Friday, August 25, 2006

Pat Tillman and the Big Lie

NPR talks about the infamous death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. He was the NFL star who joined the military after 9/11 and then was killed in Afghanistan. His death was quickly seized on as a conservative's pro-war advertising extravaganza, while the circumstances of his death by friendly fire (and his own frustration at the Bush project for Iraq) were covered up.

If you were listening to tonight's piece on NPR you might think that the main problem was just with a mixed-up Army policy on reporting the deaths of soldiers in which the wrong information emerges from the messy circumstances of war and combat (and the uncomfortable situation of reporting "friendly fire" deaths). What tonight's story doesn't do is put the Tillman death (and the death of two soldiers killed by Iraqi infiltrators they were training) in context. The context is one in which the Bush administration and Pentagon have gone out of their way to lie and misinform about the "war on terror" and in which the MSM (including NPR) have often gone along as dupes. This is yet another missed opportunity where NPR could have done a really significant piece, but instead opted for a more shallow and uninformative report. For a fine article on the misinformation war see this article by Ramzy Baroud.

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