Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Classic case of blame the victim.

Football star Pat Tillman left a lucrative career and a multimillion dollar contract and enlisted in the military in response to the 9/11 attacks. He was killed in a typical military screw up. His family was lied to about the situation. He was killed by American troops and it appears the Army tried to cover up the facts. Within days the cause of Tillman’s death was known within the military but for five weeks the military hid the truth from the Tillman family.

As might be expected the Tillman family has been very upset. They want to know the truth. The military is apparently not interested in the truth. Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich was led the first inquiry into what happened. And he’s rather unhappy the Tillman family is pursuing the matter, demanding to know the truth.

But Kauzlarich is dismissive of the parents. He seems to think their problem is that the Tillmans are atheists. He says there have “been numerous unfortunate cases of fratricide, and the parents have basically said, ‘OK, it was an unfortunate accident.’ And they let it go. So this is -- I don’t know, these people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs.”

Kauzlarich said that Tillman’s brother, Kevin, who served with him in Afghanistan objected when a chaplain was brought in to say prayers. And he thinks that the reason the Tillman’s want the truth and are unhappy with his investigation, according to ESPN, might “be because of the absence of a Christian faith in their lives.”

Apparently Christians are not as concerned about knowing the truth. There is no mention if the other families, who were not concerned, were also the victims of lies and coverups by the military. I suggest they may not have been. But easier to scapegoat the family for not being Christians.

“When you de, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing and now he is no more -- that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don’t know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough.”

Death is tough. And it is tough for anyone. But what is clear here is the issue of deceit from the government. That surely is the motivation for this family. But Kauzlarich, who would be in the line of fire since he led the first investigation, wants to go after the family, the victims of the deceit, and dismiss them because they are atheists. He was asked if the family’s atheism was a factor in the investigation and he said: “I think so. There is not a whole of trust in the system or faith in the system. So that is my personal opinion, knowing what I know.” So their atheism is a sign just a pervasive lack of faith “in the system”. They should trust the government, not ask question, and believe in Jesus. Docile and obedient is what he wants.

Pat Tillman’s mother, Mary, said: “Well, this guy makes disparaging remarks about the fact we’re not Christians, and the reason we can’t put Pat to rest is because we’re not Christians. has nothing to do with the fact that this whole thing was shady. But it is because we are not Christians.”

The truth needs to come out. Too many lies have already been told regarding American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pat Tillman was a man who loved his country and his family. Neither his family nor his memory deserves this shoddy treatment and innuendo because they don’t subscribe to the prevalent superstition in America.

Read the full story at ESPN. It is heartbreaking and infuriating. It is journalism at its best.


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