Thank you, Kevin and Pat.

After Pat’s birthday

Pat Tillman (left) and his brother Kevin, in Saudi Arabia in 2003.Courtesy of the Tillman Family / Truthdig.com
 

Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002 and they served together as Rangers. Pat was killed April 22, 2004. Kevin was discharged in 2005. This column first appeared on Truthdig.com at www.truthdig.com, and is reprinted with their permission.

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.

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, virtue-less, 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


The Tillman family were used as political props by the Bush administration
  • April 29, 2004 Text of general’s memo on Tillman death
    General warned President Bush not to exploit Pat Tillman's death for political purposes before he knew the facts (Bush did it anyways) Pat was killed a week earlier on April 22 2004.
  • March 23, 2007: Officials: 9 to be held to account on Tillman
    Officers reportedly to be cited in friendly-fire death of Ranger, ex-NFL star
  • March 27, 2007 Crimes and Cover Ups are Not "Missteps"
    by the Tillman Family - "The briefing we just received was shamefully unacceptable."
  • April 20, 2007 After Tillman death, Army clamped down
    "Within hours of Pat Tillman's death, the Army went into information-lockdown mode, cutting off phone and Internet connections at a base in Afghanistan, posting guards on a wounded platoon mate, and ordering a sergeant to burn Tillman's uniform."
  • July 27, 2007 The Generals Lied - Was Tillman Murdered?
    "No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene - no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck." "Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, who has long suggested that her son was deliberately killed by his comrades" "The documents show that a doctor who autopsied Tillman's body was suspicious of the three gunshot wounds to the forehead."
  • July 30, 2007 Was Pat Tillman's Murder Carried Out by Delta Force Snipers?
    "
    If my theory is correct, the Delta guys could have fired the shots - a three-round burst to the forehead from 50 yards is impossible for normal soldiers and Rangers, but is probably an easy shot for those guys." "In the Tillman incident, these snipers weren't part of the unit and they were never mentioned publicly before. That's a key indicator that they weren't supposed to be acknowledged."
  • July 30, 2007 Sport Illustrated Story Remembering Pat
    "Another key issue raised in the transcripts involved never-before-mentioned snipers who were apparently there when the firing broke out"