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In Search of the Blues

In Search of the Blues

By Marybeth Hamilton

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After Pat’s Birthday

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Posted on Oct 19, 2006
Pat and Kevin Tillman
Courtesy of the Tillman Family

Pat Tillman (left) and his brother Kevin stand in front of a Chinook helicopter in Saudi Arabia before their tour of duty as Army Rangers in Iraq in 2003.

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 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.

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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

 


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By Niti Bali, October 22, 2006 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m so sorry for your loss Kevin.  I wish we could get people to vote.  I have been working in our area to help promote voters to go and make their voices heard. I never supported this war and I do not feel that I somoehow betrayed my country as a result.  I am very proud to be an American, born and raised.  That is why I have the idea that my opinion should matter, that I have the ability to make an educated decision and then make my voice heard.  I find it amusing that the folks who are throwing insults at you about this article and those folks who feel you have betrayed this President and his administration or this country are not confident enough in their beliefs to post their names.  As for the Vetrans of past wars, I would think they would know that the folks who don’t support the war are trying to save the troops, not show their lack of support for them.  We want our troops back, I never wanted them to be sent over in the first place because I knew this was not a fight we could ever win. We are fighting “terrorists” who are “criminals”.  There is no actual dispute with any one given nation.  We are just running a muck in the middle east with a President and his administration who are on a power trip. As for democracy, well, it isn’t the “democratic way” to impose your beliefs onto another person let alone an entire nation.  The religious tensions that have been on going in the middle east could never have been resolved by our current President who had never set foot outside this country before he became President.  That is a sad shame considering his background. But this really is not about Republicans or Democrats.  This is about common sense and human decency and common courtesy amongst the nations around the world.  This administration has been a complete embarrassement to our nation.  We deserve an apology and so does the rest of the world.  We can’t change the past, but we can make a better tomorrow.  Let’s get out and make our voices heard and vote!  I have not spoken to anyone who was ever in support of this President or his administration.  I have no idea how he won.  The only reason is that folks did not feel it was worth the time to go and vote.  I will be at the polls in November.

May God Bless and Keep You.

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By Toni Bracey, October 22, 2006 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To All of this I can only say “Amen.” I have felt the most intense rage over what Bush and his fellow conspirators have done to this country, the lies, the arrogance, the blood is on their hands for all the horrible deaths in this war based on lies and deception. Vote Democrat on election day-it is our only hope to change the horror of this madness in Washington!

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By Carol Anderson, October 22, 2006 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can we reprint this and send out with campaign literature?

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By Mark, October 22, 2006 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s Truth! may it make your heart hurt or your ears red it is truth!
thank you!

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By Ed Bessios, October 22, 2006 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin Tillman, great thought provoking and emotional article.  I am sorry for the loss of your brother.  I still admire his and your patriotism and sacrifice for Our Country. 

God Bless you and your family.

- Ed Bessios

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By Trent, October 22, 2006 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I understand that you are upset with things that are going on in the world and with this nation. But please don’t use your brothers death as a political stance. From one military member to a former one please don’t take the death of your brother a great American (one who gave up the “American Dream”, to serve in the military) and use it as a political front. I don’t think that is what he would have wanted, if it is then maybe just maybe we have been mislead in Pat’s beliefs. If so please find a way to contact me and explain to me what his true mission of joining the military was.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, October 22, 2006 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pat turned away a $3.6 million contract after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to volunteer for the war on terrorism—-his younger brother Kevin, considered Pat a hero; and if Pat was enlisting he would too.  So in the spring of 2002 they both joined the U.S. Army Rangers and, less than a year later, they were both sent to Iraq.

If we take a good look at the individuals who comprise the all-voluntary military, we will see young men and women who truly believe in this country, and eagerly want to serve and defend it.  These men and women of character, innocently assume that their leaders; especially their President possess moral integrity. 

Unfortunately, they assume too much—-but when you are 18 or 19 years of age—you still have the right to be naïve.  Vietnam was the big wake-up call for the baby boomer generation, they cut their baby teeth seeing 50 thousand troops die over 30 years of political ineptitude and lies. 

We can smell the familiar stench of “Vietnam in Iraq”—-but it’s hard to describe a smell of 50 thousand dead troops to the inexperienced—and that is what the cunning, corrupt and guile of this administration is counting on.  Innocence is again being used by the unscrupulous.

We the seasoned of recent history, know the horrors that await, and scream warnings to the innocent, but they are muffled by corporate media, who act like court jesters to the Bush administration.

The needless loss of a best friend and brother, brings not only despair but the realization that perhaps; he might have died in vain-—an epiphany that transforms the innocent into the worldly-wise. 

What will be the final death toll of this misbegotten crusade, and how many more innocent
will begin to smell the stench of death, only to awaken a bit too late.

Pat’s life was lost in a needless war but, perhaps, his death will be a beacon for those still confused.

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By Jerry Seybold, October 22, 2006 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am the Vice president of the Local union for letter carriers in springfield va. He really hits the nail on the head. we need to get these knuckleheads out. Ask any Carrier we know what you are dealing with.

Jerry
VP
NALC 4798

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By snooky sroczynski, October 22, 2006 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Semper Fi, Kevin !!!

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By James, October 22, 2006 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe”

Lincoln suspended it during the civil war for good reason.

I don’t think you were very clear in your critique. The “somehow” theme has its superficial drama but it drifts into vagaries.

I didn’t support the war when it started because there was no clarity of purpose. It seemed to come out of left field. I also saw no compelling reason
to have a war “over there” when we don’t even watch our own borders.

That said I latter on saw some good purposes for the war. What I saw go wrong was how the military got neutered and the war descended into political correctness while the Democrat party sided with the enemy. They sought to destabilise the war for selfish political gain.

This week Time magazine declared the Taliban “Undefeated”. Yet just a few weeks ago we learned the military would not fire rockets at Taliban soldiers while at a funeral. This is the problem I see and why the war drags on. Time didn’t criticize the political correctness keeping the military soft on the enemy and this article was just an attempt to smear the war effort before the election.

Your criticism about how the rest of the world sees us doesn’t mean much because the rest of the world is almost useless - look at the UN and its corruption.

I can see where secret prisons would be useful because the open prisons like Guantanamo are used by the Al Qaeda supporting Democrats and the psychotic left as weapons to destabilise the country.

I do think the Bush White House has failed us. But I think a lot of the causes of the problems start with the other half of this country that isn’t American anymore. Kennedy, Murtha, Boxer, Pelosi, Moveon.org, ACLU etc. - these peopleare the real problem. Bush is wacky but he’s not criminal like these people.

God Bless Pat.

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By lyle, October 22, 2006 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i pray for all the family’s that have lost loved one’s. but that is the point of this world conflict. president bush and the pope of the chatolic church both understand now what pepole that truly want to live in peace are are trying to stop.
  i guarded nucks in the us army (germany) in the 70’s and the radicals that are trying to obtain them now will use them to send the world backward 3 or 4 centurys

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By Crystal Hendrix, October 22, 2006 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for offering your strength, honesty, courage and heart in your darkest time. Reading what you’ve expressed brought tears to my eyes. I know how much it hurts to loose someone you love to something completely senseless and brutal. My deepest sympathies to you and yours.

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By Wes, October 22, 2006 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin, all that I am hearing you say is that your brother (God Bless him) was a hypocrit.  Why would your brother give up all that he had so that he could fight for something that he didnt even believe in?  If president Bush hadnt done anything, do you really believe that the terrorists would just stop? That they would say “Oh, well America didnt retaliate after we killed thousands of their country men so lets just stop killing innocents, pack our bags and leave.”?  I’m sorry for your brothers death but I think that if your brother didnt believe in what this country was, or stood for, than why would he so willingly give up his life for it?

