Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pat Tillman's brother blasts Bush and "Illegal Invasion" of Iraq -- The moment has finally come -- A soldier, with a national platform, has spoken the ugly truth about the Iraq war and really called out the Bush Administration. In case anyone else missed this on the web yesterday (as I did), I thought I'd talk about the brutal indictment of the Bush Administration and it's illegal war, in a 'letter' that was posted on the internet by Kevin Tillman, brother of the deceased Pat Tillman. I'm sure everyone knows the story of Pat Tillman: How he abandoned a brilliant professional football career to join his brother in the Army Rangers after 9/11, and was tragically killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan -- something the military clumsily tried to hide.

Because of his family's uniquely heroic and tragic story, Kevin Tillman is uniquely positioned to criticize the current Administration -- and he delivers what might be a death-blow to whatever credibility and respect the Bushistas had left. His essay, "After Pat's Birthday," attacks the "illegal invasion" of Iraq. Besides noting the illegality of the Iraq war, Tillman also had some really choice words about the "American leadership." He looks forward to real change on Election Day, the day "after Pat's Birthday." http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601019_after_pats_birthday/

This is the kind of public relations nightmare the Administration has feared. As if all the bodies and mayhem weren't damning enough, now there is a voice that cannot be denied or easily dismissed. Kevin Tillman posted his essay on a progressive internet site called Truthdig.com. Tillman's wide-ranging criticism is like the little girl finally yelling "the Emperor's naked." Sure, everyone already knew it, but no one wanted to admit it, or dared speak it. And the Emperor was able to maintain his pretense until the girl spoke up. Tillman has the background and the platform to speak honestly and with a voice that no one can ignore.

Tillman begins his criticsms by belittling the various explanations for the Iraq invasion. At the same time, Tillman notes that "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." His most savage criticisms are leveled at the Bush gang - -though he does not name names, he makes it quite clear who he is talking about. He is unsparing in his criticism, saying "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."

Tillman really encapsulates the moral bankruptcy of the Iraq venture, finding the words that John Kerry mysteriously avoided. He wonders how "those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started." According to Tillman, the United States has really lost its way, and its character -- and lost the respect of the rest of the world. "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."

The American people are not spared a tongue-lashing. Tillman lists a number of our failings, cause of his great disappointment in the country he fought for, and the country his brother died for. Among those failings: "Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated...profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated... subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated... torture is tolerated...reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense...being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance."

Tillman notes that in the current political climate, "a narrative is more important than reality." But, Tillman is not without hope and he issues a call to action, to follow his fallen brother's Nov. 6th birthday: "Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday."

Pat Tillman brought honor and respect to our nation's military. He walked away from a multi-million dollar salary, an All-Pro career, and a dream job in the faux combat of the National Football League. Instead, he chose to put his life on the line in real combat to go after those that attacked this country. His brother asks the rest of us why we have allowed "incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous" leaders to take us into a completely different conflict -- an illegal war that had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11, and brings nothing but death and dishonor. He calls upon Americans to respond, beginning on Election Day. It's impossible to ignore Kevin Tillman's voice, or his plea.

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