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Fragging Rights

July 28, 2007

The ever more disturbing Pat Tillman saga is predictably stirring rage across the blogosphere. Most just want to know the truth about a seeming White House cover-up that may include the horrible possibility that Tillman was "fragged," that is, purposely killed by his fellow troops in Afghanistan. But while the Tillman affair is spawning conspiracy theories on all sides, it is once again drawing attention to some conservatives' apparent comfort with fragging itself.
Over at ThinkProgress, Iraq veteran and VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz simply wants President Bush to tell the truth. Instead of hiding behind the incomprehensible cloak of executive privilege, Soltz asks the President to reveal what and when he knew about a case which "could start to have serious repercussions with internal confidence in the Armed Forces." Offering a voice of reason, Soltz further warns, "It is inevitable, then, that unless the President comes clean, rumors about Tillman's death will take hold."
Which, sadly, is exactly what is happening. Continued stonewalling from the Bush administration is fueling speculation that the White House didn't merely cover up Tillman's death by friendly fire for its propaganda purposes. Over at DailyKos, a few diarists are theorizing that Pat Tillman may have been fragged for his opposition to the Iraq war, his support of John Kerry and other of his political views. One tin foil hat wearer goes so far as to ponder whether Tillman was assassinated on "Cheney's or Rumsfeld's orders."
In response, the conservative blog Little Green Footballs assails such rumor-mongering for what it deems "conspiracy thinking and deranged hatred." Which is rather ironic, given the deranged hatred and positively enthusiastic support for selective fragging by some mouthpieces of the right.
Take the case of Ann Coulter. In June 2006, Coulter was asked about the decorated Vietnam veteran and early advocate for American withdrawal from Iraq, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). Her response calmly suggested he be murdered: Murtha was "the reason soldiers invented 'fragging.'"
The latest episode of the right's apparent comfort with fragging surrounds Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the New Republic's recently revealed Baghdad Diarist. Beauchamp, currently serving with the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, has described horrifying tales of the cruelty of U.S. soldiers (including himself) to Iraqi civilians, animals and even each other.
All of which set off bouts of apoplexy within the conservative blogosphere. As Jon Swift details, the right-wing amen corner called Beauchamp everything from a fabulist and fraud to a traitor and criminal. And it didn't take long before the not so thinly veiled threats began to flow. While one announced "the persecution begins," another seemingly endorsed retribution against Beauchamp by his fellow soldiers:

"Now you need to get busy watching your back, 'cuz if you think you were disliked and unloved before...Heh."

Meanwhile, wingnut and moonbat alike will engage in frenzied speculation about the death of NFL star and Ranger Pat Tillman until the Bush White House at long last tells the truth. But while most across the political spectrum are united in their horror that Tillman may have intentionally been killed by his own troops, some conservative voices will continue to claim fragging rights.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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