In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich: The holier than thou American warrior

The American Lieutenant Colonel who said Pat Tillman's family thinks their son is "worm dirt" has something in common with with Islamic jihadists.

The American Lieutenant Colonel who said Pat Tillman’s family thinks their son is “worm dirt” has something in common with with Islamic jihadists.

I was thinking about writing about belief in the hereafter and how destructive it can be after I listened to an NPR show about a small neighborhood in Moroccan village which sent as many as 30 jihadist suicide bombers to Iraq. ( Listen here. )

I knew I had to write about this when I heard about the Lt. Colonel who thought that the family of Pat Tillman was not at peace with his death because they are atheists who believe their son is now “worm dirt.”

He said that they found it hard for them to get their heads around Pat’s dying “for nothing.”

My understanding is that Pat felt he was fighting and risking death for his country, but apparently this officer thinks that is “nothing”.

Islamic jihadist martyrs aren’t afraid to die because they believe that a special honored place in Heaven awaits them. They certainly kill those they consider infidels, or unbelievers, with relish.

Granted it is certainly far less extreme, but being convinced that Heaven exists can, in thankfully rare instances, lead to repugnant thinking and hurtful comments.

Mary Tillman, Pat’s mother, testified on Tuesday in the hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she was “appalled” by comments from Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, an officer in Tillman’s unit, who suggested that the family was not at peace with pat’s death because they are atheists who believe their son is now “worm dirt.”

Rep. Henry Waxman, aghast, suggested Kauzlarich’s remarks should be punished as “conduct unbecoming an officer.”

It was also terribly unbecoming of a Christian.

This is what Kauzlarich is quoted as saying in an artile on ESPN.COM:

“When you die, 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 — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don’t know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough.”

Asked by whether the Tillmans’ religious beliefs are a factor in the ongoing investigation, Kauzlarich said, “I think so. There is not a whole lot of trust in the system or faith in the system [by the Tillmans]. So that is my personal opinion, knowing what I know.”

Asked what might finally placate the family, Kauzlarich said, “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.” LINK

I think the majority of our soldiers are like most of the Muslim members of the Iraqi army in that they believe in God and Heaven, only they are Christians.

They are fighting side by side for a God and country of peace.

However I think there are some, hopefully a very few, Christians in our military who are more like the al Qaeda jihadists than they would ever admit. They may think all Muslims are unbelievers, and are intolerant of those who believe differently than they do. They are callously insensitive to their feelings.

I don’t know whether Pat Tillman believed in God or Heaven. His brother has been quoted as saying that Pat wasn’t a religious man.

I agree with Henry Waxman that this holier than thou Lt. Colonel should be formally disciplined for making this remark.

35 thoughts on “Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich: The holier than thou American warrior”

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  2. I used to think Christians were good people who were easily misled. I’ve come to understand this is NOT the case. If Christians were good people, they would be OUTRAGED at their leaders and our government for all the sickening, debauched crimes too numerous to mention. And they would be DARN WORRIED that their God might actually hold them ACCOUNTABLE for their actions, like they claim will happen to all their adversaries. And it’s not like Christians haven’t had plenty of time to mobilize, organize and fight for truth, peace, justice and fairness. What do they do instead?? NOTHING.

    Naw, the more WRONG these jerks are, the more self-righteous they get.

  3. I used to think Christians were good people who were easily misled. I’ve come to understand this is NOT the case. If Christians were good people, they would be OUTRAGED at their leaders and our government for all the sickening, debauched crimes too numerous to mention. And they would be DARN WORRIED that their God might actually hold them ACCOUNTABLE for their actions, like they claim will happen to all their adversaries. And it’s not like Christians haven’t had plenty of time to mobilize, organize and fight for truth, peace, justice and fairness. What do they do instead?? NOTHING.

    Naw, the more WRONG these jerks are, the more self-righteous they get.

  4. Apparently he made a fairly grave mistake, which got piled on top of a lot of even more serious mistakes.
    I don’t venture to say I know what goes through your friend’s mind when he learns that a fellow soldier doesn’t share the same religious zeal that he does.

    I do daresay however that I know a great many religious zealots in positions of authority who believe that every action and statement they make are infallible, up until the point where it becomes obvious that they’re not.

    The responses from your colleague were predictable. I could have set my watch by them.

  5. As a retired LTC and Vietnam vet, I heartily agree with the writer above that some LTCs are nitwits. Thankfully, there are not many. Any officer with such an appalling lack of concern for the parents of a soldier killed in combat is not fit for command or to be an Army spokesman on anything. He should retire immediately.

