Tillman: "This war is so fucking illegal"

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This long San Francisco Chronicle article about the escalating conflict between the Pentagon and the family of slain U.S. footballer-turned-soldier Pat Tillman is worth reading in its own right, for the damning details of how the government has behaved. But there's also further evidence that he was a man who defied most stereotypes. Excerpt:

He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.) Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat's even arranged a private meeting with [Noam] Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan—a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, "Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war."

Whole thing definitely worth a read. Thanks to reason contributor Charles Oliver for the heads-up.

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64 responses to “Tillman: "This war is so fucking illegal"

  1. Thought of trying to bring the funny/ironic, but it is too damn sad. R.I.P.

  2. Now, how long will it take for Hanity of Limbaugh 😉 to paint Mary Tillman as a Cindy Sheehan clone, using her “martyred” son’s memory to attack America’s holy crusade against the filthy moose-lims and their liberal sympathizers? They Right spent a lot of time riding Tillman’s casket, they won’t stand to have him made out doubter of their war, and they won’t let a little thing like the facts get in their way.

  3. Ann Coulter’s quote in that Chronical article (about American men volk), may be the funniest thing she has ever written–although what a fag hag like her knows about “masculine” men is open to question (much like her sanity).

  4. I couldn’t help wondering whether the investigators destroyed or hid the journal to prevent adverse political consequences. If they did that, that’s a bad thing.

  5. As for “riding his casket” Akira, I think most people were impressed that he gave up a cushy life as a highly paid professional athlete to join the army to do what he believed was right – Republican or Democrat. That’s why he received so much attention for joining in the first place. It’s pretty extraordinary whether you agree with his reasons for doing so or not.

  6. Looks like they fixed that moveable type thing…ha

  7. This whole thing makes my heart ache. Anyone who has faith in government should just read it and tell me what they think.

    The craziest part about it is that the one helping them is John McCain, freedom’s enemy numero uno. I’m surprised he found time to help them, in between sticking his nose in baseball, and wiping his ass with the first amendment…

  8. While I found the right side a bit tedious on this, I thought the left was fairly insulting towards Tillman. Who wants to bet me that the left will take the high ground and pass on their opportunity to “ride the casket.”

  9. rob — Read the link on the word “stereotype”; it’s Cathy Young taking some college lefty types to task for their anti-Tillman tirades….

  10. Such a sad story. He probably could have been President in a couple decades if he came back.

  11. As for “riding his casket” Akira, I think most people were impressed that he gave up a cushy life as a highly paid professional athlete to join the army to do what he believed was right – Republican or Democrat.

    I don’t have a problem with Tillman’s choice as such. I just poiting out that the Right turned the man into an American demigod–a figure whom we are suppose to fall down on our knees, worship, and thank for “giving us our freedom.” (So much for natural rights, huh?) Now it turns out that he may have not been as politically correct as they wanted? They won’t stand for it! They WILL paint the Tillman’s as Sheehan-wanna-bes and savage their reputations. I wouldn’t put it past the scum-suckers for an instance.

  12. As for “riding his casket” Akira, I think most people were impressed that he gave up a cushy life as a highly paid professional athlete to join the army to do what he believed was right – Republican or Democrat.

    I don’t have a problem with Tillman’s choice as such. I just poiting out that the Right turned the man into an American demigod–a figure whom we are suppose to fall down on our knees, worship, and thank for “giving us our freedom.” (So much for natural rights, huh?) Now it turns out that he may have not been as politically correct as they wanted? They won’t stand for it! They WILL paint the Tillman’s as Sheehan-wanna-bes and savage their reputations. I wouldn’t put it past the scum-suckers for an instance.

  13. Akira,

    Yup. He wasn’t just a hero, he was a Republican hero. He proved the Repubicans right about the culture war during the very moment that you were either with the president or on the side of the terrorists. If you read mAnn Coulter and National Review Online, anyway. Pat Tillman vs. effete, overeducated people who didn’t see the danger of terrorism and Iraq – we heard that all through 2001, 2002, and 2003.

    I think this story is going to have legs, because right now, increasing numbers of people are looking back on the past four years with horror.

  14. joe,
    I don’t think this story is going to have the “legs” any anti-Bush folk would like, unless it comes down to Bush actually ordering him dead of “friendly fire” because he wasn’t the hero they made him out to be. Otherwise it’s just another sad story of a war hero killed, and another aggravating story of government cover-up to save its own ass. What does this change? We’ve seen it all before.

  15. “I think this story is going to have legs, because right now, increasing numbers of people are looking back on the past four years with horror.”

    joe,
    Hard to say which “leg” will be the straw that broke Bush’s back.
    I nominate one of Justin Raimondo’s.