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By lizzie, October 22, 2006 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

awesome article

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By Glenn Condell, October 22, 2006 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s true that America is now globally hated, but Americans themselves aren’t, because so many of them show the sort of sense and sensitivity that Kevin does, and that Pat did. Good Americans abound, but they are ruthlessly weeded out if they ever aspire to the levers of power. It would be nice to think America could put it’s best face forward but maybe a catastrophe is what’s required to bring about the conditions that could support such a change.

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By dave, October 22, 2006 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i read the article. it’s obvious kevin and his family have suffered a tremendous loss. i am truly sorry for that. but as i read the letter i see lots of criticism and blame. but i see no nomention of solutions. i see readers agreeing with kevin, but i still see no suggestions of solutions. the people of our nation are great at blaming, criticizing, and finding fault, just not good at all at fixing the problems. i agree the war has been going on far too long. let the people of iraq try to do it for themselves. as long as we the american people let the politicians get away with the way our country has been governed for so many years, nothing, i say nothing, will change. i haven’t seen any politician, republican or democrat, that can or will be able to make a difference. i am a disabled gulf war veteran watching my friends children now going off to war, a war that should be over. i say to all americans who don’t like what is going on, do something about it. voting is a good place to start. stop whining about it and make a difference. wake up america.

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By Paul Herron, October 22, 2006 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’ve said it all, Kevin.  As a 64 year old veteran of the U.S. Army, I am ashamed of what this administration has done to what I refer to as “my Army.”  When will we ever recover our honor?  My heart goes out to you over your loss of your brother.  Everyone who dies in uniform is our brother and sister.  I weep for you.

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By Jennifer, October 22, 2006 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess my comments don’t make it in, unless I go against the administration, oh, well, imagine that from democrats!!

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By Shag, October 22, 2006 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a veteran and if necessary, would have done everything possible to defend the country. Under the current circumstances, I would have not gone to war.
All one had to do is listen to NPR, or one of the altrnative cable shows. Ones that allow legitimate discussions from both sides, such as C-SPAN, and it could have been easily seen by all, that the run-up to this war was a farce.
I have a cousin there, and he’s 17yr Marine. He says it’s a joke, and the theft and waste is unbearable. He said there is nothing, nothing of substance going on over there.

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By arnold Gold, October 22, 2006 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have never seen such an outpouring of responses to a letter befire.  this is the rd letter i have written about his brother’s conversation with pat.
i just hope and pray that the house is taken back.  the house is more important then the senate becaus then the world will know via supena power how a group of people nearly destroyed our constitution and the country.

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By Jen, October 22, 2006 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t be more sorry for your loss. I was probably as hurt as you, as I lost my brother as well. I have also, always been an ASU fan, and most of all a Native American. The last is the most important to me. This country was stolen, probably by your ancestors, and yet we live here, don’t we. Everything isn’t perfect, I know. But, no matter what I will ALWAYS support this country, as it is my land. This is all I have, as a Native. Being hurt, as bad as it is, only makes us stronger, you should stay strong, and support your fellow Americans. We need you, just like you need us. Take Care, and please hear my message…......Jennifer

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By CINDY KOCKS, October 22, 2006 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KEVIN, WHAT A BRAVE LITERARY COMMENT!  I DO BELIEVE, THANKS TO GOD, THAT THE “TIDE OF SENTIMENT” IN OUR COUNTRY IS ON THE VERGE OF A DRASTIC AND MUCH NEEDED CHANGE.  WHAT A TERRIBLE PITY IT IS, THAT IT TOOK THE LIVES OF SO MANY OF OUR BRAVE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN TO SHAKE THE AMERICAN CONSCIENCE UP.  MY PRAYERS AND HEART FELT THANKS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

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By Andrew, October 22, 2006 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What does it mean to be a citizen?

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By DonQ, October 22, 2006 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please Kevin,

Someone like you could mobilize the antiwar movement. Please call for mass demonstrations and strikes so the American people can demand sanity.

Thanks

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By Robert Cheek, October 22, 2006 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin’s truth is our reality and we must hold ourselves accountable and behave responsibly NOW!

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By Isabel, October 22, 2006 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My Dear Kevin Tillman,
    Thank You from the bottom of my heart.  You’re a HERO having fought for us, and now for taking a punch at the big bulley!  The one that was suppose to look out for us, has betrayed us! Unfortunately you are right, except for the part that no one will give an account, THEY WILL, for God is a God of Justice!!  And by the way God is a Man of War too (Exodus 15:3)!  Seeing our son go to Iraq was the 2nd hardest things I’ve had to do.  I “too” believed we were making a safer America, sometimes to have peace you need to make war.  This situation hurts, not only because its my country, but to see my son in the middle of this, well you know how it feels.  But only God keeps me going and gives me rest and hope!  May you find Jesus as your Saviour too, for my heart aches for yours!  Truly sorry about MY HERO PAT TILLMAN.
I Salute You My Dear Kevin Tillman!

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By Patricia, October 22, 2006 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

God bless you, Kevin.

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By Jolene Ecker, October 22, 2006 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin

Thank you for speaking out about what is going on. I was deeply saddened by your brothers passing.I hung your brothers picture on our fridge so we could see him everyday. It keeps us grounded and reminds us of who a true patriot is. My 12 year old daughter’s father is a Vietnam vet and we have the utmost respect for the men and women who serve our country. My only concern is that the wall will continue to grow because the greedy over paid politicians in Washington have no idea what the people really want. We are a nation that is headed for self destruction. Kevin, you are strong and the anger that you feel will help move a generation that has been sleeping. Thank you again for speaking out and bringing the name of Pat Tillman into my home.

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By John C, October 22, 2006 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Somehow 19 broken UN resolutions and great World and American political concensus regarding Iraq’s threat to the west now constitutes an Illegal war. Appreciate your service, appreciate your loss… I too have served and I too have lost! Some of us chose to be bitter, some of us chose to move on!

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By don whitebear, October 22, 2006 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

why is it that men who have NEVER been in battle are so quick to start wars i dont see any of there kids in it wonder why .

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By pat roach, October 22, 2006 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That was so well written and true, Kevin.  God bless you and your brother.  Thank you for what you do.  I’m sorry it’s at the hands of our leaders of whom you spoke.

Have you heard of the new movie documentary about soldiers in Iraq? It voices the same things you wrote.  There is an organization called Vets Against the War, I think.  It sounds like it’s right up your alley.  Continue to spread the word. Peace.

Pat Roach

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By dzent1, October 22, 2006 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hard to believe some of the right-wing bullshit comments about Kevin’s letter from the pathetically brainwashed, low-brow chickenhawks on the board here. They are apparently suffering under the delusion that they know what is right and best for the world. Pictures and first hand reports of the little kids, women and innocent bystanders killed and maimed thanks to our “liberation” of Iraq are all over the net. Educate yourselves with them, wingnuts, and then go look at your own little kids and feel, just for a moment, the feelings of a poor Iraqi whose family has been blown to smithereens by one of our laughably-named “surgical strikes”. If you can’t get on the correct side of this injustice to all humanity, then get your dumb ass out of the USA and over to Russia, Syria, or one of the countries that behave like fascists. I’m sure they’d love to have you. Decent Americans sure don’t want you here anymore, defending the likes of this current corrupt administration. God bless you and your folks and family, Kev, and thanks for the balls to not only serve, but speak out with the truth of what you saw. Your opinion is worth more than all the lying clowns who are in power now. Throw the bastards out Nov. 7.

