Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pat Tillman, worm dirt

A high-ranking Army officer says that the parents of Pat Tillman can't accept the official version of how the Army ranger and former pro football player died because they aren't Christians, and can't face up to the fact that their son is now "worm dirt."

"So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough."

It's George W. Bush's America, folks. We just live in it.


Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

the fratricide story's been around for a while. the problem for me is the use of the word to refer to any friendly fire killing, which suggests something unintentional, even if fatal.

technically fratricide does mean an unitentional killing during war. but then i guess homicide could be applied to a non-deliberate, accidental killing. still, both terms (as does genocide) these days seem to carry some hint of malice and intention.

so, for an army officer to say that a parent should just say, "oh, yeah, i'm cool becaus it was an accident or one of those things that happen in war" is absurd.

i have a brother who's a career army guy, 21 years. he's never come anywhere near being in harm's way. which is just fine with me (he's okay with it too). but he sometimes talk in that same macho, unthinking and callous way about battle deaths and injuries. don't know if it's mental protection for them, but it sounds like hell to us civilians.

as for this being bush's fault, the army's been covering up incidents like these in every war, regardless of the president. oh except that afghanistan is another place i don't think we should be in.

finally, i admire the quiet determination of the tillmans. they've certainly shunned the spotlight that cindy sheehan always seem to find (yeah, i know that sounds cold, but the full spread vanity fair photo of her strecthed on her son's grave turned me off. hell, even in know that a VF is staged and shot to death.)

10:15 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

It's not shocking that a soldier would die due to friendly fire, nor is it shocking that the government would try to cover that up. (And yes, I've known for quite some time that that is how Tillman died.) It is also not shocking that the government would so crassly exploit Tillman, in life and death.

But what is shocking is that a high-ranking officer would denigrate the religious beliefs--or lack thereof--of a dead soldier and his parents. And it is shocking that he would say of that soldier--whose sacrifice the government held up as a model to the nation--that he died for nothing, merely because he was not a Christian. That's beyond callous. And it goes far beyond the stoicism that is no doubt necessary in a professional soldier.

Why do I blame President Bush? Because that colonel's statement is indicative of the atmosphere of religious intolerance that I believe this president has engendered. Does the colonel believe that Jews and Muslims who die for their country do it for nothing? Frankly, I'm surprised I can still muster the outrage after more than five years,

7:25 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

don't get me wrong. i'm no bush fan. and even though he continues to blunder his way through every crisis...he'd probably win a third term because the democrats are too disorganized and spineless.

i agree that the colonel's remark is inexcusable. nothing more to be said about that.

you know, i think every single death in iraq and afganistan has been a hollow sacrifice. the taliban is on the rebound...iraq is a disaster...and the israel/lebanon mess won't end anytime soon...

and no one's seemed to notice that gas prices creep a penny or two every week. last week was the first time ever that the average low grade gallon of fuel cost $3 in america...

i'm not complaining about a hardship...i'm not suffering and my kids aren't getting shot at...but bush's muddle headed thinking will put the hurt on all of us.

on npr this morning a guy who used to be the second highest ranking official in the state dept after collin powell said that israel's attempts to wipe out hezbollah (sp?) is a mistake. it will only spawn more hatred, more terrorists and more terrorists groups. that's from a republican. the only people on capito hill that are bitching are the democrats who seemed to be answering a cattle call to denounce the iraqi PM for criticizing israel's bombardment of beirut. there will never be a buffer zone big enough to stop the kind of animosity that exists in that region...

as they sang in my youth...

i can't believe we're on the eve of destruction...

you know, all that subsidy stuff is a nice diversion from reality. in the end, those high rise condos will have all the impact of a flea on an elephant.

