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I hope you saw the New York Times on January first. More importantly, I hope that George W and every congress critter saw it, mused over it… and asked themselves, “What have we done?”
On New Year’s Day, the Times printed a six-page story reporting on yet another awful milestone in the disastrous Iraq war: the 3000th American death. Incredibly, a U.S. official in Baghdad said of this somber threshold, “It’s an arbitrary number that doesn’t mean anything to us.”
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That’s why the Times report was so useful. Rather than merely cite numbers, nearly four of the six pages were filled, top to bottom and side to side, with one-inch square photos of each of the people from our country who have been killed in this war of lies in the last 14 months. The names, ages, and hometowns of each of the dead were printed beneath their pictures. This photographic roster of death presents a damning mosaic, vividly revealing the deadly hubris of Washington policy makers, almost none of whom have any of their loved ones among the faces of the dead – certainly no one named Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld.
In the accompanying story, the mother of one of these faces is quoted asking: “For what did all of these guys get killed over there? What for?”
The vast majority of these 3,000 deaths are from combat, though a particularly grim statistic is that 93 are the result of suicides. It’s not just a story about the dead, either. The Times notes that more than 22,000 of our troops have come home horribly wounded and battered, many with amputations, brain damage, and other life-changing traumas. Nor is it just a story of American losses – the paper also points out that as many as 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died in this misbegotten war.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Numbers do matter. Every single digit – every face – tallies the irretrievable cost of this folly.
“3000 troops have died in Iraq since the war began in ’03,” Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 2007.
“3000 Deaths Iraq, Countless Tears at Home,” New York Times, January 1, 2007.