A Hero Sandwich and a Side of Fries

Deke Solomon's picture

CORNFIELD, Iowa, July 19 -- Released by his Taliban captors in a deal arranged by the Obama administration, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is back in America. Six years having passed since his disappearance, America had nearly forgotten Bergdahl. Now he's back he is momentarily infamous for being suspected of desertion from the U.S. armed forces. Nobody in officialdom yet claims that Bergdahl is guilty of anything, but YOU-ESS-AAY! YOU-ESS-AAY! YOU-ESS-AAY! uber-patriots are certain. They want to roast Bergdahl over a slow fire because, for them, any rumor is proof of any crime.

Then we have former Marine Sgt. Josh Sweeney, now a co-captain of the U.S. Paralympic Sled-Hockey Team. Sweeney was named “America Strong” by ABC News on the evening of July 16 because Sweeney helped Team USA take sled-hockey gold from Russia at the Paralympics in Sochi last spring. Also on July 16, Sweeney received the first annual Pat Tillman Award for Service. The Pat Tillman Award “pays tribute to the lasting legacy of selflessness, leadership and sacrifice that Pat represented,” said Connor Schell, vice president, ESPN Films and Original Entertainment.

Dogface Bergdahl claims he was out for a walk in Afghanistan when he was abducted by Taliban fighters and held captive for 6 years. Jarhead Sweeney was on patrol in Afghanistan when he stepped on a Bad Thing that atomized both his legs and blew him into early retirement from our beloved Corps.

Sweeney overcame a handicap that might have destroyed lesser men and became a champion sled-hockey player. For that, he was featured on ABC Evening News (July 16) and declared 'America Strong'. Bergdahl spent 6 years eating rice in some Afghan shit-hole. Now many Americans suspect him of desertion in the face of the enemy -- a capital crime -- and hound the Army to courmartial him for that.

I'm an off-duty Marine myself and though I was never in combat, I am also an American citizen and as such I do feel entitled to say a thing
or two or ten about emblematic warriors such as Bergdahl and Sweeney and Tillman. So let me first say that I have nothing against any of those three men. All of them have my utmost respect. I'm not sure I could endure as Bergdahl endured six years in some Afghan goat pen. Neither do I believe I could recover as quickly or as well as Sweeney seems to have recovered from having his legs blown off.

Of Bergdahl and Sweeney, I see at least one thing in all the above that strikes me as more than a little funny. As for the Pat Tillman Award: If I wanted to create a thing with which to “pay tribute to a lasting legacy of selflessness, leadership and sacrifice,” I would never hang Pat Tillman's name on that thing.

I say so because Pat Tillman did not give his life for his country or his comrades. Tillman's life was deliberately taken from him by one or more of his fellow soldiers. The deed was done under fantastic circumstances that -- short of calling it murder -- could not and cannot be satisfactorily explained. Suspicious facts about Tillman's body and evidence found at the scene also remain unexplained, and for the same reason.

In short: the Tillman shooting required dozens of coats of whitewash. When, despite the pretty paint job, ugly facts remained visible, the
Army stumbled around and fell all over itself trying to present as 'heroic death by friendly fire' that which looks exactly like 'murder most foul.'

I would that Pat Tillman's ghost were here now to tell America how it feels about The Pat Tillman Award. Few Americans would want to put “The Pat Tillman Award” where Tillman's ghost could tell them it belongs.

During his stay among the living, Pat Tillman was surely a great athlete, a good man, and a fine, brave soldier. But he did not die a hero's death. The manner and circumstances of Tillman's death defy the Army's attempts to hush it up or glorify it. Together the shooting and the cover-up amount to nothing more or less than a national disgrace, just as America's Afghan War is a national disgrace, just as our Iraq War was (is) a national disgrace, just as our actions in re Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia and Elsewheristan all disgrace America.

All around the globe, scores of people are killed every day because so-called 'leaders' in Washington and in Wall Street decree that things must be so. Nearly the whole world is aflame just because of U.S. How long does anyone think America's rampage can go unchecked before. . . .

But excuse me, please! I seem to have slipped. I recall now that I promised you something funny (And I know America loves a funny). So here is the funny I promised:

Josh Sweeny got his legs blown off and we call him a hero for that. Pat Tillman was killed by his own unit and we call him a hero for that. Bowe Bergdahl ate rice for six years and now stands accused of desertion in the face of the enemy – a capital offense. If the Army courtmartials Bergdahl, and if Bergdahl burns for desertion in the face of the enemy, we can't call him a hero. But we must call him something, and so now I want to know: Can we maybe call Bergdahl a Freedom Fry?

