Today, more than ever, it might be more dangerous for a soldier to speak out against the war in Iraq than to fight.
Most of us remember the story of Pat Tillman the ex-football star who gave up his career to join the Army Rangers after 9/11. Tillman was an example of a man who put country above self to serve in Afghanistan, believing that George Bush meant it when he said we'll git Osama bin Laden dead or alive.
Tillman wasn't the only one who was fooled; we all were. He began speaking out about his dissatisfaction over changing the course of the war in Afghanistan and veering off to the folly in Iraq. His protestations weren't loud and were held mostly between him and his family.
Suddenly we got the news that Tillman had been killed in action. His body was flown home where his life was honored with tributes and headlines.
From the day Tillman enlisted, he was used as a propaganda tool, and even George and Laura extolled his virtues, love of country and sacrifice, using his death in another gift to us of spinning a lie.
It wasn't until later that we found out that explanation given to his family, and to us, about the circumstances of his death and were a package of lies wrapped in glittering tissue paper of deceit and tied with a bow of the best propaganda the Army could muster.
Pat Tillman was not killed in battle, but died as a result of "friendly fire." Friendly fire with a huge question mark after it. He was shot at close range, and to this day we have no idea if he was deliberately murdered or if it was an accident.
All we know is that he is dead; his death is shrouded in mystery; and so far no one has been held accountable.
The facts of the case went up in smoke along with his clothing and his diary that were burned almost immediately after his death. Those two facts alone should have been enough to sound the alarm that all was not right.
Of course, we didn't know anything about this at the time, and accepted what the spinners fed us until someone had the courage to tell all.
Now we have two more cases of the questionable deaths of soldiers who dared to speak out against the war and occupation of Iraq in a op-ed piece published in the New York Times in mid-August.
Adding to the tangled web is the case of another soldier, also from the 82nd Airbourne and one of the seven authors who is recovering from being shot in the head just prior to the publication of the article.
Exhibiting the bravery of fighting men, they did not stand by quietly, but chose to make their criticisms about what we're doing in Iraq known.
Now we have to wonder if this is Pat Tillman times three.
We know what happened to three of the seven critics of the war, but we have no details surrounding the injuries to one, and the deaths of the other two soldiers.
What were the circumstances surrounding the shot to the head of the one injured author? Not a word about whether it was in action, or friendly fire, or where it occurred. I can't even find his name.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).