T Nation

After Pat's Birthday (By Kevin Tillman)


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601019_after_pats_birthday/

After Pat’s Birthday
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 get 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

Bush’s new adviser: Henry Kissinger
More revelations today relating to Bob Wooodward’s new book, “State of Denial.”

Apparently Henry Kissinger has been advising President Bush and Vice President Cheney about Iraq, telling them that “victory is the only meaningful exit strategy,” Bob Woodward tells “60 Minutes”

“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”

  • Henry Kissinger

Wow, no other comments? Does it make the chicken hawks uncomfortable? Difficult to respond when the ad hominem attacks are off the table? You can’t really dismiss him as a left-wing, tree-hugging, pinko-commie, cut-and-run pussy. So, what then?

Would there be more of a response if Michael Moore wrote this?

[quote]Michael570 wrote:
Wow, no other comments? Does it make the chicken hawks uncomfortable? Difficult to respond when the ad hominem attacks are off the table? You can’t really dismiss him as a left-wing, tree-hugging, pink-commie, cut-and-run pussy. So, what then?

Would there be more of a response if Michael Moore wrote this?[/quote]

I’ll respond. I disagree with him.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Michael570 wrote:
Wow, no other comments? Does it make the chicken hawks uncomfortable? Difficult to respond when the ad hominem attacks are off the table? You can’t really dismiss him as a left-wing, tree-hugging, pink-commie, cut-and-run pussy. So, what then?

Would there be more of a response if Michael Moore wrote this?

I’ll respond. I disagree with him.[/quote]

Man, that took balls.

Can we assume you’ll be taking his place in the Rangers then? Good luck!

Nope, I won’t be taking his place in the Rangers. Yet, I still disagree with him.

Once you’ve started referring to it as an “illegal invasion” you’ve lost your credibility.

[quote]doogie wrote:
Once you’ve started referring to it as an “illegal invasion” you’ve lost your credibility.[/quote]

Its not like he served there and saw what’s going on firsthand. Oh wait, forgot he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kevin Tillman is 10X the man that Bush and Cheney will ever be.

[quote]OKLAHOMA STATE wrote:
doogie wrote:
Once you’ve started referring to it as an “illegal invasion” you’ve lost your credibility.

Its not like he served there and saw what’s going on firsthand. Oh wait, forgot he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kevin Tillman is 10X the man that Bush and Cheney will ever be.[/quote]

He’s 100X the man I ever will be. That doesn’t mean the loss of his brother hasn’t screwed his perception.

Serving doesn’t make ANYONE an expert on international law.

[quote]doogie wrote:
OKLAHOMA STATE wrote:
doogie wrote:
Once you’ve started referring to it as an “illegal invasion” you’ve lost your credibility.

Its not like he served there and saw what’s going on firsthand. Oh wait, forgot he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kevin Tillman is 10X the man that Bush and Cheney will ever be.

He’s 100X the man I ever will be. That doesn’t mean the loss of his brother hasn’t screwed his perception.

Serving doesn’t make ANYONE an expert on international law.[/quote]

I see your point, but keep in mind that Pat and Kevin commented that the war in Iraq was “illegal” while they were serving there before Pat was killed. He felt that way long before his brother was killed.

What kind of utter moron would hold such opinions about the government and military and then join up anyways?

Retarded. Almost as bad as “support the troops even if you don’t support the war”.

The troops make the war possible. Without the troops, the war wouldn’t exist. If you don’t support the war, your first target should be the idiots who are voluntarily fighting it.

lol people are so fucked up it’s hilarious. Can you imagine if someone acted like this in daily life? Denouncing some cause and then becoming a participant in it? He’d get sent to a mental hospital.

I am sorry for his loss. Terrible.

I disagree with him, as well.

I don’t see how it “takes balls” to disagree with someone on a topic like this. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the Maureen Dowd school of thought the “moral authority of those who have lost (family members) in (war) is absolute.”

But if that’s true, there are many, many parents and siblings out there that lost loved one’s who still support the war because they know that there brother/son, etc. died believing in it. Or simply because they BELIEVE it’s right.

