Monday, May 23, 2005

Channeling Joseph Heller: The Real Life of Pat Tillman

Drudge links this morning to a story about Pat Tillman, a truly inspiring young man who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Tillman was a football player for the Arizona Cardinals who decided to join the Army Rangers after 9/11. Though he was killed by fratricide, the Army originally tried to spin the story to make Tillman's death sound more heroic and even misled his family.

Influential opinionmakers in the American media continue to misunderstand the concept of war. Death and random killings are going to occur during any war, and this makes the war itself no more or less morally justified.

Similarly, the circumstances of Tillman's death make it no more or less tragic. The fact that he was willing to serve his country in Afghanistan is sufficient cause for us to honor him.

On the other hand, the way that the Department of Defense has handled the situation is embarassing, and not exactly out of character. The fact that Tillman's death did not fit the fantastical Hollywood storyline that had begun to be drawn up in the media should have re-enforced to the public the mundane and inglorious nature of most deaths that occur during war.
-- Eric


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