I thought when it was all said and done the American people would understand the importance of taxes and the importance of security. – George W. “Stop -throwing-the-Constitution-in-my-face-it’s-just-a goddamned-piece-of-paper!” Bush
Pat Tillman, the NFL player who gave up a multi-million dollar career to fulfill what he saw as his patriotic duty to his country, was killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan nearly three years ago. Rather than tell the truth, the Bush regime sought to exploit his death for their benefit; nothing punches-up a national tragedy like putting a well-known human face on it.
As the details of Tillman’s death are uncovered, it’s becoming more and more apparent that his death and the lies surrounding it – while tragic and scandanlous – are very likely just one piece of a much larger puzzle of military corruption and incompetence rooted in Donald Rumsfeld’s and Dick Cheney’s failed “shock and awe” strategy.
According to the Accociated Press, Tillman’s fellow soldiers did not follow the most basic firearms protocols during the incident, essentially shooting at anything that moved with automatic weapons. One of the soldiers had apparently only recently had eye surgery, and their squad leader apparently forgot our Afghan allies are armed with AK-47s:
One of the four shooters, Staff Sgt. Trevor Alders, had recently had PRK laser eye surgery. He said although he could see two sets of hands “straight up,” his vision was “hazy.” In the absence of “friendly identifying signals,” he assumed Tillman and an allied Afghan who also was killed were enemy.
Another, Spc. Steve Elliott, said he was “excited” by the sight of rifles, muzzle flashes and “shapes.” A third, Spc. Stephen Ashpole, said he saw two figures, and just aimed where everyone else was shooting.
Squad leader Sgt. Greg Baker had 20-20 eyesight, but claimed he had “tunnel vision.” Amid the chaos and pumping adrenaline, Baker said he hammered what he thought was the enemy but was actually the allied Afghan fighter next to Tillman who was trying to give the Americans cover: “I zoned in on him because I could see the AK-47. I focused only on him.”
All four failed to identify their targets before firing, a direct violation of the fire discipline techniques drilled into every soldier.
Keep in mind that this was an “elite” Army Ranger unit, not rank-and-file troops, and that in the nearly three years since the incident occured, the Pentagon has lowered the bar for incoming soldiers to the point where criminals, high school drop-outs, drug users, and avowed white supremacists are now accepted, processed, armed, and turned loose in Iraq and Afghanistan (yet decorated veterans – some of whom speak Arabic fluently – are still drummed-out of the service if they happen to be gay).
How the mouthy have fallen.
Rumsfeld resigns in disgrace just weeks after the smirking chimp assured America he was going to be running the Pentagon through 2008. Hastert steps down as minority leader just weeks after passing the buck on the Foley scandal. Meanwhile, True Blue Blog’s resident trolls are nowhere to be found – even on their own blogs (this means you, Rociante).
I’d say “I told you so,” but why bother when the electorate already has?
Last night I watched the election coverage on CNN until around 11:00 PM. I got a real kick out of watching the two right-wing commentators try to spin the election results, first by down-playing them as too few, too early to indicate a trend and then as “not the tsunami “the media” kept promising.” Whatever their take on the outright takeover of the House and apparent takeover of the Senate was I’m not sure as I went to bed just before either of those things were reported, but I am really hoping to catch it on a recap today or maybe YouTube later in the week.
Personally, this election restored my hope in a lot of things about this country. I’d have preferred the American electorate had come to its senses in 2004 or, better yet, hadn’t drank the Kool-Aid in 2000, but what’s done is done. The task at-hand is to undo as much of the harm our dry-drunk-in-chief and his Congressional rubber-stamp have done the past six years:
- Damaging the infrastructure and morale of our troops.
- Shafting our veterans.
- Accumulating $3 TRILLION dollars worth of new debt.
- Running an annual $300 BILLION dollar deficit (with $400B MORE “off-the-books”).
- Erroding our civil liberties.
- Ruining our standing in the world.
- Allowing North Korea and Iran to achieve or come closer to achieving their nuclear amibitions.
- Allowing Afghanistan to become a failed narco-state.
- Allowing Iraq to descend into chaos.
- Allowing New Orleans to be destroyed.
- Being a huge part of the problem – rather than the solution – to global warming, overfishing, and the spread of AIDS and HIV in the Third World.
- Ad nauseum.
Better late than never; here’s hoping it doesn’t turn out to be too little, too late.
The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative. – Wiston Churchill
I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team. – Hillary Clinton
Nearly one year ago today, the Washington Post had this to say about the state of the Iraqi armed forces “rebuilt” by the current regime under the direction of Donald Rumsfeld:
The number of Iraqi army battalions that can fight insurgents without U.S. and coalition help has dropped from three to one, top U.S. generals told Congress yesterday, adding that the security situation in Iraq is too uncertain to predict large-scale American troop withdrawals anytime soon.
With that kind of negative press a year ago, why hasn’t the situation improved? Why has it gotten worse instead of better? Because of the fact that Donald Rumsfeld, with the blessing of the republican Congressional majority, is using Iraq as a cash cow for the only real constituency they care about – private military contractors.
Oh, how the worm has turned! Originally hailed for “training Iraqi soldiers, providing security, and – oh! – so much more,” they’re now another line-item embarassment in multi-billion dollar stop-gap funding bills that the “liberal media” is giving the shrub yet another free pass on.
Why is this an op-ed piece in last month’s Boston Globe instead of front-page news?
While Army privates died overseas earning $25,000 a year, David Brooks, the disgraced former CEO of body-armor maker DHB, made $192 million in stock sales in 2004. He staged a reported $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter. The 2005 pay package for Halliburton CEO David Lesar, head of the firm that most symbolizes the occupation’s waste, overcharges, and ghost charges on no-bid contracts, was $26 million, according to the report’s analysis of federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings.