Dispatches from the Creation Wars

This story is a bit dated, but in the wake of this week’s hearings on the Pentagon’s bucket full of lies and cover up of Pat Tillman’s real cause of death, it’s worth revisiting. Stan Goff, a former Rangers and Delta Force officer, fills in a lot of the details on some of his former compatriots and their appalling behavior in the Tillman situation, particularly focusing on Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, the special forces officer most responsible for the initial cover-up of Tillman’s death as fratricide.

Not only did Kauzlarich conspire to cover up the fratricide, this contemptible ghoul (to borrow PZ’s delightful phrase) and allegedly devout Christian then went on to attack the Tillman family for demanding that the truth be told and the cover up exposed. In light of the fact that the Pentagon now admits that there was a massive cover up and campaign to spread lies about Tillman’s death, the statements from Kauzlarich go to a whole new level of vile. Goff cites multiple statements from an interview that Kauzlarich gave to ESPN early last year:

But in the meantime, a recent ESPN.com exposé by Mike Fish aired an interview with Kauzlarich, who was the “cross commander” of the Rangers in Khoust, Afghanistan, in April 2004. Kauzlarich, in a stunning display of Christian empathy, blamed the family for continuing to ask questions about the circumstances of Pat’s death, and suggested that the reason they’d found no closure was that infidels such as themselves (the Tillmans did not belong to a church), when they die, are only “worm dirt.”…

“His parents continue to ask for it to be looked at,” Kauzlarich told Fish petulantly. “And that is really their prerogative. And if they have the right backing, the right powerful people in our government to continue to let it happen, then that is the case.”…

“But there [have] been numerous unfortunate cases of fratricide,” Kauzlarich told ESPN, “and the parents have basically said, ‘OK, it was an unfortunate accident.’ And they let it go. So this is–I don’t know, these people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs.”…

“When you die,” the Reverend Kauzlarich explained to ESPN’s Fish, “I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt.”…

“So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more,” continued Kauzlarich, “that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don’t know how an atheist thinks…. You know what? I don’t think anything will make them happy, quite honestly. I don’t know. Maybe they want to see somebody’s head on a platter. But will that really make them happy? No, because they can’t bring their son back.”

And if that doesn’t piss you off, I would suggest it’s time to recalibrate your outrage meters.

Comments

  1. #1 Ed S.
    April 28, 2007

    I agree – religion keeps people from asking too many questions.

  2. #2 Eamon Knight
    April 28, 2007

    No matter how many precautions are taken, there’s probably some irreducible level of fratricide associated with war — in trying to shoot at the enemy, inevitably you will occasionally shoot at the wrong target. It’s a tragedy within the larger tragedy that is war itself. So at a certain level, I agree that the soldiers and their families have to accept that fact. However, in the Tilman case the military covered it up. It dishonours the dead to be less than truthful about the circumstances of their death, and the family was quite right to insist on full disclosure. (And yes, Kauzlarich is YACG).

  3. #3 Jim Ramsey
    April 28, 2007

    I’m reasonably familiar with the Bible and I know that there are parts that advocate submission to political authority, but there are also major sections in both the Old and New Testaments that identify God with truth and light. In these contexts, light is used in a very broad metaphorical sense.

    Given that and Kauzlarich’s explicit statement of his religious affiliation, I would like him to explain how lying in the service of political authority is scriptural. For starters, “bearing false witness” is a violation of the 10 commandments.

    There never was a good reason to lie to the family of Pat Tillman. It’s a sad fact that if you send people out in risky and murky conditions with tools that are specifically designed to kill people, bad things can happen. But that’s no excuse for being dishonest.

  4. #4 Janine
    April 28, 2007

    Wow! Atheists are damned either with this logic. Because we do not believe in a deity, we also believe that life is equally meaningless. Or because of their is no afterlife, we get overly concerned when someone dies. We cannot win with this kind of insane troll logic.

