Friday, April 23, 2004

Spc. Patrick D. Tillman, 27

"The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Spc. Patrick D. Tillman, 27, of Chandler, Ariz., died April 22, in Afghanistan when his patrol vehicle came under attack. Spc. Tillman was assigned to the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash."

He wasn’t a hawk. He volunteered. He turned down a $3.6 million offer to play the game of football. He signed up to honestly and nobly serve in the defense of the United States. It’s not something I would do. I don’t believe in war. Maybe it’s a lack of courage. Maybe I take freedom for granted. Maybe I’m only writing about this guy because I’ve heard his name before. Maybe he’s a hero because he played football; because he died in Afghanistan instead of Iraq; because he was in the Rangers. He felt strongly enough about the Sept. 11 attacks to sign up. He didn’t have to. He already had a career. Maybe it’s a tough guy thing. It’s not something I would do. It’s not something George W. Bush would have done.
Is that harsh? Yeah. Is it right? Yeah. There’s fighting a war -- and then there’s pulling the strings on a war. Tillman - and every other soldier - doesn’t have to answer for his motives. George W. has to.

Pat Tillman.
He’s the perfect example of the complexities (and contradictions) of the post Sept. 11 world. Can I support him without supporting the president? Sure. Would he agree with me, or with the president? That’s an easy one. Do I care who he agrees with? Not really.
There are some who’d say I take his sacrifice for granted. That I’m unpatriotic. That a liberal, athiest pantywaist ain’t got nuthin’ on Pat Tillman. True, I suppose.
I wouldn’t walk in his shoes, but I’m grateful he was there. I can pick apart the Military-Industrial Complex with a hundred different arguments and the bigotry of the Christian right disgusts me. But I believe in the nobility of national defense. And I see loving, compassionate activists placing water jugs in the desert for thirsty migrants, in the name of Jesus.
I think Colin Powell lies. But he’s had a brilliant career and made a positive mark on American society for many years.
I believe history will mark George W. Bush as perhaps the worst president in U.S. history, a man whose destructive impulses put the nation and the world in danger. But I’d love to have a beer with him, tell a couple jokes.
I think war is disgusting and ugly. And necessary, at times, in the name of freedom.
I think compassion has a greater place in the world than hate. I think unity is either a cruel myth or a buzzword. I don’t believe in patriotism, but I love my country.

"The Arizona Cardinals today announced the plaza surrounding the perimeter of the new Cardinals Stadium, scheduled to open in 2006 in Glendale, will be named 'Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza.'"

It says here that the new stadium should be named for Pat Tillman.

Sen. John McCain:
“I’m heartbroken. So many of us are. We grieve over the deaths of all of our young Americans who have died in Iraq, especially those from the state of Arizona, but Pat Tillman represented what’s finest in America because he left a very comfortable and rewarding lifestyle after 9/11 in the belief that he needed to fight for his country and fight against his enemies and that’s how he left us. We will honor his memory and we know that he will serve as an example and hero to every young American, in Arizona and across the nation.”
“Pat Tillman has entered the list of Arizona and American heroes. He epitomizes everything that’s magnificent and noble about Americans. He left a comfortable lifestyle, a bright future after 9/11 and defended his country. He died combatting the very same people that were responsible for 9/11 and I think that young people in this state will be reminded of his heroism for 100 years.”

I think the senator is right.