Best of the Bunch

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It is a tough call, but of the dozens of Pat Tillman stories I've ploughed through in the past hours, this is the best.

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  1. What a decent person. Damn shame.

  2. Jesus. That made me cry.

    Thanks for posting the link.

  3. Thanks for pointing us to a great story. Before the daily trivia of life overtakes me tomorrow, I’m going to find something to do to support the troops and their families right now. Instapundit usually has links…

  4. Joe L.,

    Simply because you cannot recognize that a rational choice such as Tillman’s is not “cold”, but in fact the epitome and the glory of what it means to be a human being does not mean we will accommodate you.

    Thanks for the article, Jeff. It brought a tear to my eye for the first time in over ten years.

  5. What an utter waste. Having someone like this die in a war seems like pulverizing diamonds to fill a sandbag.

  6. Shannon Love,

    “…true American masculinity…”

    “Both men were competent warriors yet ultimately very gentle and humble people who personally sacrificed a great deal for their higher ideals.”

    And this differs from men elsewhere in what way?

    BTW, I find it interesting culturally to note that you call upon an actor to describe such an archetype. One might ask whether Jimmy Stewart was really – outside of his acting roles – a “competent warrior” and such.

  7. And this differs from men elsewhere in what way?

    The fact that he was American and we were talking about Americans. When some notable from France is in the news in the same way, we can look for a French archetype, OK? Who did you want Shannon to mention as an example of American masculinity? Alain Delon?

    Jennifer: I thought you supported the Afghanistan campaign? Who did you want to fight it?

  8. Jean,

    Jimmy Stewart fought and was fairly highly decorated in WWII

  9. I meant to mention that: Jimmy Stewart enlisted in the Army — prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, in March 1941 — as a pilot, and although the Army wanted to use him mostly for publicity, he insisted on qualifying for combat and took extra flight time on his own to qualify. He later successfully piloted a B-17 for 20 combat missions over Europe and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Croix de Guerre. He continued to serve in the Army Reserves for 23 years and retired as a Brigadier General.

    Is that sufficient?

  10. Phil-
    I do support the Afghan campaign. I just think Tillman’s death was a waste. Surely, the two beliefs are not mutually exclusive?

  11. “The fact that he was American and we were talking about Americans.”

    And why not simply state that this is an example of “masculinity?” In other words, the notion that these qualities only apply to Americans is insulting; indeed, many members of the 82nd Airborne would be insulted because they fought with equally brave and noble Frenchmen in the first Gulf War.

    Phil,

    Well, that is impressive then. Did John Wayne fight similarly in WWII?

  12. Actually, JB (can I call you “JB”?), John Wayne fought like hell to stay out of WW2, convinced it would hamper his career in movies. But he didn’t let that stop him from being a cheerleader for the war in Viet Nam.

  13. Les,

    Oui.

  14. No, Wayne took a pass, preferring to fight fake Nazis and Japanese. So did Reagan. Big shots against them, in my book, although I never liked Wayne anyway.

    I don’t think that anyone meant to imply that those values apply only to Americans. In fact, I’m certain that nobody said that they did, nor impied that non-American men don’t share them. Is democracy not an American value just because other countries are democracies, too? Of course not. But, as Americans, we can be proud when fellow Americans exhibit those traits, and praise them as such.

    You never fail to tell us how proud you are of secular, democratic French culture, and how important those values are to the French, even though neither of them is, obviously, uniquely French. And yet nobody gets in your shit over it. Try to extend Americans the same courtesy, ami.

  15. John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are archetypical Americans. The masculinity they project (which Shannon did not bother to describe – did not need to) can therefore be called American masculinity. It does not mean masculinity is American, just that American males act a certain way, and those are two of the most obvious models. Wouldn’t anyone taking John Wayne as a role model and emulating him would be affecting an American type of masculinity? (The main characteristics of John Wayne’s being: strength, stupidity, and chivalry.)

  16. In Jean Bart’s defense (boy, talk about words I never thought I’d be typing![smiley-face]) while I do recall him having pride in, say, his country’s secularism or cultural history, I don’t recall him ever implying that such virtues are ONLY to be found in his country. There’s a difference between “The French value democracy” versus “Democracy is a French value.”

  17. Oh, I agree that Jean has never said that. But I also think that Shannon didn’t say what Jean inferred — that those values are only American. Shannon just said that they are American, not that they aren’t anyone else’s also.

  18. Many have commented on Tillman’s “sacrifice.”
    A sacrifice is the surrender of a value for a lesser value or nonvalue. Clearly Tillman more highly valued serving his country than playing in the NFL. Far from a sacrifice, his choice demonstrates a supreme commitment to his hierarchy of values.

    Draftees are sacrificed. Volunteers are honored.