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By Chris Stolle, October 22, 2006 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If memory serves me right, I do believe we are still short a couple of planes, two towers, and 3000 people.

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By NILES, October 22, 2006 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JAMES, FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT I WAS VERY PROUD OF PAT AND YOURSELF FOR JOINING AFTER 9/11. BUT NOW, YOU DISGRACE THE VERY REASONS YOUR BROTHER WENT TO OVER THERE. I HAD THE HONOR TO SERVE MY COUNTRY AS A MARINE. I HAD THE DIS-HONOR OF SERVING A PEANUT PICKING (DEMOCRATE) PRESIDENT THAT DID NOTHING WHEN THE IRANIANS TOOK ARE PEOPLE. AND THE ONLY REASON THAT THEY WERE LET GO IS BECAUSE WE HAD A STRONG (REPUBLICAN) PRESIDENT REAGAN COMING TO POWER. I WILL ALWAYS WONDER WERE WOULD WE ALL BE IF THAT PEANUT PICKING (DEMOCRATE) PRESIDENT WOULD HAVE HAD THE GUTS TO GO OVER THERE AND DO WHAT WAS NEEDED TO GET OUR PEOPLE BACK. I WONDER WOULD WE HAVE HAD 9/11 OR WOULD THEY HAVE THOUGHT TWICE ABOUT IT. BUT IT ALL DID HAPPEN AND NOW WE HAVE A STRONG REPUBLICAN IN OFFICE, HE DIDN’T START THIS WAR, BUT I SURE HOPE THAT HE GIETS TO FINISH IT WITH A WIN, AND NOT A RETREAT LIKE ALL THE BLEEDING HEART LIBERIAL DEMOCRATES WANT TO DO.
THANK YOU FOR SERVING AND I’M SORRY FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR BROTHER. BUT, I TWO WONDER HOW MUCH YOU WERE PAID TO WRITE THIS AT ELLECTION TIME.

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By Professor Lorelle Browning, October 22, 2006 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin, your honesty and passion, your fury and grief is so crucial for us to hear now, as we prepare to vote, and to find a way to stop the madness of these wars, and the way “our” government (though I can no longer call it “mine”) has managed to corrupt whatever moral integrity and supposedly honorable objectives we claim to pursue.

I am ashamed to admit that when my University of California, Santa Barbara (not exactly a hot-bed of radicalism) cohorts and I were out there protesting the Vietnam War and demonstrating against the occupation (by National Guard and brutal L.A. Sheriffs) of Isla Vista, our idyllic student ghetto by the sea); when we were being pepper-gassed, arrested, and beaten for leaving our living quarters after an early evening curfew and for collectively protesting that curfew; when we lost a close fraternity brother, Kevin Moran, who was killed by a Santa Barbara sheriff, while Kevin was trying to calm the protesters’ rock-throwing rage, we never imagined that we could NOT change or improve our country and the world.  We were utterly CONVINCED that we COULD and most certainly WOULD make life more equitable, more fulfilling, more humane—in other words, that we could do a much better job than our parents’ generation did and somehow overcome the injustices, the futile, arrogantly distorted self-righteous belief that the U.S. would somehow “democratize” the world in “our” own image. 

Back then we had trouble swallowing LBJ’s and Nixon’s rationale (and the policies it produced) that our mission in Vietnam was “patriotic,” and would somehow “save the world from communism”; now our disappointment and disrespect for “our” government leaders has become more intensified, more outraged than we ever imagined, because we know what is at stake, and so do you.  Every statement you make, all of your “somehow” reflections, reveal our incredible obliviousness and passivity to my generation’s tremendous failure and, as you say, all of our grandchildren are going to pay the highest price.

Kevin, I have been waiting, ever since Pat was killed, to hear YOUR perceptions and your passion, not only in response to Pat’s tragic and unnecessary death, but also because I couldn’t even begin to imagine how traumatic it must have been for you, because you were THERE, you witnessed it, yet the military made sure that you didn’t know the details for weeks and then they ordered you to make no comments about the incident.  Why, I wonder?  What were they so afraid you might say? 

I know a bit about how excruciating it has been for some members of your family because when Pat was killed so suddenly (that talented, whacky apparently invincible guy who would try anything once, and had used a few of his nine lives in the process), I was teaching a university course on the Vietnam War Era, and your cousin—who was, I discovered later, really more like a younger sister to you and Pat—was a student in my class. 

I remember the moment when she came to my office and, trying to stifle her tears, told me that she would be missing a few classes because her cousin, Pat, had just been killed in Afghanistan and she needed to go be with her family.  She was clearly devastated, and a bit dazed and shocked, but she spoke with great courage and clarity. I hugged her and asked her to stay in touch by phone or e-mail, reassuring her that we would work out whatever course work she might miss during this agonizing time.  And so she went south, to the Bay Area, to be with your then close-knit family; she hoped by being there, that she might find a way through the grief and loss of her “big brother” Pat, who had always managed (with you in cahoots, I suspect) to include her in some wild, spontaneous adventures—whether they be playing some strange mutation of touch football or, at family gatherings, pulling her out of bed for a 3:00 a.m. ride to some a “truly bizarre” place Pat had discovered and just had to show her and anyone else he could drag along.  As I have come to know, Pat wanted to experience EVERYTHING, to frequently take risks (without putting others in danger, if he could help it); he wanted to LIVE IT ALL and, though I don’t know you, I suspect you must have some of that incredibly passionate spirit as well, or you wouldn’t have enlisted with Pat, and gone to the most dangerous place in the world (at that time), on an impossible mission, with equipment so inferior that it was putting all of your lives constantly at risk.

I now admit, with embarrassment, that I had no idea who “Pat Tillman” was (sorry, very little NFL in my repertoire), that day when your cousin came to my office, but I soon learned—BIG TIME.  And, when she returned to school, after a week or so   away, before the big “public memorial,” where thousands of people (who didn’t know Pat at all, but believed they did, because the media frenzy had morphed him into larger-than-life SACRIFICIAL HERO to somehow justify his death), sat and dabbed their eyes about the loss of such a courageous young man, a patriot who had walked away from a $3+ million NFL contract to defend his country in the name of freedom and democracy.

In your powerful and courageous letter, you give us a crucial, passionate warning:  WAKE UP!  VOTE! In Pat’s name, and as a small gesture of retribution for his senseless death, we must all take responsibility for what happened to him, for the 3,000+ Americans who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, and for the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have already died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I have purposely omitted my student’s name here; she has suffered greatly too, and the way the media has exploited Pat’s death and your family’s privacy has been terribly destructive, as well.  But she has also given us a great gift: she comes and speaks in my classes, even as the truth slowly emerged about the “friendly fire” accident (information not revealed to you or your family for five weeks), about the chaotic events of that day when Pat was killed by fire from the “Serial 2” half of his own platoon, after the Lt. in charge had been ordered, over repeated objections, to divide the platoon).  We also know that Pat, in the “Serial 1” half of the platoon, died as he and other Rangers were signaling the Serial 2 Rangers below to cease firing on their own men on the ridge above.

So, I thank you for your courage, for your willingness to speak your truth, even for putting your life in danger in an illegal and futile war.  May we all heed your call and become accountable for what we have allowed and, in the process, honor Pat and you.

With great respect for you and your family, Lorelle

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By Kevin Gedeon, October 22, 2006 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin,
You and your brother are American heroes - brave soldiers who refused to become mindless automatrons easily used and exploited by the powerful.
I was a big fan of Pat when he played at ASU and then for the Cardinals.  What you both did was extraordinarily heroic.  Sorry for your loss and thank you for your continued bravery.

