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Friday, May 21, 2004

Wonderful Ilana Mercer article on Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman, the NFL player who quit football to join the Army and fight in Afghanistan, was killed a few weeks ago. For the most part, he has been lauded as a "hero" by the media. There are those, let us call them extremists, who have called him an a buffoon (among other things), for supporting the administration and getting himself killed in the process. In particular, cartoonist Ted Rall penned a strip (calling Tillman an idiot and sap) which has generated quite a bit of chatter, and he has apparently gotten more than a few death threats. As Ilana Mercer points out in this week's commentary, both sides are misguided:
In one caption, the cartoonist scribbled that Tillman was a 'cog in a low-rent occupation army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources.' Like so many justly discredited conspiracy theorists on the far left (and right), Rall managed to fudge the issues. One can certainly argue in favor of the first part of Rall's characterization of the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Although our government refuses to clutter its databases with information about collateral damage, the number of innocents killed in Iraq has passed 10,000; in Afghanistan, the figures are fast approaching that.

Conversely, Rall's gas-and-oil conspiracy is evidence of no more than an erosion of reason. This absurdity is of a piece with the claim that the casus belli for war was Israel. Be it in their allegation of a war for a 'greater Zion' or a war for oil, too many execrable editorialists like Rall have not hesitated to substitute inference and innuendo for facts.

In another caption, Rall accused Tillman of 'falsely believing that Bush's war against Iraq and Afghanistan had something to do with 9-11.' Again, Rall's self-serving ideological occlusions distort the truth. He conflates the legitimate cause for action in Afghanistan

Whole thing here

To believe that Tillman and the 900-plus other soldier victims did not die in vain one must have internalized the abstractions our politicians have force-fed to a torpid public. No one's "freedoms" are more secure now that Pat Tillman is dead; good is no closer to obliterating bad, nor will it, certainly not by conquest and coercion. As for democracy, it is the tyranny of a slim majority that has brought us this far.

Ms. Mercer is one of the finest commentators around.


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