23 August 2010


A MAN OF HONOR. The reference is actually to two men -- Anderson Cooper, who publicly apologized on behalf of the media during an interview with the father of Pat Tillman (photo below); and to Tillman himself, a pro football player who left his career to enlist in the Army Rangers after the 9/11 attacks -- and who, in Afghanistan, was killed at close range by friendly fire. His enlistment had been shamelessly hyped by the military and by the Bush administration, and the circumstances of his death were just as shamelessly covered up, lied about, and romanticized by the military and by the Bush administration.

Tillman's life, the events surrounding and following his death, and the history of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, are all scrupulously documented in Jon Krakauer's book Where Men Win Glory (click on the link, then scroll down for book reviews). Bottom line, Tillman's death was the culmination of a series of stupid, amateurish military decisions, and may indeed have been premeditated murder, given Tillman's increasing opposition to the Afghanistan War. Only the determined persistence of Tillman's family, over the course of several years, brought out the truth of military and governmental complicity and cover-up, reaching to the highest levels of command. Yet (as was the case with the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam), after numerous token internal investigations, only one person was made the scapegoat for the entire chain of command -- mid-level commander Lt. General Philip Kensinger, Jr., was found guilty of lying under oath and falsifying documents. Everyone else, including unit and field commanders, General Stanley McChrystal (recently disgraced and relieved of command over other issues), former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former President George W. Bush has gotten off scot-free.

Why dredge up old news now, you ask? Because there is no statute of limitations on justice, or on truth. It is incumbent upon us all to inform ourselves, and to hold accountable those who are culpable in unnecessary, immoral or illegal acts. Pat Tillman wasn't some spoiled golden boy. He was intelligent, well-read, and possessed a strict moral code which opposed the glamorization of an unjust war. His death was at best the result of tragic incompetence, at worst the result of assassination.

Jon Krakauer and Anderson Cooper (photo below) understand that. Integrity still lives. See the "interview" link above to learn more.

RACISM. No specific rant today, just a link to a list of provocative and informative resources on issues of race and class, courtesy of The Angry Black Woman blog (which hosts some of the most impassioned and intelligent conversation threads I've ever seen).

CLOCK. I collect inventive cursors and clocks online. Here is one that a Tucson friend sent -- a monumentally informative global clock which provides information on population, death, illness, the environment, energy, US crimes, good, and much more. You can adjust the clock to your local time, and you can also adjust the statistics to reflect annual, monthly, weekly, or daily calculations. A primo resource.

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