The Pat Tillman Story Continues

Big story breaking in the USA. In April 2004, Pat Tillman was killed whilst on duty in Afghanistan. His story was the stuff of Hollywood legend. A talented professional American footballer, Tillman gave up his multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the American ‘war on terror’ after the September 11th attacks in 2001.
His story turned to tragedy, however, when he was killed in April 2004. The outpouring of National grief soon turned to bewilderment when it was announced weeks later that he had, in fact, been killed by ‘friendly fire.’ Now, two years on, a criminal investigation has been launched amidst rumours of military cover-ups and suspicions that his death was possibly more than just another example of ‘friendly fire.’

  • lah dee dah

    I’ve missed links to some threads before but what is the link of this one to “NI culture and politics”?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Lah dee dah

    Opinions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are split across the globe, not least in this little corner.

    The Tillman story is fascinating (as well as tragic) because it reflects the changing mood of many in the US: from initial acceptance and indeed enthusiasm for the conflict, to growing opposition and recognition of the darker side of war, beyond the macho rhetoric of the ’embedded’ journalists.

    Can you imagine the positive publicity effect for Tony Blair and the British army were a top drawer Premiership footballer, at the height of his career, to announce publicly that he was quitting football to fight in the ‘war on terror?’

    Then factor in his subsequent death and the circumstances surrounding that, and you realise how a positive media story from the point of view of the war’s advocates has very quickly become a nightmare.

    Also, allegations of military cover-ups must ring some bells, Lah dee dah??

    But, mostly, this is just a good story, full stop.

  • harry flashman

    I love the way both Chris and Slug put scare quotes arond the “war on terror”, I mean that lets us know that this “war” is just a figment of Karl Rove’s heated imagination, isn’t it. All us enlightened people know there is no war, no vast armies are fighting abroad, there are no terrorists, no one is being killed on a daily basis, it’s not a war it’s just a “war”, dreamed up by evil, waxy moustache twirling neo-cons and Zionists who manipulate the media to further their machinations as they steal the world’s oil and eat babies.

    Chris I’m not sure which macho media you’ve been watching coz I’d love to see some gung ho pro-American reporting of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now I’m dependent on the Irish Times, the BBC, the Guardian, the New York and LA Times, the Washington Post, RTE, CNN and the mainstream US media and I have to tell you buddy they ain’t slow to let us know ALL about the dark side of war. Let’s see if I recall, yes the New York Times led their front page for 43 consecutive days with the Abu Ghraib story, yup, sure looks like ol’ Dubya has the western media in his back pocket!

    As far as I understand there is no particular sinister twist to this. A US serviceman was killed by his own side therefore the US department of defense has ordered an inquiry which may or may not result in someone being charged with negligent discharge of their weapon, perfectly standard operating procedure.


    I think Chris was right to blog this story.
    People in Northern Ireland , like the rest of Ireland and the UK are very interested in world events for obvious reasons, not least of which the way conflicts are conducted in other places can often provide another perspective on the conflict that happened in Northern Ireland.

    As for putting quotes around the war on terror, I probably don’t agree with Chris’s perspective, but that doesn’t stop it being valid.
    Tens of millions of people have serious doubts about what is happening and the stated reasons given for the ongoing actions of the US and the UK, amongst others.

    The lack of credibility that those prosecuting the war on terror have, is one of the most imporant aspects of these events happening on a global scale.

    Thanks for the article Chris.

  • topdeckomnibus

    The Japanese were mindful of the propaganda value of sports stars .. and that maybe is why some certain cricketer(s) received Geneva Convention treatment when POW unlike the run of the mill other ranks ?

    And former POWS from the Suffolk Regiment went on postwar to live wrecked emaciated lives suffering diseases like strongyloidiasis. Rather begging the question why the officers were in such well nourished health. It appears that the officers were also accorded Geneva Convention treatment by the Japs.

    What has this to do with Ireland ?


  • The story not only raises all kinds of issues debated everywhere about the war on terror aka “the war on terror”, but it also raises the terrible possibility that Pat Tillman was killed by his own fellow Ranger, his brother.

    This would show just how out-of-control the Rangers’ “kick-ass” attitude is when it comes to ending it – what the Pentagon is now apparently seriously investigating to get his parents off its back.

  • heck

    harry flashman

    I must protest at your suggestion that those of us who protest the war in Iraq are anti-american. I have blogged on this site about the war in Iraq more than anyone else and I do’nt think I can be classed as anti american. I admire bill clinton and jimmy carter and have quoted from the US declaration on independence and bill of rights more than once on this site.

