Firestorm

Firestorm

Firestorm

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
May 23 2005 6:38 PM

Firestorm

Bloggers discuss the Army investigation into the death of Pat Tillman, President Bush's affinity for John Lewis Gaddis, and the departure of Daniel Okrent from the New York Times.

Firestorm:The parents of celebrated NFL-player-turned-Army-Ranger Pat Tillman are "lashing out against the Army, saying the military's investigations into Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan last year were a sham," reports the Washington Post. The parents allege that the Army "scripted" a more heroic story "because of the devastating public relations loss his death represented for the military."

"I wish I could say that I'm shocked that the Army...and in the context of the GWOT, I mean the administration...could so cold-heartedly use the death of a soldier to further their flag-waving, bullshit agenda, but my shock-o-meter broke long ago," writesDaily Kos contributor BarbinMD. "How many other families will never know the truth about the death of their loved one? We'll never know."

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The Army investigation is harvesting some criticism from conservatives, too. "Tillman's grieving parents want the soldiers who shot him punished, want the Army punished, want restitution for the tragic end of their son," writes the esteemed John Podhoretz at the National Review Online's group blog The Corner. "Part of the horror of a tragedy, however, is that it is not a crime, and therefore there is no restitution possible." Podhoretz quotes an anonymous Corner reader, who writes, "It is a betrayal of the trust and nobility that so many of our soldiers exhibit, and which is so crucial to public support of the military and its campaigns. At Thought Mechanics, Scott Jones, an avid fan of Tillman's since his football days at Arizona State, agrees, calling the secretive investigation "an act of cowardice. It was an assault on the dignity of all men and women in uniform. And it was a slap in the face to the Tillman family."

"The fact that it was later disclosed that his death was caused by friendly fire isn't the shock — it's the fact the Army kept this knowledge from the family while promoting a false one," avers Alex DeLarge at avowedly contrarian Martini Republic. "The Army got its mythical heroic death publicly aired. Pat Tillman, Sr.'s comments are to me the telling ones with this administration, 'Maybe lying's not such a big deal any more.'"

Read more about the Post story on the Tillman family.

Does John Gaddis have a story for you…:In a speech delivered at Middlebury College in late April, Yale professor and frequent Bush critic John Lewis Gaddis recounted his great surprise at the warm reception of his work by President Bush and his administration in several recent meetings. His story—of Bush's enthusiasm for critical literature and apparent eagerness to engage it personally—was merely the prologue to a speech on the president's foreign policy, but it nevertheless has intrigued politico-bloggers from all corners.

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"Changing the world, one professor at a time," approves libertarian Eric at Classical Values. Others think it's not the transformation of Gaddis, but a new image of the president, that resonates. "Bush apparently got interested in what Gaddis had to say based on his book. Which means yes, Bush actually reads, and he listens to well-reasoned critics. He made his staff read it too," writes "warmongering neo-conservative" The Ten O'Clock Scholar, who also posts a transcript. "And this book was not about the liberal media or how wonderful George Bush's policies are - far from it," notes Avedon, guest-blogging at liberal hangout Atrios. "… I am flabbergasted." At Wampum, progressive EBW flips past the prologue and dissects the substance of the speech.

Read more about Gaddis' speech.

Public editor returns to private life: Daniel Okrent bid farewell to the New York Times Sunday in his last column as the paper's public editor, "13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did." Okrent outlines some regrets and missteps and predicts that his legacy won't be altered editorial policy or even restored public faith, but his inauguration of the position. "When I move on, my successor will know how to do the job," he writes, "and the people at The Times will know how to deal with it."

"Thanks to Okrent for taking on a tough job at a tough time at the top paper," glowsLaw Dork Chris Geidner, a recent law-school grad. "He … left the paper – and all papers – with a model for pushing againt the institutional inertia inherent in today's corporate newspapers." W.C. Varones loves the "refreshing" final column, which baldly states many of Okrent's complaints about his patrons. At Rantingprofs, Chapel Hill academic Cori Dauber also mourns the departure of the Times' first ombudsman—and the miniature treatment he gives the slew of topics in his final column. "It would have been wonderful indeed if Okrent had spent those alternating weeks writing on these topics, and anyone particularly driven to have their say in response -- well, there's always the blogosphere," she writes.

Read more blog posts about Okrent's final column.

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