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Thread: Kevin Tillman tells hard truth about Iraq War

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Kevin Tillman tells hard truth about Iraq War

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    Associated Press archives
    "Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous." -- Kevin Tillman, right, writing about his brother Pat, left, and the U.S. course since Sept. 11.

    Kevin Tillman's searing indictment of the war in Iraq after the death of his brother Pat contains a sentence that will always haunt me. ``Somehow,'' he wrote, ``the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.''

    His meaning is clear: Faced with a soldier's death, Americans want to give it the gloss of worthy sacrifice. We pull out the flags, the 21-gun battery, the solemn salutes. For the administration, it creates one more argument for staying the course. Abandoning the effort means admitting that lives were squandered.

    What made Tillman's essay so powerful, and yes, so disturbing, was that he broke with this sad and inverted arithmetic of grief.
    He said eloquently what many people, even flag-waving patriots, have known in their guts for months, maybe years: The war is a disaster. It's built on a foundation of lies. It has made us less safe, not more.
    But Kevin Tillman said it with the standing that no politician and no pundit can claim: He volunteered to serve as an Army Ranger. And he lost a famous brother, a man whose sacrifice touched America, to ``friendly fire'' from troops who covered up.

    Sacrifice to enlist
    No story plucks deeper at the heartstrings. Two athletic brothers from San Jose, one a football player for the Arizona Cardinals, volunteer for the Rangers after Sept. 11 -- not because they lack other options, but because they think it's the right thing to do. Pat Tillman gave up a $3.6 million contract to enlist. Kevin gave up a minor-league baseball career.
    This is the kind of patriotism -- not to mention brotherly solidarity -- that many of us West Coast skeptics find unsettling. And quietly, some people have questioned whether Pat Tillman was involved in too many concussion-producing tackles.
    Neither brother, however, was blind to the risks of America's foreign policy. In his piece for the Web site Truthdig (www.truthdig.com), Kevin writes that he and Pat talked about how once they signed up, they would be at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people -- ``how we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition,'' as Pat said.
    So how did someone who signed up to protect America become such a bitter critic of its policies? It's tempting to explain Kevin's conversion through the tragic circumstances of Pat's death in Afghanistan -- and the apparent coverup in the months that followed. No brother could forget that. Soldiers fight for their comrades. And Kevin lost his most important comrade in a very questionable way. It can't help but fuel the passion of his essay.
    Yet I have the feeling that if Pat Tillman were alive today, he would be cheering his brother's opinion. Kevin's essay has the brutal, raw honesty of an open-field tackle.

    Tolerating torture
    ``Somehow torture is tolerated,'' he wrote. ``Somehow lying is tolerated. Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma and nonsense.''
    The emphasis on the words ``somehow'' and ``tolerated'' strikes a body blow at the comfort of the rest of us. Even Americans who fervently oppose the war rarely do much about it. Maybe a rally or two, but not much more. After all, our kids aren't being drafted. And the fear of being seen on the wrong side of the war on terror has paralyzed many Democrats.
    If you get the chance, read the responses to Kevin's piece on the Truthdig site. Overwhelmingly, they praise his courage in speaking out. Here and there, they confess their own cowardice in not doing the same.
    Yes, Kevin's letter will probably boost the Democrats in November. And yes, he is a man deeply disillusioned with the Bush administration. But in a deeper sense, he's a patriot still, a protector, calling us all to honor the ideals that his brother died for.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Pat Tillman is some scary mannequin looking shit right there...kinda like..

    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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