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Special Report

Volume 1308 - Pat Tillman - Hero or Sap?


 Subject: Ted Rall was partially right

 Tillman didn't die defending our country like you said today.

 I am totally speechless.
 That doesn't happen very often.

 That shit over there has nothing to do with defense of our country and more to do with Bush's hard on for war.
 Tillman wasn't defending anything but W's right to give billions to his friends who make overpriced weapons.
 Don't tell me you believe that lie that this is making us safer or somehow more free...

 Seattle WA

 Are you saying Bush is an evil man?   I love it when people explain that to me.

 You don't know what was inside Tillman's head any more than Rall did, but when a man gives up
 his material wealth to put his life on the line in the Afghan hellhole - how can you question his motives?
 Tillman died for his country - he wasn't part of Bush's Evil Empire.

 And how do you not see a diffence between Afghanistan and Iraq?
 One is where the 9-11 hijackers trained and the other has oceans of oil Bush wanted to steal.

 The war in Iraq is not making America more free, but the Taliban had to be beheaded.
 Only the craziest of doves would think we should have just taken 9-11 and done nothing.
 I think Bono, Lennon and Martin Luther King would've supported taking down the Taliban.

 I understand people hating "the war," but there are two wars.
 One had to be fought, the other war was all about oil and greed and revenge.
 Bush pulled troops off of bin Laden so he could invade Iraq, the bastard.

b -

you missed the point, cowboy.  rall didn't pee on tillman.

Of course he did.
When you put racial slurs in a dead hero's mouth, you're insulting him - not the media.

he brang the pee down on the goddamn media for lauding tillman as a f-ing superhero.

Notice how you had to stetch and exxaggerate "hero" into "superhero" for effect?
That tells me "hero" wouldn't work for you because that sounds logical.
When a man dies for his country he is a hero - what's wrong with you?

and so what if tillman gave up a cushy lifestyle to go do the empire's bidding?

There you go again.
If you have proof Tillman was in for a cut from the BFEE - let's see it.
What you just said there was stupid.

so did max schmeling in WWII when he became a paratrooper (and unlike Joe Louis actually saw combat).
are we supposed to suck up to him because he was german patriot?

I don't know enough about that to comment on it.

the point is - and I wrote this to you before - tillman's noble gesture was WASTED.

Wait, now you're changing your story.
Now you're saying Tillman's death was noble, but it was wasted.
Does that mean you're pro-Taliban, and we shouldn't have invaded those nice guys?

afghanistan, opium capital of the world!!

Christ, you're not making any sense at all.
What does opium have to do with Tillman's death?

get a f-ing clue and give rall his props for calling a spade a spade.

You called Tillman's gesture "noble," but Rall called him a "sap" and an "idiot."
You don't agree with Rall, so why do you want me to?

besides, if you don't know who richard the prince of darkness perle is you got no business calling anybody out about nothing!!!!
Max in NYC
PS - I still like your site.

Who said I don't know who Richard Perle is?
Why even bring that goofy question into this discussion?


So, explain to me how this is worse than pResident Bush jokingly looking for WMD at a press dinner?
The WMD that were the MAIN justification for this illegal war...

You've already lost me - I said Rall's cartoon was worse than Bush's joke?
I don't remember saying that - why would you suggest that I did?
Were you trying to make another point, but made this one by mistake?

Who got killed by this cartoon?
Who was maimed by this cartoon?

As far as I can tell - nobody.
But nobody died because of Bush's joke, either, so what's your point?
Are you're saying somebody has to die for a joke to be a terrible insult?

Bart, you're letting your Okie bloodlust shine through - it's not pretty.

My bloodlust?  I think that's a weird spin on what I said.
I think men who die for their country shouldn't be called "saps" and "idiots."
If you disagree, stand up and say so.

about Pat Tillman

#1 he went without looking, so that does make him a dope

What the hell does that mean?
Has everyone lost their ability to communicate?

#2 he left his family for a reason he could not or did not comprehend or at least did not
     measure through, with at the least simplest of reasoning, that makes him selfish

The multi-millionaire who sacrificed his life for his country was selfish?
I guess that means his millionaire teammates are patriots for staying home and getting drunk?

#3 if he wanted to help his country, there were at least 5 very influential and at least 5 secondary
reasons to stay in America and work here, away from the ball field, that makes him one dimensional

What the hell does that mean?
Has everyone lost their ability to communicate?

#4 Rall owes no apology what-so-ever for the un-simple fact that Tillman went to Afghan.
for no other reason than to fight a war he knew little about.

This is like an episode of the Twilight Zone, where I'm the only sane man left on the planet.
The Taliban was protecting the people who hit us on 9-11.
How much studying does retaliation for 9-11 require?