Kevin

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By Robin, October 22, 2006 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
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My husband was also an Army Ranger during the same time you & Pat were.  He has also regained his voice and so have I.  We both stand with you 100% and then some!  Thank you for using your voice to let the truth be known!

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By Chuck Swivel, October 22, 2006 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin, I applaud your speaking out and your eloquence in doing so. As a babyboomer and having lived through a “must win war” for the freedom of America thirty five years ago, I am amazed and appalled. Have we learned nothing from our past mistakes? That the American people tolerate a leadership that lies to it’s people, and continues to justify it’s illegal occupation of a sovereign nation flies in the face of what I was taught that America stands for. Hopefully we can clear some of the trash from congress in the upcoming elections and begin to restore our country to one we are proud of and live by the principals we know to be right.

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By Andy Hailey, October 22, 2006 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t agree more.  We have some serious choices to make in November

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By johnwalsh2, October 22, 2006 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin:

I am moved by the power of your words.  Coming from a true American Patriot.  Bless you.

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By Chuck R, October 22, 2006 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
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KEVIN,  I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS,  BUT,  THOUSANDS OF WARRIORS HAVE COME BEFORE YOU AND WILL COME AFTER…...THE FIRST AND SECOND WORLD WARS WERE TO END ALL WARS…..KOREA, VIETNAM, AND NOW THE MIDDLE EAST, SHOWS THAT WAS A FARCE .....WAR WILL NOT END BECAUSE LEADERS WILL ALWAYS FIND A REASON TO TRY TO DOMINATE OTHERS.  IT’S UP TO EACH ONE OF US WHO ARE FREE TO CONTINUE TO DEFEND FREEDOM.  YOU CAN DO THIS WITH A GUN, EID, PEN, ETC, .  ALL OF US WHO HAVE AN OPINION SHOULD EXPRESS IT,  YOURS IS BUT ONE…I HAVE SPENT THE LAST THREE YEARS VISITING THE WOUNDED MARINES OF CAMP PENDELTON, CA…...THESE YOUNG HEROES WERE THE BRAVE WARRIORS KICKING DOWN DOORS IN A NUMBER OF CITIES IN IRAQ,  THEY , OR I WILL SAY 90-95%,  BELIEVE WE SHOULD STAY AND FINISH THE JOB STARTED IN THE MIDDLE EAST.  YOU HAVE EXPRESSED YOUR NEGATIVE FEELINGS THAT YOU NOW HAVE,  BUT WHEN YOU AND PAT SIGNED UP TO SERVE YOUR COUNTRY…...WHAT DID YOU EXPECT TO RECIEVE?  MEDALS, THANK YOU’S, OR THE SATISFACTION OF A JOB WELL DONE TO PROVIDE THE WORLD WITH FREEDOM,  FROM YOUR EFFORTS.  I TOO LOST BUDDIES IN VIETNAM, I WAS A HOSPITAL CORPSMAN WITH THE 1/5 MARINES IN CHU LAI IN 1965-66.  I AM NOT A ROOKIE LIKE OTHERS WHO HAVE LOGGED ON BUT A BROTHER WHO HAS BEEN THERE…..AGAIN I’M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS BUT 55,000 WER LOST IN NAM, 620,000 LOST IN THE CIVIL WAR BUT FREEDOM COSTS….....THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE….............HM3 DOC

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By a registered voter, October 22, 2006 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thank you, i have sent this to my distribution list.
If you can take the time to forward raunchy jokes, surely we can take the time to forward something as important as this

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By Jim, October 22, 2006 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
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What a load of rubbish. Any decent comments and points that may have been made are completely overshadowed by a host of stupid statements right out of the moonbat playbook.

Utter rubbish.

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By Jim Byrd, October 22, 2006 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well done and well said.  I will pass this on to everyone I know and will save it to pass it on to new friends.

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By RichardCranium, October 22, 2006 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
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Interesting how there still seem to be those among us who have never served in the military, never had to kill- or watch a friend die, yet they still feel the urge to denounce the words of someone who has “been there, done that”.

I am glad to see the letters of support, but remain dismayed at the ignorant sheeple who will apparently follow the GOP down whatever path to Hell they feel is needed to ensure their re-election.

I wish these “armchair generals” would grow a pair, and sign up. Let’s see how you feel after being lied to about number of tours, deployment time, and cause for your service. That is, if you don’t find yourself blown to pieces for the President. You certainly won’t be laying down your life for any of us common people, let alone the ungrateful masses in the Middle East.

RC
USMC 1997-2003

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By Steve G., October 22, 2006 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin,
I think you are way out of line. I doubt you would be complaining if things worked out better. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out the way we were all hoping, but that is no reason to start calling the war “illegal” and calling our leaders “criminals”. Were you saying these things at the beginning of Iraq invasion? I’m sure you were not. You are basically being a really bad sport. That is what it comes down to.

I’m not saying that our government hasn’t made mistakes. They have made plenty of mistakes. I am not convinced that it was necessary for us to go into Iraq. I think it was probably a mistake. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to start calling our leaders “criminals”. Our leaders have done the best job that they could. I think they’ve made plenty of mistakes but that doesn’t make them bad people. They have served their country just like you have. Rumsfeld has served his country for much of his life. He was a navy pilot when he was young.

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By teamprick, October 22, 2006 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment
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I am very sorry for your brother’s death. I am a US Soldier serving in Korea, and I pray that God will bless you for this article. As a Soldier- I defend a democracy that I myself am not a part of. As a Soldier I am taught to obey the orders of those appointed over me and that is what I do. As a US citizen we should be expected to do nothing less than the US Soldier. US citizens are quick to dog the judgement of our US leaders! Can you imagine the sleepless nights that President Bush has? It takes a hell of a person to do what they feel is right for the country inspite of millions of critics and thousands of our sons and daughters being sent to certain death. I think that we as US Soldiers and US citizens ahould support our leadership. When the time comes everyone who hate the leadership they have can vote for a different set of leaders. As I stated in the middle of this article- when all the dust settles and the smoke clears on election day, I am still an American Soldier, I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and I live the ARMY values!!!

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By Michelle, October 22, 2006 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
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My heart goes out to Kevin and his family for their loss.  I also thank them for their sacrificed for this country.  I do vehemently disagree with what he has said.  Thanks to their service, we still have freedom of speech.
I wonder how many people who are freaking out over the “civil war” in Iraq remember the early days of this wonderful nation we live in.  Not everyone agreed on how we should have our own freedom.  It took many years of fighting and the loss of many lives before we finally came into our own and became what we are today.  What is going on in Iraq is a normal part of becoming a democracy, especially when you consider the different types of peoples there.  It’s time for this nation to stop arguing politics and blaming each other, and come together and support our troops and our nation.  Whether or not we agree with being over there, the fact is…we’re there.  Everyone agrees that pullng out now would be tragic.  Now we need to do whatever we need to do to support our troops and our President to support that young democracy and bring our troops home as soon as possible.  The name calling and sour grapes is only adding to the problems.

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By crystal, October 22, 2006 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment
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Sorry I do not agree with you Mr. Tillman.  I served in the Navy and my husband presently serves.  You are so wrong about the many reason you feel we should not be in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I have spoken with many who have been there and feel we are doing a great job and should definately stay the course.  War is not a pleasant journey.  It is fighting for a belief.  One that I feel is best defined by this administration.  How short sided so many of the people who have responded on here are.  I am thankful for those that continue to put their country first in staying the course and not cutting and running on one, the military, and two your country.  How sad to see you all live in a microwave mindset.  War takes time.  How long did it take us for our freedom?  And we were fighting soldiers that could be identified. Thank God for my husband and those he serves with that continue the fight today, and will continue till we win.  Which we will.

