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To Heroes, Past And Present

Pat Tillman's brother, Kevin, has a powerful letter up at Truthdig, and it is worth a read — and a send around — as a reminder of who we are and who we ought to be.  If for no other reason than this, a vote in November is critical:  our military cannot speak up about what they see or disagree with while in uniform under the UCMJ.  There are good reasons for this in terms of chain of command, but it puts even more of a burden on the rest of us — to be their voice, to speak up for the things that they and their families need.  Here's a little from Kevin's letter:

…Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat. Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated….

My Great Uncle died yesterday evening. He was a war hero, who survived bombing in Pearl Harbor when he served on the USS West Virginia, and again during the Normandy invasion on the USS Corry in the Atlantic, and then again in the Pacific on a ship I can't quite remember at the moment.

People in my family have always served their nation, with a fierce pride and a very accurate shot, coming out of the hills and hollers of West Virginia as we do. But they expected that the nation would stand up for them as well, through the good and bad times.  It is up to each and every one of us to stand up for where we ought to go and what we ought to be.

The time is now to get out our vote.  It comes at a critical juncture for this nation, which is in sore need of accountability.  Had enough?

(This version of Danny Boy by Charlotte Church is a bit syrupy [even though I love it anyway, for sentimental reasons], but the fiddle player on this is amazing.  My Uncle Larry would have loved it.  Here's to you — and here's hoping they have some Jamison's in heaven.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com