  6. The colonel’s remarks should remind us all that even in the mid-level officer ranks in the military services there are a fair share of “small minds.” Why do I say that? As a retired military veteran, I had the misfortune to serve under several that fall into this category. They tend to be self-righteous, know-it-alls, disrespectful of other’s opinions, and generally not regarded as an effective leader. (I served under one who was eventually relieved of duty himself for “being too high level of a thinker for his position.” Translation: many orders and directives bordered on the questionable or down right wrong!) So, I would not get too upset about Lt. Col. Kauzlarich’s remarks: just consider the type of person that engages in this type “thinking” and be thankful that he is in a distinct minority in our military services.

  7. Mistakes are being made in this administration and this senseless war, and the errant ones have yet to really own up to them, as we’ve seen in the current investigations.

    I’m tired of it! Colllective ineptness has no place this high up!

    Truth hurts!

  8. …put the oil under the Muslims? Huh. Maybe He/She was testing the Christians? Could be. I see that the Christians have failed this test in the last seven years, because they’ve treated everyone like crap.

    Having a highly religious whacko Christian military like the Bush Regime has made it over the past few years is not good for our nation and our planet. Exclaiming that a soldier died for nothing because he didn’t accept God as his Savior or what have you is obscene. In fact, the last seven years have been obscene! Remember…

    “Money trumps peace!” is the new Christian mantra, and we wonder why Pat Tillman didn’t accept this? Can’t say I blame him.

    What happened to Pat Tillman was despicable. Covering up a soldier’s death and then telling his family he’s nothing but worm dirt reeks of Bush Totalitarian brainwashing….

  9. >>>This Christian ‘nut case’ officer is just a typical example of the illiterate, boorish mentality that is presently plaguing our military.

    By the way, this Christian nut case officer is currently spending about 19-20 hours per day commanding about 700 of our finest troops in battle in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Iraq while most of us are sipping latte and debating politics. And he’s a damn bit more intelligent than the average joe on the street. As mentioned in my earlier email, I know Ralph well. I would choose to serve with him in combat again. He made a mistake in an interview, that’s all.

  10. It seems to me that Lt. Col. Kauzlarich’s remark reflects his belief that our soldiers are in Iraq and Afghanistan performing a “mission from God”. The reality is a bit different. Being an American patriot does not require the belief that we’re on God’s side or that He’s on our side.

  11. The Tillman Family and Jessica Lynch only want the public to see an example of how this administration and the military lie to the people. Its basicly one big lie starting with the socalled election in 2000.

    Its the intent that they are trying to display to the american people. The intent of the Bushco and the Military to decieve everyone about everything. Just look at the people congress interviews. They either take the fifth, quit and disappear, or just can’t recall. Rice just said she wouldn’t testify before congress. Its because she is lying about everything they question.

    Tillmans and Lynch just want the truth and I think for the liars to stop the lying that never seems to stop.

  12. The pernicious infiltration of the US military by Christian fundamentalists ought to give any person pause. But the conflating of behaviors without an understanding of the causal elements doesn’t add clarity in understanding the threat. The center of the debate must be about fundamentalist determinism, America as a “Christian” nation, and our putative democratizing crusades.

    The Protestant Reformation and the rise of Calvinism established a faith-based deterministic worldview that Man could do nothing to affect his own salvation; that life was dependent on God’s grace bestowed. Luther, Hus, Knox, Calvin and their followers built movements and concepts of civil governance — Ronald Reagan’s “Shining City on the Hill” — based on the notion that only the “elect” –the chosen of God — were fit to rule because they possessed the outwardly visible manifestations of God’s favor (mostly being born white and wealthy). Everyone else was left to the fires of perdition, and there wasn’t a “damned” thing they could do about it.

    500 years later the totemic power of being “washed in the blood of the lamb,” and “born again through Christ” echoes the mantra that no individual can affect their own lives, and complete surrender to the authorities who speak for Jesus (and Caesar)is the way to success in this life and salvation in the next. Complete and unquestioning obedience is a soldier’s way; and a behavior freely given when reinforced by a vengeful Savior returned to punish sinners — all of the “other” non-believers.

    The argument that the United States was founded as a “Christian” nation sustains a fiction that our Founders were born-again believers, when most of them followed belief systems that were syncretic and remarkably tolerant. However, their predecessors, notably the Puritans (Calvinists), were by no means as sanguine. For them, unless you were of the elect, you were a fallen sinner and subject to being scourged and admonished to the “true” path of salvation. (It’s no accident that the Salem witch trials and trial by ordeal came from these domains.) We are fortunate as a free society that this priggish self-righteousness translated itself into a stubborn standoffishness, and not into the threatening proselytizing — the crusades — of today’s fundamentalists.

