I ADMIT that when I heard the Olbermann teaser about Tillman being fragged I was downright dismissive. He was a Ranger, fer chrissakes. These aren't draftees. Okay, somebody still might have wanted him dead, but...people overreact. Surgeons aren't forensic pathologists (this seems a difficult lesson to learn in the US of A, where "doctor" means either "wise man" or "right-wing schlub with a mail order degree in Religious Education and a jumbo box of business cards."
But, then, holy shit. There wasn't any enemy fire to mistake. As far as we can ever know the truth of something printed in the newspaper, that's exactly what it sounds like happened.
Like the man said, an army is paid to break things and kill people. That must never be forgotten in a democracy, though it's been well-camouflaged since Vietnam, another piece of the post-war cabbala: everyone in uniform is a hero, no one in service to his country could commit an atrocity, and if he does, well, it wasn't really an atrocity. The only people who can talk like that either never served or are psychopaths themselves. Guns, and badges, and uniforms will be used as weapons of personal diplomacy. The unfettered ability to spy or wiretap will be abused. The brass will cover its ass. It's hard to believe anyone who's ever even worked in a large corporation can miss that point.
Two days ago I watched both local and national news breathlessly report on the DHS Dry Run Memo. Last night I watched it get stomped, reduced to a leaky ice pack and a couple of cheese logs. Quelle surprise! The original report conceded no one had been arrested, or even connected--which in LE parlance would have meant "in any way this side of so remote it could not be described in English". None of those stories had made The News when they occurred, in an era where abandoned toiletries in an airport restroom merit a CNN wall-to-wall. But they wound up reported as fact, meaning they wound up reported without anyone bothering to check. If we haven't learned to suspect every word coming from the vicinity of the Bush administration by this point, what hope is there?
Of course, I'm old enough to remember the same experiences with the Nixon and Reagan administrations, though in those days I usually attributed the "Whoa, the ground floor of Reality has collapsed into the basement!" feeling to something else. It astonishes me that anything could make Reagan seem relatively benign, or that when I read a headline (erroneous) that Tony Snow said comparing Nixon and Bush was a stretch, I have to ask "Which direction did he mean?" Still, I wonder when, if, and what will eventually be found out about this administration, and what they tried to lock away about the previous two Republican presidents. Just as the Army brass stood at Pat Tillman's funeral while knowing the whole thing was fabricated, I'm all but convinced--to use just one example--that the administration knew who sent the anthrax bombs, probably within days of the attack on the Capitol, and the big question is: Which of the possible explanations is the right one? There's an XL roll of tinfoil in