An anti-globalist website posted a story on the ex-NFL player who became an Army Ranger, Pat Tillman, with the title “Dumb Jock Killed in Afghanistan.”
The Portland, Ore., branch of the Independent Media Center ran the headline above a story by the Washington Post about Tillman’s death last week in a firefight with militia forces in Afghanistan.
Tillman has been lauded by many Americans, including President Bush, as a hero for walking away from a $3.6 million contract in the prime of his football career to join units serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pat Tillman (Photo: Arizona Republic)
The former Arizona Cardinals defensive back’s head coach, Dave McGinnis, said after hearing of his death, “Pat knew his purpose in life. He proudly walked away from a career in football to a greater calling, which was to protect and defend our country. Pat represents those who have and will make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
But the Portland Independent Media Center website was filled with comments affirming the “Dumb Jock” headline.
One suggested an alternative headline, ” … or, how about, ‘privileged millionaire, blinded by nationalist mythology, pisses away the good life.'”
Another suggested headline was: “‘Citizen of empire allows ignorance to cause him to die for imperialism’ or maybe … Capitalist chooses to kill innocents instead of cashing check.”
One reader who was identified as “George W.” wrote, “Thanks for the laugh.”
Commenting on the article’s reference to a “brave American,” a reader replied: “‘brave’???? for going over to Afghanistan completely uninvited and slaughtering brown-skinned people with advanced weaponry?”
Another said: “Tillman chose to go to Afghanistan. He’s partially reponsible [sic] for the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands of Afghan civilians. No need to feel sorry for him, other than feeling bad that he was brainwashed into serving as a grunt.”
The reader continued:
“Interesting how another poster said going to Afghanistan in a crusade to kill people is the ‘Christian’ thing to do. An extremely high percentage of white Judeo-Christians are violent and condone killing.
“Literally speaking, the original headline is true. Tillman is a jock. Going to serve as cannon fodder is dumb. However, people who cheer the deaths of jocks are one and the same with the white supremacist NRA wackos who celebrated Hitler’s birthday by murdering many jocks and nonwhites at Columbine.
“If you visit any mainstream sports forum, you’ll see over 90 percent of the posts about the issue are patriotic nonsense. They want to avenge Tillman by killing even more people worldwide. On the rare occasion someone makes an intelligent point, e.g., his death was avoidable because we should have brought the troops home a long time ago, the intelligent posters get flamed to oblivion by bloodthirsty chicken hawk ‘patriots.’
“The USA will never completely control Afghanistan. Just like the Brits, Soviets, and other countries, the USA is guaranteed to lose.”
Several posters, however, took exception to the headline and readers’ comments, including one who said, “Trivializing someone’s death doesn’t serve the purpose of calling to question imperialist wars around the globe. Where’s the love?”
The nonprofit Tides Foundation, heavily financed by Teresa Heinz Kerry, contributed $5,000 to the Washington, D.C. branch of the Independent Media Center, according to its 2001/2002 annual report [pdf].
The D.C. Center’s website had at least one comment from a reader affirming the Portland website’s headline and comments.
The Tides Center, a spinoff of the Tides Foundation, funds an ostensibly independent group of relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, “Peaceful Tomorrows,” which recently expressed outrage over campaign ads by President Bush.
The group also has given grants totaling $489,000 to the Iraq Peace Fund, which used the money to fund anti-war marches and groups such as MoveOn.org, which aims to defeat Bush in November.
The center reportedly gave $200,000 to The Ruckus Society, which trains anti-globalist activists and was responsible for destroying property in the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle in 1999.
The Independent Media Center said it was formed as an outgrowth of the violent Seattle protests.
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