What would you call Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinal football player killed in Afghanistan? A hero? An inspiring example of American military men and women? A model of principled strength?
How about a "dumb jock"? A "baby killer"? A "dumb-a--"? A victim of "brainwashing"?
If you were a regular reader of Indymedia.org, odds are that you'd put him in the latter group. You'd think that Pat Tillman was a boob, a complete dimwit at best -- you might even believe that Pat Tillman was an evil person and deserved what he got.
Indymedia.org has 50 local chapters in the United States. Forty-four of them made no mention of Pat Tillman's death. The other six celebrated it.
The Portland, Ore., chapter of Indymedia.org posted the news of Tillman's death accompanied by this headline: "Dumb Jock Killed in Afghanistan." Some who posted comments suggested alternate titles for the piece, like "Privileged Millionaire, Blinded by Nationalist Mythology, Pisses Away the Good Life," "Cottled Sports Star Allows Nationalism to Foster Jingoistic Irresponsibility Resulting in His Death," and "Capitalist Chooses to Kill Innocents Instead of Cashing Check."
Others made comments on the site comparing Tillman to a Nazi and accusing him of responsibility for "the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands of Afghan civilians." "Karma sure is a b----, isn't it, Tillman?" one sneered.
The Urbana-Champaign, Ill., chapter of Indymedia.org posted two articles about Tillman. One carried the headline "Pat Tillman is gone good riddance." The other labeled all soldiers "dumb-a--(es)."
The North Carolina Indymedia chapter also posted a piece labeling soldiers like Tillman "dumb-a--(es)" and added that Tillman was killed during a "baby-killing raid." San Francisco Indymedia posted the same piece. St. Louis Indymedia stated that Tillman was "brainwashed by the 'patriotism.'"
One commenter on the Washington, D.C., Indymedia site wrote this: "I saw the Post this morning, on the front page. It was sickening. They built this guy up like he was Audie Murphy or something, publishing this foto of him in his Ranger getup, all tough-looking and stony-jawed, like a goddamn' recruiting ad ... Puke-o-rama. Cold as it may sound, 'Dumb Jock Dies for Pipeline in Afghanistan' pretty much sums it up."