  19. Cut and pasted from a San Francisco Chronical story:
    It took two years, from 1965 to 1967, for 41 percent of Americans to say it was a mistake to send troops to Vietnam, according to the Gallup Poll.

    It has taken only one year for public opinion to reach the same level about Iraq. In a Gallup Poll taken a week ago, 42 percent of Americans say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq.

  20. Critic’s comment is why I’m not a libertarian, too. Economics is fine for explaining a narrow band of truth, but it is supreme folly to try to elevate it to a universal creed.

    Along with “market” and “property,” “values” is a concept that is rarified by economic thinking. The economic definition of those three things is the truth, but it’s not the whole truth. Turning economics into a philosophy of governance and society leads to the error of assuming that actual markets, actual properties, and actual values are best understood as expressions of their Economics definitions.

  21. Critic?s comment is one more reason I?m not a Libertarian/libertarian/anarcho-capitalist. It is so devoid of emotional content. A man is dead. We read of hierarchies of choice. The movement seems so ?rational? and cold, at times. It lacks fire and lacking fire it lacks appeal, thankfully. I can?t imagine those who discuss hierarchies of choice defending themselves or others very effectively?. ?H?uuuum let me make a pay-off matrix table and then run a little game theory on this. Sorry dear, my payoff matrix suggests it is ?rational? to leave you to the rapist. Good luck.?

  22. Joe,
    You and Critic should take it outside.
    Does anyone else here understand their snit, or care?

  23. Were I as poetically inclined as dj of raleigh, I’d inveigle a viewpoint that seems at odds with the surprisingly clinical (and occasionally abhorrent) typing-before-reflecting that occurs in this post and (most) others on Reason.

    I won’t work the “libertarians are heartless marketeers” position since so many do it better than I, and I’m a libertarian with big and little Ls.

    But it would be nice to just reflect on the closest to a roundly characterized human soldier this debacle has seen since Jennifer Lynch (with all due respect to Keith Maupin). Although hundreds have died, I can now say that I recognize only two of their faces (although I’ve now seen quite a few of their caskets).

    I hope the surviving Tillmans have better things to do with their time than come to Hit & Run, as I fear the chill would break their hearts.

  24. Ruthless,

    No.

  25. “What a decent person. Damn shame.”

    No shame in a person giving 100% voluntarily,
    living and dying for what he believed in.
    History is made by men like him, that DO something.

    Pat Tillman probably lived more in his short life
    than most do who die in an old age home. More than I!

    Pat Tillman’s death is a heroic tragedy.
    He wouldn’t want our sympathy at all.
    I imagine his sympathy would go to we who dare not.

    If there are others like him out there, and there are,
    then maybe this world will change for the better.

  26. Tillman puts me very much in mind of Jimmy Stewart whom I always felt was the archetype for true American masculinity (as opposed to say, John Wayne). Both men were competent warriors yet ultimately very gentle and humble people who personally sacrificed a great deal for their higher ideals.

    I think we are so afraid of being manipulated by calls to higher ideals that we build a defensive shell of cynicism around ourselves. We tell ourselves that no one is unselfish or noble and that everybody is selling something.

    When we encounter a truly sincere person it frightens us.

  27. Joe L. seems more at home letting his emotions rule. That’s his choice.
    He’s better off leaving the thinking to others.
    By the way, that definition of “sacrifice” is not libertarian, it’s objectivist.
    Big difference.

  28. Joe L.

    That’s “hierarchy of values.” Everybody has one. Even you. Your choice of being sarcastic rather than thoughtful demonstrates yours.

  29. All discussion of ideology aside, I think all can agree that Pat Tillman was a remarkable man and that his untimely death is cause for sadness.

  30. Who?s being sarcastic? I?m saddened, that?s all. What others have said of Pat Tillman, here, is a moving as his example was. I?m saddened by comment of ?Critic?. It just struck me as cold and that reminded me of why I?m not too enamoured of the worldview of ?choices.?

    I think the thing I would try to point out is that humans are NOT rational. Einstein LOVED Physics, he was also brilliant. The result was a brilliant Physicist. Had he turned to other pursuits he would have been successful but not as successful. It is our loves and our passions that drive us to excellence. So I think, but I feel first. If there is no fire there will be no achievement.

    I believe that Pat Tillman had the fire. And that is the cruelest thing of war, that it so moves humans to bring out that fire, the best AND the worst. So Pat Tillman was an amazing man, the world is a poorer place for his passing, save that his example might inspire others.

  31. Ruthless,

    Point taken.

  32. This was the link I was thinking of, in case anyone else is similarly motivated. http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/003234.php . Lots of suggestions here.

  33. Thanks for posting this, I appreciated it.

  34. Jean Bart, You are a bright man, this is very clear. But take your articulate shuck and jive somewhere else for a few, mmmkay? Please comment on what is to hand and save your incisive argumentation for another topic.

    same with critic et al…your argument with Joe L. may have some relevance, but please, elsewhere.

