in basic training. My drill sergeants regarded him as something of an idiot (for supposedly going "Rambo/ John Wayne" and getting himself killed in a friendly fire incident). Based on his brother's assessment of him, (Kevin Tillman's letters are required reading) Pat did seem to be something of an outlier, a thinking man's warrior who was not easily pigeon-holed by political ideology.

If we all thought like your average black (which is how I regard professional football players, not as heroes) we would all have to be dragged kicking and screaming into service, whether the reason was just or not. I suppose, now that the Commander in Chief does not look like me, I will refrain from singing the National Anthem at sporting events, and I will no longer regard this country as mine. I encourage other whites to do the same. Let black people handle the reigns. See how long they can maintain them.

After all, no Al Qaeda ever called me cracker. The enemy is indeed at home, not overseas. Peace to humans. Keep it smarmy, Desiree.

Anonymous said...

Desiree, my strong Nubian Sista

I don't mean to bash your idols but this 'Martin Luther King story' and the airplay and holiday he continues to have always perturbes me as a typical continuation of American Negro worship.

Phalluster said...

by desiree's standards, howard roark is a naive, stupid, unreasonable anti-hero.

the afghan campaign was very reasonable, though not as practiced. we should have simply erased their foul culture from the face of the earth. our iraq war would be a lot more palatable if we could sack up and steal their oil. what is the point of "establishing democracy"? so these shitholes can follow our lead in glorifying the lowest common denominator?

Anonymous said...

The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were and are not optional. There's a gigantic hole in the ground where the WTC stood, for the former, and the gas in your car for the latter.

Want gas at $20 a gallon? A Road Warrior type society? Then abandon the Gulf and the Middle East. The world runs on oil, which allows people to watch sports in the first place (instead of hard-scrabble living on a farm working 16 hours a day, hard labor).

Afghanistan was and is a mess that needed to be dealt with. Not that it would change the people or tribalism, but making a statement that the US could not be pushed around and could come in and hurt anyone, any time, big time. Clinton's impotent missile attacks got us 9/11. Weakness invites attack from dangerous men.

Tillman was killed in a friendly fire incident. He did nothing wrong, his commander split the column up, stupidly, in an ambush situation. The same thing happened in WWII, and Korea, and Vietnam. Comms break down. Ambushes happen. Arty or air strikes or both are called in.

Blacks have never in large numbers fought or died for this country. Not even in Vietnam, when most of the casualties were White. Sad but true, despite a few individual heroic service by Blacks. In a volunteer military, almost no Blacks serve in combat outfits. What does that tell you?

Moreover, life is not a neat little box. Technology, proliferation, globalization, means that Muslims can and will fly planes or combat drones into places like Dodger Stadium cause South Park mentioned Mohammed (but did not show him). Killing people over a cartoon!

There is no front line, no safe area, no homefront. It's all a front. Black lack of patriotism, evident by Obama refusing to salute the National Anthem (and cradling his crotch) during the Memorial Day ceremonies, AS PRESIDENT, show the almost complete lack of Patriotism and hatred of America by Blacks and the Black Community.

Anonymous said...

SBPDL,

I'm in total agreement that the actions of Pat Tillman were honorable. My problem is with the way the U.S. government handled his death. The lies and the following cover up was nothing short of disgusting.

The country hasn't been involved in a "just" war since WW2.

-Black guy

Critical Thinker said...

Remember Mr. Tillman among with thousands of American citizens died fighting a corporate war predicated on a lie and a sham that is being continued by Barry the half breed.

Indeed, black guy. You know, you and I actually agree on quite a lot!

What I find amusing is the way so many white liberals and black pundits feel betrayed by Obama, because he hasn't actually inspired any hope or real change.

Well, had they actually read "The Audacity of Hope," then they should have realized that he's a people pleaser who doesn't care a ton about the average person.