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By Ron Gasper, October 22, 2006 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment
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I found your simple, but true, statement regarding the knowledge of surrendering your voices with your choice of military service a down to the bone,cut to the chase, reality. I served Viet Nam era, and it was this very thing that gave me what voice I have used since.I found your words true coming from any conflict era. This is why politicians choose to speak on military bases, ships, etc. When is the last time that a politician was booed or chastised by his audience. Your words answer this, and the sad thing is we the people know it yet let it continue. We will never be a truly free people until we free ourselves of such apathy. I for one will wait no longer not even until after your late brother’s birthday. I wish your family peace in knowing your brother’s character demonstrated his uniqueness. I have cast away any hint of my affiliation with a political party, because I do commit the remainder of my life to a vote for character not words. Thank you for opening up your private relationship with your brother. It has reached one person for sure.

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By James Ahearn, October 22, 2006 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
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I belive what is said is so very true.I never belived in this war and always thought i was being lied to.Also belive if sadom was left alone their would have been less deaths amoung the iraqi people.Before we droped bombs.Our money paid for those bombs.Now our children pay for the mistakes.Can’t wait for our hands become untied.Am very proud to be on this web site thank you

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By Ex-Army, October 22, 2006 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
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Before I begin, I want to say my heart goes out to you for the loss of your brother. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a family member for any reason.

I proudly served my country for 8 years for the sole purpose of protecting our citizens. Some would have you believe that pacifism is the best way to avoid conflict. I disagree. There are people in this world who want to kill us just for being Americans. It started long before George Bush took office and it will continue long after he leaves. For once, we have a president who is willing to ignore polls and popularity contests to do what’s necessary: protect Americans at all costs and do it on the enemy’s turf.  For that, I am grateful and if I was younger, I would volunteer again.

It pains me to see the venomous animosity toward our president, his staff and our military by those who truly believe pre-emptive action is wrong. I find it hypocritical because they will be the first to cry foul if there is another attack in our country. As I see it, Bush is being crucified for trying to defend America – your freedom, your right to prosper, your right to agree or disagree, yet he will be quickly shredded for not doing enough if we sustain another attack.  It’s a double standard, a double edged sword – a lose-lose prospect for our president. It’s hypocrisy pure and simple. Islamic extremism has one goal: the extermination of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their religion. You can’t reason with people who strap bombs on children and believe death is a blessing.

Burying one’s head in the sand is not the answer. It’s fool-hearty to believe inaction will keep us safe and it sickens me to hear Americans and members of Congress suggesting this lunacy. There are many nations who have chosen to remain passive and paid a price it.

While I understand your emotion toward all of this, please be thankful that you are an American. You are surrounded by people you don’t know who are willing to die to protect your freedom. I was one of them…

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By errnie, October 22, 2006 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
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Come on, Kevin,who brainwashed you? We are at war. People die. No President ever wanted war, and this includes President Bush. He didn’t ask for airplanes to be flown into buildings here in the u.s. killing thousands of innocent americans. Get real. I am a veteran of Korea and Viet Nam, and have experience in war. It is the most hated thing for ant veteran. But i still stand behind my President and stand up for my country.

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By Carmela, October 22, 2006 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment
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I can’t add anything more eloquent to what you’ve already written.  The truth of it is the saddest part of today’s times.  I’m a grandmother who has been voting for a very long time and have seen a small corruption scandal in almost all of the elections I’ve voted in, but never the likes of this administration.  This administration is so blatantly corrupt without regard for the people it should be representing that my head spins when ever I hear them talk about even the smallest thing let alone the Iraqi situation.  I’m not sure that Bush was elected at all, ever,  even the second time.  It makes me question if any ones’ vote counts at all, in any election.  NO ONE I know admits to voting for Bush, so how did he get in this time. And less we forget, this all began with daddy Bush, and I feel that he is still behind it all. What a disgrace that young men, such as your brother, you and all of the families of our fallen brothers have to suffer so much pain.

I’m a product of the sixty’s, and remember the marches on Washington to stop the Vietnam “conflict”,  Where is everyone now?  We need people to start screaming about all of the lies and injustices done by this administration.

I miss the fiscal responsibility, humor, indiscretions, and sanity of the previous administration. They were considerably more moral than this one.
God Bless you and your family.

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By D Cooney, October 22, 2006 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin,
First of all I would like to tell you that your brother is my hero, and has given me hope that everything that is meant when people speak of courage, honor, and righteousnous are real ideals that people act upon and not just rhetorical terms used to cover up phony agendas. I pray for you and your family and want you to know that the example set by your brother will ensure that his spirit will live on through the example he has set for others.

The second thing I would like to say is aimed at all of those whom voted for George Bush because they believe that he is a “take no crap” leader who is going to be strong against terrorism. WHEN IT WAS GEORGE BUSH’S TURN TO FIGHT IN VIETNAM, HE HID IN THE TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT IT WAS A WAY OUT OF SEEING ANY ACTION IN THE WAR.I have no problem with people who were against the Vietnam war, but to not speak up and to go hide in a place that’s available bk of who your daddy is while others are dying in your place is completely spineless. Everytime I see a homeless vet who has never quite recovered from that war I am reminded that there are people eating out of dumpsters who stood in place of the man we call our president in the name of freedom and democracy. We have a “War President” who ran and hid when it was his time to fight in a war. For someone who is so concerned with democracy and freedom, I find it fascinating that now that he now leads the battle cry far from the battle field, sending our young men to die for “weapons of mass destruction” that don’t exist when he wouldn’t fight himself when a country was being overrun and having their own freedom being taken away from them. The fact that a nation of 300 million people needs to choose a spineless coward who refuses to fight for what he believes in (or says he believes in) as their President is a sign that something is wrong. It is time for people to start voting based on the character the individual has demonstrated within his/her life instead of the false promises that are spewed around election time. It is too bad that Pat Tillman didn’t feel the call to politics.

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By Mite, October 22, 2006 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
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As one who took the “Oath” to defend this Constitution over thirty years ago, my heart goes out to you Mr. Tillman and your loss of your brother. If veterans of past conflicts would come out and tell the truth about their tours in-country and other operations our citizens would be shocked.
There are many published books, journals, and papers that expose our truths. I will quote only one documentation available- Senate Intelligence Authoritzation Act for fisical Year 1991 (S.B. 2834)In “Oversight of Intelligence Activities,” Title VII, S.B. 2834 authorizes the president power to initiate covert actions; prevents Congress from stopping the President’s initiation of covert actions; allows the President to use any federal “departments, agencies, or entities” to operate or finance a covert operation; empowers the President to use any nation or private contractor or person to fund or operate a covert action; redefines covert actions as operations “necessary to support foreign policy objectives of the United States.
Did we know that there is “NO” oversight from Congress or the American people on 60% of all Covert Operations.
A couple of good books for reference are: Behold A Pale Horse by Milton William Cooper a former Naval Intelligence Person and Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.
With the wide abuse of the various Media outlets, it will surprise me if this comment is displayed as others have been deleted or not posted.

