Required watching: The Tillman Story

Photo of Pat and Kevin Tillman in Saudi Arabia

Pat & Kevin Tillman

One thing about Netflix is that random discovery isn’t quite random. It’s for this reason, I sort of hope neighborhood video stores don’t go away. I also hope we always have libraries- and printed books- because, one day, once all the batteries wear out- there needs to be some proof that all this existed.

Friday night we stopped by Family Video- and when going back to look for another title- with big name action stars, I saw a movie I’d missed the first time- “The Tillman Story.” They had one copy. I looked it up on Flixster and saw it had a 91% rating- and took it home.

When Pat Tillman first left the NFL to “join the Rangers” I remember thinking- joining is one thing, making it is another. I didn’t know Pat Tillman from Adam- but, I did admire the fact that he was walking away from $3.6 million a year- to do what I’d wanted to do on 9/11– go in the Army to kick ass and take names. However, at 38 I knew I was a few years past when they’d take me back.

Tillman turned down all attempts to interview him- and, he kept his dignity and did his job. Unfortunately, his life was cut short by the accidental nature of war- he was killed by friendly fire. I do not hold the shooters responsible for his death- I know war is not order- it’s chaos combined with a roulette wheel.

It’s what happened after Pat Tillman’s death that is the real lesson in how far our country is being failed by our current system of “leadership” and how we as apathetic bystanders are just as culpable for his death as Osama Bin Laden supposedly is to blame for 9/11.

“The Tillman Story” isn’t a glorification of a “true American hero”- it’s a documentary about the systematic hijacking of his death into a PR move for “God and Country.” You even get to see John McCain and Maria Shriver talking about God at his memorial- only to hear his baby brother tell them that Tillman didn’t believe in God- and sharing the F-bomb freely.

Tillman knew that the war in Iraq was a farce. He also knew he couldn’t speak about it until his three-year enlistment was up (even though he was offered an early out after his first combat tour in Iraq). His diary as well as his uniform were burned by the Army- a direct violation of procedure- so that we will never know exactly what Tillman had to say on the matter. But luckily, we have his little brother, who enlisted with him, who shared an essay just before the 2006 elections- the whole thing is well worth a read- but, near the end he says this:

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

via Kevin Tillman: After Pat’s Birthday – Truthdig.

This is not a democracy, it’s a republic- and the people who have taken us into not just two wars, but now a third, in far away places- have ignored the war going on at home. One where those in power are doing everything in their power to remain in power- and keep the people who put them there- arguing about things like abortion and SB5 while they clean out the rest of our piggy banks- so they can yell Monopoly at the end and pronounce themselves the winners.

War is big business, this community depends on Wright Patterson Air Force Base as its last remaining large employer- yet, when we get down to all those jobs- and all that money, what are we really supporting- a government that can’t be trusted.

This country is built on trust. Trust that our money is good, trust that our political system is honest and that our justice system is just.

We’re fed a continuous line of crap from the government, the media and it’s strewn around the internet like manure on a mushroom patch- but every once in a while, the crap slaps back.

The Tillman family is rightfully proud of their sons- and we should be as well. Watch this movie, and you’ll understand what really makes our country great- people like them.

The question is- how do you and I stack up? And, are you willing to fight the machine and take our country back?


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