« Schedule | Main | The McCain/Palin Administration - Not! »

22 October 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Are the "grown-ups" on the job yet?

Dave of Maryland

Why was this man led to slaughter? He, more than most, needed the benefits of a long & eventful life.

Michael Keyes

On the surface, I have mixed feelings about what Stephen Fortunato wrote, but I have to admit that if I were in his shoes, I would say exactly the same thing.

Offering your life in the defense of your fellow citizens is the highest form of public service. The motives of venal leaders do not take away from his sacrifice and I am proud to share the same ideas and feelings.

But I am preaching to the choir on that one. The example of my father, uncles, and brother brought me to the same conclusion in the late 1960s with 28 years of active and reserve service the result.

If you asked me about my political beliefs, they would mirror COL Lang, a rational look at how things should be and not an ideological one. I am certainly opposed to the Iraq war and was so in the the beginning (mostly due to my time in Iraq in 1991) but I have to say that in spite of that, if called I would serve.

I suspect that those who have not served will have a more difficult time understanding why a person can hold ideas that are not predictably neo-conservative and still feel a lump in the throat reading what Stephen Fortunato said.


"there is no reasonable argument you can make against there being a true and dangerous threat that needs to be dealt with."

a straw man argument - main stream critics of the administration's war efforts have not claimed radical Islam is not a significant threat to U.S. interests.

"I just want to kill those who would harm my family and friends. it is that simple."

a fine description of personal motivation does not constitute effective foreign or military policy.

"I am a proud American. " So are the people you appear to be arguing with."

"I have chosen my corner. I back my country, and am proud to defend it against aggressors.
Also, if you dare accuse us of being inhumane, or overly aggressive because we have rolled into someone else’s country and blown some shit up and shot some people, let me remind you of just how inhumane we COULD be in defending ourselves. "

Before Rumsfeld and Cheney the notion that a soldier in the U.S. armed forces would have made such an argument would have been cause for concern. Now we are simply relieved that he, at least, does not attempt to justify torture.

"you can leave." Sadly, it always seems to come down to this riposte, doesn't it. Makes you wonder whose Constitution this young man thinks he's fighting for.

When a young person dies, that untimely death is inherently sad - whether in times of war or peace.

When a young soldier dies in war, we are tempted to grant his words great moral authority than they may merit to soothe the sadness. The temptation may be even stronger when the war in conception and execution has been bungled as badly as possible - it allows us to slip past the questions young soldiers since Achilles have asked - whether their lives and deaths can have any significance in world tortured both morally and politically.

I am sorry for this man's death not because he fought or died "for" me. I didn't want him to, nor did I ask him to. But he did die, if only to some small degree, because of me. Our democracy failed when confronted with 9/11. As citizens we failed when our leaders rushed headlong to feed the psychic beast of fear 9/11 unleashed. We did not demand better, we did not demand much of them at all. And many young men and women, American, coalition and Iraqi have died because of the failure of American democracy.

Their deaths, however, don't endow their opinions with any special moral authority. This man's opinions were authoritarian and undemocratic and forged in a furnace of danger and difficulty I cannot even begin to comprehend. They are not, however, the kinds of ideas that will cure our democratic ills. Indeed, I very much fear that such opinions will lead only to more needless, costly and tragic wars.


Soldier, WELL DONE! Rest, you've paid your dues.


Nancy K

I am so very sorry that this young man was killed while serving his country. I agree that the world is filled with horrible people, but I disagree with him in that I don't believe it is our country's job or duty to try and kill all of them.
I do believe as an American that I or those I love may be called upon to defend my country, as they have been in the past. However I also believe that no president should send our young to war unless that war is so important, that they are willing to send their children also.
I pray for Stephen Fortunato's family and may the peace that passes all understanding be with them.


So, we are left to argue, if "argue" we decide is warranted, with a young man that lost his life in a cause he believed in? Rather, an untenable position. Ok, that said...what strikes me the most about this is, it appears, TO THIS SUBJECTIVE OBSERVER, simultaneously, utterly simplistic nonsense....and sinister, at the same time. Usually, sinister and simplistic don't go together.

Dan M

Another tragedy.

I've come to the view that we should leave Afghanistan.

I don't much fear the taliban. I don't much fear Al Qaeda. I don't think either is capable of damaging my/our way of life (i'm far more worried about the mortgage industry).

I think i know that using infantry to cut down poppy plants that village economies rely is counterproductive and dangerous for the young men involved.

A heroic sacrifice was made by this young man -- but in service of a cause I at least don't understand, and feel is ultimately making us less safe.

William R. Cumming

Part of rationalism is doubting that you are correct in your assumptions and conclusions. Still doubting on the frontlines can get many innocents killed unless the boots on the ground are filled bythose with the confidence that they (you) are doing the right thing. Clearly this soldier was highly confident of that fact. My sympathy and regrets to his family and fellow soldiers. A large loss that probably won't be made up anytime soon by equivalent articulateness by those in his chain of command, whether military or civilian.


Um yeah I think people who are using WIC have much more important things to worry about then complaining about the war... like keeping the electricity on or what there eating at the end of the day.

For one I would just love to see those who attack people on government assistance come down to my neighborhood and live the life of the people in the projects or the folks who sleep on the street at night.


Condolences to SP4 Fortunato's family. "A terrible waste of fine infantry...!"

Patrick Lang


I posted yr cmment because I am curious as to know why you think that what you wrote is on topic. pl


What's WIC?

Very sad the young man was KIA. Too bad he did not recognize that Islamic radicals are a very minor threat to our nation. If we cease to allow immigration from Islamic countries, deport all muslim non-citizens, no student visas to fly airplanes, and alter our Israel First policies, many of our problems would vanish.