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By DONNA, October 22, 2006 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
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I deeply appreciate Kevin & Pat’s service to our country. Thank you. I can not imagine your pain in the loss of your brother. Since the 11/7/06 election was brought up, what productive solution to the Dems have in regards to terrorism? Iraq? I have yet to hear any. It is easy to look back and condemn.  Both parties need to conduct themselves as Americans first and forget about their political parties/ ambitions.  We did not provoke the following: 
9/11/01 Attack on America
2/93 bombing of World Trade Center
10/93 Somolia Killing US Military
11/95 truck bombing in Saudi Arabia, killing US Military
8/98 bombing of US Embassy in Africa killing innocent civilians
10/2000 attack on the USS Cole, killing, injuring sailors, etc etc

We ALL want peace but the terrorists want us dead

You are correct, “luckily this country is still a democracy” ...for the time being.

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By Red, October 22, 2006 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thankyou,
I wept at your words.
May many more be so moved to word and action!

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By mary, October 22, 2006 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bravo!  There is nothing else that can be said other than to make sure that the values that our forefathers constructed is upheld is to please get out and VOTE!!!  Also the political system needs to be overhauled where a viable third can have 1/3 of the House and Senate to keep the Democrats and the Republicans honest.  We, the People need to take the country back from the control of those who only profit from the senseless destruction they call preserving freedom.

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By Tman, October 22, 2006 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We should have removed the defenseless four legged animals and just hammered the terrorists non-stop with the B-52’s, enough said.

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By James E. Ruland, October 22, 2006 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
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What happened to Victory?  Should we withdraw and betray our allies in Iraq, and allow them to suffer the same fate as the South Vietnamese and Cambodians?  What did FDR and Truman do in WWII?  Is not utterly defeating our enemies the lesson from WWI?

Would it not be better to win and kill the Islamic fascists, rather than cut and run and allow the Islamic fascists to kill our allies?  Who will stand by us again?

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By VG, October 22, 2006 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,

When our country needed you, both you and your brother responded.  I’m glad to see that nothing has changed in your heart, that you are still a hero fighting for this great nation.  We need you.  My deepest sympathies for you and your family.  I regret the loss of your brother, a true hero, who joined the service and ran to the sound of the guns. 

I too am a veteran and have served for nearly 20 years, but unlike you I joined during peacetime.  I often ask myself whether I would have the courage to join during war.  I thank you for your patriotism and conviction, and admire your courage in writing this.  Keep up the good fight.  As long as our country can count on men like you and your brother, we will be free.

We can not lose in this most important fight.  Long live America.  Long live the constitution.

God bless

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By Doug, October 22, 2006 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for this. It summed up my feelings on the way this country has sold out its own values. And shame on all of these people who posted simply to critize you. You have earned the right to say what you have said. And thank you for protecting my rights to say what I want to say.

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By ED, October 22, 2006 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment
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This is what happens when we have citizens who say DEMOCRATS GOOD, REPUBLICANS BAD or REPUBLICANS GOOD DEMOCRATS BAD they refuse to think for themselves. If President Bush,THe Democrats and Republicans cared for this country the only border they should have sent the army to was the Mexican border. These men are killed for Democrat Political Correctness and Republican Business interests (which is why the border is unprotected)

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By Dan, October 22, 2006 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
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You are an american hero. The future of the free world depends on individuals like you continuing to speak out against injustice.

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By Contango Backwardation, October 22, 2006 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I understand you are bitter because your brother was killed.

When you volunteered with him, however, did you not understand that you would be going overseas to try to kill people, as directed by the political leadership of the United States?

Did you only decide that war is a bad thing after personally suffering because of it?

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By Lance Johnston, October 22, 2006 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many have commented on the patriotism of your brother, myself included.  The strength of character that you both share is obvious.  Our county’s greatest patriots have held that same strength of character wrapped around the courage to speak the truth all for the love of their country and their countrymen.  Thank you patriot.  May speaking the truth brighten the darkest of days.  God bless.

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By scott z, October 22, 2006 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amen brother! let’s hope this next generation does not accept this from their leaders.

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By Binoj Matthew, October 22, 2006 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sir:
You have the authority to state your point of view and I salute you for the truth you speak. You have voiced what I have felt for years. Unfortunately, the die has been cast and even though we may change our position, regions of the world have been traumatized and have yet to reconcile. These populations do not have the luxury of a democracy and will extract their vengeance in the years and generations to come. Us and our children will have to reap this maelstrom. Its a calamity that the oldest and wisest democracy could have elected such dangerous and inept individuals and handed them the reins of power. Thank you and your family for standing up and letting your voice be heard. Best wishes to you and your family. Binoj Matthew

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By Scott, October 22, 2006 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
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IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11
IRAQ HAD NO WMD
IRAQ POSED NO THREAT TO THE U.S.
U.S. PROPPED UP HUSSEIN FOR DECADES
U.S. PROVIDED HUSSEIN WITH CHEMICAL WEAPONS
HUSSEIN HAD NO CONTACT WITH AL QUEDA

These are just the facts.  Even shrub himself has admitted to these, and to his complete and utter failure as a leader.  Shame on shrub, dick, rummy, wolfowitz, pearle, and con-doh-LEEza.  Shame on them all.

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By Mark, October 22, 2006 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you for your courage.  I remember showing my now 6 year old son some of the tribute videos people did for your brother.  I’m glad to see his spirit live on.

Peace be with you.

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By John Messimer, October 22, 2006 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you for expressing deeply held thoughts. I began opposing the Iraq war the week we invaded and began the occupancy. I held weekly prayer services for the safety and protection of our military during the first 4 weeks. I wrote of my opposition to the war at that time also in the local papers. I feel our military has been hijacked by a very incompetant administration and puts the world at risk by faulty decision making.

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By J Johnsen, October 22, 2006 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
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Your comments on the war and our “leadership” are extreme and sensational and I agree with every word. THROW THE BUMS OUT!

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By Juan C. Vernetti, October 22, 2006 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
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This is the bravest, most eloquent and honest letter ever written about this tragic mess.

Open your eyes America!

I thank you and your late brother for your courage, patriotism, service and personal sacrifice.

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By Jonna Boelke, October 22, 2006 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The points you make in your story are so important and I hope lots of people get to see this article.  I have passed in on by email to all of my contacts and hope that it will press them to vote out the current administration.  Personally I would love to see this run in the New York Times, Washington Post and all the other major newspapers across our country.

I am truly sorry about the loss of your brother, someone who you can never replace but have obviously kept in your heart and thoughts.  I admire you for speaking out after keeping silent for so long, what you wrote is well written and oh so true.

God Bless you and your family and especially your brother.

Sincerely,

Jonna Boelke

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By Patrick (Pat) Cooney, October 22, 2006 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin,

First of all, Thank you to Pat and yourself for the sacrifices endured and the ultimate sacrafice of Pat, I’m truly sorry.  Your experiences on the inside and now from the outside ring true and clear. I to have been there and I’m still in the reserves.  Thank you for telling it like it is, you have both the moral and physical courage to act upon your convictions.  We as a people and nation must take charge, remember, “for the people, and by the people” This country was founded upon disention, and we will again vote out the injustice of corporate greed and neopolitical influences.  “Do the right thing” and go vote!


Pat

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By Steve Schreier, October 22, 2006 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
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Kevin
My best to you, your family, your mom and Dad. Our families knew each other in Almaden, you and your brothers knew Bryan and Stephanie.

I am proud of your writing and agree with it. You and Pat did the right thing, post 9.11.2001

Our country’s leadership, sadly have not. I read with disbelief how we treat our vets, their families, wounded and deceased. A complete lack of respect for their (your) sacrifice.

You have said what needs to be said, and a call to action is neccessary.

Thank you for your writing and your service.