Bart that is not a hero, that is not a patriot, and that is not American...

It's not American to die for your country?

that is thoughtless to his family, thoughtless to his friends and thoughtless to his obligations
here at home for the sole reason that he thought he was doing what was right without
looking into the most important decision of his life..

A man gives his life "doing what he thought was right," and you say that's "not American."
I can't believe I'm reading these words.

whether Rall was sarcastic or not, (which he was), he owes only one apology. and that is on behalf  of pat,
to his family for making an un-informed, selfish, ill un-advised decision to leave his children fatherless.

First, I'd like to see you diagram that sentence on a blackboard.
Second, are you saying any parent who joins our armed services is a fool?
Third, as these "dying for your country is dumb" letters come in, I'm f-ing staggered.

So far, and the day is young, I haven't read one "I salute the fallen heroes" letter.
I'm not blaming you personally, Mike, but this is why Bush will probably win in November.
Democrats are so anti-military that the scared people are going to end up voting for Bush.

the - killing Arabs wasn't in good judgment at all, but, and a big __ but__ Mr Tillman did go there
for the false reason of defending America and if he did go without the weight of any evidence of
his journey then it does boil right down to selfishness

God, I need a drink.
The false reason of defending America?
He falsely put his life on the line for his country?
Christ, you're making me want to enlist.
Remember, this is Afghanistan, not Iraq.

I can't speak for Tillman any more than you can or Ted Rall can, but it's a good guess that this

...is probably the reason why he signed up.

He did not sign up to steal Saddam's oil.
You say selfishness made Pat Tillman put his life on the line - I'm overwhelmed with shock.

...and that my friend Bart is what the military is all about, but not America.
Pat Tillman is not a hero nor a goat, just a precious life wasted, empathetically

i hope u have the sac to publish this

Mike, if America isn't worth defending, what country is?
If 9-11 wasn't a valid justification to go to war, what is?

Look at that picture and tell me we had no reason to go to Afghanistan.
Do you have the sac to answer that?

I'm not Ted Rall, but I fail to see what the big deal is all about.
The cartoon basically is an indictment of Bush's phony "war on terrorism".
Your knee-jerk defensiveness of our military people must be an Okie thing.

I have no more empathy for Tillman, than for that supply clerk (Piestawa) killed in the Jessica Lynch attack,
or any other soldier killed in Iraq. Most of them are dirt poor and are in the military because they lack other options.

Tillman gave up big bucks to play soldier and it got him killed. I have about as much sympathy as I did for the
Astronauts who died...they chose to take the risk, and knew damn well the hazards. I had a buddy killed in Nam
who volunteered to walk point on dangerous missions, because he loved the rush it gave him.

When he got killed the all you heard was what a tragedy it was.
He chose to take the risk and paid the price...end of story.


I still haven't found one e-mail that recognizes the fact that Tillman gave up a life of luxury to die for his country.
I'm not cherry picking these - every letter basically says, "Screw that Tillman guy,"
This is tough for me to take.

Lou, if I printed a cartoon using your full name that had you saying, "Do I get to kill some Arabs?"
while others in the cartoon called your dead ass a "sap" and a idiot," ...your widow would be OK with that?

Let me ask you a question:
If Ted Rall drew a toon of the fireman "idiots" and "saps" who ran into the World Trade Center,
would you say, "They knew the risks when they became fireman. They just did it for the rush?"

Am I the only Democrat who thinks Arlington Cemetary is sacred ground?

Do all liberals think all dead soldiers got what they deserved?

What about the "idiots" and "saps" portrayed in Saving Private Ryan?

Can somebody show me where the line is?
Because it seems to have moved when I wasn't looking.

I feel like I'm on some island.

From: V Agency

Ex-NFL Star Pat Tillman Died for the War Racket

 Click  Here

Tillman was NOT defending his country.
What makes you believe he was?

V Agency

Well, my first clue was that he offered his life to defend his country.
Generally, those people can be taken at their word.

That link leads to a column that says Tillman was an idiot for not reading
Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler's book, "War Is a Racket."

So, after 9-11 we were supposed to read Butler's book instead of avenging the attack?

I wish you anti-military people would elect a spokesman and get in the live chat room
because I want to know where the damn line is in your minds.

Are all servicemen and women idiots and saps?

Have they always been?

Going back how far?    Vietnam?     World War II?      The Civil War?

Several people have accused me of reacting with my "knee-jerk Okie-ism," but I'm consistent
and I can defend my point of view - is there anyone on your side who can defend yours?

You people talk about Tillman like he was a card carrying member of the BFEE.

