Freedom of Speech?

  1. I can understand being opposed to the so called "war on terrorism" but I certainly can't understand this opinion expressed in a University of Massachusetts student newspaper. See below:

    Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
    http://media.dailycollegian.com/page...bandwidth.html

    By Rene Gonzalez
    April 28, 2004

    When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.

    I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."

    But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.

    However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.

    Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.

    Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.

    Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.

    Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.

    Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.

    Last edit by hbscott on Apr 29, '04
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Well, it doesn't reflect my opinions. I personally don't think all servicemen and women are heros and our need to turn them all into heros is a little wierd (think Jessica Lynch), but I don't believe in speaking ill of a man after his death. This student doesn't know what made Tillman join the service and he doesn't know what kind of person he was. Why try to imply otherwise?
  4. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from hbscott
    I can understand being opposed to the so called "war on terrorism" but I certainly can't understand this opinion expressed in a University of Massachusetts student newspaper. See below:

    Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
    http://media.dailycollegian.com/page...bandwidth.html

    By Rene Gonzalez
    April 28, 2004

    When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.

    I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."

    But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.

    However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.

    Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.

    Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.

    Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.

    Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.

    Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.

    I agree..what a sad and sick article. The man was a patriot and full of courage and selflessness. He did what he believed in..he never asked to be called a hero, he never went public with this before, and most certainly did not care what others thought about it. He was simply doing what he felt he needed to do..a luxury that we Americans have. I admire him.
  5. by   BeachNurse
    AMHERST, Mass. (AP) -- A University of Massachusetts graduate student who wrote a campus newspaper column saying former NFL player Pat Tillman was not a hero for being killed while fighting in Afghanistan was sharply criticized Thursday by the school's president.

    UMass president Jack Wilson issued a statement saying Rene Gonzalez' comments in The Daily Collegian "are a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually immature attack on a human being who died in service to his country."

    In his column, which ran Wednesday on the opinion page and was posted on the newspaper's Web site, Gonzalez called the former Arizona Cardinals safety a "G.I. Joe guy who got what was coming to him."

    "That was not heroism," Gonzalez wrote. "It was prophetic idiocy."

    His column also criticizes America's military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Tillman, the San Jose, Calif., native who gave up his NFL career to join the Army Rangers in 2002, was killed in combat April 22 in Afghanistan.

    While recognizing Gonzalez' right to free speech, Wilson said the student owes Tillman a "debt of gratitude," and said he should apologize to Tillman's friends and family.

    Gonzalez did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages left Thursday by The Associated Press.
  6. by   Energizer Bunny
    I agree with you guys...it's the media that has made him the "hero" and he expressly told his family and friends that he didn't want that.
  7. by   FROGGYLEGS
    I think what this guy wrote it horrible. It was just very disrespectful. It is just very unprofessional to characterize someone you don't know in such a way....especially if they have died.

    Let's see if I was an ignorant macho frat-boy; would I choose a pro football contract (worth 3 million bucks?) or fight in a war when I didn't have to? I'd say it meant something more to him than living out a macho fantasy to give up that kind of opportunity. Wouldn't pro-football qualify as a macho dream for some people?
  8. by   camay1221_RN
    What an imbecile!!!
  9. by   hbscott
    A female friend of mine in the military sent me her reply to this article. I share the following excerpt:

    "Note the marked detail of the turf issue (i.e., we are in someone else's land, the Taliban is more afghani than we are, etc.) and marked LACK of detail to the moral issue of doing nothing to help a country who is massacred by those "more Afghani" than we are. Some people will always prefer the path of least resistance. Also note the strong criticism to what is being done and no recommendation (beyond "we overreacted") to how we should have responded to Sept 11th. Again, following his tendency to take the path of least resistance he accepts the easiest job in the world -- an armchair critic. He's an A** of the highest order."


    -HBS
    Last edit by hbscott on Apr 29, '04
  10. by   maureeno
    the writer was using Pat Tillman as an object to make a point
    and that objectification of a dead person is disturbing to read
    despite the author's disclaimer 'it's a matter of perspective"

    however
    should one of my young relatives currently serving
    be killed due to the pre-emptive war choice of BushII
    I will be especially grieved understanding they died in vain
  11. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Rene Gonzales, is a fine young man. He is just exercising his freedoms.
    Last edit by Peeps Mcarthur on May 3, '04
  12. by   maureeno
    excuse me, peeps
    my feelings for my relatives and the danger they face
    and whether their deaths would be worthwhile
    has nothing to do guilt
    or with my character
  13. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I don't think he's a hero. I think he was idealistic and foolish. He lost his life in a rediculous war.
  14. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from Peeps Mcarthur
    Rene Gonzales, as well as others that feel the war is 'in vain', are simply feeling guilt. The sacrifice of soldiers at the hands of America's enemies are embarrasing to them because they don't have the character to do it for themselves.

    Peeps, you have to insult, call names, or "explain" the character of everyone who has opinions or beliefs which differ from yours. Not very mature, and getting tiresome. I'm adding you to my ignore list now.

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