Stupid deaths

Can the termination of a life EVER be intelligent? Probably not, but it can serve a purpose. The father drowning to save a son, or the firefighter giving his life to save victims of a disaster are performing the ultimate giving.

I just finished reading Jon Krakauer’ “Where men win glory”, despite the title an exceedingly interesting account of the life and death of Patrick Tillman, a young football star who gave up his sports career to serve as an enlisted man after 9/11 and lost his life in Afghanistan.

I am not sure I share the positive halo Krakauer projects around Tillman’ decision, nor I am sure I could separate my political views from the making of such a decision, especially in the US system where the President is also the supreme military commander – in all likelyhood, therefore, I could never have found myself in the shoes of Patrick Tillman.

The story however is not one of a soldier giving his life for his country, however underserved this sacrifice might appear from the outside; it is a tale of a soldier accidently killed by friendly fire, as – according to statistics cited in the book – were 29% of all Americans who died in WW2, or 39% of those who lost their lives in Vietnam or, shockingly, 52% of the casualties in the first Gulf War.

The most sophisticated military in the world is consistently responsible for around half of the casualties it suffered in any major conflict: it’s a sad truth that all the billions spent on military are actually worsening the probability boys sent to war are killed by their own comrades. Or maybe it speaks volumes about the real priorities of generals.

I am sorry for Pat Tillman, his wife and brother, his parents and friends. But his death was the stupidest testimony of the stupidest activity mankind can engage into.


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