Am I the only Democrat who supports the troops?

First, you really need to understand that I am not trying to "make a case".
I am simply trying to bring this discussion (?) somewhere near manageable proportions.

The use of the word "hero" is misplaced, and may even be offensive to some.
To die in service to your country does not, ipso facto, make one a hero.  It may make you a patriot,
in the view of some,  it may make you a fool, in the view of others.  But absent an act deemed  to be
heroic (to put your life at risk to save others, for example), one is not a hero for suffering death.

A "football hero", as my hometown paper described the late Mr. Tillman, is an oxymoron.
While there may be stellar plays on the field, they are not heroic.  This is nonsense.

I do not understand why you cite Audie Murphy and Sen. Dole.

I'm trying to locate the line.
Somewhere, there is a line where all the people on one side are heroes
but on the other side we have the idiots and the saps that Rall ridiculed.

Where is that line?  Or, are all military dead men saps and idiots?
That's why I'm searching for that line.

They were in a different war, fought for different values, and they acted honorably.
Although I do not know for a fact of any heroics on the part of the Senator, I am aware
that he suffered horrible injuries.  Murphy was and is, by any standard, a hero.

At the time the late Mr. Tillman enlisted, theere was ample material on the net and elsewhere
pointing out to any thinking individual that in Iraq we were in the wrong.

Tillman died in Afghanistan - that point is central to the argument.
But even if he died in Iraq, the individual soldier is not there to steal oil.
They are our nation's defenders being put to bad use, but that's not their fault.

There was and is an alarming rise in the hatred of  anything Arabian, and that includes people.
The ongoing torture scandal is only one item of proof,  as if any more were needed.
Witness the demonizing of the Palestinians in popular culture, including your web page.

Here we go again - Bart hates the Palestinians, Bart hates the Jews - pick a side,
but I gotta warn you, both sides are certain I hate the other.

With all the anti-Muslim-Arab hatred out there, people may be forgiven if they feel Mr. Tillman enlisted to off a few.

Wow - did you really just say that?
Since you scoffed that I was pro-Israel, it stands to reason you're anti-Israel,
so I should assume you'd like to off a few Jews?
Did you really just say that?

It sure is a possibility.  Nonetheless, it is tragic that he paid with his life.
Was his a foolhardy gesture?  Perhaps, perhaps not.

Well, if we're not sure, then why pee on a man who just gave his life for his country?
When in doubt, slur the shit out of the war hero?
Those are the new rules?

It is easy to damn Afghanistans for having harbored the Taleban.  But think for a minute, and recognize the fact
that the Taleban held the country in a vise of terror.  O.K., you may say, why didn't the people rise up?
To which I would answer, why is it that in an advanced society like ours (unlike Afghanistan), people continue
to support Bush and his gang of killers?  Why don't people in the U.S. rise up and say enough?

I can't answer that.

Finally, it is the job of the political cartoonist to shock.
Sometimes shocking people, through cartoons, helps bring order to chaos.
Rall excells at his job.

I agree that Rall excelled at shocking me in his desecration of Pat Tillman.

Through other comments you have made, I am aware that you honor our military highly.  I am not a fan of our
volunteer servicepeople.  Matter of fact, I feel sorry for many of them, particularly the young who get taken in
by the promises of college money.  I do not feel for the guardsmen and women who joined to make a few extra bucks,
never expecting to have to do what in effect is hard time.  But I wish them no harm, and hope they come back safely.
At the same time, I get a little tired of all the bowing down before the Pentagon and those who support it while
desperately needed funds for social programs go wanting.

Before you jump all over me, let me tell you that this is the first war (?) that a member of my extended family has not
been in a given branch of the service.  Starting with my Uncle Cleo in the frist world war, we have served in that,
the second, Korea, and VietNam.  I personally did my time in the Naval Reserve and on Navy active duty.
None of us ran off and joined the American Legion,  the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or other such groups.
We were all draftees, with the exception of my uncle, who joined.  We came home and went on with our lives.
None of us considered ourselves to be heroes,  although some of us did earn  some medals considered to be meaningful.

El Paso, Texas.

Jesús, so how would you feel if Ted Rall called your Uncle Cleo an idiot and a sap for dying for his country?

I can only assume the sane people are silently with me on this.
Are we so anti-Bush that we can't respect a man who gave up wealth and fame to die for his country?

Bart, you've never been in the military, have you?  It's obvious to me that you haven't.

I have never been in the military and have said so many times.