    It is just that the iraq war is wrong, immoral and criminal.Even if you are not a pacifist, and I am not, there was no justification for the invasion of iraq other that Honest Tony’s desire to suck up to Bush. I have thought so since before it started and I believe it even more strongly now.

    your statement…. “I’d love to see some gung ho pro-American reporting of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now I’m dependent on the Irish Times, the BBC, the Guardian, the New York and LA Times, the Washington Post, RTE, CNN and the mainstream US media” is really rather silly.

    so everyone is anti-american except the right wing fox news, the wasington times and honest Tony?
    Don’t confuse being anti Bush to being anti american!!!

    I listened to Blair on parkinson and have decided that one of the sides in the “war on terror” is a bunch of religious wack jobs who love violence and care little for human life. The other side is AlQaeda.

  • Heck,

    I hate to burst your patriotic bubble but I was amused by your claim that Jimmy Carter was an example of proof you are not anti-American, given that ‘ol Peanut Brain spends his time travelling the globe dissing the USA!

    By the way, the reasom for the liberation of Iraq from Saddam’s mass murdering clutches (something that bothers you not a jot, btw)was that Iraq was a part of the axis of evil. Now it’s a battleground for the Jihadists to make their last stand, which is fine by me. Once we’ve levelled Iran, dealt with Syria, sorted out Hamasistan, maybe even toppled Chirac, we’ll stop to listen to the liberal chorus. Until then..hasta la vista.

  • jamesonandwater

    I love the way both Chris and Slug put scare quotes arond the “war on terror”

    Hadn’t you heard Harry, that term wasn’t doing it for the latest focus groups, Bush’s advisors have rebranded it “the long war” now.

  • SlugFest

    Being against the war in Iraq in no way means you’re anti-American. I’m American and, from the very start, believed this war was wrong.

    I love my country dearly … being against this war in no way takes away from that.

    While i can’t speak for Jimmy Carter, i can only assume that his love for his country is his motivation for speaking out against both the war and the current administration.

    David Vance, to term Mr. Carter as ‘ol peanut brain’, i can only assume you know very little about the man, as he’s been readily accepted by many historians as by far the most intelligent president America has ever had.

  • I thought this thread was about what happened to Pat Tillman and why.

    The threads on this site usually end up with this kind of highjacking regardless of what is in order.

  • lah dee dah

    “Slugger O’Toole – Notes on politics and culture” then.

  • heck

    david Vance

    to use a good northern Ireland phrase “WISE UP”,

    while I don’t agree with Jimmy Carter on everything he is a christian in the positive sense of the word. He cares about justice, the poor and creating a peaceful world. The christianity of Bush and Blair (and Paisely for that matter) is a hatefull distortion of the message of the gospels. Blair has as much in common with christianity as Osama has with Islam.

    as to your “the reasom for the liberation of Iraq from Saddam’s mass murdering clutches (something that bothers you not a jot, btw)was that Iraq was a part of the axis of evil”. I tough Honest Tony told us it was to do with weapons of mass destruction. Then it was democracy, then it was to prevent civil war. Now you tell us it was because it “was a part of the axis of evil”. he can’t even tell us the reason God told him to go to war.

  • “by far the most intelligent president America has ever had.”

    You’ve a good heart fella, but from where I sit he hasn’t had much competition.

    I wish he’d had balls this big when he was in office.

  • Slugfest,

    I know plenty about him, perhaps you need to read up a little more. I recommend

    “The Real Jimmy Carter: How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators and Created the Party of Clinton and Kerry (Hardcover) by Steven F. Hayward.

    Seems I’m not the only one with the view expressed.


    I have no desire to defend Blair. A PM who cuts deals with the IRA does not talk to his Maker often enough.

    Pat Tillman was an American patriotic who fought for what he believed in, paying the supreme sacrifice. Harry Flashman sums it up well.

  • SlugFest

    Smilin’ Jim’s Barbary Coast Travel Agency,

    “You’ve a good heart fella, but from where I sit he hasn’t had much competition.”

    🙂 I knew as soon as i posted that somoene would come up with that reply! Normally i’d have said that myself, but as i was being patriotic and such i figured i’d let it go.

    David Vance,

    Again, the note on Carter being intelligent is said by a number of historians. As for one, or more (as in, don’t bother going on Amazon — i’ll take your word for it) book saying he was useless means nothing to me … the publishing industry thrives on folks who like to yell the loudest.

  • Slugfest,

    Is that why Jimmy Carter has published so many books?

  • I also echo the fella that wondered what this was doing on Slugger.