Hope and change my ass. I just hope Barry the half breed doesn't get us involved in a war against Iran. I just hope some American politician is courageous enough to stop kissing Israel's ass. I just hope that the tea baggers finally wake up and start to protest issues that are of actual relevance to the white community. Well, I guess all I can do is hope.

All I know is that unless he turns it around, Barry the half breed will be out of office pretty soon.

hirsch said...

@ Phalluster Turning Afghanistan to rubble (while tempting) would only manage to have the same outcome as our misadventure in Iraq. There are seven times as many terrorists in the world now, as a result of our meddling, than there were on 9-11.

If we'd destroyed Afghanistan, I'm pretty sure every night a few new videos would surface on the internet of American tourists being beheaded in England, Amsterdam, etc. And with the international community estranged, there would be just as many terrorist cells (probably more) than there were on the day you decided to go Hiroshima.

@Everyone acknowledging Desiree: the best way to be rid of a troll is to ignore it. Let it tire itself out.

Anonymous said...

SBPDL,

I read the aforementioned book and I was really turned off by the tone the author.

Krakauer seems to have an axe to grind with traditional American values, and patriotism in particular.

Also, I wouldn't piss on George W. Bush if he was burning in front of me, but here's a little food for thought:

Do you think that the cover-up of Pat Tillman's death would have been investigated and reported on by the media if it had happened during Obama's presidency? Not a chance.

Great post.

Guy Montag said...

“War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians."
-- Chris Hendges


Just before the 2006 mid-term elections, Kevin Tillman wrote his eloquent letter “After Pat’s Birthday” at truthdig.com Here's a quote:

“Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country. ... Somehow this is tolerated. Somehow nobody is accountable for this.”

Kevin hoped a Democratic Congress would bring accountability. But, just as with warrant-less wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brother’s fratricide have not been held accountable by the Democratic Congress.

In his book, “Where Men Win Glory,” Jon Krakauer blamed the Bush administration. However, the cover-up has been a thoroughly bipartisan affair. The Democratic Congress and the Obama Presidency have protected General McChrystal from punishment for his central role in orchestrating the cover-up.

Sometime after his April 2007 hearing, Congressman Waxman got the word the “fix” was in, to lay off McChrystal. Perhaps because of McChrystal’s covert contribution to the “surge” in Iraq? Shortly before the August 2007 Tillman hearing, McChrystal was dropped from the list of witnesses and never interviewed despite his central role in the cover-up.

Senator James Webb conducted a secret “review” of McChrystal’s role. On May 15th 2008, the Senate Armed Services Committee (headed by Levin and McCain) held a secret “executive session” where McChrystal testified behind closed doors about his actions “in detail.” Shortly afterwards, the Senate promoted him to Director of the Joint Staff.

(Like Pat Tillman, James Webb has been a maverick and a fascinating character. If anyone in Congress should have cared, it would have been him. But, as an old man and politician, he’s turned into exactly what he once reviled as a young combat Marine!)

On May 12th 2009, despite McChrystal’s role, President Obama handpicked McChrystal to be his new commander of the Afghan War and for promotion to the Army’s highest rank. Ironically, on the following day Obama gave the commencement address at Arizona State University inside Sun Devil Stadium without once mentioning Pat Tillman! [Note: see Bob Young’s “Obama’s Big-Time Fumble” (Arizona Republic 5-17-09].

After a pro forma June 2nd hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate (begged by Senator Reid) confirmed McChrystal’s promotion on June 10th.

It’s not surprising that after the initial fratricide cover-up fell apart, Army officers and the Bush administration lied to protect their careers. Reprehensible, but understandable. But the Democratic Congress, after they took control of both Houses in 2006, could have gone after those responsible. Or at least not promoted them!

The media’s been complicit as well with the whitewash of the Tillman story. The New York Time’s Thom Shanker wrote a May 26th piece “clearing” McChrystal of all wrong-doing shortly before McChrystal’s confirmation hearing, despite receiving strong evidence to the contrary. since then, Thom’s enjoyed favorable access to McChrystal (so much for the NYT’s coverage “without fear or favor’!)

