I didn't pay much attention to the whole Pat Tillman saga when it broke. I admit I figured he was a sort of uninteresting meathead football player. Sure it was a tragedy that he died, but I was disgusted by the Administration's war to start with and their hero workship of a dead man made it worse. Then I read this set of stories on ESPN. (Warning: these are long stories. But Pat Tillman's story isn't simple.) I was so, so wrong.
Having read more about him, Pat Tillman sounds like a damn interesting guy. The story is a scathing indictment of an Administration, along with the Army brass, who wanted a hero. It turns out that Tillman did what he wanted to do, but the last thing he wanted was to be their hero.
The fallout continues. It was clear from the ESPN story that the Army lied and lied again. For several generals, it looks like their lies will end their careers. So be it.
All sorts of people (the Army, the Administration, various commentators) have tried to appropriate a piece of Pat Tillman's glory. They're all wrong. He's an American hero, the rare kind who's too authentic to be pigeon-holed.
This is another case of good sportwriting. Kudos to ESPN (!) was going waaaaay outside its bailiwick to bring a story that wasn't really about sports at all, any more than Pat Tillman's life was about sports.