10:34 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

there was a bit on the daily show last night...one reporter in jerusalem, another in beirut and a third in bethlehem. samantha bee in jerusalem reported that the jews were fighting to hold onto the promised land god said was their. Jason Jones in beirut said that hezballah (sp? again) claimed that god promised that land to the muslims. as those two were marveling that god was a two faced dealer, the third reporter, dan B., in bethlehem said, hold on, the christians know god promised the land to them and that he used the other two religions to wipe out each other so that the christians got it in the end...you know, god's just trying to help his son's friends.

i know for years, a friend of mine worried that pat robertson might sit in the oval office...well, in does, in the guise of GWB.

as jon stewart said recently, the comedy just writes itself these days.

8:55 AM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

now this...a new york times poll reports that more than 50% of americans approve of bush's handling of the his handling of the mideast crisis...even though those same people think that the israeli/hezbollah mess will get messier...tell me, how does he do it? as i said earlier, if he could run again, he'd probably win. and just who are these 50%-plus americans who think he's doing the right thing in the mideast?

11:03 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I suspect that's more of a reflection of the fact that many Americans are sympathetic to Israel and many are staunch supporters. Keep in mind there's been little pressure, that I'm aware of, from Democratic leaders for Bush to call for a cease fire of intercede more assertively. Several prominent Democrats fell all over each other criticizing the Iraqi prime minister's anti-Israeli statements. And I also think the administration has probably succeeded in conflating Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda in the public mind.

7:39 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

it's like living in a bizzaro world when democrats criticize someone who denounces a warlike move and republicans come to the defense.

yeah, i know all about the support for israel. but our legislators don't have much room for criticism at all with israel. in my mind, there really wasn't all that much justification for invading (and staying in) afgahnistan.

not to diminish what happened on 9-11, but Israelis have to wonder every time they step on a bus whether that nervous arab looking guy (or woman) is packing a suicide belt under his jacket or coat.

i know the palestinians are treated like dirt, but hezbollah and other muslim nation and terrorist groups didn't give a damn about them recently. it's a convenient excuse to launch missles into haifa and elsewhere in israel. check the history, jordan, egypt and syria didn't attack israel to free the palestinians. those countries just wanted to eliminate the jewish state. now they're glad to let hezzbollah do the dirty work.

the region and the situation are a mess created by the europeans after world war 1 and the UN after WWII. we'll be paying a heavy price for a long time for all the shenanigans and lines drawn in the sand by the euros 90 years ago.

11:11 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

talk about the bizzaro world...today as tony blair declared the israeli/lebanon mess a "complete tragedy," bush declared it a "moment of opportunity...for broader change."

okay, you're right, it's his world...but i don't won't to live in it.

just so you know, i never voted for any of the bushes. ever. never gave it a moment's thought. i would have preferred a pensive but hesitant al gore, who probably wouldn't have invaded afghanistan (9/11 would happened, regardless of which dolt was in the white house) instead of the thoughtless pedal to the metal dunce in there now.

7:32 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Frankly, I'm surprised I can still muster the outrage after more than five years,

Not me, I am not at all surprised you can still manufacture outrage.

Of course, I share none of it. Never voted for a (D) in a general election, never will.

11:42 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

oh amos, and to think that i tried to defend your exurban lifestyle choice in the face of john morris' withering outrage...but now to discover that you're an (R) as well...the sorrow and the pity...manufacture the outrage? hell, my outrage for bush could overflow your septic tank.

1:42 AM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Oh, sean, truely you are a caped crusader, a knight in shining armour for such a brave and noble defense with no thought of the risk of live and limb, ... ROTFALMAO, ya, right, that was real gutsy.

No doubt my "cup" would be overflowing, but your outrage would be in the appropriate place.

Ok, seriously, this is just yet another Rorschach Test on how much you hate Bush, blah, blah, blah. Currently, if you google "Kauzlarich Tillman", you get a handful of lefty bloggers, and an echo of the story on ABC.com, which owns ESPN. Big whop.

This is way, way, way below radar, even after a week and a half. This story has no traction.

There is this thing going on in Lebanon that seems to be monopolizing the news, and just about everyones attention. So, I will cut the administration some slack on not jumping right on an obvious stupid comment by a Light Col. They are kinda busy.