Tillman wasn't just another grunt, he was a Special Ops trooper.  Have you ever hung around
a bunch of Special Ops troopers?  Even back in Vietnam, Special Ops positions never came from
the "I was drafted" kind of grunt, and as it is right now in America's professional military,
You're not just picked at random or because of your good looks for Special Operations position.
You have to come into the military as a volunteer WANTING to be Special Operations.

At its most basic, Special Operations soldiers are people who like killing other people.

I think I'm going to be sick.

You're saying everybody above "grunt" status is evil?
I always thought the SpecOps people were simple the best of the best.
The smartest men in the best shape with the best training - All Stars, so to speak.
Statistically, how can the best of the best add up to being the most evil?

They are especially fascinated by the mechanics of high-tech slaughter.  Like no professional athlete
in any sport in America, Special Ops troopers are addicted to adrenaline, and the ultimate adrenaline
rush is best achieved during a slaughter.  Being a Special Ops soldier in a hostile-fire environment
provides an experience of brutal domination like few other jobs on Earth.

Yep, I just threw up into my trash can in my studio.

I know nothing about Tillman or his character, but I read an article about him that said he was only 5' 10",
but he was in such great shape and had such a great "go get 'em" attitude that he became captain of the team
or captain of the defense. What I'm hearing from you, which may be different from what you're saying, is that
he became captain because he enjoyed hurting others?

I admit, I don't know any SpecOps people and you do, so I'm at a disadvantage here,
but painting all over-acheivers as evil seems to be a bit out of line. But I'm starting to
get punchy here because it seems I'm the lone person with this opinion.

I'm so old, I remember a time when giving your life for your country earned you a salute,
not national ridicule and name-calling by those who sit in their La-Z-Boys sipping fine tequila.

Special Ops soldiers are the ones that the military depends on to follow orders, and the morality of
the rest of humanity be damned!  When Rummy sends in his Special Ops force to punish a team of
Iraqi or Afghani "terrorists" (neo-con for freedom fighters) by slaughtering their families, pets and livestock,
HE KNOWS he can depend on the Spec Op teams to do just that.

Tillman quite obviously really liked his job.  And please Bart, don't jump horses in midstream and suddenly
start believing Bush's neo-con bullshit about Pat Tillman's "honorable" service as an upstanding moral paragon
simply because the alternative is too painful to consider.  You still have to continue considering the source.

<much snippage>

Dan P

I'm reeling from the fact that there's not one person who agrees with me.
I could say, "Let's stomp some puppies" and a few people would say, "I'm with ya, Bart!"
but I can't get anybody to agree that a famous millionaire who gave it all up to avenge 9-11 was a hero.

Thanks for your frank opinion.

considering tillman's brother's comments, i think everyone got this one wrong -

i like rall's stuff (when he doesn't get too crude & vulgar; he sometimes does go over the lines of good taste)
& i thought his was a valid take on the thing until the brother's swearing was reported, and the whole story took on new dimensions -
if ted had waited a few days, everything would have been different;

he just jumped at the new jessica lynch hagiography before the dust had settled...

geoff in SUNY buffalo


"He is not with God, he is dead. He is f-ing dead."
  -- Rich Tillman, onstage at his brother Pat's funeral, erupting in pain and frustration    Attribution

Myopic? yes
Deluded? yes
Sad? YES.

The person who owes the apology for Mr. Tillman's death is the very one who set up this young kid to die.
And you know his name. And you know he is not about to apologize.

The killer represents a cabal of evil people.
These kind ( psychopaths ) never ever feel remorse.
Or responsibility. Or regret.

Charles N

Charles, any chance you're confusing Iraq with Afghanistan?
If I was president on 9-11 (shudder*I* would have sent troops to Afghanistan.
That would make me responsible for Tillman's death, but would it make me evil?

Kerry will likely lose this election because people buy the argument that the Democrats would not
have responded forcefully to the events of 9-11.   The letters on this page help to reinforce the stereotype
that Democrats are all weak doves wearing pink tutus, unwilling to fight the war against terrorism.

I'm truly shocked at what I have read here today.

Hey Bart,

I've argued with you a little about this before.
Some folks join the military because they have no choice--need a job, education, etc.

Anyone who does so voluntarily, volunteers to kill, and in most cases, to kill people with brown or black skin.
Not "Al quaeda terrorists" not "Taliban extremists," but anyone who lies in their path and whom their commander tells them to kill.

Seeing that at this point, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. ARE the commanders, what kind of ingnoramus would choose this?
He was either blinded by misguided patriotism, or thrilled at the prospect of killing.

He was a high school friend of a friend of mine.
I may never hear from her again after asking her, "What kinda nut would CHOOSE this?"

Best wishes, still a fan,

I'm going to get drunk - maybe I can get the whiskey to agree with me.
Regular issue up Monday.

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