A Real American Hero

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"In
times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary
act."
~
George Orwell

"Truth
is treason in the empire of lies."
~
Ron Paul

A simple definition
of a hero is a person that takes extraordinary action to benefit
another person. The definition of a hero has been so distorted that
virtually everyone in a category is labeled a hero, such as all
members of the US armed forces, firefighters, or medical personnel.
Surely a firefighter that rescues someone or a medical technician
that stops fatal bleeding is a hero, even if they are simply doing
their job. Our combat troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan
for years have surely performed heroic acts every day just to help
each other stay alive, as in many past wars.

To place a
blanket label of hero on all members of the armed forces is nothing
more than propaganda, for the days of our military actually defending
American freedom have long passed. Our empire has troops on the
ground in at least 130 countries and more than 700 active military
bases. It takes a proficient liar or a deluded mind to proffer a
cogent argument how this wide and deep disbursal of troops somehow
preserves and protects our freedoms here in America.

In fact, the
opposite is true. This thick blanket of military personnel, raging
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our intentionally amorphous "war
on terror" expand terror everywhere and reduce freedom in America.
Then again, perhaps these unintended consequences are not so unintended.
Who benefits from this permanent state of war and imperial aggression
— Cui Bono? Finding the answer to that question is as easy as reading
a children's book.

To revisit
the definition, a real hero endangers him/herself for no other purpose
than to help others. Kevin Tillman is such a person because he refuses
to remain silent. Kevin Tillman has lost his brother under horrific
circumstances, has seen combat and now only seeks to tell us the
truth. Perhaps America should listen this time.

As the now
famous story goes, following 9/11, Pat Tillman completed the 2001
NFL season and he and Kevin enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2002
and completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program in late 2002. Pat
and Kevin were deployed to the Middle East as part of the 2003 Iraq
invasion. Pat was killed on April 22, 2004 near Sperah, Afghanistan.
It is now well known that the Army blatantly lied about the circumstances
of Pat's death and tried to obscure them from the public and Pat's
family. Kevin was later discharged from the Army in 2005.

Kevin's
book, The
Transparent Pillage
has the look of a children's book, but
the message is directed at adults, for only an adult can take the
necessary actions to protect liberty. Kevin's message in this book
is clear and simple. The illustrations in the book are appealing
and clever. Kevin's book warns us of grave dangers that have already
arrived in our former Constitutional Republic. Kevin synthesizes
many warnings we now implicitly know but no longer heed:

  • "If
    a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization,
    it expects what never was and never will be." (Thomas Jefferson);
  • "The
    greatest menace to freedom is an inert people." (Supreme
    Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis);
  • “America
    goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” (John
    Quincy Adams);
  • "When
    American presidents prepare for foreign wars, they lie."
    (Robert Higgs);
  • "War
    is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily
    the most profitable, surely the most vicious." (General Smedley
    D. Butler);
  • "All
    wars are fought for money." (Socrates);
  • “It is impossible
    to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil
    than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”
    (Frédéric Bastiat);
  • "[t]he
    people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. …
    All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce
    the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country
    to danger." (Hermann Goering, founder of the Nazi
    Gestapo);
  • "The
    whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
    by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them
    imaginary." (H. L. Mencken).

The "hobgoblin"
in Kevin's book is a form of chimera that craves profit and power.
The direct result of its intense craving is endless death and destruction,
without justice, without accountability. The citizenry is likened
to flowers that are ruled and controlled by nameless faceless bureaucrats
with an appetite for money, power, hatred, death, and destruction.

Like the citizen
flowers in Kevin's book, liberty in this country parallels the life
of an oak tree. It began as a vulnerable green sprout. With much
effort and care, it slowly grew stronger and more impervious to
insects, disease, animals, fire and storms. It became strong and
independent and could withstand its enemies. As it aged and matured,
it naturally began to rot and weaken from constant attacks and it
weakened, it became even more vulnerable. It's only a matter of
time before our tree of liberty cracks and falls with a crash. Perhaps
we have reached the point where our metaphorical tree of liberty
cannot be resurrected, but rather it must fall and die and a new
sprout (or sprouts) must take its place. It's up to us to ensure
that these vulnerable sprouts survive.

We are all
metaphorical trees (or flowers) of liberty and we all need to work
to impale the chimera of greed, hatred, death, and destruction that
endangers us. Take heed of the warnings Kevin Tillman's book offers
as you read it to your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
You may learn something yourself and after all, it was written by
a true American hero who only seeks to tell us the truth.

December
15, 2008

John J.
Smalanskas [send him mail]
is a construction attorney who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his
wife Carrie and their sons Devlin and Connor.

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