On October 19, 2006, ex-Army Ranger Kevin Tillman wrote a bizarre, rambling op-ed piece for the “progressive” web-site truthdig.com in which he accused the Bush Administration of, among other things, engaging in an illegal war, tolerating torture, subverting the Constitution, and suspending Habeas Corpus. As is typical of the raving goofballs on the America-hating left, none of these charges were supported by a shred of evidence; nor do any of them stand up under even cursory scrutiny.
Tillman, the brother of Pat Tillman, the ex-NFL great who was killed in a tragic “friendly-fire” incident in Afghanistan in 2004 while deployed there with the U.S. Army Rangers, is obviously and understandably bitter about the loss of his brother and especially angry about the manner in which the incident was subsequently bungled (ostensibly for public relations reasons) by the U.S. military. My purpose here is not to defend the Pentagon’s actions vis-à-vis the handling of that incident, or to dishonor his brother’s noble sacrifice, but rather to refute the scurrilous charges for which Kevin Tillman has taken it upon himself to indict the Bush Administration, the U.S military and law-enforcement communities.
In his piece Tillman blasts the war in Iraq as illegal, but in reality it was anything but:
• By the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the regime of Saddam Hussein was in direct and verifiable violation of no less than 16 U.N. Resolutions, including 1441 which warned of “serious consequences” for continued defiance of international law;
• The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton states, “It should be the policy of the U.S. to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;”
• Joint Resolution 114, which passed both houses of the U.S. Congress and was signed by President Bush, reads: “The President is authorized to use the U.S. armed forces as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq;”
• On February 28 1991, the ceasefire which halted the coalition’s offensive hostilities during Operation Desert storm took effect. A ceasefire, it is important to stress, is a temporary stoppage of a war, pursuant to the adherence by both sides to the terms agreed upon therein. Legally speaking then, the 1991 Iraq war never ended and the 2003 campaign was, in part, a response to the Iraqi regime’s repeated violations of the ceasefire agreement. These violations included Iraq’s shooting at U.S. jets patrolling the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq.
Tillman asserts that “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 [sic].” One would think he was describing the terrorists who kidnapped and beheaded Daniel Pearl or Nick Berg, but rather, he referred to the pseudo-scandals created by the leftist allies of international terrorists at the New York Times such as the C.I.A. prisons, Abu-Graib, and Guantanamo Bay.
The very idea that terrorists captured on foreign battlefields during war time and held on foreign soil are subject to the habeas corpus protections of the U.S. Constitution are as dangerous to our national security as they are absurd legally: By virtue of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Constitution (Article II), and all relevant Supreme Court decisions on the subject, The President, as Commander in Chief, has the authority to detain “unlawful enemy combatants” without arraignment, indictment, or trial for the duration of armed hostilities for the purpose of intelligence gathering and to keep said combatants off the battlefield. Moreover, every war-time President in U.S. history has exercised this right. This is not an attack on the Bill of Rights or an illegal innovation by the Bush Administration.
And the odious slander about the U.S engaging in torture is not only patently false, but is also a propaganda boost for our enemies. Apparently, Mr. Tillman could not focus his anger at those Islamic barbarians sawing off the heads of bound captives, torturing to death captured U.S. soldiers, or flying planes into buildings in the United States; rather, he reserved his indignation for the juvenile pranksters who placed women’s panties on the head of a captured terrorist; he not only calls this type of behavior torture but then blames the President for it to boot!
In a vulgar display of bitterness and cynicism, Tillman also criticizes the practice of “having a five-year-old kindergartner scribble a picture with a crayon and send it overseas . . .,” wondering why a “soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old.” Perhaps he would prefer we parents bring our toddlers to the airport to spit on soldiers returning from battle overseas rather than teaching them to honor and support them in their brave endeavor.
I, like all Americans of good will, am truly sorry for the loss suffered by the Tillman family and grateful for the service they have provided to our country; however, by exploiting his brother’s death, much like Cindy Sheehan, and attacking, for political purposes, the very men and women whose policies have kept the terrorist menace from our shores for five long years, Kevin Tillman has chosen to undermine those very policies, thus endangering all of our lives. In this, he must not go unchallenged. And lest anyone should feel Mr. Tillman is above criticism for his subversive and borderline treasonous attack on the President and our brave men and women serving nobly overseas because he himself wore the uniform, I’ll remind you that Benedict Arnold was a hero in the Continental Army before he betrayed his country by siding with the enemy. The truth is, by implementing the policies advocated by the likes of Kevin Tillman, the President would be not only unnecessarily endangering our troops on foreign battlefields but would also be exponentially increasing the risk of another catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland by Islamic terrorists.