Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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William Young

Caution, caution.

Just because the WaPO and LAT say it's so, doesn't mean it's so. They have agendas, and one of them is to tarnish every aspect of the War on Terror thay can lay their hands on.

If there's a dispute over how Tillman was killed, there's a dispute. But don't just assume the media is right. And don't assume it's always in the chain-of-command's interest to lie and cover up the "truth."

And let's not forget about the ever-present Fog Of War that makes knowing what really happened difficult, even for those that were there.

Dave Belden

You wrote: "A soldier who drowns when his or her Humvee tumbles into the Tigris is as honored and mourned a casualty of war as a hero of the battlefield." This is not actually true. Those drowned or otherwise killed in accidents in Iraq are not included in the official count of the US soldiers killed in Iraq, but in a separate count, and their records do not carry the honor of a combat death, and their survivors' benefits are similarly less. See a major article sometime in the last few weeks in the New York Times magazine.

Phil Sadler

I agree with William Young's response to your post about the alleged friendly-fire death of Pat Tilman. I haven't been watching or reading the news as much recently, and yes, call me nieve, but until I see this story on more than one of the three major networks, or CNN, I will continue to be apprehensive. If in fact these allegations are true, it has to become a big-ticket story one would think. If it doesn't happen, I would be inclined to either dispute the allegations, or just believe what I have been thinking all along : ie : this whole war is a nightmare, and I am sleeping, and the alarm clock hasn't gone off yet.


Phil, you are naive.


The cynicism and distrust of the media is fascinating. How on earth can you say the media want to do all they can to "tarnish the war on terror," when for nearly a year before the invasion of Irtaq the WaPo and the NYT were publishing the most damning accounts of Saddam's alleged "weapons of mass destruction"? And you believe they would put their reputations at stake and make up the Timman story? Journalists might make a dumb error of judgement made worse by a personal prejudice, as in the case of Rathergate. But this story is based on scores of interviews. It's quite obvious from the way the military has reacted that there is a big story here that they tried very hard to suppress. And you say it's the media we should be distrustful of and not the military?!? Remember Jessica Lynch?!? Sheesh.


The comment about Jessica Lynch is very telling. When I saw this story on the morning news (yes it was on NBC on the LOCAL NEWS part before the Today Show) I immediately thought of Jessica Lynch. About how they stated she was captured firing her machine gun and taking out the enemy until the last second. Then we hear from her that she was basically knocked unconscious the whole time and doesn't remember much about being attacked at all.

At least they caught it before they made a Pat Tillman network TV movie.


A couple of things to keep in mind here, before tearing into either the miltary brass or the media.
The military brass was under enormous pressure to give the facts, as they knew them at the time, concerning Tillman's death. They were dependent upon the recollections of soldiers, many who may have wanted to sugarcoat the circumstances for both Tillman's memory, and for their own culpability. None of the "brass" was there, and so the story was always going to be secondhand. As the details have become clearer, so has the story. It's been known for months now, and public, that Tillman died from friendly fire. The details will continue to come slowly, as they do in every story, even those not requiring perfect memories of hellish gunfights.
As for the media reporting, they can be truthfully reporting what they heard from Afghan locals. There need be no spin on their part. The locals have every reason to say that there were no Taliban located nearby, especially if some are still nearby. That should be taken into account, and not having read the news report, I don't know if they did.
Neither the "brass" nor the media need to be lambasted about this, nor is either fully to be believed at this point.
I'll believe what I know to be true; that Pat Tillman died as a soldier, a Ranger, doing hard duty in a miserable land far from home. And he deserves my respect for that alone.


"They were dependent upon the recollections of soldiers, many who may have wanted to sugarcoat the circumstances for both Tillman's memory, and for their own culpability."

The problem with this excuse is that all the interviews the papers are refferring to were already taken by the time the army released its misleading account of Tillman's death. All the details that have now come out were known almost from day one. They were just kept under wraps until now.

Given that Tillman was a gay-friendly atheist in a foxhole, so I'm not sure why he was ever lauded as a right-wing hero. After all, such people are not true citizens, according to the house of Bush.


Dave Belden: I didn't know the details about counting and compensation of soldiers killed in accidents, etc., while serving in a theater of war. Thanks for that lesson. But I think that informally, we honor all those killed while serving. Whatever the circumstances, they're part of the effort.

Richard: That's not what I said. I wasn't accusing the MEDIA of tarnishing the legend of Jessica Lynch or Pat Tillman. The truth, and the concealment of the truth, tarnishes it. Because war is as full of stupid, tragic waste and error as of glory.

Mr.Proliferation: Therefore, they can still make a TV movie. It would just have to be a truthful TV movie -- a representative tragedy in which an idealistic young person's sacrifice is wasted.

Diggs: You're right, though -- it still isn't wasted, because we can still admire what Pat Tillman did (like what my uncle Alan did) despite the fact that he met one of war's less glorious ends.


