Friday, April 27, 2007

They Were Heroes Once

"The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else." ~ Umberto Eco

While channel surfing last night I happened across some Congressional hearing being chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman. I don't know the name of the committee, but it was about the fabrication of stories of heroism in Iraq, specifically, the friendly fire death of Former pro football player Pat Tillman and the capture and ultimate rescue of Jessica Lynch. As I've said before, I'm really not a news junkie, but I stopped and watched, and listened as former hero Jessica Lynch recounted her experience in Iraq.

Jessica says she is still confused about "why they chose to lie and make me a legend."

And so am I.

As I watched, the thought struck me that Ms Lynch was exactly right. Yes, the Armed services and the media lied about the circumstances of Jessica and Pat Tillman's heroism. Yes, Jessica was not the hero the media and the armed services hyped her to be. No, Pat Tillman didn't die as a result of enemy fire.

But I was also struck by the realization that for whatever reason, the powers that be decided that America needs these people to be heroes. They seem to believe that Pvt Lynch needed to bravely fight off her eventual capture, guns in both hands blazing, until she was at last overwhelmed.

They seem to believe America needed Pat Tillman to be shot by enemy soldiers while vainly fighting to save his comrades.

Why do we need to invent stories of heroism to sell the war to everyday non combatant Americans? Are there no "actual" heroes available?

I think Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman, and those thousands of others are heroes. They are heroes just for enlisting. They are heroes for just going to Iraq. They are heroes by virtue of just being there, fighting so that we here in the states don't have to face terrorism in our own back yards.

Why do the armed services and/or the media have to invent stories to create larger than life super heroes out of men and women who are just doing their jobs? Do they really believe it necessary to sell the war at home? Do they believe it necessary to create legends instead of simply reporting the facts? There are plenty of real heroic acts in this war to report without embellishment. Many of them even more dramatic than the ones they report.

Isn't the images of terrorists sawing off the heads of innocent civilians and the results of suicide bombers enough to convince the public that terrorists need to be stopped? Who do they think is going to stop them if not soldiers?

Propaganda is a tactic employed by every government in every age since the world began. It is a profoundly effective way to influence troops and public opinion, either for purposes of motivating or for demoralizing.

So what?

Everyone who enlisted in this time of war is a hero to me. Not only the ones in actual life risking combat situations, but everyone who dons a uniform of the United States Armed services. Whether they are shooting at the enemy or simply requisitioning office supplies and filing papers for the everyday operations on bases here at home.

All are heroes.

They are the reason I can sit here in relative comfort and type these words without fear of being taken in the night and imprisoned and tortured and summarily executed for expressing my convictions. I have the freedom to agree or disagree with my government, or the news media, or anyone else because of the commitment of these brave men and women who consider it not only a right, but a privilege to serve.

Why invent heroes? Why?

And, as long as we're asking questions, why are we bothering to investigate these stories in the first place? What is being accomplished by downplaying the role of our soldiers in battle?

It seems to me that the Democrats conducting these hearings are attempting to discredit the current administration. It is a red herring. It is a blatant attempt to distract Americans from the real reason we are fighting this war. The real reason Tillman and Lynch were over there in the first place. They want to focus on the propaganda instead of why we make use of the propaganda:

To inspire and motivate our own people, and to demoralize our enemies.

And what they are succeeding in doing is precisely the opposite.

Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman and thousands of others are heroes. It matters not how they earned their accolades, only that they have earned them.


Erudite Redneck said...

1. "And, as long as we're asking questions, why are we bothering to investigate these stories in the first place?"

To get at the truth.

2. The Bush administration is in its second term of discreditedness.

Do you even pay attention?

Jason H. Bowden said...

Excellent post.

After 911 a lot of people made themselves believe Bush was a hero, which is why is numbers are so low right now. It is sinking in that Bush is just an ordinary citizen doing his best under difficult circumstances, and that demoralizes people. The same would have happened if Al Gore was in charge, regardless if we went to Iraq or not.

With Bush, some will even invent baroque conspiracy theories involving oil companies, defense contractors, Jews and so forth, to avoid the basic fact that our soldiers, the personnel of our intelligence agencies, and our elected officials are mere mortals. In times of danger, *this* reality frightens people more than terrorism.

mudkitty said...

We're not downplaying the roles of our heros - up to that point I agreed with your entire essay. We are holding the villains responsible, which is also heroic.

Mark said...

So we now know Jessica wasn't shot and didn't fire her weapon until the ammo was expended. We now know Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire.

So what?

They are both still heroes. You want the truth?

The truth is that there have been thousands of men and women who have selflessly risked their lives to save innocent Iraqis and fellow soldiers who have never recieved the attention Lynch and Tillman recieved, nor do they ask for that attention.

The truth is Rep. Waxman and the other weakling Defeatocrats are just cowards looking for a scapegoat to blame their cowardice on.

I suppose John Kerry, self proclaimed war hero, has more credibility.

Mark said...