To be accurate, currently, I am a registered (I). I have, when I live in this area, been a registered (D), since that, generally, is the overwhelming majority, and I want to get my $0.02 in the primary. That, and I do not want the local politcal bosses/thugs to stiff me with a high property tax assessment like has happened regularly to my registered (R) parents.

As to me personally, as opposed to my registration, I would elaborate on that generic (R) to say that I am an atheist anarchist liberarian conservative republican. All lower case. Mix and match, and rearrange to your heart's content.

That is all from the token right of PIT bloggers.

11:31 AM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

nothing wrong with being on the right. my gripe isn't that the administration isn't paying attention to the Tillman case. even with the lt. col.'s comments, it's a minor issue. the big issue is bush's continuing bumbling.

come on, do you really believe that the middle east situation is an opportunity for a brighter future? maybe i need to get some rose tinted glasses.

seriously, i have never seen such a group of sanctimonious types, right or left, than most of those who blog locally...and i guess the pattern hold across the blogging universe.

call yourself whatever you want. i didn't stick any labels on you. as i've said other places...it's not an either/or world.

too bad you can't recognize humor.i think J. Morris is a bitter wanna be elistist who's upest that pittsburgh didn't hand him the keys to the city.

i think bush is a runaway train that keeps busting through barriers that would have stopped other out of control administrations. honestly, i'm pretty amazed that the majority of americans thinks he's handling the mid-east mess pretty well...would they feel the same if the car bombs were going off every day in nyc, dc or cleveland...and al qaeda was launching hundreds of rockets into texas from mexico day after day?

if there's any beef i have with bush, it's his military approach of containment...i think someone said war is hell, and it should, who needs rules of engagement...if our army's going to be in iraq, then they should be on an all out offensive ... or get the hell out of there.

but on the whole, i'd rather see them out of there...since we shouldn't be in iraq or afganistan to begin with. almost five years after 9/11, the world's a much more unstable and dangerous place than ever before. no, it's not all bush's fault...the enemy in this case is insane beyond belief. and there's no way we can fight that enemy and win with military might. take a look at israel right now. the answer might be to let the fanatics battle the moderates, and let issue play out itself...the islamic facists might be able to win the people's hearts for a while, but they won't be able to rule for the long term...hamas is already stumbling in the palestine territory. but fortunately for them, the can deflect attention by blaming israel for the problems.

it's time for us to leave the mideast. and to leave the warring factions to their own devices.

10:09 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Ah, humor. Sorry. Just thought it was more rambling sanctimonious blogger fodder.

Labels are important. They help you think about who you are, and help other people know you. People shy away from labels mainly because they can not defend their positions, and would prefer to assume the attributes of jell-o being nailed to a wall.

You are pretty much all over the map. All out offensive, no rules of engagement, then take them out, then there is no way to fight them, then Hamas can't rule. Pretty hard to follow.

The media set Bush up with a straw man impossible task, to run a perfect flawless war against terrorists mixed in a civilian population.

I think Bush has done a reasonable job. Not perfect, but good enough. (Kinda like Windows vs Mac.) I doubt anyone even with hindsight could have done better. I knew from the beginning this was going to be a long task, a minimum of a decade, maybe unending. The alternative is to do nothing. Clinton tried that and it caused 9/11. The situation may be dangerous and unstable, but now the danger is spread around. We are not the only ones in danger. Now the terrorists are in danger too.

We either take the fight to them, or they bring it to us.

Clearly we are better off. Has anyone wondered how Saddam react to Lebanon? No? Why? Because he no longer matters. One down.

11:55 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Would Saddam make the current conflict between Lebanon and Syria worse? I have no idea, because I don't know what role if any he played in the Lebanese civil war or in the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. One could just as easily argue that were the U.S. not bogged down in Iraq, we would be in a much better position to broker a resolution to the crisis, as well as to deal, if necessary, with Hezbollah's sponsors, Syria and Iraq.

Is Iraq better of without Saddam? Again, it's hard to say. Three years is not a long time, you are correct. However, it was not the media who said that Iraq would be a cakewalk--it was the administration. And people have every right to hold the administration accountable for a promise that was either naive, arrogant or deceitful.

