Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pat Tillman Martydom Was Yet Another Lie

Ted Rall writes today about the death of football / war martyr Pat Tillman and how his death was lied about by the military and misreported in the media. We found out much later, after his "example" was used to prod young macho guys into uniform, that he didn't die in an act of battlefield heroism and sacrifice, but rather that he was riddled with U.S. bullets in an act of battlefield confusion by our own "friendly fire". With friends like that, who needs enemies?

But more to the point, the media made sure that every man-woman-and-child heard about the heroic version of Pat Tillman, however the media only ran a small print correction and short quiet apologies a year later, which few Americans heard. The way this lie was perpetrated is defined as propaganda, a lesson we haven't yet covered adequately, because we keep making the same "error" repeatedly: Weapons of Mass Destruction; Jessica Lynch; Bush's Thanksgiving turkey to the troops (fake plastic); the toppling of the Saddam statue; etc... all deliberate propaganda loudly trumpeted by the media.

excerpt below from Ted Rall--

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"We didn't want the world finding out what actually happened," one soldier told Jones. A perfect summary of the war on terrorism.

The weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a figment of Donald Rumsfeld's imagination. The Thanksgiving turkey Bush presented to the troops turned out to be plastic, as much of a staged photo op as the gloriously iconic and phony toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad by jubilant Iraqi civilians--well, actually a few dozen marines and
CIA-financed operatives. So many of the Administration's "triumphs" have been exposed as frauds that one has to wonder whether that was really Saddam in the spider hole.

We shouldn't blame the White House for producing lies; that's what politicians do. But we expect better from the media who disseminate them.

Case study: the Washington Post's dutiful transcription of the Jessica Lynch hoax. Played up on page one and running on for thousands of words, the fanciful Pentagon version had the pilot from West Virginia emptying her clip before finally succumbing to a gunshot wound (and possible rape) by evil Iraqi ambushers, then freed from her tormentors at a heavily-guarded POW hospital.

Like the Pat Tillman story, it was pure fiction. Private Lynch, neither shot nor sexually violated, said she was injured when her vehicle crashed. She never got off a shot because her gun jammed. As she told reporters who were willing to listen, her Iraqi doctors and nurses had given her excellent care. She credited them for saving her life. In a weird sort of prequel to the shooting of an Italian journalist, they had even attempted to turn her over at a U.S. checkpoint but were forced to flee when American troops fired at them.

In all of these examples, editors and producers played corrective follow-up stories with far less fanfare than the original, incorrect ones. To paraphrase "X-Files" character Fox Mulder, the truth is in there--in the paper, on TV. It's just really, really hard to find.

Readers of the American press and viewers of American radio and television are likelier to see and believe loudly repeated lies over occasionally whispered truths told once or twice. As a result of the reverse imbalance between fact and fiction, the propaganda versions of the Tillman and Lynch stories, the staged Saddam statue footage, and the claim that Iraq had WMDs are all believed by a misled citizenry that votes accordingly. . . ."
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Get whole essay by Ted Rall online at:


At 6:09 PM, Blogger E. Heroux said...

Pat Tillman's family agrees:

"Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did," Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son's death. "The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."


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