Five years ago, Pat Tillman’s family were handed a tarnished Silver Star. It was a travesty of justice that General McChrystal was promoted to the Army’s highest rank, and handed his fourth star.

Guy Montag said...

P.S.

See http://www.feralfirefighter.blogspot.com for detailed documents aboutmy previous post.

...

I’ve taken the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s death a bit personally. Like Stan Goff (feralscholar.org, I feel a sense of kinship with Pat Tillman. In 1983, when I was “young and dumb,” I enlisted with an Airborne Ranger Long-Range Recon Patrol (LRRP) company. I grew up in the Army, enjoyed the camaraderie and the challenges. But, the lies of the first Gulf War were the last straw. After eight years, I finally left the Army in March 1991, and have been a firefighter the past 18 years.

Four years ago, I believed Pat Tillman was a patriotic “dumb jock”. I refused to watch any of the flag waving coverage of his memorial service. It seemed like a sideshow distraction to the Abu Gharib story.

But, the reality of Pat was much deeper than his iconic image. In October 2005, I read David Zirin’s article, “Our Hero.” I discovered a side of Pat Tillman not widely known –a fiercely independent thinker, avid reader (a favorite author was Noam Chomsky), and critic of the Bush administration and the Iraq war (“…this war is so fucking illegal”). Pat was a remarkable man who was driven by a core of honesty and integrity, led by personal example, and lived his life intensely.

I was angered that the truth about Pat’s life and death had been buried by the media and government. Tillman was enshrined as an icon while the man fell by the wayside, his parents used as props at his funeral. Pat’s family still don’t have the meager consolation of knowing the truth about his death. “The truth may be painful, but it’s the truth,” his mother said. “If you feel you’re being lied to, you can never put it to rest.”

Let us honor Pat Tillman’s memory by honoring the man, not the myth. The iconoclast, not the icon. As his mother said, “Pat would have wanted to be remembered as an individual, not as a stock figure or political prop. Pat was a real hero, not what they used him as.”

Phalluster said...

@ hirsh, i understand your point; i won't quibble since we are on the same side of the coin.

i just came across an article about the anti-pat tillman, new 49er safety taylor mays. mays blames his college coach for his disappointing draft position and is focused on competitive revenge. i realize that it's typical female journalism, stirring empathy rather than reporting facts. non-football fans may not be interested, but fellow readers here will quickly spot the all-too-familiar attitude at work.

http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/news/story?id=5131914

CWN said...

Listen, Pat Tillman was a good guy for doing what he thought was right. But he was just another pawn. A pawn used in the two unconstitutional and pointless wars we are fighting now.

9-11 was an inside job, or atleast allowed by the government, or they were a co-conspirator. There is no way around that. Too many unanswered questions, too many odd happenings.

Plus, you got the fact that our current "president" is not really a constitutional president. He was not "naturally" born as a citizen of this country. Therefore his orders to the military are unlawful and unconstitutional, null and void.

So you take those two issues, and you can see how sad it is that we are losing American lives in these unconstitutional, false, unlawful, immoral, wars.


All soldiers should be honored for serving their country and doing what they think is right. But the truth is, that the government does not care about them, and will gladly let them all die for political reasons.

Black guy,

Some might argue that WW2 was an unnecessary war. With many British blunders leading us into war.
Among the British and Churchillian blunders were:

• The secret decision of a tiny cabal in the inner Cabinet in 1906 to take Britain straight to war against Germany, should she invade France
• The vengeful Treaty of Versailles that muti- lated Germany, leaving her bitter, betrayed, and receptive to the appeal of Adolf Hitler
• Britain’s capitulation, at Churchill’s urging, to American pressure to sever the Anglo- Japanese alliance, insulting and isolating Japan, pushing her onto the path of militarism and conquest
• The 1935 sanctions that drove Italy straight into the Axis with Hitler
• The greatest blunder in British history: the unsolicited war guarantee to Poland of March 1939—that guaranteed the Second World War
• Churchill’s astonishing blindness to Stalin’s true ambitions.

