Monday, October 23, 2006

I am a liberal
I am a feminist
I am an environmentalist

I am proud to bear these "labels" that are used to disparage my kind by the Right Wing in this country. "Liberal" is used by the GOP like "Commie" was used by McCarthy. With the upcoming elections, I wanted to post this article written by Kevin Tillman, pictured here with his late brother Pat Tillman, who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. The military's cover-up of that tragedy is still under investigation. The following is an articulate statement about the War in Iraq, by some one who has been there, copied from

After Pat’s Birthday

Posted on Oct 19, 2006 - By Kevin Tillman

Editor’s note: Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written a powerful, must-read document.

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out. Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military. Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
Kevin Tillman


Blogger PixieGaf said...

I hate this administration!
It is awful how much greed and corruption there is in it.

4:52 PM  
Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

Good article!

7:25 PM  
Blogger kookla@work said...

Being the daughter, stepdaughter and sister of people who have served in the military on both land and air, this was beautifully written and heartfelt.

Thanks for this and thanks for remembering, Diane.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

My sister (who was adopted at 12 by my mom) lost her brother four years ago in Iraq. He was 19. We haven't heard from her since and fear the worst, since he was the only link to her birth family that cared about her. I feel for all the families of anyone lost to this administration/war.

Thanks for posting this, Diane.

12:15 PM  
Blogger NFL Adam said...

You want to talk about good guys in the NFL, Pat was it. He had an ease about him that talking to him was like talking to one of your buddies. Sometimes NFL players can be cordial, but you can still tell they would rather be doing something else. But not Pat, who was likely to sit around and shoot the breeze for hours. What a good guy.

8:39 AM  
Blogger v said...

Yeah, thanks for posting this Diane! Kevin Tillman eloquently lists the reasons why the Bush Administration has failed so devastatingly and habitually. The Bush era should have ended 2 years ago. It is of the utmost importance to change control of Congress so some semblance of a check and balance limits the Bush Administration.

10:38 PM  

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