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Commentary :: International
Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
29 Apr 2004
This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him.
Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
By Rene Gonzalez
April 28, 2004

When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.
I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."
But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.
However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.
Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.
Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.
Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.
Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.
Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.

Puerto Rican graduate student Rene Gonzalez, a leader in the African, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American and Arab American (ALAANA) organization

VPres: Rene Gonzalez renegonzalez7 (at)

If you would like additional information about the BCP please contact us by phone or mail at:
Billingual Collegiate Program
101 Wilder Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: (413) 545-1968 or 545-1987
Fax: 413 545-3382
Send e-mail to: jbcp (at) .

A little bit about me and my musical talents:
RENE GONZALEZ: Drum set, Electric Bass, Timbales, Congas, Bongos, Vocals and Latin Percussion.
Born in 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he began studying snare drum technique at the age of 6. Rene began to play professionally with Banda Criolla, at the age of 10 (at the time performing on bongos). He currently performs with Jose Gonzalez/Banda Criolla, Criollo Clásico, MarKamusic, and Toli Moreno's Latin Jazz Band. Although a versatile drummer of most popular and traditional styles, Rene is acknowledged for his understanding of Afro-Caribbean drum set playing. Rene has recorded three albums with Banda Criolla and performed in world-renowned festivals such as the Heineken Jazz Jam Series in Puerto Rico.
Ryan (at)
For Rene:
Music of the people
MarKamusic Biography

MarKamusic is a high-energy, multi-national musical ensemble that
performs Latin music deeply rooted within the folkloric and
traditional genres of the South American Andean regions. This
mountainous region comprises distinctively different zones and lands.
From the wind barren high plateaus of the Andes; the mystical Amazon
rain forest and the deserted coasts washed by the Pacific Ocean, the
Andean regions span a whole continent. MarKamusic sensibly brings the
musical forms and the soulful art of the cultures and countries from
these regions. An ever changing, eclectic weave of ancient, modern,
aboriginal and pop themes performed on a fascinating array of native,
western and African influenced instruments, like its ancestors before
them MarKamusic musicians draw from the well of their unique cultural

MarKamusic has embraced the responsibility that an ethnic artist must
have to its own people, history and music but then takes it all
together to a different realm. Fussed with the feelings, experiences
and creations of younger generations, during its performances,
MarKamusic will emphasize the musical and cultural contributions of
the four major cultural influences that have shaped modern, folk and
traditional South American music and Latin American music at large:
the indigenous, the West African, the Euro-Iberian, and the United
States. Traditional rhythms and music forms from these diverse
cultures and lands slowly fused over the centuries, creating that
which is today's South American traditional, folk and popular musics.
MarKamusic's careful choice of repertoire and instrumentation reveals
this historic evolution to its audiences.

12 Charles Lane, Amherst, MA 01002. Ph: 413-549-9155, Email: Freddy (at)
See also:
See also:

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He got killed...
29 Apr 2004
...he's a hero now. Make sense?
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
29 Apr 2004
Apparently you don't believe the testimony of numerous people who knew the guy, who describe him as anything but a crazed Rambo-type. Those people don't usually make it in the Special Forces anyway. While I don't dispute the idiocy of the war in Iraq I don't see how the United States could have done anything but remove the unpopular, absolutist government that knowingly supported the people that attacked this country on September 11th.

The United States does need a good dose of introspection, something the Bush Administration isn't capable of, but introspection shouldn't tie our hands to those who actively seek to harm America's citizens.

I think Pat Tillman knew this. I think he joined the Army because he believed in the promise of this country. And I think he, and the majority of American servicemen and women(torturers and criminals-there are some-aside) are heroes.

The bottom line is that they risk their lives to protect you and me whether we support them or not. They deserve our respect.
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
29 Apr 2004
What gives you the right to disrespect a man who did a lot more for an honorable cause (his country) than you were man enough to do?

I don't know if it is jealousy or what, but show some maturity. To say he is receiving too much postmortem news is one thing. To have the nerve to say he was wasting his time, comparing him to a movie character (refrence to a teammate's joke) is absurd.
29 Apr 2004
Tillman didn't die for his country...He died for Shell, Exxon, BP and many more oil companies. Don't believe me? Afghanistan has hugh oil reserves. In fact, the president of Afghanistan is on the board of directors. 9-11 should have been prevented. The White House knew. (Bush and Cheney are surrounded by oil men...)(Notice how gas prices have creeped up?)
Who did Tillman die for?
Pat Tillman is a hero:
29 Apr 2004
Anyone out there remember the regular soccer stadium executions in Afghanistan of women who had sex outside marriage or the punishment for homosexuality in Afghanistan it was death.

The war in Afghanistan was as legitimate as a war can ever be. Pat Tillman had incredible character to forgo millions of dollars and a life of luxury to pursue what he believed was right and good.

