Posts Tagged ‘Jon Krakauer’
, a best-selling author famous for his non-fictional and biographical writing, has written a new book tackling a very difficult issue in the world today. His main topic in his new book “ : The Odyssey of ”, is the epic rise and fall of star . However, the there is so much more to the book than an extraordinary . The author talks in-depth about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the life of a soldier from start to finish, and politics of the world for approximately the last 30 years. Krakauer has obviously done his homework while writing this book the result is a second-to-none, non-fictional account of an exceptional person.
Pat Tillman was a very active young boy with his brother Kevin while they were growing up in California. Both were athletic and aggressive and always outside playing. Kevin eventually went on to play minor league baseball which never amounted to much while Pat went on to have a greatcareer in college and the pros. Tillman played at Arizona State University where he gained much attention as an undersized but extremely aggressive defender. Eventually, his fearless attitude and reckless demeanor on the field caught the attention of scouts and after his senior year he joined with the Arizona Cardinals. No one even expected him to make the team due to his small stature.
Tillman showed up in a big way during training camp, starting a few practice games at safety, and eventually earning a spot in the starting defensive lineup. Every year he seemed to get better as he was hitting running backs and receivers with all he had and gaining recognition as one of the best safeties in the. While he kept getting better and working harder in the NFL though, there were other issues that were going on in the world that were weighing heavily on Pat’s mind. Specifically, the United States had just gone to war with Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 and the United States was very uneasy and angry at the Taliban and other extremist groups.
Tillman was so moved by the attacks on American soil and the decision to hunt down the Taliban that he decided to drop his illustrious NFL career and join the Army Rangers. Pat was due to receive a massive pay raise in the NFL and had just married his wife, but there was a burning desire in him to do what he though was right, and that was to go overseas and fight for his country. Also, he was not going alone. Pat recruited his brother Kevin to join him. Kevin easily dropped his minor league baseball career and joined the same Army Ranger class as his brother allowing them to serve together for their entire time in the Army.
The Army was not what Pat and Kevin had expected when they left their family and friends back in California to fight for their country. What they found was a bunch of immature, annoying kids who had no other prospects in life except to join the Army so they could have a paycheck. The Tillman brothers, along with some other older gentlemen in their class, were constantly telling the young guys to quiet down and act their age. Even though they were always annoyed by the immaturity around them, they always thought about the prospect of going into battle and knowing what it is like to fight for your own life while trying to take someone else’s life from them. This idea really excited Pat and Kevin and kept them going the whole time. Also, Pat knew that his loving wife was waiting for him at home, and every night Pat would write in his journal how he missed his wife and her undying love for him. Pat wanted nothing more than to return home to her and live the life he should not have left behind.
One of Krakauer’s main points in this book is how the government uses military information and manipulates it for their own good. For example, Krakauer talks in depth about the Jessica Lynch case in Iraq. Lynch supposedly was trapped in an Iraqi hospital fighting for her life and being tortured by the Iraqi forces, but this was not the case at all. This idea of Lynch fighting for her life was fabricated by high-ranking government official directly under the command of George Bush. If Bush and his officials could use Lynch to their advantage and make her look like an admirable American who somehow survived the worst conditions possible, the rest of the American public would build morale and support the war and the Bush Administration more.
Krakauer uses the Jessica Lynch example as a building block to the death of Pat Tillman. Pat and his brother Kevin were driving in a convoy of military vehicles in a hostile part of Afghanistan when one of their Humvee vehicles broke down and needed a tow truck. The Army has a policy where a military vehicle can never be left behind where the enemy can capture it, so the men had to sit around and figure out how to get the vehicle out of enemy territory. Eventually, commanders of Pat’s group demanded that the group split into two smaller groups, leaving both of them vulnerable, so the truck could be brought to a main road and a small town nearby could also be cleared of Taliban fighters by sundown. Everyone in Pat’s group thought this was a bad idea, but had to continue since they cannot disobey orders from people ranking higher than them selves.
The decision to break the group up proved to be ill-fated very quickly. Pat’s group was quickly amed by Taliban forces shooting from higher ground, causing pure chaos among the young and inexperienced group of Rangers. The Rangers mostly left their vehicles as taught in training and Tillman and another soldier ran to higher ground to get a better angle on the action. Radio communication was non-existent since everyone was trying to talk and yell at once. Many of the soldiers started firing upward blindly and were said to be “trigger-happy”. One of the younger soldiers in charge of an automatic gun mounted on one of the vehicles started shooting upward in Pat’s direction causing him to panic and wave his arms. What happened next is one of the most controversial events from the war with Afghanistan and still is secretive until this day.
While Pat Tillman and his fellow Ranger were hiding on the hilltop behind a small boulder, waving their arms frantically for the other Rangers to stop shooting at them, Tillman was struck three times in the head above his eyebrow. There was no doubt that he died instantly, and all of the Rangers had to decide what to do with his body. They decided not to tell his brother, Kevin, and leave him in the dark about the mysterious body being brought down from the hilltop well within Kevin’s view. Only much later did Kevin and Pat’s remaining family find out that Pat was killed by friendly fire. Needless to say, Pat’s family was beyond angry. Not only was he killed by friendly fire, he was not treated according to standard Army protocol. His clothes were burned before his autopsy to hide evidence, and his autopsy was never signed-off on due to mysterious clues that the medical examiner cited and disagreed with. Despite all of the mistreatment of the American hero that was Pat Tillman, Bush and his fellow administrators saw an excellent opportunity to make another fine example out of Pat Tillman, exactly like Jessica Lynch in Iraq.
Tillman’s funeral and burial were shown on every major news station, even ESPN. Nothing about his mistreatment and death by friendly-fire were mentioned or made clear, leading on the American public that Tillman died by the hands of a Taliban soldier. Investigations were being carried out by the Army and monitored by the Tillman family, but high-ranking military officials were lying to everyone just so they could save their jobs and reputations. The soldiers responsible for actually killing Pat said that they were just doing their job and never once said that they might have been a little trigger-happy. The worst part is, most of these soldiers and commanders who lied received little or no reprimand except a possible demotion from the Army Rangers to the general Army. Pat’s mom and brother continued to press the Army to come up with answers and admit to the wrongdoing over the past several years, but still there has not been much responsibility taken by anyone in the Army.
Pat Tillman will go down in history as a model American. There are not many people in this world who would give up over three million dollars to go fight for his/her life in a country such as Afghanistan. Not only did Pat give up so much money, but he gave up valuable time with his beloved wife, friends, and family. Now, instead of remembering him for the brave soldier, amazing football player, good friend, and loving husband he was, they will also have to bear with the fact that he should still be alive and there is a huge gray cloud overshadowing the last days of his life. Krakauer has done an excellent job portraying Pat Tillman as a legend of our time, but as a human being as well. His insight into Tillman’s private life, his personal journals, and memories from Pat’s friends and family give a perfect picture of how Pat Tillman lived his life. This book, while long, is rated an easy 5 out of 5.