Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where Men Win Glory

I just read Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. Krakauer tells the story of Pat Tillman who gave up a lucrative career as a football player in the NFL to join the army. Krakauer examines who Pat Tillman was, what he cared about and how he thought. Tillman filled notebook with his thoughts. He destroyed my stereotype of a football player. He was thoughtful and patriotic, though by no means perfect.

Pat Tillman and his family were betrayed by the US government, the army and by Tillman’s superiors who conspired together to cover-up the reality that Tillman’s death was due to friendly fire. Pat Tillman had not allowed the Bush Administration to use his service to promote the war when he was alive. Once he was dead, they did under the direction of Jim Wilkinson. Wilkinson had also created the myth of Jessica Lynch.

Only because his family, particularly his mother, was determined to find out the truth did it emerge. Tillman was needlessly killed by members of his own platoon as they engaged themselves after superiors in the army ordered them to split into two groups. The greatest betrayal was of his brother Kevin. His sergeant had been ordered to not tell Kevin the truth about who had killed Pat. So, Kevin continued to serve, eat and live with the soldiers who had shot his brother. He had another year on his army contract. Many soldiers knew the truth and were angry they were ordered to lie. When Kevin was finally told the truth he felt betrayed. “He’d just spent the morning working alongside the soldiers responsible for his brother’s death, and they had all acted like everything was fine.” (p. 306)

The actions of the army and Bush administration were disgraceful! This book is well crafted, interesting and compelling. It is well worth the time it takes to read.

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