    Hey, it’s a millipede out there!

  16. Speaking of ANSWER, I’m not the only one who thinks they’re paid under the table by the usual Scaife/Olin/Murdoch types, right? They seem so well-funded and omnipresent, and verging on parody.

  17. io 1029, if the war pimps on the right had kept their heads for the past four years, this probably wouldn’t have come back to bite them. A war hero who was disgusted by the president’s great Iraq adventure would have been no big story.

    But the ink that got spilled by neocon propagandists and administration shills during that period guaranteed that such a story would be a major political event. It’s a little late to call an anti-Bush, anti-war soldier “no big deal,” once you’ve convinced everyone that such a thing was impossible.

    Instant Karma’s gonna get you.

  18. Evan Williams:

    Not to get off topic here but I happen to think John McCain is ok ..at least compared to so many others Democrats & Republicans in congress – since it sounds like you’ve studied his record so well perhaps you could enlighten us with the specific legislative initiatives he has proposed that threaten the 1st amendment?

  19. Evan Williams:

    Not to get off topic here but I happen to think John McCain is OK ..at least compared to many other Democrats & Republicans in this pork encrusted Congress – since you have such a strong opinion of him perhaps you could enlighten us to the specific legislative initiatives he has proposed that threaten the 1st Amendment?

  20. Akira,

    He wasn’t a Republican hero, he was an American hero. The problem is the Ted Rall/Michael Moore/ Al Franken lwing painted Tillman as dumb-jock turned baby-killer….you know the story line.

    I often think of Reagan and his use of the flag as a visual in each appearance. It’s not that the Republicans captured the flag, they merely picked up the one the Democrats discarded.

  21. Jimmy Beam, maybe you’ve never heard of McCain-Feingold, which somehow allows Congress to make a law which regulates the content of political speech by certain assemblies of people during certain periods prior to an election, somehow, according to our stellar Supreme Court, without violating the prohibition contained in the First Amendment.

  22. Maybe I’m naive but I can’t help but wonder if all this may have started with an altruistic goal of painting a positive picture of the trajedy for the benefit of the family..especially given his stature and sacrifice? It wouldn’t be the first time something like that has backfired.

  23. Jimmy Beam,
    A college buddy of mine shot down a couple of MIG’s over North Vietnam. He now lives in quiet obscurity.
    Showboat McCain, not quite right, got himself shot down over NVN.

    You tell us of any socially redeeming traits McCain might possess.

  24. Ruthless,

    I’m sure that there are many Vietnam vets who ably served their country in a majorly messed up situation, with no intent to use their service to gain fame, fortune, and power.

    And I’m doubly sure that none of them are in Congress.

  25. Also, in case no one noticed, Ms. Sheehan was arrested today in front of the White House…

  26. michael:

    Ted Rall’s a moron, but where have Michael Moore or Al Franken painted any US soldiers “as dumb-jock turned baby-killer”?

  27. Ruthless S&L:

    Not quite sure about the specifics of your question but I will try to answer as best I can.

    Sounds like your friend shot down some migs and successfully returned to base. From what you said I’ll assume he was never captured and returned home at some point – good – all the better for him!

    If he indeed lives in quit obscurity I certainly commend him..Many would cherish just such a lifestyle.

    However, you asked abour socially redeeming traits of John McCain – so I’ll respond:

    First I find MANY socialy redeeming about McCain..I could list specific ones but I would prefer to instead talk about his character as a whole.

    Unlike your friend, John McCain WAS shot down and spend considerable time in a Vietnam prison. I c7ould go into detail but much of it is easily accessible through the public record.

    During his captivity, John McCain was a victim of inhumane treatment, torture and isolation – Many highly educated medical professionals believe that being subjected to such inhumane treatment may make one’s convictions more powerful, more empathetic towards others treated unjustly, and (given his status as an american pilot..) perhaps more devoted to the country in which you live.

    Therefore, I find it hard to believe that you see him in such a different light. I have followed his record and on many occasions he has been the sole disenting viewpoint on issue that I too greatly disagreed with.

    In short, because of his life’s experiences I believe he will act on what he feels is in the best interest of democracy..period.

    Anyway – that’s my take on him and I hope I am not alone with my thoughts either.

  28. I’ll be expecting a public apology from Ted Rall for that sickening cartoon he unleashed regarding Tillman’s death….doubt we’ll get it, but hey……

  29. In short, because of his life’s experiences I believe he will act on what he feels is in the best interest of democracy..period.

