Monday, May 23, 2005

Crap. I just erased my post. Oh well.
To summarize:
The weekend was good. "Dirty" Andy Sensat had the Wilsons, Rami, and Steanso out to Camp Sensat for a Saturday of Wimberly fun. We floated in the Blanco River, drank cold, watery beer, taught Cassidy how to navigate currents and find shallow rocks to sit on, and ate Mexican food after we got home. Kudos to the Sensats for putting up with our shennanigans yet again.
Sunday I did some recording with Eric for the Mono E, and then we listened to our newest recordings with Jim and Reed.
The Mono E's newest album is getting dangerously close to being completed, and I think it sounds pretty darn good (in my totally unbiased opinion). The songs vary quite a bit, not just because of our normally eclectic tastes, but also because the songs on the CD were written over a relatively long span of time, and I think the band's approach to songwriting has changed a bit over that period.
Hope everyone is planning on coming to the barbecue/party next weekend at the Wilsons. The party is at Casa de Wilson, but I'm co-hosting, so if you've managed to wander onto this site, it's probably safe to say that you're invited. My mom and dad will be in town next weekend, and may stop by the party, so try to keep your pants on this time, people. Also, bring some sort of a cut of meat to throw into the Wilsons coi pond to feed their fish. My understanding is that it's Japanese tradition, and just good manners.

And in political news, here's another fun story:
Pat Tillman, an NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals and U.S. Army Ranger, was killed in Afghanistan in April of 2004. The military and the White House described the incident at the time as being a heroic battle in which Tillman died while defending his men from enemy fire. Now, it turns out, that Tillman was shot by his own men, allegedly at medium to close range.
I bring this story up in no way to dispararage the career or the contribution of Pat Tillman in the U.S. military, but rather to show, yet again, the deception and the obfuscation with which the military and the White House have treated the American public in disseminating information related to the "war on terror". Instead of just admitting that this was a tragic accident, the military tried to paint Tillman's death as a heroic battle, creating a set of lies and exaggerations which has left Tillman's family (like many military families who have experienced a loss) angry and confused. If we're going to send our fellow countrymen into battle, the least we can expect from our leaders and our military is the truth about what has become of them. In fact, the military's use of deception in attempting to turn Tillman into a war hero seems to now be breeding only conspiracy theories and distrust, as Tillman's family questions how their very recognizable son was shot by his own men at a range that should have made him clearly visible.
Just more lies and more deception. I wouldn't trust this administration to take care of my dog.


lee said...

Truth is still the first casualty of war. Why in the hell somebody with a star or two on their collar doesn't lose one of those stars for what is clearly a fundamental breach of integrity in the death of an otherwise gutsy and heroic man is what is most offensive.

I can't speak accurately for the Army (apparently not many people can, even their generals), but in the Marines, there was a very strict protocol for conducting investigations related to death/serious injury, and a further, highly regimented protocol regarding parental notification and follow-up with family members regarding the same. The obvious deviations from what must at least be similar if not itdentical procedures in the Tillman case did not originate from enlisted troops or junior officers--it would be impossible to do so. You're talking about high level decisions to hide truth. Somebody should pay with their career. If that sounds harsh, consider that Tillman paid with his life.

I'm sure the reasoning was public relations and part sympathy--it is very hard to look a surviving parent/spouse/child in the eye and tell them their son/husband/father is gone. You want to tell them something they can remember to diminish what, ultimately, cannot be diminished: the tragedy of a life taken far too early, followed by the unanswerable questions of why and worse, was it worth it. I had the misfortune of being involved in those issues more times than I care to remember during my relatively brief and admittedly safe tour. I remember standing duty one day when 5 Marines were killed in unrelated incidents in Iraq. You can imagine the flood of calls from concerned friends and family to the duty phone wondering if the helicopter crash they just heard about on the news involved their loved one. And of course, though I couldn't confirm it right then and there for them over the phone due to the protocol (such things must only be done in person, in formal dress uniform, etc.,) I knew that it did. One of the Marines on that particular day was my neighbor in base housing. His daughter used to play with my son. His young wife would chat with mine about the goings-on in the neighborhood. He was 31.

It's just as bad when you don't know the deceased. I remember assisting with tidying up the estate and legal affairs of another deceased Marine, who had been married for just a few months to his high school sweetheart prior to his death in an Osprey crash. She was 22 years old, beautiful, and could hardly speak, but she didn't have to do so for me to know what she was trying to say. She wore both of her husband's wristwatches on her own wrists during each of my meetings with her. I remember the watches were still sized for her husband's wrists. They slid up and down her small forearms when she brushed her hair from her face to read whatever bullshit legal document I was giving to her.

There isn't anything more gutwrenching than coming to know someone you never met through a grieving family member in the hours closely following the death. How anyone could lie and distort the truth in that situation is unimaginable. It goes beyond insult to desecration. Shame on the brass who let that happen to the Tillman family. And shame on the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army for not ending the careers of those who did so.

J.S. said...

Well, spoken, Larry Lee.