    It is big news in this valley because the Tillmans lived a mile or so south of me. My kids and the Tillman kids went to the same high school.

    Pat was killed by machine gun fire coming from of a bunch of rookie Rangers who had been firing at shadows. It happens. That is why you’d better be goddamn certain you know what’s in store when Uncle Sugar hands you a rifle and a helmet.

    It’s also a real bitch because he had survived a tour in Iraq with his brother. His brother was still in the same unit when Pat was shot. I’m still sputtering over the lunatic that let the two brothers serve together.

    Those responsible for the fuckup were reassigned and, in one instance, removed from the Rangers.

    The funeral was a mess. The family broke up. What do you do when your children die before you do?

    Get payback: Pat Sr. has apparently lobbied DOD and got the IG to take an interest. Someone will be forced to resign or retire, someone will do time.

    There, you all are up to date. Now unless you want to sign up for the Pat’s Run (contact info stapled to the entrance of Joey Franco’s PW on Via Valente or use this link) get back to Groundhog’s Day amongst the dreary steeples.

  • Harry Flashman


    I’m intrigued as to where in your post I said anyone opposed to the war in Iraq – Tillman died in Afghanistan by the way, surely everyone supports the overthrow of the Taliban? Anyone?. . .(crickets chirping) – I merely quibbled with Chris’ characterisation of the media’s so-called macho – presumably pro-American – attitude to the war. However as we’re on the point whilst I accept it is of course perfectly capable to love the US and oppose the war, as you do, there is no doubt there has long been visceral loathing of the US and this is manifest to a huge degree in the hysterical anti Bush sentiments which pass for political analysis in the world today.

    I’m not sure on which alternative universe Jimmy Carter is now regarded as an effective US president. Oh sure the anti-war Left love him now and put him up in their pantheon of pin-up boys along with Michael Moore but any objective analysis of his presidency would show him to be a bumbling fool who led his nation damn near to disaster.

    Carter’s policies led to a strengthened Soviet Union which simply walked in and siezed Afghanistan with all the consequences we have today and he hung out to dry the Shah of Iran, the US’s best friend in the middle east, (no saint I’ll grant you but a helluva lot better for the Americans and Iranians than what was to come after him!). When the Iranians siezed the US Embassy, an act of war, he dithered before sending out a half arsed rescue mission which was a catastrophe and led to the humiliation of Ayatollahs picking at the charred remains of US servicemen on tv. If this is the sort of presidency that you favour for the United States then I can only conclude that you don’t actually have the best interests of America at heart.

    Of course Jimmy was replaced by Ronnie Reagan. How was Ronnie characterised in the liberal media? A moron who had no idea about foreign policy, who was merely the front man for sinister forces in the oil and military industrial complexes, a man who would lead America to disastrous defeat in a crazy war. Sounds familiar? Jeez the Left never changes its play book does it? How did it all work out? Well the great and mighty Soviet empire collapsed. Odd really as the lefty pointy heads had been telling us for years that communism was supported by the peoples of eastern and central Europe, the same people who did not want democracy according to the wise liberal elites. America also went through an unprecedented economic boom, see what happens when America elects “morons” and rejects the advice of the oh so “clever” people?

  • harry flashman

    Ah ferchrissakes!

    That’s me above, Harry Flashman,

    – Harry Flashman –

  • “Once we’ve levelled Iran, dealt with Syria, sorted out Hamasistan, maybe even toppled Chirac”

    All maybe all those damned gooks in North Korea and China?

    America, F*** YEAH!
    Coming again, to save the mother f***ing day yeah,
    America, F*** YEAH!
    Freedom is the only way yeah,
    Terrorist your game is through cause now you have to answer too,
    America, F*** YEAH!
    So lick my butt, and suck on my balls,
    America, F*** YEAH!
    What you going to do when we come for you now,
    it’s the dream that we all share; it’s the hope for tomorrow

  • Jo

    The majority of people in the UK, Ireland and the USA are against the Iraq war.

    It is sheer madness to believe that further war is needed, given that most of the West are against the obscenity that claims British lives pointleesly and needlessly.

    The relative populations of Europe (729,000,000)and the USA (295,000,000) might give some cause for reflection. Even if only half of Europe opposed the war, they still outnumber all Americans put together.

    Incidentally, it would follow from the arguments above that the majority of Americans are *anti-American.

    Such is the hijacking of language, logic and its debasement by those who long for a racial/religious war in their own land, but have to content themselves with watching it happen in someone elses.

  • Jo

    “a bumbling fool who led his nation damn near to disaster”