Monday, October 23, 2006

Everyone's Pissed

It looks like a lot of bloggers are really pissed about Bush denying his own "stay the course" strategy in Iraq. Our friends over at Hard-Boiled were feeling the same way we were--upset. Go ahead and read It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad President and see what we mean.

But bloggers, Democrats, liberals, other countries, Christian fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalists aren't the only people who are upset at President Bush right now. Former Army Ranger Kevin Tillman is pretty ticked off also. He's the brother of Kevin Tillman--who became the Army's model recruit after dumping a career in the NFL to join the Rangers. He was sent to Afghanistan and killed by friendly fire--which the Army tried to cover up for years.

It turns out that Pat's birthday is November 6. That's the same day you get to go to the polls and make a change for the better. This coincidence was not lost on Kevin when he wrote a scathing review of the current administration. He's no bleeding heart liberal either. This is an Army Ranger, a guy who would just as soon kill you with a lunch tray than talk about your feelings. So, listen up.

He writes, "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 in cards, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in the helmet."

"Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes."

"Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country."

"Somehow this is tolerated."

"Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People can still take action. It can start after Pat's birthday."

Think he guy carries a heavy burden? Multiply that pain by all the family members of men and women killed or wounded in Iraq; by all the family members of Iraq's killed; all of it, being passed on and on... and you get some idea perhaps of what is happening. We are sowing the wind, and reaping the whilwind.

I saw "Flags of Our Fathers" this weekend. It didn't blow me away but I was struck by all the nationalistic imagery. Maybe that's what I was supposed to walk away with--the dissonance of Americans dying on Iwo Jima while the image of a faux flag raising being what people back home chose to believed in.

When the symbols become more important than the people they stand for, we have a problem. We are not to submit to what Amos Oz referred to as the "tools of statehood." They may be an unfortunate necessity in today's world, but they are to be used with sober judgment, not joy.

I don't know what Kevin Tillman is feeling, but I imagine he followed a long chain of events back to its source and asked: why? He and his brother willingly signed up to help defend this country after 9/11; they turned their lives over to the judgment of the government which used us all after 9/11. It appealed to our sense of nationalism to get us into Afghanistan as a warm up and Iraq as the main event. And now people like Pat Tillman are gone, and people like Kevin want to know why. What for? Was it for a bumbling administration? Was it for the same people who sold Pat Tillman as a hero, while trying to conceal his death by friendly fire? Is that what we've done it for? Is the whole thing a sham?


Anonymous said...

thanks for this, fred. a great post reminding me that i'm not alone in my web of intense feelings about this country, this government, this war.

JoeC said...

Thanks for the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad nod. I'm really not one to get pissed off, but when I read posts like this about Kevin Tillman and his brother, and then walk outside and--I love this country but to be honest--I see a lot of selfish, apathetic people talking on their cell phones, cutting line in traffic, seeming to say, "So what; not my problem. The rules don't apply to me." And they're modeling that behavior on their president, so what can you do? Our congress just passed legislation that gives retroactive, nine-year immunity to U.S. officials who authorized and committed torture. And still the this Germany, 1933 all over again?