Reasonable people could disagree over whether, at the time the decision was made, it was correct to invade Iraq. (I was among those who thought it was not.) But it seems clear that the administration has made a series of errors, owing either to incompetence or, again, arrogance, that have made things worse in Iraq and have seriously weakened our position everywhere else. (Like, for instance, Afghanistan, a war I did happen to support.)

Clinton, incidently, pursued pretty much the same foreign policy regarding Iraq that Bush's father did. (Post-Kuwait, that is.) It had nothing to do with 9/11. You are on much surer footing arguing that the Clinton administration paid too little attention to Osama bin Laden--who, is after all, the person who orchestrated those attachk. But then again, before Sept. 11, so did George W. Bush.

10:42 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Sorry, I mean Lebanon and Israel in the first paragraph.

10:43 AM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

hi Amos,

this is how i feel about wars...if you're going to fight, fight them all out. yeah, it's a brutal business.

for the record (and for what it's worth), i don't think we should be in afgahnistan or iraq. but, if we're going to be there, then go all out. i think the geneva convention is a joke. do you think the other side ever plays by the rules? if i'm ever in a fight for my life (which the president says we are), then i'm going to kick, bite, scratch and do whatever else i can to beat the bastard trying to kill me or my loved ones. wouldn't you do the same? or would you refrain from throwing low blows, no matter what your foe did?

what's happening in iraq now is like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. sure you may save a house or two, but much more will be destroyed. and the hose seems to be pumping gas.

as far as i know, there are two ways of putting out fires: fight them aggressively or let them burn out. my feeling is this, let israel, iraq, and the other mid-east players burn themselves out. you needn't remind me that syria and iran are helping the terrorist groups. and i know israel has no allies in the region...but that's the reality. it's their region and their dispute (even if we think it's our oil). besides, 60 years of fighting has led to today's mess. and eye for eye ends up with everyone being blind.

remove the U.S. from the picture and we can't be the great satan anymore.

as for j. potts' statement about whether the bush missteps are due to arrogance or incompentance, i'll say both. every administration is arrogant to a degree. some just hide it better. you don't bet to be president by being humble.

by constantly meddling in the mid-east and often supporting dictators and sultans who oppress any reform (religious or otherwise), we can the most irrational and dangerous radical groups the fuel they needed to portray the U.S. as the enemy...starting with Eisenhower through today. Every U.S. president for the last 60 years has been in bed with the Saudis. Just ask Jimmy Carter who helped him build his presidential library. On the speculative side, some say that Nixon got a bundle of campaign funds from the Saudis that helped make him a friend of the emirs.

and you know, it was kind of easy in the old days when anything that happened in the mideast seemed to be related to oil or the palestinian problem. but now with religious fanatics on both sides, it seems a lot more frightening when hezzbollah and bush both believe that whatever happens on this planet matters little since the real rewards are in heaven. in view of that, like pat tillman, this quiet non-believer (i won't say athiest because of my jello like tendencies. i don't think you have to wear your heart or religious beliefs on your sleeve) doesn't like the idea of becoming the worm dirt that fertilizes the eternal bliss for islamic terrorists or rapture believing christian presidents.

what will it take for all this to end...and i don't mean the current israel hezzbollah fight...years of fighting...until they all burn out...without any external sources of fuel to keep things hot.

as for the bush job, it stinks. shiites and sunnis have been battling for centuries...did GWB really think that getting rid of saddam would lead to a peace love and understanding between the groups? do you think he learned anything from the breakup of yugoslavia?

oh, another label to pin on me might be this, isolationist. maybe, just maybe, if we hadn't placed bets on the shah of iran, saddam vs. the ayatollahs, and whatever wrongheaded choices we've made over the past 60 years in trying to rig those government in our favor, the leadership in that region wouldn't be so anti-US. if nothing else, we might have had an alternative to oil as a primary fuel choice.