Rene you got it all backwards it is you who is the superficial bozo on your bongos and Pat Tillman who was/is/always will be a hero and a persong guided by values. We could use a few more Pat Tillmans.
Omen its bad luck Rene
29 Apr 2004
Rene its bad luck to speak ill of the dead........... or didnt ya know that.
El Pendejo
29 Apr 2004
Pat Tillman=Hero
Rene Gonzalez=Pendejo
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
29 Apr 2004
Crow~ guess he hasn't seen that in a movie or discussed by someone else yet.

And Kris- dont be ignorant. If you don't think Hussein and his regime were a threat to our nation, you need to wake up.
El Pendejo
29 Apr 2004
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
29 Apr 2004
This guy is some punk, trying to make a name for himself by attacking a defenseless family; jealous of their integrity.

Just like the guys at Colombine, driving the planes into the Twin Towers/Pentagon, and driving cars loaded with bombs near busy buildings.

Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
29 Apr 2004
Obviously from the lanquage in your article you can't stand people like Pat Tillman who have courage, conviction, and belief in a higher cause...This world is filled with people like you have none of those qualities... People like your friends the Taliban, Al Queda, and Hamas, who can only terrorize people and run and hide like the vermin they are...And like vermin, they must and will be eradicated. Plainly in your article, by how you attack him so vehemently and seethe in your hate speech for him...Its clear you have neither the courage, guts, backbone, or balls to say things like this to him or people like him while there alive... I'll bet you wouldn't say it to anyone else either who's actively hunting down and killing those pieces of human shit either... Fortunately for people like Pat and I, and the many others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, that you can speak your thoughts in this country...otherwise you would probally be speaking some other language like German, Japanese, or Russian. Rene your a product of the liberal education system and have been brainwashed from all the leftist garbage that has been taught you and spew nothing but sewage...People like you aren't worthy of the freedom's you abuse...You couldn't be a "water boy" for people like Pat.. Pray that I, nor any of my buddies run into you because then you'll find that you be getting what you deserve!!!

Chris Kirkland
USAF Special ops
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
30 Apr 2004
Hey there, "Chris Kirkland," and all you other military psyops folks that always manage to appear on these left-wing websites when something like this comes up.

Bite us.
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
30 Apr 2004
More knee-jerk reactions. What a surprise.
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
30 Apr 2004
Hey there, "shove your macho posturing",
psyops is psychological operations (ie the dropping of propoganda and the use of the media). Not the same as Special Operations. Just thought you should know.
so, Bite Me!
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
30 Apr 2004
Go back home.
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
30 Apr 2004
I guess you would know best, but:

seems like Special Ops includes both the Special Forces and psyops, and the work psyops does sounds an awful lot like what folks like you do on websites like this

it is you who will do the biting of us
Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
01 May 2004

Differnces between yourself and Pat Tillman:

1. He is a man, you are far from it.
2. He is a REAl hero, you are a "wanna-be journalist.
3. He died fighting for his country, you are not even from the country in which you use to spew your garbage.
4. He gave up millions of dollars in which he had to put forth tremendous effort and work to achieve, to fight for OUR freedom. I seriously doubt you would give up your typewriter/bongos to so much as take up for your mother.

These are just to a few differences that come to mind, I am sure I could come up with others if I actually thought about it.

You seem to forget that he joined the Army well before any attack on a foreign nation began. You also seem to forget that we are fighting a war that started on our soil, in New York, D.C., PA.

You obviously have no respect or appreciation for what you have.

You obviously have some pretty big balls behind your typewriter, but what would happen if you had to come out from behind it. Would you be willing to FIGHT for what you believe in (these comments you have wriiten)? I mean really think about it, would you really FIGHT for what you belived. Fight as if your life depended on it?

Because that is all Pat Tillman did!!!!!

Re: Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
04 May 2004
I am a Boston College Grad student and as usual can't believe how uninformed and ignorant many students are about international relations, military history and politics. Pat Tillman and every other man and woman serving in the U.S.
Military are hero's whether liberal minded people can see it or not. I have relatives and friends over there now who have sent letters and pictures of the things they have seen and I can tell you, there is a real reason we are there and cannot leave. I think booksmart liberals like Mr. Gonzalez should take a trip over to Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia or Bosnia or Kosovo and see for themselves what the soldiers are fighting for, what they are putting their lives on the line for and ultimately what their sacrifice means. I get very angry when I see ignorant peaceniks take cheap shots at brave soldiers so
they can hear themselves talk.

And speaking of freedom of speech and freedom of the press......who do you think fought and died to give you the right to speak and publish your opinion???? The soldiers, sailors, marines and airman of the U.S. Armed Forces past, present and future are all heros. Pat Tillman is just one example of heroism. Show some respect.