Friendly fire due to panic, mistakes in map-reading, etc have ALWAYS been huge killers in war. It's certainly not something any soldier wants to talk about, and it's certainly something the brass would like to keep quiet--but it happens and has happened for a long time. (The company next to my father's in Viet Nam had almost half the company injured or killed after calling artillery support in on themselves due to a map-reading error). Accidental deaths (vehicle accidents, etc) aren't combat deaths, but friendly fire deaths are.


There are just so many ironies and quandaries here. That's why I had to lay the story out without clearly condemning anyone. If you did tell the whole truth about war, how would you sustain public support for it? It would take a mature public indeed to gaze unblinkingly at the necessity of loosing such a blundering, indiscriminate juggernaut of destruction as war AT ITS BEST is. Especially in the case of a war that was arguably a war of choice.


I think that the cover up of circumstances of Pat Tillman's death make the brass look bad, not Tillman. For me, the underlying facts are the important thing, that this was a young man with everything to live for, with a successful athletic career that paid the fortune that successful athletic careers pay in this country, and who was under no legal or moral obligation to stick his neck out for anyone, chose to serve his country instead of leaving the war to others. I remember more than one antiwar blogger calling Tillman a dumb jock who got what was coming to him; I strongly suspect that the whole point of the friendly fire stories is not to illustrate how Tillman died; friendly fire deaths occur in all wars, unfortunately; but rather to make his decision to serve and possibly sacrifice his life look foolish.


There is no honor or glory in dying in combat. The honor is in serving. Anyone who says otherwise was never there or is lying.

Pat Tillman was killed doing what he thought he had to do, for whatever reason. We should honor his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all of our service members. After all, they are serving in our name.


The Gods of War, the French, calculated a 10% casualty rate from friendly artillery fire on the offensive in WWl. Any thing less meant a timid advance. In the days before tanks, or portable firepower(bazookas, rpg's, light mortars) and/or portable radio communications the soldier armed with only rifle and grenade would advance behind a curtain of exploding shells.
So friendly fire is no new invention. Traditionally, diseases claimed many more dead than battle, but with advent of modern hygiene and medicine, that declined while mechanical accidents became almost as deadly as enemy fire as the mechanization increased!


Jakemeister, the point is not that Tillman died by friendly fire or by enemy fire. Who cares? Either way it's sad, either way he was heroic and self-sacrificing. The point is that the Pentagon chose to lie about it.


I'm only mildly surprised how quickly the "The Pentagon Lied" bandwagon has taken off. The media’s never mislead us before, eh? Jayson Blair, anyone?

Just a few facts, shall we? Jessica Lynch. The initial reports of Lynch fighting bravely, etc, weren’t based on the evil fabrications of some Pentagon office in charge of creating myths, they were based on incorrect translations of overheard Iraqi Army radio transmissions. There was, in fact, a “blonde” soldier (who turned out to be male) who fought bravely to the death in that incident. That was later verified by a combination of witnesses and the wounds on the recovered body. Believe it or not, there’s confusion in war, and just like the telephone game we played in grade school, legends grow and facts are twisted as they are repeated. Let’s remember the “Lynch the fighter” stories didn’t come from some Pentagon podium, but from reporter’s “sources” who, it turned out, relayed incorrect information to their buddies in the press. People continue to site this situation as a “Pentagon lied” story when the source never was the Pentagon, but uninformed office gossip reported by the press as “fact”.

As to Tillman, I find it interesting that the WaPo makes this a story now, months later, when I recall specially hearing at the time of his death that it was a suspected case of “friendly fire”. It’s also interesting that some people are only too happy to accept as absolute fact the claims of Afghanis “witnesses” (somehow they managed to see more in this confusing situation than the participants did) that the Rangers “over reacted”.

I have little doubt Tillman’s death was the result of friendly fire in a confusing situation where life and death decisions were made a split second and facts and communication were difficult, at best, to acquire. However, that doesn’t mean anyone “lied” because the brass didn’t run to a copywriter for the WaPo to outline tiny details and, in the process, be disrespectful of the privacy of the family members of those soldiers lost. As to Tillman’s family members claiming they felt betrayed or frustrated by the Pentagon, I’d want to know just what specifically they objected to. I have the greatest of respect for them, but being familiar with situations like this, I can tell you family members can react in unpredictable manners to this kind of horrible news.

Some ferociously object to any investigation that finds their loved ones died in a friendly fire incident. They can feel such descriptions of events demean their loved ones and diminish their service. Others, if the accept the friendly fire description of events, can demand that unwarranted disciplinary action be taken against others involved, as they simply refuse to understand the extreme stress everyone involved as dealing with at the time and they demand, above all other things, the naming of a scapegoat.

It can be a very ugly situation, but instantly assuming, from press reports, that someone “lied” is jumping to unwarranted conclusions.


It must have been a slow news day. I can not see what purpose the WaPO and LAT articles serve except to increase circulation. They in no way help the family. Why not give the public his medical and financial profile as that would add column inches to the piece.

I continue to see headlines that espouse information about the people in a story that adds nothing to the understanding of the events. Things like "Somewhere High School student suffers injuries in a head-on collision in downtown intersection." The school the individual attends has nothing to do with the accident yet it is added for sensationalism.

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