CWN said...

Speaking of the wonderful Military.

It seems now that the Marines hate southerners. Apparently the confederate flag is considered a "hate symbol" by them, and if you have one tattooed on your body, you then cannot join the marines. Southern pride is not allowed.

Isn't that just grand?

I am not even from the south and I can see this as extreme garbage. How disrespectful to all the southerners who have fault for their country.

I wonder how the marines feel about a black being tattooed with a malcolm X symbol? Or a symbol of the black panthers, nation of Islam? I bet those are just danddy. How about a che guevera tattoe? What a joke.

Another reason not to join the military. They hate southerners.

http://cofcc.org/2010/04/a-southerner-speaks/#more-9739

Desiree said...

Look, Hirshie babie, I wasn't trying to offend. I was trying to understand. And now I do: most Americans (by Americans, I mean whites) worship the Flag. *Anyone* dying is unfortunate and I'm not one of those wackos who laugh about dead soldiers; please. I'm just putting it out there that maybe he wasn't that smart to try and 'be a hero'. Didn't he understand that being in the military and then going off to Iraq or Afganistan were predicated on lies? Or was he just that idealistic/naive? Don't get *mad* just because I'm calling what I believe to be a spade a spade. I took a test to be in the Marines in high school because that was the time when I was a stupid house negro conservative. Anyway, they wanted me because I did well. Then I learned the truth about how that organization lies to get bodies. I told that to a recruiter on the phone; I told him, 'I know what you people do; you like to convince white trash, niggers, and beaners that they will cease being losers in life and get everything they want if they are willing to accept the reality of inevitable death. Hell no, I'm not stupid enough to be interested.' The dude still kept me on the phone for another 40 minutes and even tried to get me to name friends, to which I refused. I don't want to be a part of that machine and be abused and brainwashed to kill people. Too bad Tillman didn't see it that way or had the insight to recognize it before he was killed. He was a fine piece...
Don't be so touchy, guy. There are people who'd say worse shit than my previous comment! I'm not ignorant; please *rolls eyes*. Quit with the Chickenhawks' talking points and let's get real: soldiers aren't dying for freedoms. That ended circa 1940s. The Chickenhawks just bank on dummies to come into the military and they are then brainwashed--just like the police--to hate evryone who looks like the 'target'. Fail.

Anonymous said...

Since Desiree apparently feels that it is more important to be Black than it is to be an American, How 'bout sending her on a one way trip to Haiti, where she can be just as Black as she wants. Everything is just black, black, black. All about skin color, nothing about your humanity, or how god wants you to treat your fellow man. Just black. If Haiti is too rough, anywhere in Africa will do!

CWN said...

Desiree is only half right. The American flag is beyond war or a corrupt government. It stands for something beyond that. Freedom, liberty, exceptionalism, constitutionality, a free republic.

Just as the southern flag goes past slavery. It is a symbol against tyrany, representing states rights, heritage, rebellion against a bullying government. Even representing christianity, the X. Even some blacks support the southern cross flag. Because they see past the propoganda about slavery and it being a hate symbol. There were free blacks who fought on the south's side in the civil war after all.

Now as far as the military. Not everybody in the military goes to war. Not all military jobs have to do with killing. And those in the military are usually better educated overall than those outside of the military.

That being said, the military is turning PC, will most likely allow fags into it, and is being run by an unconstitutional president.


"I'm calling what I believe to be a spade a spade."

Spade a spade, now that is funny.

Altho desiree, I am sorry that you are no longer a stupid house negro conservative. Now I guess, you are just a stupid , useful idiot, of liberalism and black victimhood. Way to go.

Hirsch said...

