Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Death of Pat Tillman

James Joyner posted an item on Outside the Beltway today about the first in a series of Washington Post reports on the death of Pat Tillman in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. Take a look.

In general, I agree with Joyner that "the rationale for publicizing this is unclear, given that all it does is tarnish his memory." The article itself is just another cheap shot at the military, using Tillman as a hook for the story. The effect, however, is to denigrate the sacrifice of a young man who cared enough about his country to set aside a career of wealth and luxury and put himself on the line.

Combat is confused, frightening, and incredibly complex, especially for small-unit leaders who have to make virtually instantaneous decisions under intense pressure. Too often, these young leaders have limited information and are faced with a set of choices that are mostly bad. Everything I've learned from personal experience and extensive study indicates that trying to deconstruct a combat incident without having been there is dicey at best. Unlike the vast majority of reporters and editors, every combat soldier knows this.

It's easy to point the finger of blame when you weren't there. It's even easier when you don't know what you're talking about.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. There's no shame in what Tillman did, and his sacrifice is no less profound because it was via friendly fire. I think the media's brought this to light to promote their own agenda.

7:12 PM, December 10, 2004  

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