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Pat Tillman 1976–2004: The Death of War Dreams Rap

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Carolyn Brodersen     Permalink

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No safety for the safety
No solace for the sane
No justice for the hero
Just an end to his game.

Fragged by a sniper

From the very same team

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That’s not how you play the game,

“The death of war dreams.”


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We saw September 11

If you believed your eyes,

We took it all in

The gut-wrenching surprise.

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But you took it on

As your own war to fight

Enlisted to help out,

And make the wrong right.

“Hmm,” said the leaders,

“Hmm,” said The Man,

Smells like a winner

For our propaganda plan—

“NFL Safety Quits Season

To Fight Terror War”

Trained you up, shipped you out

Moved you to a distant shore.




Sent you to Iraq

And then Afghanistan

Out on patrol

Where only Army Rangers can.

Don’t know what you saw.

Can’t see with your eyes

Your diary disappeared

And your voice

And your soul.


First it was a hero’s death

By hostile enemy fire

But wait, no, that’s not right

Oh, yeah, it was friendly fire—

It happened at night

Where no one could see

But info trickled out

All contradictory.

From rookie to veteran,

You’d had a change of heart

As you found out the ugly truth

About the illegal war.



Three shots to the head

In a tight little group

Assassin–style take-out

With medical proof.

M–16 bullets

The kind Americans use
From ten yards away

There’s no way to goof.

They can see your face
They can smell your fear

They can taste your death—

It was your life they feared.


You were gonna shout it out

About the War Against Iraq

“‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.”

You’d say to Chomsky, that’s a fact.

But The Man heard your plans

And had to silence your storm

The stumping for peace

Would unsettle the norm

The exposure of the lies

That brought the war to be


So your diary went missing

Your death clothes all destroyed.

Where was the investigation?

Like the one for 9-11?

Remove the evidence first

And ask questions—or not—later.

They painted you a hero

To promote their cause

But your goal of speaking truth

Was the real heroic loss.

Demote the general and call it a day

Whine mea culpa and collect their pay?

Your life tackled by a ranger

Dressed just like you

“just following orders, ma’am,”

In this vicious zoo.




But number 40 never made it to 40—

Dead at 28.

The last man to see you alive

Told not to lay it straight.

They used Jessica

And they tried to use you.

Will we ever know

What it is that you knew?

Executive privilege keeps

Your story in a safe.

But time will reveal

All that, sadly, must be true.





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Carolyn Brodersen is a nonfiction writer, award-winning political and food blogger. She also pens book reviews, health articles, and how-tos. She is a published poet, with her works appearing in literary magazines and anthologies.

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