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Friday, April 23, 2004


Pat Tillman

posted by Dana at Friday, April 23, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
How we as a nation deal with the death of former NFL safety Pat Tillman will probably determine who wins this election.

Tillman volunteered for Special Forces after 9-11, turning down a $3.6 million contract to serve his country. He was killed while with his brother on patrol in Afghanistan.

Announcing his death, an ESPN announcer said Tillman died "weeding out remnants of the Taliban in Afghanistan." There are some terrible lies in that sentence fragment. Tillman wasn't gardening. The Taliban consists of far more than remnants -- they control most of the countryside. Had we finished the job in Afghanistan two years ago, instead of getting distracted by Iraq, Tillman might not have been there this week.

But we know what the neocons will do with this. They will use Tillman's death to tie Afghanistan and Iraq together. They will use him as a piece of propaganda. They are already doing that. Some comments from the far-right Little Green Footballs:

I wonder what Kos and Indymedia will spew about Tillman's death?

If only the usual suspects on the Left loved American a hundredth as much as he did...

if (when) the DUmmies and/or indymedia designate this MAN as a "merc", may I suggest we pay them a visit en masse?

Pat sacrificed his life so the likes of Michael Moore can have the freedom to chortle about what kind of a chump Pat must have been.

There is a "rally round the flag" instinct when your side takes casualties, no matter the cause. Pat Tillman was a great man fighting in a just war. We can't forget that, even as we mourn other, equally-great, less-famous men (and women) dieing in a needless war of choice that denied Tillman, and those he served with, the reinforcements and material needed to get their job done.

Let's just remember the game here. We have a strategy for winning this war. It involves de-Americanizing Iraq, getting back together with our allies, fighting the war of ideas, living up to our creed again, and using water (not fire) to fight fire.

Why are we still in Afghanistan? Because Bush didn't finish the job. That's why Pat Tillman is dead. That's why his brother is still in the line of fire. That's more nuanced than the right's answer, "kill them all," but focusing on that truth is our nation's only hope of winning the War on Terror.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.