12:14 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

amos sez:

"clearly we are better off," referring to the fighting in iraq and afgahnistan. honestly, except for one terribly awful day on american soil, i can't see how the US (or other parts of the world...don't forget the bombings in the UK last year and in Spain before that) is better off...maybe you ought to ask some of the 2500-plus dead american soldiers (not to mentions tens of thousands of dead iraqis, lebanese, israelis, afghanis) how much they agree...well if they could answer, that is.

you are the ultimate NIMBYest. like ted kennedy supporting windmill power, just so they don't spin within view of family property. you know, the elistment age got upped recently, just how willing are you to put your beliefs/labels on the line?

one thing i know is that if the draft pops up because of bush's good job in the mideast i'll do whatever i can to make sure my two draft-age sons aren't the ones making sure that your life remains "clearly better off."

there's no proof that we're better off for being in iraq...until the next attack hits...or unless you're one of the 6 jewish women shot in seattle by a muslim who says he was mad at the current mideast situation. by the way, didn't the government pound its chest recently about stopping some terror plots in the making...groups that supposedly had no ties to bin laden or other oversea terrorists? the only way that we're "better off" is that we "caught" them sooner than later.

look, i don't want to see proof against your claim. but the truth/proof is...what's happening in Iraq/Afgahnistan/Lebanon is going to create splinter groups here, there and everywhere....

you're right, amos. the danger is spread around...mission accomplished.

1:47 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...


Is Iraq better of without Saddam? Again, it's hard to say.
I completely disagree, except for Bath party members.

it was not the media who said that Iraq would be a cakewalk--it was the administration.

I find that to be factually incorrect. From the beginning the admin was saying this was going to take time, and be difficult.

As for all the errors, incompetence, and arrogance, well, that is not clear at all to me. War is something that is impossible to conduct perfectly. I think they have done the best job possible.

As for Clinton, I was reffering to terrorism in general. If you want to weight the responsability for OBL betwen 8 years of Clinton and 8 months of Bush, then I would be will to assign 10% fault to him.

As to Seans' 900+ words. I will have to address that later.

8:58 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

My debate with you over Iraq is probably a lot like the debates I've had over Sean regarding Downtown redevelopment--futile, because neither of us is likely to change the other's opinion. I do have to wonder, though, whether the "best job possible" includes ignoring some of your own generals' advice over the required number of troops, ignoring your State Department's plans for reconstruction, staffing the Coalition Provisional Authority with inexperienced political cronies, insisting for months that there was no insurgency, claiming even to this point that there is not a civil war going on in Iraq, delegating significant portions of the reconstruction to private contractors with little or no accountability, etc.

10:19 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

as for that long, hard slog that amos says the admin. predicted... exactly what "mission" was bush thinking about three years ago when he stood on an aircraft carrier with the "mission accomplished" banner behind him.

why didn't the banner read: "one down and a hell of a lot more to go"?" and didn't paul wolfowitz predict that a minimal amount of troops would be needed in irag because the presence of american forces would spark a revolt against saddam...and that war costs would be low, low, low since the capture of iraqi oil fields would pay the tab? and wasn't wolfowitz one of bush's main planners of this thing?

by the way, if they thought this was going to be a protracted battle, why did bush and his planners think the war would cost just $50-$60 billion, knowing full well that the weekly cost was going to be about a billion a week? sounds as though they thought the long haul would be a year...typical bush thinking...big ideas backed by little thought.

JP: as for that downtown development stuff, we do agree that the URA shouldn't be buying anymore property and the north shore connector is 100 percent unnecessary. as for the subsidies, i agree that it would be great if the city didn't have to hand them out. but, whatever either of us thinks, that's how the game works these days. by the way, have you seen the demolition going on? no matter what, you can't beat watching an ugly building being smashed by a wrecking ball. unless you're a big fan of using rockets and car bombs to institute a new type of urban redevelopment in beirut and baghdad (you still reading, amos??

damn amos, my words must carry a lot of weight with you...my word counter only came up with 228 for that previous post. seriously, i'm looking forward to your response. if the seattle shootings of the jewish women at a jewish organization aren't influenced by recent events in the mideast, then i'm stumped, especially since the muslim-american man said he did it becuse he was fed up with what has happening to muslims in the mideast. yeah, it's really hard to see any connection.

by the way, if you don't think those shootings (or the july 4 2004 shooting of el al workers-including one death-at the LA airport) are an act of terrorism, was tim's mcveigh's crime just a basic homicide by truck bomb?

if i was jewish...and worked somewhere clearly marked as a jewish organization, i'd wonder how safe i was today...tomorrow...and beyond.

