Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Tears/American Tears

This is an excerpt from Naomi Wolf's essay, "American Tears":

I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war — in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers’ money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq — taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks — and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country.

Friday was the sixth anniversary of my son's death. He was also shot in the head while lying on the ground. He was executed. Fabrications were fed to the media by the Army and the civilian police which made his death appear justified.

According to written statements by some of his superiors, he had made "at least five IG (whistleblower) complaints" prior to his death.

Not a single complaint is retained in the DoD IG Database. A senior person in that office told me that even unfounded complaints are supposed to remain in the database. However, I did receive his request for information about whistleblower protection, which was retained by the DoD.

Not a single document, investigation report, or verbal bit of information has been freely given out by the Army, Department of Defense, FBI, or civilian police authorities. Only by means of ceaseless effort on my part and money paid to lawyers has anything at all been gleaned.

What reason can there be for such secrecy? What rights to information do next of kin have? This is pretty much the same for all the families of military personnel killed in non-combat incidents. Aren't we citizens of the United States, with full rights to know the circumstances surrounding our children's/spouses'/parents' deaths?

Right now, it is the forensic reports that are being kept away in the giant game of hide the ball. I have a good lead as to where they are and even possibly the investigation code number, but it is very important to someone not to release them.

The pattern of non-combat deaths related to whistleblowing is emerging clearly enough for outside reporters to be commenting on it. I have a feeling that the numbers will be very high.

Sub patterns include death shortly before discharge, including many which occurred the day before going home. Many, many deaths officially listed as suicides were actually murders staged to look like suicides. The implausibility and evidence that they were murders is blatantly ignored. Officials will not do serious, proper investigations that rule out murder and prove suicide.

Isn't individual life precious enough, and taking life serious enough, to do proper investigations? Are military personnel just cogs in the giant Killing Macine we call the Military?

This has gone on long enough. We need public recognition of the problem and support to address it. Otherwise, many more families will be drawn into the culture of tears. America will drown in tears if we don't do something.


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