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The Cost of Heros

Posted by Bob · April 23rd, 2004 · 4 Comments

In America, major league, big time sports raise billions in revenues. On occasion we hear of a team or a player giving of their time and money for a good cause. This article is not about them.

This article is about a professional athlete who turned his back on the game, and more surprisingly the seven figure contract he was offered.

What, in this time of professional athletic greed, would make an athlete walk away from signing a million dollar contract?


His country.

Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan after walking away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army Rangers, U.S. officials said Friday.

Pat Tillman had made it. He made it to the ‘Big Show’, he was a very elite athlete playing in the National Football League. Then came 9/11 and his conscience started speaking to him of duty and honor. He joined the Army with the full intent of going into harm’s way, not to be a recruiting poster boy.

He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his decision.

The question that BEGS to be asked here, is this: Was this sacrifice, one of so many already made, wasted?

Follow my logic here, if we were not fighting a two front war, wouldn’t we have been able to pour more resources into the hunt for bin Laden and his network?

We have tens of thousands of men in Iraq trying to occupy a country and a people that have shown remarkable will to resist us. Had these resources been deployed to find bin Laden what would the world look like today?

Would the Arab world be as anti American as they are now?

Would Europe be as anti American as they are now?

Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that we could have convinced more of our allies to join us in THIS hunt?

In other words, COULD IT BE OVER NOW?

I am not so naïve to assume that we would have world peace right now or that terrorism would disappear. What I am saying is that wouldn’t the terrorists have a much harder time of it if we had captured their high profile leadership? Wouldn’t the terrorists have a much harder time if WE, America and her allies, were standing shoulder to shoulder instead of divided about a war that has yet to be justified?

Somewhere in harm’s way a remarkable young man, filled with the vision of what America and freedom should be, died because this president was too anxious to stir it up with his father’s old enemy.

America is the Land of Plenty, but in my opinion, we don’t have enough Pat Tillmans to waste for anything less than the most worthy causes. In my opinion, Pat Tillman’s life was wasted.

Categories: The U.S. & The World

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob // Apr 23, 2004 at 11:25 pm

    It’s probably bad taste to comment on your own blog entry but this is a quote I had been searching for and could not find for the article.

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing, which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than him.” — John Stewart Mill (1806-1873)

    We cannot continue to sacrifice the better men for the lesser causes.

  • 2 Daniel A. Rozier // Apr 30, 2004 at 1:46 pm

    Why exactly do you feel that the President must justify the action in Iraq until every single person in America will stand behind him? I belive that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor not Hitler. Why did we liberate France twice? Why did Clinton go to Somalia? These actions were taken for the sake of freedom abroad. Is the freedom of a country not worth the life of an American Soldier? It is not something that any Patriotic American wants but as Jefferson said,” From time to time the tree of Liberty must be refreshed by the blood of tyrants.” These are the beliefs that we were founded on. Not the rights of one individual over the rights of the masses but exactly the opposite the rights of the whole over the rights of an individual. Freedom isn’t free! Pat Tillman is a great American and more of an example of what it means to be an American than probably any other professional sports figure in history. It is his story that I will tell my children, not how Iverson made it out of the ghetto! Long live the American soldier, defender of freedom and the American way.

  • 3 Bob // Apr 30, 2004 at 2:28 pm

    Daniel,

    Thanks for your comments, even if I cannot agree with them all.

    “I belive that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor not Hitler. Why did we liberate France twice? Why did Clinton go to Somalia? These actions were taken for the sake of freedom abroad. ”

    We declared war on Hitler because he was at war with our allies and the loss of those countries as allies would have isolated the US. Not only that, the Japanese were considered allies of Germany, hence, you declare war on one you declare war on all. Bottom line: national interest and survival. A valid reason.

    Why did we liberate France twice? Beats the hell out of me. Seriously, again France was considered an ally to us and our friendly nations.

    Somalia is a different animal. It was not America that decided to go to Somalia but the UN. We were a part of a coalition to help stop a long and horrible civil war where civilians were being butchered. If you recall, it was Pakistani tanks that helped rescue our Rangers and Delta Force troops. Standing with other nations to end a bloddy civil war is a valid reason. Part of what makes it valid is the coalition that acts together.

    “Is the freedom of a country not worth the life of an American Soldier?”

    It depends. In Iraq, I see no clear reason for being there. If we had discovered that Iraq was an active supporter of terrorism and involved with 911 I would say it’s reason enough.

    Consider that the presentation that Colin Powell presented to the UN has still yet to come true. We never found the WMD, we never found the threat to Iraq’s neighbors.

    Why ARE we there? We are told our intelligence services were understaffed and under funded. That’s why we got bad info. The Europeans (mainly France and Germany) saw the same intel as we did and decided it was not enough to declare war. That was a sole decision of this administration. It was aggresive and not thought out completely. Now we’re paying the price of occupying Iraq with American lives.

    Yes, we watered our liberty tree with the blood of yet another tyrant. And now we’re watering the tyrant’s land with our blood daily.

    The decision to use the American Soldier is so serious as to be almost sacred. It can only be used in times of grave threat with clear goals.

    I am not convinced that we had those goals going in. Just the overthrow of Saddam is not enough. We needed to provide for the people we displaced and the government we overthrew. Neither of these looks in reach a year after ‘major combat’ was completed.

    And just an FYI, I think AI is a thug and a lousy example of an athlete. Tillman was everything that AI will never be.

    We agree that the Tillmans in America are in short supply. That makes it that much more important that we don’t waste them.

  • 4 Rick // Apr 30, 2004 at 5:17 pm

    The Jefferson quote is improperly applied here. Jefferson did not mean to indicate by that statement that one country should invade another country on the grounds that the other country was run by a tyrant. He meant that revolutions were sometimes necessary. The people should kill their own tyrants, not those of others. (This statement should not be taken as intending to encourage anyone to kill anyone else. My personal views are that killing another human being is wrong. I’m simply stating a corollary to, or clarification of, Jefferson’s comment.)

    And the comment about our country not being founded upon the rights of the individual, but upon the rights of the masses is exactly backwards. The rights of the individual within a free society were of paramount importance to Jefferson and those we call “the Founding Fathers.” The Bill of Rights, which was a required addition before the colonies would sign off on the new Constitution, is about the rights of individuals, not groups.

    Furthermore, the entire system of government was built to limit the impact of the will of the many over the will of the few. Jefferson said,

    A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.

    The Founders feared mobs. We should, too. They deliberately fashioned our government to make it very difficult for mobs to get their way. This is one reason the Constitution is so difficult to amend. The thinking is that by making it difficult, cooler heads might prevail in the time it would take to get enough states to agree to amending the Constitution.

    It’s worked pretty well, too. Only once in our history has it failed (Prohibition) and that was rectified within less than 20 years (by another amendment).

    And, by the way, even that incident points out why we should be careful about amending the Constitution. Prohibition was a mistake; a very large mistake. Once in place it was quickly realized as a mistake, but because it was law, significant resources were expended to enforce it. People even died because of this mistake. And yet, although it was recognized as a mistake, it took almost 20 years to correct it, because the Constitution is (deliberately) hard to change.

    American soldiers being sent into Iraq are not defending freedom (not ours or anyone else’s), although if we agree that Corporate governance (e.g., a re-establishment of serfdom) is the American way, then they may be fighting for the American way — in another country. But given that that isn’t our country, shouldn’t anyone fighting there be fighting for the Iraqi way?

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