9:06 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Not to get off topic, but I feel I must respond to what you said about subsidies.

Yes, of course, that's how the game is played. Because local and state officials across the country insist on playing it that way. It's the same with giving away tax breaks and subsidies to entice corporations to build new headquarters or factories. No one wants to be the guy who says no, because they are afraid that some other city or state will say yes, and reap all the rewards.

But no one ever goes back to see whether the tangible benefits actually outweigh the costs. Several years ago, Time magazine published a series of articles about corporate welfare, and they found out that governments rarely see a return on their investment of tax dollars.

What if that money was spent instead on repairing and maintaining roads and sewers? (How many large watermain breaks are we going to have Downtown before we realize that perhaps there are better things to do with tax money than build arenas and stadiums?) How about using it for housing rehab? Or how about simply lowering taxes for everyone? Every tax break is more or less a concession that taxes are too high to begin with. Maybe we'd be better off in the long run to simply lower the cost of doing business. (And of living here.)

But as they say, in the long run we are all dead. Politicians run for re-election in the here and now, and the short term political benefits of the subsidy game can be huge. This is a tension inherent in democracy, and it applies to public works projects as well as private economic development. There's a lot of glory to be had in building bridges and skyscrapers; considerably less in the more mundane tasks of getting garbage collected and streets plowed. Most people only notice those things when they are done poorly.

So, yes, perhaps my position is naive. I'm asking elected officials to ignore their short-term self-interest for the greater good of the communities they serve. Silly me. But I happen to think there is a limit to how much bad government people should tolerate.

5:30 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

once again, i'll say this...there's a middle ground between axing all subsidies and putting every penny into the infrastructure.

i agree that our bridges (especially the bridges), water systems and other infrastructure and services need drastic help. but i also think that some incentives can help revitalize the region...as long as a dividend return is built in.

it doesn't gall me that the pirates and steelers got huge subsidies to build their new places. but i don't think that the teams should be allowed to keep every damn bit of revenue they make there.

as for the tax stuff here in PA, you're starting to sound like a neocon...lower taxes and watch business flourish. watch the benefits trickle down! i don't know about you, but i'm pretty much going to live out the rest of my life in the house i bought 25 year ago...because my property taxes are incredibly affordable, which wouldn't be the same if i moved to the southside (which i would love to do). but i can't bear the thought of a tax bill reaching $3,500 a year or more compared to the $1,395 i pay now.

if only renters contributed to the allegheny county tax (and suburban school systems) kitty...a privilege reserved solely for property owners

and, yes, there is a limit to the amount of bad govt that should be tolerated...but if people keep voting the same bad actors into office (locally, statewide and nationally) maybe they don't think it's that bad? I'm not saying it's not bad, because it is. but the public is waking up. the state legislature lost its pay raise...and now all those insider sweetheart slots deals are under attack. jim roddey got his hands out of the honey jar fast when he realized that the lid might come down hard and fast .

as for the street cleaning and gargabe pick up...you live in a fairly nice neighborhood...so do i...but far too many people in this area are just slobs...ride along i-279 in the winter and look into the hills near st. boniface church. they're littered with old washers, car parts, tires and other trash that the locals dump there...often just across the streets from their homes? why? because they don't care what their homes and communities look like. drive through allentown and look at the debris of all sorts that litter the streets and vacant lots. why the hell do you think o'connor was trying to redd up? and no matter how nice the community around here (unless you're in a suburban subdivision) you don't have to travel very far to find a home that sits amidst the squalor of its occupants. it's a dirty town, made dirty by its residents.

snow removal is a different matter, i agree.

10:24 AM


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