Not downplaying? What about all those actual war heroes in Iraq that never got any attention from the media? I would submit that refusing to report real heroism because it doesn't fit the Liberal media's anti-American, anti-victory agenda qualifies as downplaying.

What would you call it?

Mark said...

Actually, I have been wondering why the media, who generally seeks to dishonor the troops, would go to such lengths to create heroes out of Lynch and Tillman, and then it ocurred to me:

In both cases, they were used to portray war as an evil thing, severely crippling an innocent young girl and killing a promising young athelete thereby sparking outrage among the bleeding heart liberal sob sisters. They used their situations to demonize America.

Abouna said...

Mark; You will never convince the left about anything. They have made up their minds that America and everything and everyone connected with America, except themselves, is vile and corrupt.

Yes, all those in uniform are heros, always were and always will be. Let the Dhimmicrats believe what they want.

Goat said...

Well said Mark, our Patriot Armed Forces are heroes, some larger than others, it seems most of the hype was generated by the MSM, not MNF-I, or CentCom. They need sensationalism to survive, the MSM that is. They have to fabricate stories , uh, Dan Rather, in order to get a minimal publc attention since they cannot do so honestly. The only way to avoid the spin is to get off the MSM "twirly cup" ride. Go USA!

Trader Rick said...

You got this exactly right, Mark. this was a brilliant post! Too bad there are not people with your wisdom and insight working for the MSM.

Abouna has it right also: we cannot convince the weakminded or the America haters, like Filthcat or Ignorant Pencilneck , for example, that people with Christian and Conservative values are not "villains" by definition.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"To get at the truth."

And...what will the Tillman/Lynch debacle prove?

"We are holding the villains responsible..."

What villains? You mean all the Al-qaeda leadership we've eliminated?

mudkitty said...

Mark - did you defend Kerry against the swiftboaters? Just askin.

mudkitty said...

No Mark - the Tillmans, the Lynch's and Waxman want to get at the truth.

What's the matter Mark? Can't handle the truth?


The villains are the liars who took us to war with a country that didn't attack us, and coddles the countries that actually sponsor terrorists. Al Quaeda is hardly eliminated, and they are not the only terrorist organization in the world. The villains are the liars who have made us less safe as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

mudkitty said...

I know lots of conservatives and Christians who are not villains, you big sillies. But what I read on these threads is far from conservative. You guys make liberals look conservative with your republican, radical, right wing extremist, reactionary agenda.

Jesus said, heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, house the homeless, comfort the bereft - Jesus was a liberal.

Always On Watch Two said...

Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman and thousands of others are heroes. It matters not how they earned their accolades...

That's how I see it.

Tillman died in the service of our country, Lynch maimed in the service of our country. Heroes both.

PS: I came here via Gayle's blog.

Marie's Two Cents said...


When our Heros come home, at least the high profile ones they are relentlessly persued by the Liberal press, hounded by the left, and some of them decide (After being force fed the leftist agenda) to side with the far left.

Fortunately it's only a handful.

As for Pat Tillman, I can understand the Military trying to make Pat look like the biggest hero because he was killed by friendly fire and they wanted to spare his family the pain of knowing that.

I suppose they shouldnt have covered that up, but to spare the family unesissary pain, I dont like it but I can understand why they did it.

The far left have gotten to his brother, had Waxman left this alone no one would have thought any less of Pat Tillman. I know I dont either way.

But Waxman just handed the far left even more amunition to go after the Troops that want to serve with dignity and pride and come home with the honor and respect they deserve.

Not spit on like Waxman would like to see happen.

But in order for Waxman to further his far left agenda and have repeated investigations ON OUR DIME, they are going to start with any Military family or Soldier that has come home, who was already far left, or they turned into the far left, exploit them and stuff it in the "Iraq is what we are running on in '08" Liberal Presidential Campaign Folder.

Look for more of this.

The far left have become so hate filled and seething with anger, it is truly unbelieveable.

The Soldiers are all heros to me.

Marshall Art said...

"Jesus said, heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, house the homeless, comfort the bereft - Jesus was a liberal."

But He didn't tell YOU to do it with MY money. Since conservatives do all that you've listed with their own money, your point is irrelevant here.

Your other point regarding who we've attacked and the strategic value of doing so is based on what exactly? We are more educated in Hussein's dealings with terrorists than we were at the time of our initial invasion. The assets of Iraq are not something rational people should wish to see fall into the hands of other despots. Join the rational.

Mark said...

I understand how Jessica Lynch feels. Sher doesn't see herself as a hero, and if we could ask Pat Tillman if he considers himself a hero, he probably wouldn't, either.

I once risked my life to save two other people's lives in a carbon monoxide leak situation. Believe me, there may be some who would call me a hero for that, but I see nothing heroic in what I did.

In a situation like that, you don't think, you simply act. Self preservation is not even a consideration. I did what I had to do, and anyone else would have done precisely the same.