So whose moral authority is absolute when they are completely opposite?

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
What kind of utter moron would hold such opinions about the government and military and then join up anyways?

Retarded. Almost as bad as “support the troops even if you don’t support the war”.

The troops make the war possible. Without the troops, the war wouldn’t exist. If you don’t support the war, your first target should be the idiots who are voluntarily fighting it.

lol people are so fucked up it’s hilarious. Can you imagine if someone acted like this in daily life? Denouncing some cause and then becoming a participant in it? He’d get sent to a mental hospital.[/quote]

The Tillmans enlisted after 9/11 to fight Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afganistan. Do you remember Osama? He’s complaining about the war in Iraq. Contrary to popular belief, Afganistan and Iraq are not the same country.

Your response is so ass backwards, I don’t even know what else to say.

[quote]Michael570 wrote:
The Tillmans enlisted after 9/11 to fight Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afganistan. Do you remember Osama? He’s complaining about the war in Iraq. Contrary to popular belief, Afganistan and Iraq are not the same country.

Your response is so ass backwards, I don’t even know what else to say.[/quote]

In that case, he’s naive for having ever believed the government line. All of the contentions he brought up against the gov. did not come about as a result of 9/11. Many of them existed long before. Where was he when Clinton violated international law and bombed Kosovo? Why wasn’t he spouting this shit then?

What you just told me about the two of them does not diminish the general stupidity of this gesture in any way. The thing is, it’s in vogue to bash the war now, even on the right. I think what’s really going on here is the guy simply felt like seeing his name in a paper again (after the media circus surrounding his bro’s death).

Honestly, it’s laughable to listen to the very people who enable government wars bitching about them. I’ll never take those clowns seriously, even though I don’t support the war. You shouldn’t, either.

[quote]doogie wrote:
Once you’ve started referring to it as an “illegal invasion” you’ve lost your credibility.[/quote]

There went yours…

War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal
The Guardian
November 20, 2003
International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment yesterday after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1089158,00.html

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
Michael570 wrote:
The Tillmans enlisted after 9/11 to fight Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afganistan. Do you remember Osama? He’s complaining about the war in Iraq. Contrary to popular belief, Afganistan and Iraq are not the same country.

Your response is so ass backwards, I don’t even know what else to say.

In that case, he’s naive for having ever believed the government line. All of the contentions he brought up against the gov. did not come about as a result of 9/11. Many of them existed long before. Where was he when Clinton violated international law and bombed Kosovo? Why wasn’t he spouting this shit then?

What you just told me about the two of them does not diminish the general stupidity of this gesture in any way. The thing is, it’s in vogue to bash the war now, even on the right. I think what’s really going on here is the guy simply felt like seeing his name in a paper again (after the media circus surrounding his bro’s death).

Honestly, it’s laughable to listen to the very people who enable government wars bitching about them. I’ll never take those clowns seriously, even though I don’t support the war. You shouldn’t, either.[/quote]

Your 2 posts in this thread could be the dumbes things I’ve ever seen. And trust me on this, that says quite a bit.

[quote]Hack Wilson wrote:
I am sorry for his loss. Terrible.

I disagree with him, as well.

I don’t see how it “takes balls” to disagree with someone on a topic like this. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the Maureen Dowd school of thought the “moral authority of those who have lost (family members) in (war) is absolute.”

But if that’s true, there are many, many parents and siblings out there that lost loved one’s who still support the war because they know that there brother/son, etc. died believing in it. Or simply because they BELIEVE it’s right.

So whose moral authority is absolute when they are completely opposite? [/quote]

I thought the republican stance is cut-and-run now? They certainly seem to be ditching stay-the-course.

The family of the dead have no “moral superiority”, but that doesn’t mean that the war is right. Be have received no benefits from this war. It was badly planned, and badly executed.

Do I think we should leave?

I think we can’t. I think we’re stuck. The second we go, there will be civil war. We cannot allow that. Anyone who beleives we are realistically going to be leaving Iraq within the next year is a fool. Just because we can’t afford to leave, doesn’t mean entering was right.