    I agree. The only problem is that he is quite often wrong about what is in the best interest of democracy. Period. McCain-Feingold is in the best interests of incumbents, not democracy. Do I think that McCain meant well? Yes. I think that, for a politician, he is a very honorable man. But you don’t get many points for being sincerely wrong; it’s better than being self-serving, but it’s still dangerous.

  30. God save us from those who “act in the best interest of democracy, period.” McCain-Feingold is a perfect example of the best interests of democracy colliding with the best interests of liberty. The Supreme Court concluded that the need for the public to perceive the government as being “not corrupt” was more important than freedom of speech.

    Liberty > democracy. I’ll live under a monarch who stays out of his/her subjects’ affairs, before I live under the totalitarian democracy McCain seems to be aiming for.

  31. Not to mention that McCain is one of the leading voices in Congress calling on professional sports to “voluntarily” get tough on steroids, or else. There are times when well-meaning idealists are more dangerous than corrupt politicians.

  32. Alright, somebody needs to ‘fess up. Who’s trying to stir the pot by posting as Jimmy Beam?

  33. It means little that McCain compares favorably to the other idiots in Congress.

  34. Whatever Tillman said, wrote or thought is as unimportant as Kerry rattling on with dire concern about Saddam’s WMD program. These “revelations” only serve to give pinheads and blatherers something to yak about. The underlying situation does not change.

    To discuss hearsay opinions seems a waste of thought power. But, if it makes y’all feel like you were finally “proven right”, have fun. I’ll be somewhere, anywhere else. Must be a wonderful life as a “journalist”.

  35. Oh, once again, joe thinks “this story is going to have legs”.

    Really? Like, say, the epos of “Rovie, the Monster of Loch Plame”? Dieboldgate? Or perhaps the Killian memo? The latter one was going to have legs, true enough, but they seemed walking into the wrong direction, no?

  36. “Rovie, the Monster of Loch Plame”

    Cindy us down to 42% approval.

    Kanye took us down to 37%.

    Its the Pat Tillman limbo — how low can you go?

  37. What more do we have to see coz of this war. This is getting sickening….

  38. McCain is merely a double agent within the Senate. The only real beneficiary of anything McCain does is McCain.

  39. Well that was, um, interesting. Yeah, so what, I happen to have the same name as a certain Kentucky distillery. You especially gotta love how every 7-11 clerk who ID’s me has to make some “clever” remark about it, as though he’s the first one who ever noticed the coincidence.

    Anyway, I somehow doubt that Jimmy Beam was a lurker just stirring the pot. He seemed pretty genuinely enamoured with the author of McCain-Feingold.

  40. And the Dems will STILL be unable to turn this blatant case of GOP chest-beating into a cohesive talking point. It is stunning that liberal activists can be so ineffective in the face of such obvious and easy-to-hit targets.

  41. The Supreme Court concluded that the need for the public to perceive the government as being “not corrupt” was more important than freedom of speech.

    And as we all know, McCain-Feingold completely put an end to the disproportionate influence of wealthy donors and well-financed special interest groups on the Hill.

    Liberty > democracy. I’ll live under a monarch who stays out of his/her subjects’ affairs, before I live under the totalitarian democracy McCain seems to be aiming for.

    Ditto. Though in all fairness, McCain’s vision of democracy, ugly as it is in many ways, is hardly worse than Rick Santorum’s or Ted Kennedy’s.

  42. “Opportunistic swine on the left AND the right? The hell, you say!” – Evan Williams

    The hell I DO say! Heh…

    Sadly, I think both sides are pretty eager to use the guy for their own momentary gain. It’s gruesome.

  43. I liked Pat Tillman. It sucks that he died.

  44. ‘Oh, once again, joe thinks “this story is going to have legs”.

    Really? Like, say, the epos of “Rovie, the Monster of Loch Plame”?’ Uh, yeah, that sure disappeared without a trace. Certainly no press about that, and it certainly didn’t harm the administration’s standing.

    “Dieboldgate?” I never brought that up. Maybe the liberal who lives in your head?

    “Or perhaps the Killian memo? The latter one was going to have legs, true enough, but they seemed walking into the wrong direction, no?” Yeah, silly me, I predicted that support for the Iraq War was going to drop when that made the news. Boy, is my face red.

    It’s going to be a fun couple of years.

  45. I would love to see the retraction cartoon that Ted Rall draws after this story.

  46. perry, don’t hold your breath.

  47. He had a meeting scheduled with Chomsky. How long before “Cheney had him eliminated,” conspiracies start to fly?

  48. True enough – but i’d love to see what kind of comments this is getting in the lefty part of the blogosphere. I bet the same folks who were trashing on tillman over at Kos and other sites love him now..

  49. He had a meeting scheduled with Chomsky. How long before “Cheney had him eliminated,” conspiracies start to fly?

    No. The wacky conspiracy theory here has already been established. What the tin foil hatters are saying is that the military secretly destroyed Pat Tillman’s notebook because it said unflattering things about Bush.

  50. Why wasn’t Pat Tillman an officer? He was a college grad, he was still young enough for OCS, and he was certainly in a position to work out an acceptable contract for himself. I realize all officers are assholes, but can’t you serve your country just as well with a commission as you can as an enlistee? Which isn’t to say if he were an officer he’d be alive today-though in this specific case he almost certainly would be.

  51. I wonder if the raping of an S&L was in Democracy’s best interests. The incumbency protection act was hardly a selfless gesture by an honest politician.

  52. “I bet the same folks who were trashing on tillman over at Kos and other sites love him now.”

    Bullshit. I double dog dare to find a link to a Kos blogger who insulted Pat Tillman.

    I recall seeing exactly one disparaging reference to Pat Tillman on a blog-from a commenter on Hit & Run. And he was quickly shouted down.

    Uh, yeah, I heard some hippies were throwing bags of poop at the plane when Pat Tillman came on. I’m a dittohead tool.

  53. The incumbency protection act was hardly a selfless gesture by an honest politician.

    It’s in the nature of all politicians, and probably of all people, to see their own self-interest as identical with the best interests of the state. I have no trouble believing McCain thought he was doing the right thing in abbreviating the First Amendment.

  54. I’m just glad we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.

    I mean, what would happen if they attacked the building with the Reason server….OK, never mind.

  55. I am not a right wing loony or whatever. How do we know that the whole story isn’t “sexed up”? If you know what I mean.

  56. I am not a right wing loony or whatever. How do we know that the whole story isn’t “sexed up”? If you know what I mean.

  57. With regard to Tillman, I’m content to say that I have tremendous respect for his service and sacrifice, and tremendous sympathy for his loved ones and his comrades in arms, and leave it at that.

    Which is the same way I felt before I knew what I know now about his opinions.

  58. Perry – Yeah, it’s the left’s turn to ride the poor guy’s casket now. It’s disgusting and sad.

    I truly wish Pat Tillman could pull a Tom Sawyer and speak for himself, so he could run down both the right and the left the way he used to run down opposing team football players.

  59. Perry – Yeah, it’s the left’s turn to ride the poor guy’s casket now. It’s disgusting and sad.

    I truly wish Pat Tillman could pull a Tom Sawyer and speak for himself, so he could run down both the right and the left the way he used to run down an opposing football team’s players.

  60. (Oh what the heck.)

    I have no opinion about Tillman specifically. I know who he is only because he died and was on the news. But I certainly don’t have tremendous respect for his service and sacrifice.

    War – especially “pre-emptive” war – is morally reprehensible. And, it’s really really stupid.

    In a war like the ones the US is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, kids (primarily) go to far away places to kill other kids. And old ladies and old men and little children. Morally reprehensible.

    And they put themselves into situations where they themselves might be killed. How dumb.

    And for what? Some noble cause? Has bin Laden been brought to justice? Is the world safer today? Are the wives and mothers and children of American soldiers any safer? Are the people of Afghanistan and Iraq better off?

    And even if the answer to all those questions were “yes”, is sacrificing even one life worth the result?

    I’ve got one life. You think I’m going to risk losing that life for some notion of glory for the homeland?

    And more importantly, do you think I’m going to risk taking even one innocent Iraqi or Afghan life for the greater glory of the US? Get real.

    Wars of aggression are not some noble endeavour. They are stupid and evil and childish. And I can’t have “tremendous respect” for people who make such wars possible.

  61. Tim,

    I don’t know for sure why Tillman and his brother weren’t officers.

    But I seem to recall reading that Tillman didn’t just want to join the military; he specifically wanted to be a Ranger.

    You can get an enlistment contract guaranteeing you a shot at Ranger selection and enter the 75th as a PFC if you pass. But, I have been told, the 75th rarely accepts 1st Lts (usually prior enlisted). Platoons are usually commanded by 2nd Lts. who have proven themselves elsewhere.

    I’ve also seem to recall that Tillman never planned to serve more than four years. So maybe, adding that all up, he decided he was better off enlisting.

  62. I really should use that preview button before posting. In addition to misspellings, I got the ranks assbackwards. The 75th Ranger, if I’ve been informed correctly, doesn’t typically have young 2nd lts. Platoons are led by experienced 1st Lts.

  63. Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.

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