  5. #5 Stuart Coleman
    April 28, 2007

    He can’t understand how an atheist thinks, but I can’t understand how he can suspend all logic and rationality and actually believe the crap that religion entails. He’s obviously an idiot so his bigoted comments don’t mean much to me.

  6. #6 ZacharySmith
    April 28, 2007

    Perhaps LTC Kauzlarich didn’t consider the possibility that the Tillman family is so pissed off because they were, ya know, lied to?

    I think everyone, athiest and beliver alike, gets a little irritated when they are told lies. But I guess this concept is too difficult for the good LTC to comprehend.

    But his comments bring up an interesting twist – athiests (supposedly exemplified by the Tillman familty) are more appeciative of the value of life than Kauzlarich, who apparently doesn’t have much trouble with the squandering of a life.

  7. #7 Rob
    April 28, 2007

    I love how he assumues that “when you die the is supposedly a better life,” but fails to remember that under that same belief system only those who fulfill specific obligations will actually experience that “better life” and the rest are subject to eternal torture. I imagine he thinks Pat Tillman was going to Hell anyway, so in that case, wouldn’t it be better to just be worm dirt?

  8. #8 raj
    April 28, 2007

    I suppose I should be floored by this report, but for some reason it just seems par for the course.

    Worm dirt? I thought that it was ashes to ashes & dust to dust. And, by the way if

    “When you die,” the Reverend Kauzlarich explained to ESPN’s Fish, “I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right?

    why don’t they all just commit suicide, get the the “better life,” and leave the rest of us alone?

  9. #9 Chuck
    April 28, 2007

    These people are scum. The hearings at Congress on the Tillman death made one thing clear: the Bushies and their fundamentalist allies were looking for a way to rally support, and the heroic death of an All-American football star in the line of battle against the enemy is a convenient propaganda story. Naomi Klein has a column in the Guardian on the steps that America has taken down the road to totalitarianism. It is a thought-provoking, albeit alarmist, piece. Setting up a propaganda apparatus and telling lies in order to drum up patriotic fervor, as well as blurring the line between loyalty to the state and religiosity, are all trademark tactics in the fascist’s handbook.

    These people are shameless, unapologetic liars, and they should be driven out of Washington.

  10. #10 Emory K.
    April 28, 2007

    I strongly recommend the video clip linked below. At the recent House hearings, Rep. Henry Waxman invited Mary Tillman, Pat’s mother, to comment on the “worm dirt” remarks. Nothing we could write here could ever be as effective as hearing and seeing the mother comment on how hurtful those remarks are:

    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/04/24/pats-worm-dirt/

  11. #11 386sx
    April 28, 2007

    “I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt.”

    What happens if a bucket full of money doesn’t appear every time we need cash? Well, if we don’t believe in that, then no buckets full of money! Whoah dude, that is pretty hard to get your head around that.

    “So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more,” continued Kauzlarich, “that is pretty hard to get your head around that.

    Whoah dude, that’s really deep. Whoooooooaaaaaah duuude.

  12. #12 Johnny
    April 28, 2007

    Thanks to Rep. Henry Waxman for following this incident up during Reform Committee hearnings:
    REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA), GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Did you examine these comments as part of your investigation?
    THOMAS GIMBLE, ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Well, we did not investigate those comments. I saw the comments in the paper. And, frankly, I was shocked by them, too. But we didn’t investigate.
    BRIGADIER GENERAL RODNEY JOHNSON, COMMANDING GENERAL, ARMY CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION COMMAND: Sir, I don’t know of any regulation prohibiting that, but I find it totally unacceptable.
    WAXMAN: Is there anything such as a conduct unbecoming a member of the United States armed services?
    JOHNSON: There is such a charge as conduct unbecoming an officer, yes, sir.
    WAXMAN: Yes, well that sounds like it’s a pretty unbecoming statement for an officer to have made.

  13. #13 beepbeepitsme
    April 28, 2007

    It is understandable to me that during war when someone is killed that the military might paint a “nicer picture” than is reality for the family or friends of the person killed.

