Heroes Aren’t Heroes if They Disagree with Me!
Taylor correctly observes, “Clearly the reason to label Kevin as ‘”an anitwar activist’ is to try and discredit his claims as the rantings of some leftist loon who doesn’t like war anyway, and therefore who has an agenda beyond the issues of his brother’s death.”
Pat Tillman is indeed an antiwar activist and he has indeed posted on some leftist web sites. As Taylor notes, though, that’s a rather incomplete description. From Wikipedia:
Kevin Tillman is a former college and professional baseball player and joined the United States Army with his brother Pat Tillman. He is a graduate of Cal Poly, and before joining the Army, he played college baseball at Arizona State and Cal Poly then was drafted by the Anaheim Angels.
Tillman and his more well-known brother Pat (a former NFL player) completed training and selection for the elite United States Army Rangers in late 2002, and were assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion in Fort Lewis, Washington. Both Pat and Kevin Tillman were deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The photo below is from Truthdig, a left-of-center website, and accompanies an essay Kevin Tillman wrote about what he sees as the Army’s cover-up of the circumstances of his brother’s death.
Pat Tillman (left) and his brother Kevin stand in front of a Chinook helicopter
in Saudi Arabia before their tour of duty as Army Rangers in Iraq in 2003.
Courtesy of the Tillman Family
Now, I happen to disagree with Kevin Tillman about both the war and the nature of the reporting on his brother’s death. As I’ve written numerous times, I believe the natural human instinct at the unit level is to portray combat deaths in the manner most comforting to the family and that this was reinforced by bureaucratic pressures when dealing with such a heroic symbol of sacrifice.
Regardless, however, Kevin Tillman has certainly earned the right to speak his mind. Not only did Kevin Tillman sacrifice a promising professional baseball career to risk his life for the meager pay of an Army specialist, he lost his brother.
As LTC Don Sondo, deputy commander of Infantry Training Brigade, noted when the brothers were awarded the 11th annual Arthur Ashe Courage Award, “The difference between sports and combat is the cost of being wrong. In a sport, you lose a game, Sondo said, adding that in combat you lose lives.” The Tillman family knows that all too well.
- Tillman Family Reacts to Army Investigation (Alex Knapp)
Officers To Be Disciplined Over Tillman Death (Alex Knapp)
Was Pat Tillman Death Negligent Homicide?
Army Withheld Details About Pat Tillman’s Death
Pat Tillman Death Investigation
Plummer Fined for Honoring Tillman
Tillman’s Death Likely Friendly Fire
Pat Tillman, K.I.A.
LEAVING SAFETY BEHIND