Pat Tillman -- wherever he is -- knows the answer. So do all the dead warriors in all the body bags shipped home from the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, Latin America. . . .


Solomon Sed.


All Screwed Up

One of my friends once remarked that "USA" stands for "All Screwed Up" ... and this post makes his point very clearly.

In the national narrative, everything is backwards, upside-down and/or inside-out, with fiction substituted for truth and vice versa. And even after the most obvious and outrageous lies (such as those regarding Pat Tillman's death) are shown to be false, they continue to be told, amplified, and built upon. This is required to keep the narrative standing.

There HAS to be a Pat Tillman award, and it HAS to be given to guys like Josh Sweeney, because otherwise the narrative, and everything that depends upon it, would have fewer legs to stand on. And since not one of the legs is solid, there must be as many of them as possible. Otherwise the entire false narrative, and the brutal system that depends on it, could easily come crashing down.

Or in other words: AAY-ESS-YOU! AAY-ESS-YOU!

... which I suppose is fitting and proper, Tillman having starred for Arizona State.

Deke Solomon's picture

Truth in the AAY-ESS-YOU

Since 1980 at least, reasonably intelligent Americans routinely lie about everything. Truth is a faux pas. Much better (and safer) to fart long and loudly in church and at parties. You know when somebody tells the truth because all around him/her remove themselves from proximity. Once they've achieved a safe distance, they turn and throw rocks.

I may have misjudged the time frame. The phenomenon may date from the McCarthy years but I can't say for sure. I wasn't born until 1948, you see, so I have no knowledge of what life was like before Truman and Korea. But I began to see bits of it by the time I started high school. Joe Bageant -- poor Joe Bageant -- used to say wonderrful things about the world as it was back then.

I hope Pat Tillman and all of our war dead are in a better place, even as I don't believe there IS a better place.

John Muir, in his memoir, wrote that when he and his family came to America, he was like 12 years old. They started a farm in Wisconsin, which in those days was still largely inhabited by indian tribes. Muir said his Indian neighbors used to believe that 'heaven' was a place just like Wisconsin, except there were NO mosquitos there. In HELL, on the other hand, there were lots of mosquitoes and all of them were as big as pigeons.

I feel like I'm home here, Winter.


Take your boots off, then

... and put your feet up. Wink

Deke Solomon's picture

I dunno, Winter --

What I been doing lately is book reviews. I read a lot to avoid newscasts and when I listen to newscasts I almost always listen to RT. For my money, they have the best U.S. news on television and the ONLY news on Ukraine that's worth listening to outside the blogosphere.

A sample of what I've been up to resides here http://dekesolomon.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/annie-dillard-burns-typewrit...

Is stuff like that acceptable?

Let me know, please.



It's not up to me personally ...

... and we don't have any hard and fast rules about what's acceptable. There are four of us who sort of help to run the site, and I think I speak for all four of us when I say: We prefer honest and thought-provoking pieces, well-researched and well-documented if possible, but not necessarily about things political. Other than that, there are few if any restrictions.

The piece to which you linked is probably more acceptable than the one I'm working on at the moment. But who can say? No one person has the last word around here. We cooperate, and it works out well most of the time.

We don't have any problem with a friendly disagreement, but if we think somebody's trying to pull a cheap shot, we can get pretty gnarly in a hurry. That said, if you have something worthy of contributing, then by all means bring it.

Deke Solomon's picture

That's good to hear, Winter --

and it's also bad. Problem is, I'm not always the best judge of my own stuff.

Just so you know I'll trust you to advise me on that.


Thanks Deke

You have demonstrated the shifting sands of military and media 'principals' very well. By way of example, your article makes for a good example of what Winter elaborates on with his articulation of the rules of 'newthink'. Welcome!

Deke Solomon's picture

The difference between a

The difference between a principle and a principal is that you can shoot principals full of holes if they piss you off (It's a good thing I didn't think of that in high school). But you can't shoot a principle because it's intangible.

Thanks for the welcome, James. I hope you understand that I don't write much or often. I'll give you what I do write, but you'll have to wait a while between posts.

Best to you all day every day.


Thanks for the correction,

Thanks for the correction, Deke. I miss my school days.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.