@ Desiree. A chickenhawk is someone who advocates war and does not participate. I didn't advocate this war, but did participate. Your comment isn't going to bother me all that much because it has no validity. But I will reiterate:

You stated risk-aversion is a sign of intelligence, and is doubly important when one has a wife. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X did not practice good risk aversion, and both had wives. Thus, by your definition here, whether or not you own up to it, they were stupid.

I'm glad you went into a rhetorical diatribe against a military recruiter who was doing his job, and that you invoked the epithets "beaner, white trash, and nigger." I'm also glad you didn't "name names" to that pinhead McCarthy-ite marine.

And of course, you never lie. Everyone in the military should prepare for, as you say, "inevitable death." In fact, I'm not here, typing this. I'm dead right now. Oh, if only I'd listened to Desiree!

Anonymous said...

Dear CWN,

You are caught in the layers of the onion concerning WW1, WW2 & 911 (Just to name three from the past that are linked to the current wars for the chosen). With focused research you will discover the core is as kosher as it comes. Wise up!

Anonymous said...

SBPDL

What about the black man (Jamal Green) who gave up his multi million dollar contract with the NFL to become a border patrol agent. That to is a dangerous job. That is actually were the real war is not some WHITE coporate war started by greedy WHITE politicians looking to make their pockets. You must also mention that Pat Tillman was murder by his fellow WHITE Rangers which was covered up by WHITE higher ups in the military.


Im black as the ace of spades. I know you dont like or care for diversity much but most of my friends are white. I personally think white people are fucking awesome. My white friends bought me this computer Im typing on (I didnt steal it), new clothes, a watch, XBOX 360, and calculator. White people are of a generous nature. My girlfriend is white and we are expecting in a few months.


"In the film Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a Black wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals who famously tells his agent to ‘show him the money’ in his next contract."

Thanks for letting me know CUBA GOODING JR played a black wide receiver. This whole time I thought he was a white/asian wide receiver.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Last anon,

Thanks for reminding me about Jamaal Green, a player who didn't VOLUNTARILY leave the NFL as Pat Tillman did, but INVOLUNTARILY left.

No team wanted to sign him, so he joined the Border Patrol - good for him though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaal_Green

The point about Cuba Gooding Jr was to connect a greedy Black athlete in a film with the team he played for in the NFL (same as Tillman's).

Desiree said...

Hirsch:

I didn't really use epithets to the recruiter; it just makes for a colorful paraphrase, although the sentiment is there...

'Chickenhawks' still stand, though. The fact of the matter is that people like the aforementioned do lie and say you guys fight for freedoms when that is simply laughable fiction! You might as well be mercenaries fighting for a genocidal war over oil and other resources... It has NOTHING to do with blah-blah-blah-freedom-liberty-BS.
----
CWN:

Why would you feel 'sorry' that I ceased being a brainwashed Aunt Tomasina? Are you serious? And are you serious about what the flag represents? Maybe in a perfect world I'd agree with you but that flag represents a host of other things. Negros okay with the Rebel flag need to get it together and stop Tomming for the Man.
We can agree on one thing, though: the military, or what's good about it, is being ruined by those pushing homosexuality; that is not the public's issue, but the military's. Cheers!
----
Anon @ 9:36pm 4/26:

Not that you wanted me to interject into your madness, but, for the sake of everything that is BLACK in this Universe, can you please wise up and get it together?
Are you the Token that all of your friends point to when they say they aren't racist?
Do you 'let it slide' when they something completely racially insensitive?
'White people are fucking awesome'? *dry heaving at you* Most definitely SOME of them are; whites as a whole, as a political structure, as a system...hell no. Quit generalizing, you make yourself look like a desperate little house negro.
Let me ask you something, did you go out with a white woman because you liked her or because you have a fetish? I mean, if its *love*, than okay; there is nothing wrong with interracial couples in love! But if you were *intentionally* seeking out a white woman, you should see a therapist. And a black one, in a dashiki...