Steve Schreier

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By Chuck, October 22, 2006 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry for the loss of your brother.  It’s certainly a tragedy.  The reality of the situation though is that we have to fight these Islamic extremists until they quit.  We tried to do it in Afghanistan but we couldn’t pull a large enough group of them in.  Now we’re fighting them in Iraq.  If not there then we’ll fight them in our own backyard under their rules.  They’ve proven that already.  I’d rather fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in Boston.

Kevin, of all people, should now how these people are and how they think.  The people of the middle east don’t have the same value of life as the people of the western world.  That should be readily apparent considering the applause the Muslim world gives these insurgents for actions like those of 9-11, the civilian contractors whose burnt bodies were hung on a bridge in Fallujah, and how they continue to target civilians based soley on their political affiliation.  These Islamic Extremists can not be bargained with, reasoned with, or dealt with in a normal, humanitarian manner.  They need to be met with extreme violence.  That’s how to deal with these people.

And yes, I am a soldier.  I’m married with 2 children, one’s four and the other is 9 months.  I’m prepping to leave for my third six month tour in 3 years.  I also spent 9 months in that theatre during the war in 1990-1991.  I’ll probably be leaving again next year too, and that’s just the way it is.

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By L. Kilgore, October 22, 2006 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are a brave man to voice your opinion in such a manner and you should be commended for it. I, too, served my country for over 20 years.  I spent 2 1/2 yrs in Vietnam which was useless and this war in Iraq is useless.  We (cannot) win the war on terror unless they are all killed and that is what is happening to many of our soldiers.  If our leaders had children in the war it would be ended.  Or maybe if they were serving things would be changed.

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By Dorothy J. Hackney, October 22, 2006 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do I dare say, “SEEK THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.”?  Maybe this is “TRUTH AT LAST.”  Thank you for your letter, Kevin, and to the Tillman family and parents that gave up a “good son.”  I am sorry, I, too voted for Bush. I hope America will wake up before it is too late. Dorothy J. Hackney

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By Reed Rothchild, October 22, 2006 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Note that many of the wingnuts who disagree with Kevin’s comments seem to have a problem with spelling.

That said, I’m tired of the idiots who say, “If we don’t fight them over here, we’ll fight them over here.”

Really? How daft does one have to be to believe that? Are Iraqi’s going to board one of their air-craft carriers and set sail for the Atlantic and then conduct bombing raids of our Eastern seaboard?

And to the person who said “Think of all the Iraqi’s who HAVEN’T died in mass graves since Saddam’s removal. Are you kidding me? DO you realize how many innocent civilians have been killed by our bombs? Sad.

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By Duncan Philp, October 22, 2006 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I also pray for our leadership, whoever lt is,.... “

I know who and what they are. I hope that God strikes these cowards and triators of freedom dead.

Duncan Philp

USCG “76 - ‘80

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By George, October 22, 2006 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

kevin, i’m sorry for your loss and for what was surely a traumatic tour for you otherwise.

i am also sorry for your anger and distrust, misplaced upon the greatest nation in the history of the world. 

best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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By David, October 22, 2006 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,

I’m saddened by what your family and what America has lost through weak leadership. You are correct that change occurs through the voter’s definition of American leadership. We must start there.

Reading through the commentaries, I’m dissapointed that you are being personally attacked. You have made sacrifices that most of your critics have not.

Anyone who really reads your letter realizes that you write for the voiceless brave people who are laying their lives on the line for the rest of us. The argument that we cannot support the troops and be against the war or against the adminstration borders on facist thinking.

I’m also dissapointed with the cynics who have given up on our republic and paint you as an idealist. We don’t need revolution. We do need the citizens of this country to awake from their comfortable slumber and make a difference. It isn’t too late.

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By Larry E. Gilmore, October 22, 2006 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,

May God bless you and your family for standing up to this Beast of a government.  I am a Vietnam Era veteran and have watched this country go from an image of good to that of absolute evil.

My caution to those who think anything will really change by the coming election is this; the last two elections were stolen by the same despot responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands and the world instability of today.  Everyone should be exremely concerned about the voting process used and supposedly counted by Diebold (formerly Global Election Systems).  It has been reasonably substantiated that the program used by Diebold was corrupted.  But not only that, Americans need to remember that their individual vote does not elect the President!  AT NO TIME is the populace vote counted to elect the President.  Even in the event of an Electoral College tie, it goes to the House to decide and if not then it goes to the President of the Senate (the Vice President) as we saw happen in the first George W. Bush election.

Another point of interest and concern is the eery manifestation of the numbering of humans being brought into play by this illegally invading American Beast. The last superpower to come on the prophetic scene has the dubious distinction of having the people of the world saying, “Who is like unto the Beast?  Who is able to make war with him?” (Rev 13:4) Daniel the prophet says he worships weapons and forces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4_RXtqtOR0

Americans should also realize that the God of the Bible ultimately calls for war to be learned no more and to beat your weapons into instruments for the production of food, not the destruction of people.  If you only do good to people and have no want of their resources you’ll have no enemies.

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By Adam, October 22, 2006 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,
Righteous words. My brother is in Iraq. I get so angry when I see this president send others’ sons, daughters, brothers and sisters off to die when he ran and hid when it was his turn.  Please keep speaking your mind.  Such words have enormous credibility coming from someone such as yourself. Thank you sincerely.

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By June Stolz, October 22, 2006 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,
You are an orator and a leader. Our country needs both. We have been betrayed.
Thank you, June Stolz

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By Mike Chappell, October 22, 2006 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Tillman,
My heartfelt condolances on the loss of your brother. He was, indeed, a hero in the eyes of many. It is, however, a tragedy that he gave his life for a cause that doesn’t exist. The American people are continuously lied to by it’s leaders, all in the name of money. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Negroponte, Bolton, Rice-these people are the insurgents, polluting the honorable name of the United States of America with their own garbage-dumping. I had intended to go on much longer, but I don’t want to take away from your own opinions and statements. They were direct and right on the money. Thank you for having the courage to tell it like it is. Good luck to you and your family. Stand tall and proud Ranger, you answered the call to duty and faced it with the courage of a true American soldier. May others be enlightened by your words and insights.
Mike Chappell
Mesa, Arizona

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By J.Lawrence Folloder, October 22, 2006 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I am supportive of the President of the United States, I can understand Mr. Tillman’s frustrastion.  I think dealing with the radical Islamic facists and terrorism in general is a different kind of war for the USA, I believe the President is correct in his actions, and I believe the ultra liberal media, the outspoken liberal Democrats, and the stupid Euro governments won’t be happy until terrorism overruns their government and their countries. Iran will build nukes that will kill free people all over the world.  Iraq and Afganistan don’t give a damn about human rights, and the value of democratic principals.  And because we are the greatest nation in the world, most of the world looks to us to be the world’s policeman.  I don’t like what this does to our society or our economy.  And the only allies we have who can be trusted are Great Britain, and Israel. 

And one more point.  Kofi Annnan is a stupid idiot.  I am opposed to his liberal one world government efforts.  And by not doing anything but bitch about the US and Israel, the UN is a crippled entity with stupid leadership that is too dumb to make solid decisions.  The USA needs to withdraw from the socialist UN, and I am opposed to paying for Mr. Annan’s socialism and the criminal actions of his cronies (all well-documented). France and Germany are doomed.  Spain is about to be overrun by Islamic facists.

I spent two years of my life as an Infantry officer, leaving the service as a Captain.  I lost several good friends in Vietnam, and I was proud to serve in our Army. 

