The April 21 death in combat of Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety who turned down a $3.6 million contract to join the Army Rangers in the fall of 2001 is one of those events that reminds us that heroism is still alive and well in America. Tillman had put his lucrative football career on hold because something else had stirred him: the appalling 3,000 U.S. deaths on Sept. 11 of that year. He joined the same platoon as his brother Kevin, a former minor-league baseball player. Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan, onetime headquarters of Al Qaeda, the terrorist group that plotted and carried out the 9/11 attacks. The one thing to be said about Tillman’s death was that he died doing something for a noble cause that he believed in–and that’s about the best kind of death to die.

All America mourned Tillman’s death–all America, that is, except our radical, hate-spewing yet media-beloved left, which deemed the young hero’s passing to be cause for much mockery and good fun. The leader of the pack was Indymedia, the website that’s always at the forefront of deriding America. On a page posting the Washington Post’s front-page story about Tillman’s death under the headline (not the Post’s) “Dumb Jock Killed in Afghanistan,” the Oregon Chapter of Indymedia posted the following comments (collected and quoted verbatim by the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto):

“Tillman chose to go to Afghanistan. He’s partially reponsible for the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands of Afghan civilians. No need to feel sorry for him, other than feeling bad that he was brainwashed into serving as a grunt.”

“it’s amazing the kind of attention this insignificant incident is going to cause. well, he was rich, white, and an american. 10,000 (brown) iraqis get killed, and it barely merits a mention in the american news. how utterly f—ing sad.”

“To be honest I wish I could feel sorry for the guy, but the truth is I really feel nothing at all. To many have died and too much money has flowed into the pockets of Dick Cheney to even worry about it.”

“if he ‘sacrificed’ anything it was his common sense. He had a good American thing going and blew it.”

Taranto does add the following:

“In fairness, not all posters agree.’I’d like to correct the ridiculous headline that preceeds this story,’ writes one: ‘Brave American sacrifices friends, family and fortune in defense of his country. Pigs on IndyMedia can now continue to exercise free speech, sacrifice nothing and spew hate.'”

Around the same time that Taranto posted, Marvin Olasky of did his own survey of Indymedia’s Tillman pages, and posted his report:

“ 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 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, P—es 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 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.'”

You might wish to read more of the Tillman hate-postings on the Indymedia pages (if you have the stomach for them)–except that the Oregon chapter of Indymedia decided to erase all the postings that Taranto, Olasky, and others in the outraged blogosphere had collected and reposted on their own sites. Mind you, however, the Oregon Indymedia people weren’t finally showing a little decency toward the young man’s relatives and admirers. They were angry because someone had dared reveal their nasty musings to the general public! The Oregon chapter huffs on its website:

“The person who re-posted the article about Pat Tillman is not known and can not be known to the volunteer facilitators of this site.”

Oh dear, we can’t have the right gaining access to our real thoughts, can we? Nonetheless, Tillman-bashing continues apace on the Oregon chapter’s page. Here are some samples from yesterday and today:

“But he’s still another dumb killer–not a hero and so are the lame excuses for human beings that parade in old uniforms expecting to be treated as anything other than psychopathic killer pawns used and discarded by a devilish elite that laughs at their naivete.”

“By the way, Tillman NEVER ‘defended’ our country. He went overseas to ATTACK a FOREIGN country. There’s a very important difference. So he is an INVADER – not a ‘DEFENDER’.”

Fortunately, the page also contains many postings from those who, thanks to Taranto, Olasky, and others in the blogosphere, can see the Indymedia vileness for what it is.