Yeah, I'm fucking ranting because you are seriously backward. You were adopted by white people, huh? SMH. They always do that to children of color, erase their culture and make them 'honorary whites'. God forbid your parents are black! Then we have two generations of Toms! Please, don't scar your innocent mulatto child because some mixed folks are fucked up about their identites as it is...

I wish you blessings and sanity when you are finally slapped into reality about your 'black as the ace of spades' color. It happened to me and it'll happen to you. My words will probably keep you away from more and more black women/people, but that's okay, sweetie; the fact that you got gear and electronics from your white benefactors in the mode of a hobo catching a quarter from a passersby means that you probably don't have a job (or a good one). Black women want a man who can support his family. Keep your white woman, 'kay?

Hirsch said...

@ Desiree

Ah, the mercenary fallacy! I didn't think you'd go there, but thank you for the softball. There were actual mercenaries in Iraq, working for private firms such as Black Water, based out of North Carolina. They made more in a day than your average soldier makes in a month, so that's pretty specious on your part.

If you are applying the term "chickenhawk" to someone like Bush or Cheney or some Fox News talking head, by all means, have at.

You wonder, though, how someone can volunteer to fight in a war predicated on lies. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I will speak for myself.

I knew from the beginning of the war that Iraq was going to be, as Thomas Ricks said, a "fiasco." I also knew it was going to be a nightmare. But I was also curious, as an individual to see if, after a life spent within the secure confines of a suburb, glued to a television, if I would be capable of enduring basic training and warfare. It was a personal test.

Of course youth is foolish, and young is the fool, and if you want to call me stupid for risking my life for spiritual (not political) reasons, have at. But to call a dead man stupid?

As far as oil goes, this country is going to face drastic hemorrhaging in the coming years that no amount of foreign oil can staunch. Rather than listen to me about it, please visit kunstler.com or read "The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler.

No doubt we are in Iraq for strategic reasons that have nothing to with Democracy. But if you think it is all about "blood for oil" then I have a Hybrid Prius with a trunk full of tofu that I would like to sell you, to go with that teenager wearing a Che t-shirt rationale.

Thank you, though, for making your last post less painful to read than the previous one.

Peace and chicken grease.

Anonymous said...

Desiree

C'mon thunderbuns, don't be hatin' on the brotha!
Maybe he was playin' it safe. The gonorrhea rate for Africans living in the US is an astonishing 77% of total cases. Genital herpes is a whopping 46%. Oh, and Africans living in the US have AIDS rates that resemble Botswana!

Babycakes, I hope you find a fellow ALITUS and he can be supportive, faithful and smart. Good luck. I went to a very diverse city high school in the NE, whites in the minority. Rich, dirt po', Latino, Asian, ALITUS. I've supervised minorities for years. I was the "token" white on my HS basketball team. It's an impressive diversity resume. Here's what this white boy learned at school... Africans love free lunch tickets and stealing food while wearing designer clothes. I paid for my own food. The baby screams from the daycare room was filled with young Africans. "Street cred" is everything. The few that are smart always dumb down they language skills. BY FAR, angry African females are the loudest, rudist, fattest, and ugliest out of any group. When I took general classes the most disruptive group were Africans. As a boss, race baiting is common. Africans are generally the most disrepectful group in meetings. In 5 years, almost every disorderly act including physical violence and sexual harrassment involved non-whites. In 5 years I've fired 6 Africans and 2 Latinos. All 6 Africans cried racism. 4 screamed in my face (goin' out wit steet cred) and I've had my life threatened. However, this gangsta white boy ain't take no shit. One "racist" lawsuit, company prevailed.