    I humbly suggest, in the spirit of the story referenced by JAT, that these comments be reserved for what respectful reflection on the man or the cited story is applicable.

    Perhaps for one thread we can drop the political glasses and see a dead, unusually selfless 27 year old who died in the service of his country in a foreign field?

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    Check them out at:
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    …and definitely read the articles here:
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  36. I pray that Tillmans’s death will shut the yaps of proponents of the draft for a minute or two.

  37. I understand that many people loathe Ronald Reagan, but can they get past that to realize that bad eyes kept him out of combat? He was a reservist from 1937 on, years before Roosevelt and Congress instituted the first peacetime draft in 1940. As it was, Reagan served in stateside units throughout WWII. Scoff if you must at any protestations that RR wanted to actually fight, but only he would know if they were true or not.

    http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/wwii/rr.htm

    Kevin
    (opposed Reagan for Pres. in `76, `80 & `84.)

  38. Pat Tillman,
    God bless you for your commitment to your principles.

  39. Critic said:

    “Clearly Tillman more highly valued serving his country than playing in the NFL. Far from a sacrifice, his choice demonstrates a supreme commitment to his hierarchy of values.”

    It’s “cold” to praise a man for acting according to his values? Are we all speaking the same language here?

    Joe, Ruthless,

    You DO understand the difference between ethics and economics, don’t you? I know they both start with an “e”, but really…

  40. Stewart never (I think) played in a war movie but had a very distinguished military career.

    Best of my knowledge, the only Stewart movies in which WWII played any significant role were The Glenn Miller Story and It’s A Wonderful Life. And in the latter, George Bailey is 4-F because of a bad ear, while his brother is a war hero.

  41. “Stewart never (I think) played in a war movie but had a very distinguished military career.”

    For what it’s worth, in 1955 Stewart was in Strategic Air Command as a former WWII pilot who’s called to duty again to fly a bomber ready to attack Moscow. Check out http://imdb.com/title/tt0048667/
    Some time later he also famously played an FBI agent in The FBI Story, investigating Nazis, spies, and other bad guys.

  42. Phil,

    “You never fail to tell us how proud you are of secular, democratic French culture, and how important those values are to the French, even though neither of them is, obviously, uniquely French. And yet nobody gets in your shit over it. Try to extend Americans the same courtesy, ami.”

    But I’ve never stated that those were “French values.” Indeed, I’ve stated rather clearly in the past that they were shared with America and other nations.

    Anyway, I find this notion that Tillman is more heroic because he gave up a great deal of money to be slightly mercenary in character; and the metric to be insulting and digusting to Tillman and to others who have died.

  43. Phil,

    “You never fail to tell us how proud you are of secular, democratic French culture, and how important those values are to the French, even though neither of them is, obviously, uniquely French. And yet nobody gets in your shit over it. Try to extend Americans the same courtesy, ami.”

    But I’ve never stated that those were “French values.” Indeed, I’ve stated rather clearly in the past that they were shared with America and other nations.

    Anyway, I find this notion that Tillman is more heroic because he gave up a great deal of money to be slightly mercenary in character; and the metric to be insulting and digusting to Tillman and to others who have died.

  44. Jean Bart,

    ” I find it interesting culturally to note that you call upon an actor to describe such an archetype”

    Well, I could have used others such as Cecil Love, Lawrence Rylant, Robert Love or Lonnie Love but these names would have meant nothing to most people. Celebrities are useful in this regard as they are by definition widely know. We can use them in either their public or private personas as personifications just as we once used characters from classic mythology.

    I find it revealing that you interpreted my labeling Jimmy Stewart an archetype of “American” masculinity as implying that he represented exclusively American values. I really just intended to frame a contrast between John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart within American culture itself.

    I find the dichotomy between Wayne and Stewart very interesting. Wayne played a war hero on screen but avoided actual service. Stewart never (I think) played in a war movie but had a very distinguished military career. Wayne became something of an icon representing Americans, especially for those who knew of American only through the movies. Yet it was Stewart’s hemming-and-hawing bourgeois on screen persona that better represented true American attitudes and values.

  45. Pat Tillman was an honorable man. I say this having never met the man, nor any member of his family. I will not (over)use the term hero. He gave up millions, yes, but that is not where his dignity comes from. It is because, after he made his choice, he also chose to forgo any type of recognition or notoriety for that choice. His family continues to honor that legacy by refusing to participate in the media frenzy which surrounds his passing, because, according to the one statement they DID release, it could be seen to shine a bigger spotlight on the Tillman’s loss than on other families. If I am half as successful as the Tillmans in raising my daughter to be a good person I will consider my life a success. God’s mercy and blessings to those he left behind.

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