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Commentary :: DNC
Pat Tillman: Hero or Wasted Life?
25 Apr 2004
An argument against the depiction as "heroes" of American soldiers engaged in immoral and illegal wars for fallacious reasons, especially wars that leave a radioactive legacy of cancers and deformed children like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There is no doubt about the bravery of Pat Tillman or his idealism in resigning from a lucrative career in the National Football League after 9-11 to, as he perceived the situation, protect America and fight the terrorists responsible for this spectacular, deadly attack on American soil. However, soldiers all through history have exhibited great courage in combat, although often fighting for mistaken, spurious reasons or even against their own best interests. I know there were many German soldiers in World War 2 who were fervent believers in fascism and willingly sacrificed themselves for an ideology which cost tens of millions of lives, lead to the death camps and devastated the continent of Europe. The same could be said of Japan's kamikaze pilots. Their sacrifice was exceedingly brave, but was their emperor really that close to God. The German and Japanese media certainly attempted to make heroes of these men. There were many true believers among the Protestants and Catholics who fought one another in the bloody Thirty Years War and exterminated about sixty percent of the population of northern Europe. Naturally, the kings and nobles had their own economic and political interests in these religious wars. Are all these people heroes simply because they were courageous in battle or possessed an ardent belief in their mission or ideology?

Pat Tillman obviously didn't realize that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were planned long before 9-11 occurred and both were intimately connected to US control of oil reserves, rather than to any so-called war on terrorism. He was probably oblivious to the fact that terrorism has been used before in history as an excuse for wars of aggression, perpetrated for other reasons. Hitler used the excuses of communist terrorism and terrorism against Germans for his annexations of Austria and Czechoslovakia. Ronald Reagan had his own war against terrorism in Central America in order to defeat socialist revolutions there, which were a threat to the capitalist system. Our own American revolutionaries were considered to be terrorists by the British. Using fear as a means of manipulation and control is nothing new.

Therefore, Pat Tillman was not defending the American people, as he imagined, but by participating in a war against the innocent people of Afghanistan and Iraq was actually increasing the anger and resentment towards the United States and raising the probability of another terrorist attack on the US mainland, rather than diminishing such a probability. He may just as well have worn the company logos of Chevron-Texaco and Exxon-Mobil on his uniform as the US flag because this is who he really was fighting for, as well as the weapons manufacturers and companies like Halliburton and Bechtel. 9-11 was the fear-inspiring event that George W. Bush cynically utilized to pursue his real agenda of corporate domination and profiteering.

In my opinion, the real heroes are people like Ron Kovic, Stan Goff and other veterans who have taken the time and effort to discover the truth about recent wars and the nature of imperialism. They are willing to oppose US interventions in other countries and suffer the ridicule and disapprobation of American society for challenging some of its most cherished myths-myths like the continuous glorification of war and the supposition that American troops always fight for noble goals like freedom and democracy. They also attempt to educate military personnel and that is essential in stopping this scourge of war. People are heroes for fighting against the real ills afflicting humanity like slavery, racism, oppression and injustice, not for fighting for myths created by a ruling class intent on wars for their own benefit. That is simply a wasted life.

The glaring hypocrisy of the US corporate media in its hero worship is easily illustrated by the Spanish Civil War. American soldiers, such as those in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, fought fascism in Spain and the troops and modern weapons of Hitler and Mussolini years before World War 2 started. They exhibited extraordinary courage in fighting tanks and airplanes with small arms and outdated artillery. Were these brave American soldiers of the "greatest American generation" called heroes in the US corporate media? No, they were either ignored or labeled "premature antifascists." Some were even hounded by the FBI for years after World War 2 and lost job after job for being leftists. Every American knows about the heroes of the Normandy landing on D-day, but ask an average American if they have ever heard of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Obviously, the criteria for who is deemed worthy of being depicted as a hero by the US corporate media is determined purely on economic and political motivations and not on actual courage or sacrifice, as the corporate media so pompously pretend.

I knew the instant I learned that Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan that the corporate media were going to make a propaganda extravaganza out of his death, lasting days, if not weeks. After all, MSNBC calls every American soldier killed in Iraq a "hero" and has a whole wall dedicated to them with photos of the deceased soldiers. From time to time the hosts relate little stories about these soldiers lives to their audience. No mention is given to poisonous effects of the US military's use of depleted uranium on the health of other potential "heroes." Little emphasis is placed on Iraqi casualties or the great suffering and misery of the Iraqi people. Neither the Pentagon nor the corporate media keep an accounting of the Iraqi dead and wounded. Of course, the insinuation here is that only American lives matter and the Iraqis are subhuman, much as Goebbels depicted the Jews and Slavs.

It has been my perception from watching war after war involving the United States that the corporate media always attempt to glorify each and every war and build public support for it, no matter how ridiculous the justifications for the war or how illegal, immoral and destructive the war happens to be. That glorification is probably the greatest evil perpetrated by the US corporate media and very dangerous to humanity's survival in an age of nuclear weapons. However, it is understandable, when one considers many of these media corporations are owned by weapons manufacturers.
See also:
http://www.theblackflag.org/iconoclast

This work is in the public domain
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Comments

Brain Washed - Wasted Life!
26 Apr 2004
Amazing, that a man with millions...Doesn't have any educated friends! Who can tell him the truth about our manipulative government.
Wasted days and wasted nights.
Just like the 4 years of Bush!
Re: Pat Tillman: Hero or Wasted Life?
27 Apr 2004
Your a total kook.
Re: Pat Tillman: Hero or Wasted Life?
28 Apr 2004
This was total BS. You people suck
Re: Pat Tillman: Hero or Wasted Life?
28 Apr 2004
Islamists slaughter school kids with car bombs, but Pat Tillman wass a Nazi.
Women under the Taliban are forbidden to appear in public alone, genitally mutilated, forbidden education, but Pat Tillman was a Nazi.
What is wrong with you people?
Re: Pat Tillman: Hero or Wasted Life?
29 Apr 2004
Amazing how a person of liberal presuasion can sit in safety afford him by heros like Tillman and say the stupidest things. Free press and free thought are protected by guys like Tillman. He probably wanted to make sure that the people of Afganistan got to enjoy the same rights as you idiots.(who don't deserve what you have.)
Re: Pat Tillman: Hero or Wasted Life?
04 May 2004
"but Pat Tillman wass a Nazi."

Really? what NAZI beliefs did Tillman hold? Elimination of corperations? Extension of old age welfare? The duty of the state to provide for it's people? Abolition of unearned income? Anti-semitism?