    I would be reasonably confident that happens and has happened throughout history. However, there is a difference between trying to assurge the pain of the dead soldier’s relatives by intimating that their son/daughter died bravely, nobly and honorably and using a soldier’s death as a propoganda tool to justify the conflict.

    The first action is done to try and ameleorate the pain of a loved one’s death – the second action is done to politically benefit from it.

  14. #14 Sariade
    April 28, 2007

    Worm dirt?? Poor Mrs. Tillman. Well, you can’t expect anything better from the psychopaths that infest the world, and especially the United States government Psychopaths have no thought or care for anything or anyone except what saves or increases their personal position.

    There is nothing new here, however much pain has been caused to the Tillman family. This is a pattern that repeats throughout history. Lies and cover-ups aren’t special to Bush and his fellow psychopaths. Until we begin to understand the deeper dynamics of the pattern we will fall victim to it over and over. There is an excellent article here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2yy3ra

    talking about a book titled Political Ponerology: a Science on the Nature of Evil, Adjusted for Political Purposes, by Dr. Andrew Lobacewski. He did his work in Poland while living under both the Nazi and Stalinist governments. Research of the most up close and personal sort.

    It’s a mouthful of a title, but it is the most cogent explanation I’ve ever found, of the mechanisms by which psychopaths manage to take power over and over throughout history. Truly, those who fail to ***understand*** the past are doomed to repeat it.

    Highly recommended. Get it here: http://www.redpillpress.com

  15. #15 Grady
    April 29, 2007

    Yeah, Tilman was an atheist.

    But thats not what bugs me.

    What bugs me that he was a gung ho nut job.

    At least he demonstrated that atheists have no problem with killing.

  16. #16 daenku32
    April 29, 2007

    It is quite hard not to wish things to happen to Kauzlarich that would likely put me on secret service’s watch list.

  17. #17 Tim B.
    April 29, 2007

    Here’s what’s bothered me nearly my entire 54 years: the ubiquitous, unreflecting presumption among about 100% of the Southerners I’ve lived around that Christianity is what everyone believes, with the first question asked of a stranger, “Well, what church do you attend?” Kauzlarich exemplifies this phenonmenon. To make such a remark as he did presumes an implicit social protection and agreement, that it goes without saying atheism is foolish, laughable, and deserving of callous insult.

    His self-satisfied and mean-spirited philosophy of life should strike all thoughtful, fair-minded people as a social cancer, as a twisted form of Christianity. The only problem with atheism is that it provides no hell after death for such human demons as Kauzlarich (my version of such a hell would be one that is temporary and rehabilitative).

    I have hope that the newest crop of adults will be a more tolerant group. Kauzlarich is doing his part to make Christianity something that young people would reject out of a simple excercize of conscience and decency.

  18. #18 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2007

    Here’s what’s bothered me nearly my entire 54 years: the ubiquitous, unreflecting presumption among about 100% of the Southerners I’ve lived around that Christianity is what everyone believes,

    Not this Southerner.

    Yeah, Tilman was an atheist.

    But thats not what bugs me.

    What bugs me that he was a gung ho nut job.

    At least he demonstrated that atheists have no problem with killing.

    Sorry to feed a troll, especially this one (legion), but…

    Did you even think before you typed that? If past commenting in all of your forms is any indication, no is the answer.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see that kind of myopic stupidity out of you but I am. Don’t you suppose the vast majority of the people 1. Supporting this war, 2. fighting in this war 3. and most importantly that got us into this war are Believers in your Christian religion?

    Sheesh… Grady you are a grade A idiot.

    sorry for feeding the troll, but that was just too stupid to pass by.

  19. #19 slpage
    April 30, 2007

    Tillman showed that one need not be a fundy flag waver to be patriotic, and from what I have read, he was not gung ho about the war, as such, at all.

    This Kauzlarich idiot… People like him make me feel ashamed to be a veteran.

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