The United States war with Afghanistan during the presidency of George W. Bush was one surrounded by controversy caused by the lack of practicality in the initial invasion. Over the course of the war, the government made attempts to capture the Publics support through any means. Jon Krakauer acknowledges this in his biography Where Men Win Glory, a text revolving around Pat Tillman, who was an icon of patriotism during the War of Terror as. The author Krakauer uses political ideas involving Tillman as well as Jessica Lynch and the battle for Nasiriyah to advise his audience of the dishonesty of the American government in order to promote the War on Terror. Krakauer references Jessica Lynch, a female soldier who, like Tillman, was used as a promotion to the War on Terror when she was taken as a prisoner of war by means of Iraqi fighters (Krakauer, 2009, p. 201), amid the text in order to exhibit the corruption the American government displayed. Krakauer (2009) argues that “the details of Lynch’s ordeal were extravagantly embellished, and much of the rest was invented… [and] was meant to advance the president’s agenda. (p. 208, 209).”
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The quote emphasizes the fraud Bush’s team committed by exaggerating the details with reference to the capture and even fabricating some through the press in order to use it as war propaganda. It is meant to educate the audience on the shaped perception they received, leading them to believe that the acts committed against Lynch were more extreme than the reality of it. Krakauer (2009) discloses that in reality the hostage was treated with care, as she was treated kindly in a general hospital (p. 208) as they even “donated two pints of their own blood to give her” (p. 242). Krakauer reveals this information regarding Lynch in order to support his idea that the government used this deceit as part of a larger marketing campaign. The omission of information and overstatement of it by the press proves his point further by displaying the misrepresentation of the Lynch episode. The incident of Lynch conveys his ideas of mistrust to information concerning the War on Terror to the audience and persuades them towards his viewpoint. In a similar manner of the Lynch episode, Krakauer cites another government-manipulated example: the battle for Nasiriyah.
According to Krakauer (2009), the investigation following the event indicated that at the least seventeen of the American casualties in this fight were in result of friendly fire, however, the press release concerning the attack published that only one of the eighteen deaths was determined to be a result of friendly fire (p. 236). The falsification of data described here displays the control the government puts on what the public knows in order to promote their own cause. They were trying to use the deaths of these soldiers in an attempt to create stronger patriotism, claiming that these Americans died fighting for their country, while in all actuality they were concealing the fact that these fatalities were the result of lack of control and error by the military. This instills astonishment and potentially resentment in the audience of the text at those who filtered or even modified the truth. Krakauer uses this case of government misrepresentation in order to once again support his own ideas and sway the audience to believe in them too.
After leading with the given examples, Krakauer ends the book focusing on the deception concerning Tillman’s death, one that is considerably more detailed than the rest considering he is the subject of the biography. According to Krakauer (2009), Tillman perished in the result of friendly fire, however, what was essentially released to the public was that he was killed by means of hundreds of machine guns as a result of his protection of Private Bryan O’Neal. (p. 343). The friendly fire detail was obscured from the communal eye, including Tillman’s family, and modified by the government in order to exploit Pat Tillman and turn him into an emblem, just as Jessica Lynch was previously. Revealing that Tillman was offed in a friendly fire would further downhill the already distrusting mood of the nation, who would lose trust in the military’s legitimacy as well as the president’s. With this in mind, Bush abused Tillman’s celebrity and falsified information to the public, including members of Tillman’s family.
This omission of information was not done on just government terms, but also by over a dozen members of Tillman’s platoon, who testified that he exposed himself to enemy fire (Krakauer, 2009, p. 342-343). Krakauer includes this information not only to detail on Tillman’s life but also to remind the audience of the apocryphal information the American people received from even the highest level of the military. This particularly dragged out forgery and corruption within the government is revealed by Krakauer in order to create a sense of doubt in the reader moving forward, as to prevent them from believing the propaganda they will and have received. The condescending view the author shares concerning this incident conveys a similar one in the reader. Given these points, Krakauer prompts his audience of the chicanery of George W. Bush’s reign in an attempt to promote the War on Terror by using the political stories of Tillman as well as Jessica Lynch and the battle for Nasiriyah. By emphasizing this point throughout his biography, he effectively convinces the reader of the deception the citizens of America received from their government.