What did Lynch and Tillman do that was heroic? Nothing, really. But as I said, just the act of donning this countries uniform in a time of war is heroic to me. They both knew there was a possiblity they would get injured or killed in combat, and they went anyway. That shows they thought about it and acted anyway. And that's the difference between simply doing what comes naturally and being a hero.

Ms.Green said...

"To inspire and motivate our own people, and to demoralize our enemies."

And as you said, Mark, the Dems and liberals ARE doing just the opposite. And according to the Constitution of the United States, that is treasonous.

mudkitty said...

So you say Tillman did nothing heroic except die at the hands of his own country men.

You say Lynch is doing nothing heroic except to try and tell the truth, when the truth will put so many White House officials in jail. As far as I'm concerned Lynch is a hero. Just not the one you wanted her to be.

It's called freedom. But even more than that, it's called accountability.

Marshall Art said...


I think it's clear that Mark feels the two are heroes based on their decision to join the military. The chance to see action and die or get injured is part of the package and to still join in the face of that is heroic.

By your tone, however, it seems that isn't of value. More important to you seems to be the chance for military and political officials to suffer as a result of the details of their particular stories. What penalties would you suggest for the level of "crime" committed by those responsible? How has our country suffered as a result? I can see how the Tillmans deserve some recompense, but how do you or the nation? Was there clear premeditation involved in his death or just a sad mistake? Who should be hung for this or the Lynch situation?

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"It's called freedom. But even more than that, it's called accountability."

Acountability? What does accountability really mean to a leftist.

I'll tell you...destroy immoral republicans and affirm immoral Democrats...that's what acountability means to a leftist.

mudkitty said...

The liers should be held accountable. That's who.

You guys should have learned this stuff in first grade.

Marshall Art said...

Fine, Muddy. Let's hold them accountable. I've no problem with that. But in what manner should we penalize them? Should they be executed? Life in prison? Ten years, maybe? How 'bout a fine? Maybe a public flogging! I'd like to know what you think since it seems that your hatred for all things Bush related drive your opinions as it seems to here. "His" war. "His" officers. This doubles the crimes for you, does it not?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Good post, Mark. I had to skim through the comments section as I see Mudkitty driveling through most of it.

In both cases, they were used to portray war as an evil thing, severely crippling an innocent young girl and killing a promising young athelete thereby sparking outrage among the bleeding heart liberal sob sisters. They used their situations to demonize America.

Mark, perhaps I'm less cynical than you; I do see the media as largely liberal and anti-war driven, by nature; but I disagree with your assessment. I think, in the beginning, they were as much willing as the rest of us to push for a Jessica Lynch as heroic story because it makes for a good patriotic story; and we like to have heroes.

With Pat Tillman, he already had notoriety and gave up even more fame and fortune to serve his country. Left or right, that is a story that can inspire all Americans, regardless of politics. It is undeniably noble. The media could not help but tell his story.

It is sad, though, as you mention, that the truly heroic and extraordinary acts of courage and sacrifice from many of our soldiers have largely gone unreported. We have no "war heroes", really, that are household names. And that's a shame. Because they exist.

mudkitty said...

Marshall, the statutes themselves carry the penalties. Don't you know about Law?

Anyone who violates a statute should suffer the penalties inherent in the statute - same as anyone and everyone? Right? Or do you guys want to make exceptions for republicans?

Marshall Art said...


I don't know what statutes you think you have in mind. Please list them or it. Or, tell me how I'm supposed to look up this statute of which you're thinking.

My point is your bloodlust in this matter. Considering all the bad pub the lefty media presents to taint the national attitude toward the fight against Islamosfascism, a little invention isn't such a bad thing considering the lack of harm done. On the contrary, more harm is done with the constant negativity spewed by the left and their media. Comments by lefty politicians are far more dangerous to anyone, particularly the soldiers, than the stories made up about Tillman or Lynch.

So it's pretty obvious that you are not concerned about either of these two people or their families as much as you are determined to see punished anyone who supports the war, the administration or conservative positions.

Marshall Art said...


Regarding your questions (and ain't it about time?), I think it's to counter the negativity of course. But I agree with you that there are heroes of the variety that they've created in these two that they could be touting. I wonder if they've been trying to get such stories out into the mainstream press and have failed to see anything done? It certainly wouldn't have the effect the left hopes for with their current reporting. True stories of heroism might inspire more enlistment. They wouldn't like that. The left generally prefers to disuade enlistments. But they couldn't ignore a celebrity like Tilman or an attractive blond like Lynch. They were too willing to jump on the tall tales then.

mudkitty said...

I have no blood lust, and justice is blind. Don't you know that Marshall?

Marshall Art said...

Blind justice refers to judging everybody equally without regard to status, religion, race, or the like. It doesn't mean automatic penalties. If a judge cannot truly judge because of the law, it inhibits his judgements. Justice isn't served. So if two people steal, they will get the same penalty if there are no variables. But if one guy stole because he was hungry, and the other stole because it's what he does, penalizing them equally without regard to circumstances isn't justice for either.