Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Long Road Home

by Pa Rock
Airport Fixture

I am sitting in the Atlanta airport. It is dark outside and feels later than it actually is. My plane will leave for Phoenix in two hours. Hopefully my baggage has made the same arrangements, but considering the clusterfuck at the sidewalk check-in at Ft. Lauderdale, that is doubtful at best.

Okay. I'm tired. I know it and I feel it!

I have been reading Mary Tillman's book about her son, Pat Tillman. It is called Boots on the Ground by Dusk. Her co-author was Narda Zacchino, a professional journalist who was one of our presenters on The Nation cruise. I can only read a few pages at a time, and then my eyes start watering and I have to stop. That could be because I ran out of one of my meds (an important one) on the trip, or, more likely, I just get emotionally overwhelmed at the thought of losing one of my children - especially to violence or needless and stupid war. Actually losing a child for any reason would be devastating, an impossible situation from which to recover.

I heard Narda speak about the death of Pat Tillman at one of the panel discussions on the cruise. The notion that the death of this football star and uber-patriot was shamelessly used by the government to create a surge of patriotism is now a matter of record. We also know that the government - our government - tried to cover-up the fact that it was, at best, a death by friendly fire, and, at worst, a political execution. I have only finished the first third of this book, but with each passing page I become more emotional and angry.

Did you know that by the time of his death, Pat Tillman had read the Bible and the Koran cover-to-cover and had a strong grasp of the political realities behind the Middle East wars? Did you know that he was beginning to openly question United States military and foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan? Did you know that his death had an effect of helping to pull public attention away from the atrocities committed by our troops and their civilian contractor masters at Abu Ghraib? Did you know that one of the architects of the cover-up in the death of Pat Tillman appears to have been General Stanley McChrystal, the current commander in Afghanistan?

I hope that Mary Tillman and her family are able to eventually force the truth out of our own government about what really happened to this brave young man. When I finish the book I am going to write a thoughtful letter about my concerns in the matter and send it to the old, white males who represent me in Congress: Trent Franks, Jon Kyl, and John McCain. At one time McCain had an interest in this story, but he now has transitioned into being a cheerleader of McChrystal.

Boots on the Ground by Dusk is a great read. Buy it, read it, get pissed, and then make some noise! (I will post a full review on The Ramble after I finish it.)

Meanwhile, back in the airport, the night drags on!

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