    Another characteristic of Calvinistic determinism is its distinctively middle class character. Unlike the feudal and agrarian characteristics of Catholicism, fundamentalist Christianity is about the lives of people in small towns and cities –an environment that requires and compels a likemindedness — groupthink; and a vigorous reinforcement of the community’s “differentness.”

    Taken in the aggregate, the emergence of a deterministic, small-town religious zealotry inside the military should be no surprise. Notwithstanding the military’s admirable capacity to invent awesome and awe-inspiring tools of conflict; the intellectual community is more akin to a Rotary Club or football boosters organization. Prone to accept conventional wisdom, content to see only its own labors as having value, and sustained by a mutually reinforcing hierarchy, it should be no surprise that one of the US Military-Industrial “corporation’s” mid-level managers “volunteered” to discredit a family that’s not perceived to be a team player.

    The Lieutenant Colonel who disparaged the Tilman family may not have been acting under orders; but there can be no doubt he spoke with the approval of his masters. He, obviously, needs to be disciplined; but it ain’t gonna happen until the same is done to his leaders — military AND civilian.


  13. Steve Horn



    We are all sick to death of these inquiries that have no meaning, no focus, no purpose on earth but to waste time and taxpayer money so all these Congressional people can use the overused line I heard four times yesterday “We have been working very hard at”…

    What BS

    IMPEACH CHENEY Then BUSH, and all the rest to follow. Try them in a REAL court of Law for offenses against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his and their OATHS OF OFFICE.

    Then the Representatives of We The People will have purpose again. IMO what they are all doing now is stalling because they don’t want any time for what they KNOW they should be doing.

  14. I am sick to near death of reading posts like those above which seek to posit stupid, made-up reasons for the Waxman enquiry into the deliberate falsification and releasing of information regarding both the Tillman and Lynch matters.

    It has nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with anyone’s feelings, nothing to do with “the fog of war,” but EVERYTHING to do with this administration’s cheating, lying, pernicious and immoral behaviors in nearly every aspect of running the “war” and the country.

    For those of you who seek to assist in the politics of total distraction, you are no better than your cowardly leaders.

    Did I say “leaders?” Jesus H. Christ, I am falling into their same trap of letting them use my automatic respect for their offices to provide any shred of respect for them, personally! I will be more careful!

    Joe Lawrence

  15. I have a couple of problems with the whole Tillman affair.

    1) I’m sick of hearing about Tillman – over 3200 other brave men and women have been killed – by both hostile and – doubtless – friendly fire since hostilities began in Afghanistan and Iraq – yet we year about Tillman because he was a “football star” – no disrespect to the Tillman family – but – big f*ckin’ deal – their sons celebrity is the sole reason he rates a congressional hearing while the sons and daughters of others who have been killed don’t even get a decent greeting when their bodies are returned – because George W. doesn’t want pictures of flag draped caskets dominiating the news.

    2) Any Lt. Col. who makes a statement like the one attributed to Kauzlarich doesn’t deserve to wear the uniform, he’s a disgrace. The beliefs of individual soldiers under your command are not considerations for treatment or comment – at least that’s what I was taught, again, in the dark ages (late 1970’s/early 1980’s) – it’s all well and good to say “there are no athiests in foxholes” – but to say it is not to make it so. Kauzlarich is implying that Tillmans life is worth less because he didn’t believe in some fantasy afterlife –

    3) the whole focus on relegion – much as the Bush administration tried to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, they insist on trying to convince the world that America is a “Christian” nation. True – the pilgrims were Christians – but the folks that were here in advance of ’em were not (no, I don’t buy into the Mormon bullshit of Christ having visited the Americas) – in short – it’s nobodys business what your, my or anyone elses beliefs are. As for the vocal Christians – perhaps they should re-read their Bibles – Christ told us to pray with the curtains drawn and not make a big show of it …..

    Interesting – with no assurance of an afterlife in paradise perhaps good old athiests would be less likely to wage war than “Christians” – like Bush and Kauzlarich.

  16. Hal,

    Do you think the same MSM outlets who proclaimed PFC Lynch and CPL Tillman as modern day Rambo’s should also be subpoenaed?

  17. First of all, an atheist is someone, for the most part, who doesn’t believe in the god of Abraham–you know the one who created evil (yeppers, says so right in the Babble at Isa. 45:7).

    Heathens, who once included all of Rome’s legionaries, believe pretty much in reincarnation. And yes, one can be an atheist and believe that their actions in this life lead to good or bad consequences in the next life. God ain’t got nothing to do with reincarnation.

    This Christian ‘nut case’ officer is just a typical example of the illiterate, boorish mentality that is presently plaguing our military. I will wager, Pat was killed by a Christian.

  18. .
    As with so many other scandals, this is all about the lies and the cover-up.

    My understanding is that the army didn’t admit the truth until weeks after each incident. The spun and sustained a heroic story for political propganda purposes. In each case they ignored the emotional consquences that would be suffered by Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman’s family.

    In the Tillman case, I believe it took five weeks. They family didn’t know at the memorial service. The didn’t know when the Silver Star was awarded. Navy SEAL Steve White was there when Tillman was killed. He was Pat’s close friend. He told the committee he delivered a eulogy at the memorial service about Pat “taking the fight to the enemy” after being fed the lie over the phone by an Army official.

    The reason for the inquiry

    REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), California: For Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, the government violated its most basic responsibility. Sensational details and stories were invented in both cases.

    Many military officials sat in silence during a nationally televised memorial ceremony highlighting Pat Tillman’s fight against the terrorists. Evidence was destroyed. Witness statements were doctored. The Tillman family wants to know how all of this could have happened, and they want to know whether these actions were all just accidents or whether they were deliberate.

    REP. TOM DAVIS (R), Virginia (committee’s ranking Republican): The fog of war can be dense. And Ms. Lynch’s story offers only a cautionary tale about waiting for the smoke to clear before accepting early battle damage assessments as fact.

    The case of Army Ranger Pat Tillman is far more troubling. Rules and procedures put in place precisely for the purpose of providing timely and accurate information about combat deaths were ignored. The truth about Jessica Lynch and Patrick Tillman is heroic enough. There is no need to embellish or spin it.

    This is my understanding of the primary reason the Tillman family, Jessica Lynch, and Congress is trying to get the truth out.

    Pat Tillman’s brother, Kevin, also an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, said the following:

    In the days leading up to Pat’s memorial service, media accounts based on information provided by the Army and the White House were wreathed in a patriotic glow and became more dramatic in tone. A terrible tragedy that might have further undermined support for the war in Iraq was transformed into an inspirational message that served instead to support the nation’s foreign policy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To further exploit Pat’s death, he was awarded the Silver Star for valor.

    One of the Rangers who was with Pat when he died wanted the truth to be known immediately but was ordered to remain silent.

    REP. HENRY WAXMAN: Within 72 hours, at least nine military officials knew or were informed that Pat Tillman’s death was a fratricide, including at least three generals. Given that so many people in the military were informed so quickly that this was fratricide, does it trouble you that the Tillman family was kept in the dark about this for another month?

    SPC. BRYAN O’NEAL, U.S. Army: Yes, sir, it does. I wanted right off the bat to let the family know what had happened, especially Kevin, because I’ve worked with him in the platoon. And I knew that him and the family both needed or all needed to know what had happened.

    And I was quite appalled that when I was actually able to speak with Kevin, I was ordered not to tell him what happened, sir.

    Read more excerpts from the transcipt here

  19. How much logic & reason does it take to want to put your sons death in the best possible light & and respect what it was that he died for? Does the fact that he was killed in a friendly fire incident on the battlefield of Afghanistan make his death any less worthy because he wasn’t killed by the enemy?

    The family called this investigation to find out the truth? The Army admitted the truth soon after Pat was killed. The Tillman family seems to simply have a hard time accepting that Pat died because he chose a dangerous yet virtuous path, which seems to me to be the way that Pat would have wanted to go.

    Some in his unit embellished the truth probably to make him look even more heroic – does the Tillman family want to see them held accountable for blaspheming their son in such a way?

    If so, when exactly did heroism become such a negative phrase in America?

    His family knew the truth a long time ago.

  20. Hal said:

    “The House invesitgation was focused on how the military spun a fabricated public relations story about how Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman died actually fighting the enemy.”

    I’m not too sure about the Pat Tillman case, but the circumstances surrounding Jessica’s Lynch’s story seems to be a lot more MSM embellishment than DoD hype, Hal.

    Do you think Rep Waxman is going to question the NY Times to find out who all of those “anonymous sources” were during the PFC Lynch saga?

    I personally hope so.

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