Tuesday, March 25, 2008

4,000th US Military Death of the Iraq War

Yesterday the 4000th US soldier died of the Iraq war. That's the official number. In reality the number is probably higher since I'm pretty sure they aren't counting the soldiers who committed suicide after returning and not telling us about every death. Many times that number have taken serious crippling wounds and will be handicapped for life. I do not know how many soldiers from other countries have died. As for how many Iraq's died, only god knows but the number is probably over a million. The vast majority of them undocumented by anyone. Using documented figures alone for Iraq deaths the body count is over 80,000 according to http://www.iraqbodycount.org/. Several studies say over 1/2 million dead. The Lancet survey in June 2006 figured 654,965 excess deaths. The Opinion Research Business survey of August 2007 figured 1,033,000 violent deaths as a result of the conflict.

I am against this war and all wars. This is an unjust and illegal war. War is supposed to be your absolute last choice. Preemptive wars are especially wrong for many, many reasons. Imagine if every country decided preemptive war was ok or if a country with nuclear weapons decided to preemptively attack a country that also had nuclear weapons (like India and Pakistan).

Today I went to a commemoration of the 4000th dead US soldier. The planned event was to hold a string 1 mile in length of the names of the US soldiers killed in Iraq and for there to be 4000 white lights. There was no where near enough people to hold up the string (and it was to windy) so they were taped to the side of the bridge. There were 4000 lights in the form of Christmas lights but there was insufficient power to light them all. Considering the small amount of time in which people learned about this event (many just that morning), the bad weather (windy, cold, and started to rain), and the time of the event (5:00 when many people would be leaving work and not able to make it); I was sort of surprised by the number of people who did show up. Many people including myself held up anti-war signs.

Local television channels came to record the event. As far as I know I was not shown on the news but that does not bother me. I am just happy that it made the news. The news is not showing the consequences of the war as well as they should. Well watching the news they spend more time on nonsense entertainment news then on the war. They very rarely even tell of the number of people who have died for/because of this war or show anything about the war. If I want to know about the war I turn to foreign news agencies like the BBC because they are covering the war much better then the US agencies are.

Amongst the people who showed up were people who lost loved ones in the war. I am sad people lost people but I like that they showed people who suffer because of the war. Not because I'm callous or cruel but because it humanizes the tragedy. I am of the opinion that too many people view the war impersonally. They do not know the people dying, they do not even see footage of the war, and it is easy to forget that people are suffering and dying. People need to remember that these are not just statistics these are real people who are dying/suffering and it effects even more people.

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