pocket1_pita: (Default)
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 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. 


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
 
pocket1_pita: (Default)
when the iraq war started i was an active WC member. We had a special forum set up for discussion on the Iraq war. I feel like I was much more naive when the Iraq war started. It was beyond my comprehension how bad it could get. And Colin Powell scared me. I believed him. I thought that at least Colin must know what he was talking about. Someone around here has to be competent. Pita said when the war started - that they definitley had reasons to go to war in iraq, but almost certainly they weren't the reasons we were being told. I told Pita he was paranoid.

Now it's almost 3 years since we went to Iraq, and it's been a complete disaster from start to finish. The miniscule good is dwarfed by the enormous bad. We invaded a sovereign country on trumped up charges and totally F'ed up their country. And their country wasn't even that great to begin with - now it's even worse. Every single thing that I said would happen in this war has happened. Remember about 9 mos ago when everyone kept saying that "Iraq was reaching a turning point" and that ifwe didn't manage to turn the tide, we were going to be embroiled in a messy civil war? well, here we are. A trillion US dollars from the pockets of my grandchildren owed to China, and 100,000 Iraqis dead, most of them civilians.

I have been told I was a socialist, a defeatist, a radical and an idiot for what in retrospect were completely rational things to say that turned out to be right. How many more things do we have to be right about before they admit we were right all along? This war was a terrible idea, incompetently executed and fraudulently approved. In fact, i would call this a clear example of the failure of an ideology once put into practice - what I was saying the other day about how one has a moral responsibility to re-evaluate ideology in light of new information. Neoconservatism is a bad idea. I think anyone who bought that ideology has a moral responsibility to think again.

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