« Sauce for the goose? | Main | Ballplayer: manager should stop calling plays »

R.I.P.

Presented without comment, as the story speaks for itself:

WASHINGTON -- 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.
He was 27.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a formal announcement was expected later in the day. Spokesmen at the Pentagon and U.S. Army declined comment.
Tillman was killed in direct action during a firefight in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, Pentagon sources told ABCNEWS.

A Pentagon source said that Tillman was killed when his Rangers patrol was attacked by small arms fire and mortars during a coordinated ambush.

Condolences to his family.

I suppose it's sad that he'll get more publicity than the other 700+ who have given their lives in this war, but I suppose it's inevitable, even though he made it clear that he wasn't interested in publicity or special treatment.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.oobleck.com/mt3/mt-tb.cgi/1137

Comments (4)

Richard:

Pat Tillman reminds us that there are still real heroes in this world. It is a tragedy that after he willingly gave up all that money so that he could serve his country, he would have to make the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately we learn once again that freedom isnít free.

Early Wynn:

Thank God we still live in a nation where Pat Tillmans are willing to offer up their lives, and the rest of a generation of fighting-age men can spend their life earning their fortune and watching baseball.

"Early," I'm pretty sure you're intending that comment to be sarcastic, but I'm not sure why. We don't need as large a military as there are men of fighting age, so no matter what, there will be some fighting and some living normal civilian lives. So the option is between a system where we rely on people willing to offer up their lives and a system where we force people to do so. How can the first not be preferable?

Early Winn:

Three dangers to an all-volunteer army.

1) In the past, only the really wealthy and well-connected could avoid service during times of war. Now the middle class largely avoids service, as well.

Since we're deferring any tax increases or budget cutting in the short term as well, we now have "war without immediate consequence" to the large majority of voters, or to anyone the large majority of voters knows closely. That eliminates certain incentives for society to take the act of war more seriously.

2) To provide adequate numbers for an all-volunteer army, society must not only compete economically for young men, but also develop effective propoganda tools to encourage young men to surrender 3 to 4 years of their lives. Those propoganda tools have "ripple" effects, leading to glorification of soldiers, and moreover soldiers in combat, and therefore glorification of combat itself.

Traditionally, America has utilized these tools during times of war. Now America must utilize these recruiting tools on a continuous basis, spending billions on advertising even during peacetime to convince people that fighting and killing in wartime situations is a virtue, rather than a necessary evil.

3) Because of the inability to immediately add to troop strength when needed, the military is now turning increasingly to security contractors to take the place of military functions. Paul Bremer travels through Baghdad surrounded by a troop of security contractors. Securing the oil fields is done by security contractors.

This raises two problems. First, the military is now needing to compete financially for it's best trained individuals - and increasingly is losing out as security contractors can pay salaries far greater than the military offers. What happens to any organization when its best and brightest are stripped off by deeper pockets?

Second, those deeper pockets are still *our* deeper pockets. And as we've seen with the military-industrial complex, once government contractors have their claws deeply implanted in a source of DOD revenues (for which it is politically impossible to sustain a slowing of growth) they don't let go easily.

If Iraq ever settles down, we're going to have around 20,000 men on contractor payrolls who are basically trained to be mercenaries. Which means we can intervene without "body counts" of dead soldiers. But more insidiously, it will create it's own pressure to intervene in places to keep the contractors - who will no doubt be campaign contributors - making money. Traditional military-industrial complex workforces can keep the dollars flowing simply during "times of threat" - ie, always. Mercenary forces will actually require conflict to keep the dollars flowing.


Would I want to be drafted? Nope. In a way, that's a big feature of staffing an army through the draft, rather than a flaw. A lot more people have to consider "would I like to die for this cause?" before we send anyone off to risk dying.

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 23, 2004 2:51 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Sauce for the goose?.

The next post in this blog is Ballplayer: manager should stop calling plays.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.31