Adam Ash

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Friday, October 28, 2005

The names of 2,000 US soldiers killed in Iraq ask:

The Dreadful 2,000 Mark -- by Matthew Rothschild

So now we’ve passed the dreadful 2,000 mark.
2,000 American families will never be the same.
And for what?
15,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded and will never be the same.
And for what?
Between 25,000 and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died.
And for what?
On Tuesday, Bush said it was to “give millions in a troubled region of the world a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence.”
How’s that again?
Bush’s war, and all this blood, represents an alternative to violence?
And to resentment, also?
What planet is he on?
Bush’s war, launched on lies, has fueled resentment throughout much of Iraq and the Muslim world.
He’s transformed Iraq into a recruiting ground for Al Qaeda, as Bush’s own CIA director, Porter Goss, has admitted.
Bush tried to deflect that criticism on Tuesday, saying: “Some have argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq.”
His answer, in the very next sentence, was to utter yet again the nonsequitur of 9/11.
“I would remind them,” Bush said, “that we were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001, and Al Qaeda attacked us anyway.”
That’s all Bush has got? How pathetic.
The fact that Al Qaeda attacked the United States prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq has no bearing on the question of whether that invasion has given Al Qaeda a boost.
But logic is not Bush’s forte.
Fear is.
So he mentioned September 11 five times.
And he mentioned Osama bin Laden three times.
And bin Laden’s deputy, Zawahiri, four times.
And Zarqawi six times.
Bush has always viewed the ranks and leadership of Al Qaeda as static and finite, just as he has viewed his adversaries in Iraq. Remember the deck of cards?
But even if he killed bin Laden and Zawahiri and Zarqawi tomorrow, their cause would go on. And it’s a cause that Bush promotes by the very presence of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and by the brutality of U.S. bombings, house-to-house raids, mass detentions, and torture.
Bush repeated his demand for “complete victory” against the Islamic radicals.
But there will be no complete victory, as after the Civil War or World War I or World War II. There is no Berlin Wall to tear down, no Soviet Union to implode.
At best, there will be a slow evaporation of appeal for bin Ladenism, but only if Bush stops playing the part that bin Laden has assigned to him.
And as for Iraq, Bush said: “The best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission.”
But the mission cannot be completed—or accomplished, as he once put it.
It’s a quagmire at best, a losing battle at worst.
To the 2,000 families, Bush promised only more morbid company.
He’s content to send more U.S. soldiers on this fool’s errand.
And we, nonviolently, must stop him.
We will stop him when we can convince more of our elected officials to be courageous, like Senators Russ Feingold and Patrick Leahy, in denouncing this war, and when we can prod even these officials to demand a withdrawal within six months.
We will stop him when we can assemble protesters by the hundreds every week in every county of every state to demand this withdrawal.
We will stop him when we have convinced the vast majority of our fellow citizens not only that the war was a mistake (they know this already) but also that withdrawal is the only way out of this hopeless situation.
This is our urgent task.

(Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983.)

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: US Military Deaths in Major Conflicts:

1. Revolutionary War (1775-1783) -- 4,435 (only those killed in action, not those killed by disease or privation).
2. War of 1812 (1812-1815) -- 2,260
3. Mexican War (1846-1848) -- 13,283

4. Civil War (1861-1865) Estimate: -- 524,332--529,332
(Authoritative statistics for the Confederate forces are not available. The final report of the Provost Marshal General, 1836-1866 indicated 133,821 Confederate deaths based on incomplete returns. In addition, an estimated 26,000-31,000 Confederate personnel died in Union prisons.)

5. Spanish-American War (1898) -- 2,446
6. World War I (1917-1918) -- 116,516
7. World War II (1941-1946) -- 409,399

8. Korean War (1950-1953) -- 36,574
9. Vietnam War (1964-1973) -- 58,209
10. Afghanistan (2001-Oct. 15, 2005) -- 245
11. Iraq War/Occupation (2003-Wednesday) -- 2,001

ODD: only 3 of these wars seem warranted.


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