They got oil, we want to buy it. It should be that simple.


Col. Lang,
re: atljoe

"However, if you insist on staying here and taking advantage of privileges such as free speech and WIC, keep the counter-productive shit to a minimum while the grown ups figure out how to handle this god-awful mess in the middle east."

Maybe y'all just can't connect with civilians....


There is a certain irony in that argument of "you can leave". Living here, the U.S. election result may have an impact on my taxes or if my gay friends can marry or not, but leaving may literally cost me an arm and a leg if I happen to be from the wrong country and on the other side of the barrel of one of those perfectly conditioned soldiers, obviously blatantly unaware of what they have been raised to be.

When people can speak these words with such conviction, there is much to be done in terms of raising people's awareness, promoting a sense of unity as opposed to egocentrism.

The results in general and in particular are a direct reflection of such tremendous conditioning. We have not yet seen the worst of what has been put into motion.

This letter and its circumstances are a powerful and incredibly sad statement about the state of our world. It truly tears me apart inside and leaves me lost and hopeless.


"Dulcis amor patriae." What more can be said of SPC Fortunato?


My sincere condolences to his family. People who die in service to their country are great patriots, in my view.

However, as an American citizen, I reserve the right to criticize the policies that send young soldiers into wars.

I'm not sure why he found it necessary to bring WIC into this "creed," but I'm not surprised a 25-year old thinks he knows best. It took at least twice that many years for me to realize I know only a little.

Patrick Lang


OK. WIC is a beneficial program for "Women, Infants and Children." Right? I can "Google" too. Why he put thst in his letter is unknown at this point, but...

Can't "connect with cvilians?" Interesting. Is this a reflection of a a deep seated prejudice on your part? pl

Michael D. Adams

This letter is an absolutely disgusting demonstrations of what can happen, even to "good stock", when they are deluded by the overwhelming force of our modern American propaganda.

This letter also reaffirms the judgement of the Nuremberg Tribunal when they sentenced some of Nazi Germany's propagandists to death for war crimes.

This pitiful kid died, clueless and arrogant, with his boots on, his brain off. And, in this letter, with his "last breath" he is propagating the disease to the future corporate cannon fodder of America. I'm sure I will see this letter in every other Right Wing viral email for a long time to come.

Yes, I'll pass this along. I'll pass it along with his sincere desire to serve intact, but with every twisted concept annotated and refuted beyond any reasonable doubt.

I'm too pissed to write anymore.

Ever So Sincerely,


I'm sure he was a fine young man, but while he talks of his willingness to die for Americans' freedom, he seems to have seriously despised a good half of Americans.

Also his statement;
"Even if this is just a war for profit or to assert America’s power, so what? Someone has to be on top and I want it to be us."

Sorry but I can't agree with that. Using brute force to take what belongs to others is wrong. I'm not for it even if my country is doing it. Even if young men who are now dead want it.

He had great conviction in his cause, but so did a lot of soldiers in a lot of armies. Conviction is not the same as justice.

Yellow Dog


I am curious as to your intent in publishing this. Did you intend to get a rise out of your "liberal" readers? Or was this purely intended for our edification? You seldom betray your own opinions of your readership (and I'm not certain that I'm that eager for you to share).

For the little that it's worth, I thank God for SP4 Fortunato, and the men and women like him. It takes a certain mindset to do what he did for his country, and for my fellow "pampered and protected Americans" who may be offended by having it laid out so explicitly, I think you need to get the fuck over it.

That being said, as a citizen I have different duties and responsibilities.

So I have no quarrel with SP4 Fortunato or even with his creed (though I may quibble with some of the ignorant rhetoric). My quarrel is with the craven bastards (Bush, Cheney, Rove) who sent him to die in a war that was and is waged, not to protect America, but for the greater glory of the Republican Party.

My fight against them will continue long after this election is over.

Michael D. Adams

"Can't "connect with civilians?" Interesting. Is this a reflection of a a deep seated prejudice on your part? pl "

Col Lang, Sir,
I think altjoe is reacting to the undercurrent of the depraved propaganda memes in Spec. Fortuanto's letter.

Being a propaganda/psyops guy, I caught those undercurrents also and was disgusted and saddened by what had happened to this young man's thinking.

I don't perceive altjoe as having deep seated prejudices but rather, unfamiliar with the military as are most modern American civilians. Even to a neutral eye there are a lot of horrible things that are now associated with the US Military (Gitmo, Iraq atrocities, Snipers baiting targets, Cable TV's Lying Generals, etc., ad nauseam. I think Sun Tzu would recommend you attempt to make altjoe an ally and explain rather that confront and alienate.

More later but I have to stop now. This one is eating my heart out.

Highest Regards,


It's a sad situation anytime a human life is lost at his age. That being said, this young man did HIS DUTY as a soldier. He was asked to go to Afganistan and follow the orders of his commanding officers. I assume he served with distinction and honor. May G-d be with him.

However, I have a different DUTY. That duty is to try my best to change the course of our political and military policy if I disagree with it's direction. I not only do not have a duty to leave this country, I have a duty to stay and fight for what I believe in for my country.

I disagree with most of what this young man said are his reasons and justifications but honor his sacrifice in fighting for his beliefs. While death prevents our ever meeting and discussing our differences, I would hope that other young men and women in his shoes would honor my sincerity as I honor his.


The death of a volunteer soldier may be the most tragic and abusive result of misinformation coming out of our leadership.

These stories should inspire us all to demand a more transparent, honest, and conflict-of-interest-less government.


Even if this is just a war for profit or to assert America’s power, so what? Someone has to be on top and I want it to be us. There’s nothing wrong with wishing prosperity for your side.

Stop right there.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad