Tuesday 24 April 2007

I am friendly, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman

Oversight overdue

The Democrats in American Congress are beginning to take down the house that Don (Donald Rumsfeld) built, brick by brick. Do not tell me you have forgotten the erstwhile Secretary of Defense, who having been the longest serving appointee to that role and architect of two wars going places but to victory is now consigned to history.

Not exactly, the de-construction of Rumsfeld is being played back in the presence of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as they hear of people who were decorated as heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were in fact not what they were cut out to be.

Saving Private Lynch

How can we forget the commando raid that looked like a rerun of Raid on Entebbe in Saving Private Lynch?

An outrageous media spin by the Ministry of Defense indicating the lady had had stab and bullet wounds and that she had been slapped about on her hospital bed and interrogated, when in fact, she was treated with the utmost dignity having the only specialist bed in that hospital and the soldiers who came to rescue her were only firing blanks.

However, for a reality show, it made good public relations, possibly boosting the morale of soldiers on a lie, Private Jessica Lynch tried as much as possible to debunk the spin and now finally had the chance before the committee to reveal that one of the greater casualties of the war is the truth.

All-American spin

I am no warmonger, though that does not make me a pacifist, if we tried to move out of our entrenched positions and converse to reach a compromise and an agreeable consensus maybe a lot more peace would be in this world, but man is sometimes like a vampire, baying for blood and until their thirst is assuaged, peace eludes all.

One was moved to the point of deep sorrow and compassion when news arrived of a young man who was about to sign on to a great professional football career but had caught the bug of going out to defend the fatherland in Afghanistan.

So much was made of this All-American hero who would give up the comforts of luxurious living for tracking down Al Qaeda and their cohorts.

In that time, there were probably many young men going about their lives who were persuaded by this gesture to sign up to this escapade for the fatherland, dreaming of coming back to ticker-tape parades after V-day in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Friendly fire

Corporal Pat Tillman did not make it back, I cannot relate this, his brother appeared before the committee and I cannot better what he said at his hearing - this is the text of what was said verbatim - "Authorities constructed not only a story of combat action -- accompanied by a silver medal - but lied about his medical care, saying he was transferred to a field hospital for continued medical care for 90 minutes after the incident, when the back of his head was blown off."

His head was blown off by friendly fire, a term too distressing to explain; where whilst in a hostile and precarious war setting a soldier gets inadvertently shot by members of his own troop.

However, the Pentagon did not just play up this falsehood; the brother who was also serving in the same area was not informed of this situation and his parents and the American Public were strung along in a deceitful morass of fictional tales to deflect focus from the Abu Ghraib scandal.

It is debatable if this manipulation of events, disappearance of eye witness accounts and destruction of crucial evidence was not sanction from the very top.

However, one witness recalls that the last words of Corporal Pat Tillman were "I am friendly, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman."

The young man knew he was done by his own people.

Accountability before irrelevance required

We have learnt that there was end to the advice given the war planners about troop numbers, executing the war, winning the peace, having conclusive and realizable goals, but the dissenters who would not acquiesce to feeding the bloody thirstiness of the neo-conservatives for war got sidelined one by one.

Chief amongst them was the soon to retire General Eric Shinseki who was the 34th Chief of Staff of the United States Army appointed by President Clinton.

His estimate of what was required to win the war conclusively in Iraq was dismissed by Rumsfeld - a politician - almost 4 years on, the commanders in charge said General Shinseki's estimates are proven correct.

It is important that the whole truth about how media manipulation was used to paint a completely different picture from reality be investigated and Donald Rumsfeld should be accorded the opportunity to defend himself against this malfeasance and deceitful conduct of the war before he is completely consigned to history and irrelevance.

Mr. Rumsfeld represented the stick-necked, stubborn and obstinate resolve of the Bush administration to stay a course with change regardless of the consequences and to all those who put their hands to this venture of shame should the General's words resound from now henceforth.

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" - Irrelevance comes upon these men like a billowing dark dense cloud, and not wind of spin shall blow it away.

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