Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It's not the crime that gets you #2
Apparently a documentary is coming out about the death of Pat Tillman. This has somehow angered some conservatives though I am not sure exactly why. The comments after the post seem to paint the issue as one of liberals hating the military, or Bush, or America. There's a lotta hate, all over a trailer. I mean, they haven't seen the film yet.
Of course, its very hard to separate the tragedy of Tillman's death from politics. Tillman was the All American Boy who gave up millions playing football to serve his country. He was killed in Afghanistan by "friendly fire". And that should have been that. Fratricide is a fact of war. A very tragic fact, but one that impossible to prevent. The best possible course would have been to find out what happened and to work to make sure such a thing doesn't happen again. But America loves a hero. And the Global War On Terror was an unpopular one. So someone, somewhere made the choice to change the story. This may have been an innocent mistake at first. Someone in PR at the Pentagon sees that Tillman, the poster boy for American Patriotism has been killed in action. He's young, handsome and sacrificed a lucrative career. You want to praise this sacrifice. But the truth was known very shortly after the event, and for some reason no one put their foot down and said "The truth is, it was fratricide." People in the military and civilian administration knew he did not die in a heroic battle, but they told America and his family a lie anyway.
Things snowballed until the President of the United States is speaking at his funeral. As much as I hate to say it I don't believe I can blame Bush for wanting to honor Tillman. I don't think he was personally aware of the cover up. The military is at fault. But there can be no doubt that people in the Bush administration pressured the Military into keeping the details of Tillman's death secret. Evidence was destroyed. People were told their careers were at stake if they spoke out. This is a cover up.
So how is making a documentary about Tillman's family fighting to find out the truth a jab at America, or part of some vast leftist agenda? Can't the search for the truth be a worthwhile cause? Even if the facts paint a story of a tragic set of mistakes? Should the family have just shut up and accepted the fabrication of a heroic death? Are they somehow unpatriotic for wanting to know the truth or being angry at being lied to?
To me, Pat Tillman (and Jesica Lynch) is still a hero. As are all of the thousands of troops who continue to fight a war in a country that no one has ever won a war in. We have an all volunteer military. These aren't conscripts. The son of a friend of mine is redeploying to Afghanistan soon where things are currently on a downturn. Should (god forbid) anything happen to him I have no doubt his parents would demand an accurate explanation of what happened and god help anyone who dares lie to them.
I know that America loves a hero. But it doesn't need to lie about the brave men and women who serve to get them. They should not be showpieces or political props. Tell us the truth. We're adults, we can take it.