Desiree, here's some advice from a wise white boy who could knock down the three. Instead of potty mouth posts take some time to think about your situation. Your African ass lives in America. Despite your peoples behavior, this country voted for an African president (white guilt) named Barack Hussein Obama. Where would you rather be, in Haiti eating mud cakes? Or here bitching about "the man." Running with zebras in the Congo. Or here, bitching about Uncle Tom's and crapping on "our" flag. Thunderbuns, the game of life is hard for everyone. The ALITUS that are successful understand hard work, discipline and have settled down with marriage and a family!! Good luck. --the Man.

CWN said...

Desiree,

The reason I feel sorry for you, is not because you ceased being brainwashed. But because you have BECOME brainwashed. Kinda like those black people who go into prison , become a muslim, and have their names changed. Kinda like Muhammed Ali.

And yes I am serious about what the flag represents.

Anonymous said...

The average white male is just a spoiled coward.

Before it was easy, the system was designed to give white men advantages and non-white men disadvantages.

But lo, women and non-whites were allowed to vote, go to college, compete in the work force, etc.

Did white males step up to the challenge? No. They chose blue collar unions and good ol' boy organizations (read advantage). And white males are staying away from college like crazy.

No. White men are now beer-swillin', UFC-watchin', cowards...who pine for the days when they had kingship given to them (Father Knows Best).

Instead of actually competing in existing arenas, they keep inventing arenas where they can be the king: X-sports, MMA, lawn service businesses.

Anonymous said...

Desiree_ You call a man stupid for wanting to fill the gigantic shoes of his father and grandfather?
To understand you must first KNOW your father let alone your GRANDfather. Then they would have to have also been patriotic for you to have an inkling.
I am not going to discuss battle tactics and strategies with someone who can not grasp the simple. But here is a nugget to chew. Saddam had been a pain for years moving WMDs around and requiring advance notice of inspection and would have or should have been invaded and smashed regardless of nine eleven.
It is all about arenas and staging areas. Someday you might wake up. I will not reiterate what others have said about Haiti and africa be grateful for once. What do you have to say about the great culture of your ancestors selling you to the whites or the blacks who OWNED their own slabes in the south? Or the whites who were slaves or indentured servants as they were called. If you are going to rise up as you all keep threatening to do you better get a better clue.

Anonymous said...

May not agree with it all of the time (most) but this blog is an important voice ....

"Tillman was motivated by duty and honor, ideals cherished by Pre-Obama America yet displaced and an anachronism in this era,"

Hard to claim the Big-O is responsible for tossing duty & honor out the window. 8 years of dumd-dumb and Haliburton have left this country with a bad hangover.

Pat Tillman's sacrifice was great for an endeavour that was hamstrung by the folly of Iraq.

All Americans should be required to do a year (at least) of national service from 18 be it military, helping the elderly, picking up trash in parks, whatever.

Our culture is increasingly afflicted by self-obsession, selfishness and greed which mock self-sacrfice and deferred gain.

From what we see from black athletes one could conclude the condition is even worse in certain socio-economic circles? Seems so. Is there a generational component to this as well? Yep.

Anonymous said...

"Instead of actually competing in existing arenas, they keep inventing arenas where they can be the king: X-sports, MMA, lawn service businesses."

Oh come on. What nonsense.

Stopped competing? WTF? In basketball and football (in positions)? American whites?

Name a sport the world cares about that wasnt invented by white folk (like 'em or not).

White people play all kinds of sports (not just gridiron and basketball) and well. Lionell Mesi? The sport the world cares most about? Real football. Waybe Rooney?

Actually MMA came from Brasil Vale Tudo and included black and mixed race competitors in that culture from the early days. The sport just plays to white "advantages". lol.

X-games? Surfing and boarding started in the 60's when white's dominated all sports and even won the 100 meters now and again. lol.

White people got bored in the frozen north so they look outside to the horizons and invent stuff.

Oh shit I justed wasted 5 minutes of my life arguing online with a boorish dipshit. ahhhhhhhhh.

All folks should just get on. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Fact is there are very mean people in this world that want you to be dead because you are American and not muslim. They don't care what stinkin color you are... Or how stupid you act for that matter.