I believe if you don’t like the way this country is run, find candidates who you like better and vote for them.

I respect the memory of Pat Tillman, and I praise Kevin Tillman for speaking his mind.

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By Tom Woodward, October 22, 2006 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,
Thank you for your bravery and honesty. I am hoping more soldiers will back you up, and that a large number of Americans are able to read what you wrote and know the horror and injustice of what is REALLY happening in and around Iraq now, and has been for the last five years. Thank you also for achieving something you had no control over: You lived to tell about it.
Is there something that I—as an ordinary citizen—can do to be of help?
Sincerely,
Tom

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By claire thomas, October 22, 2006 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PLEASE PLEASE TRY TO PUT THIS ON NATIONAL TV

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By wayne, October 22, 2006 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin It is so sad that we are losing so many good men and women to this war in Irag which never should have been started.  I pray for all these wasted lives. God bless your brother Pat and all the fine men and women that have gone with him and will continue to do so.

I ave a grandson who will go there early next year.

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By Joe Oquendo (Former Ranger), October 22, 2006 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pat had more cojones than all the US Leaders put together. To bad he died for a cause that nobody supports.

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By Not one of the blind Sheep anymore...., October 22, 2006 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In reading comments, I’m motivated by “Paul’s” comment above to respond.

Who better than family having served or sacrificied over there to speculate on how “just” and “honorable” a war this is?  How dare YOU for calling anyone unpatriotic if they dare to question what is going on.  Shame on YOU, sir.  It is the families and the loved ones being sent there—all in the name of faulty, inaccurate intelligence that is paying most dearly for the decisions our elected officials make.  It’s their freedom to use their voice - whether you agree with it or not—and it’s “Paul” stooping to low depths by denying anyone to speak what they believe.

We invaded Iraq - which had NOTHING to do with 911— Yeah, Saddam wasn’t a nice guy—but let’s look at the horrible actions happening in Darfur.  Oh, they don’t have OIL.  That’s how the battles get chosen, it appears.

Read the headlines “Paul”.  Our own President admits this war and Vietnam have similarities.  In this incident, however, we need to support our loved ones, our troops and bring them home as safely and as soon as possible and do damage control and repair for our mistakes.

Right now we are viewed in Iraq not as “liberators” but as “occupation”.  Most want us out.  We arrogantly went in when the rest of the world felt we shouldn’t have gone in.  We were lied to.  How is any of that acceptable—and how does it make us “unpatriotic” to call our Govt. on this or to vote accordingly this Nov.?

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By Daniel Le Blanc, October 22, 2006 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is happening in this tired old world is not new - it’s been going on for ages. Modern society at “all levels” has caused basic problems of the human human spirit to be multiplied thousands and millions of times over.

We are either being led forces from without or from within. Let each of us decide which principals and world view will influence our minds and our souls.

If there is no God….live by the highest turths you can determin or you will live as a beast - to the strong, to the power, regardless of the pain or suffering of others - go the spoils.

If there is a God…live by higher turths; do your best understanding you cannot be perfect; put your trust and hope only in God. In the end it will be made right.

Until then love God, your family, love and help others, support all who earnestly seek truth and are doing what they can to bring about a better world doing the same whever you can.

Peace…Daniel

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By Joe Wells, October 22, 2006 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bring our young men and women home and VOTE DEMOCRAT on November 7TH 2006.
GOD BLESS the USA.
Joe Wells
Bullitt Co KY

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By John Jefferson, October 22, 2006 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin,

First, thanks for your service to our country.  I feel so sorry for you that you bought into the defeatist nonsense that the anti-Bush propagandists have invented. You made many assertions that are baseless and without fact or merit.
- Illegal war?  It was voted and approved of by the UN Security Council and our government, therefore, legal.
- Panties on a prisoner’s head hardly counts as torture.
- Arresting and questioning a terrorist is not kidnapping and torture.
- You accuse the nebulous “American Leadership” of lying to the American people; easy to do because it relieves you of having to prove your point.
- Suspending Habeas Corpus? Not true!  Enemy combatants do not have the rights of a US citizen.  The constitution applies to US citizens and those that are legally in our country.  The Geneva Convention allows for the immediate execution of un-uniformed combatants during the execution of a war.  The enemy combatants we captured were lucky that they were not summarily shot upon capture.
- The rest of your discontent is pretty much just name-calling with no content with the exception of one concept you reference:  the general world discontent with the US.  Usually this refers to European attitudes toward the US.  This can be ascribed to the weak-hearted attitude of appeasement expressed by some European leaders and Russia after the invasion of Iraq.  They had stakes in Iraqi oil and propping up Saddam, as evidenced by the food for oil scandal.  Now, they fear the Islamo-fascist and hope to appease them in hopes of avoiding military conflict with them.  The trouble is Bin Laden and the Islamic fanatics that he represents will not stop with Afghanistan or Iraq or Israel.  They have made it known that they want to make the whole world Islamic, by force if necessary.  Kevin, they are coming for you and your descendants if they are not stopped. 

Liberals and other appeasers do not believe this.  They whistle past the graveyard, hoping the specter of Cultural warfare is a myth made up by right-wing scare mongers.  Although I hope they are right, I fear they are deadly wrong.

This is the next world war.  Ignore it at your peril.

By the way, I am career military.  Every generation of my family has served in the US military in every US war since the Civil War (as if this should matter in this debate).

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By Scott, October 22, 2006 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Kevin: don’t be thwarted by those who call you a coward or an opportunist. That’s all they can do, call you names, because they can’t answer any questions with facts or stand up to your brave statements with anything resembling reason. You are truly brave and heroic.

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By Diego, October 22, 2006 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m reminded of the words of Super Chicken: “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”

You see, when a country goes to war or - in the case of Iraq - when a country blindly follows a leader into battle, people get killed. Especially if that particular country is illegally invaded. That really pisses people off.

Now, my heart goes out to the men and women of our armed forces and Pat. I could care less about his family and friends, including Kevin who happens to wake-up from his sleep AFTER his friend is killed.

What November should be reminding Kevin and the rest of the million electorates of the United States is how they rallied at the polls to re-elect Bush Jr. both in 2004 AND 2000.

What did these people expect when they hired a frat-boy for a President? Bush hadn’t been successful in ONE business venture, dodged military service, sucked in school, is a paranoid coke-abuser, has never been out of the country and CLEARLY didn’t have the qualifications to be president of this great country.

Yet, he was elected.

Don’t worry, Kevin. I understand that the armed force recruiters drudge the trailer parks for uneducated yokels to be fight for the country so most of you grunts had no concept or precept that this could ever happen. What a shame.

I guess the best thing that Pat could have done was to not only die for his country, but also die for you. He did our country a favor by reducing the ignorant cess pool of potential inept voters by one. But he also had to die for you, Kevin, to wake up to something that has been happening since Bush Jr. got into office.

But for now, you are in the military. So, do what your told, point the gun and shoot to promote democracy and to pay tribute to your blind leadership to the new Fuhrer of Washington. Forget about the Nuremberg Trials and continue the War of Terror.

Or, if you really did love your friend and have deep love for this country; put down your gun, come home and fight the true terror here in the United States…this pathetic president and all those who follow him.

Semper Fi, Kevin, and Vaya Con Dios, Pat.

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By Rich, October 22, 2006 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kevin:
My son, an Army Ranger is in Iraq as we speak. I am proud to say I am a father of a soldier but I agree 100% with what you wrote. BRAVO to you. Bush and his “boys” will NEVER know the anguish we all feel back home for the troops over there in this ridiculous war. Thank you for your thoughts.

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