As we finish digesting our Memorial Day barbeques and close out the holiday weekend, we should remember Pat Tillman. Tillman, an NFL football player opted to give up the glamor and wealth of professional sports and serve his country following 9/11.
Many of us on the left, including myself, never trusted the Bush Administration to prosecute the war against al quaida judiciously. However, the patriotic sacrifice offered by soldiers such as Tillman deserve reverence. They've made the ultimate sacrifice while the rest of us complain about gas prices on Memorial Day weekend and barely acknowledge that we're currently occupying two countries.
As for Pat Tillman, his high profile was exploited by the Bush Administration and the circumstances surrounding his death covered up. As we know by now, Tillman's death was officially caused by "friendly fire" in Afghanistan and did not result from engaging the enemy as the Pentagon originally reported. Below is a video clip of an interview that Tillman's, mother Mary, gave to Katie Couric of CBS News on May 4th. It was MayTillman who vigorously demanded the truth and forced the Pentagon to acknowledge their egregious errors. What disappoints me about this interview is that Couric doesn't ask Mary Tillman if she suspects her son was murdered because of his opposition to the Iraq war.
Tillman had signed up to fight al quaida in Afghanistan and was a poster boy for the war on terror. What if Tillman's opposition to the Iraq war had become public during the 2004 presidential campaign? There was much speculation last year that the Pentagon was really covering up an execution. Perhaps Tillman's mother, who also opposes the Iraq war, would have refuted that theory if Couric had asked. Nevertheless, the question should have been asked.
One wonders how many Pat Tillman's are there who signed up out of a sense of patriotic duty, made the ultimate sacrifice only for the U.S. government to dishonor their memories with falsehoods about their deaths. It seems the public has largely forgotten that our fellow citizens are risking their lives as we occupy two nations.
We're all consumed by rising gas prices and the struggles of our own lives. It shouldn't require a holiday called "Memorial Day" to remember that the men and women in uniform are flesh and blood people and not disposable units. Too many lives have been discarded at the whims of immoral and inept politicians as well as an apathetic public that has tuned out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But hey, I hear the reality TV show Survivor is now accepting applicants as young as eighteen. And American Idol is always fun to watch.