The Lady Speaks

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon – Reaching 3500

The number of US service personnel killed in Iraq will, most likely, reach 3500 tomorrow. Tonight, actually, as we here in America sleep safely in our beds.

I felt sick at heart earlier when I checked www.icasualties.org and saw the death toll had risen by 14 since the last update of Counting the Cost.

3500.

Tony Snow will spin it, like he does every other fact, but I’m sure he won’t make the mistake of saying – as he did just a little less than a year ago – it’s “just a number.”

3500.

Husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, future spouses, class clowns – all lost in a war of pre-emption turned to religious civil warfare that they did not start and cannot stop.

3500.

The neo-cons and their hardcore base of cheerleaders will tell you things are getting better, really. It’s just the media that’s making things look bad. They’re ignorant of history and oblivious to facts, and yes, they really do prefer to “make their own reality.” (Of course, we drug schizophrenics and paranoiacs who live in their own reality…. just sayin’.)

Things are going fine … last throes … turning the corner … etc, etc, etc. Ad nauseum.

3500.

El Pollo Loco has promised a “long bloody summer.” I wonder how long…and how much more bloody?

It took nearly a year, 295 days¹ or roughly 1.67 Friedman Units, for the death toll to reach 500 combat deaths.

It took slightly less to reach 1000 combat deaths – 242 days¹ or 1.34 Friedmans.

Reaching 1500 combat deaths took 177 days¹ – just under .5 FUs.

2000 combat deaths? Roughly, 266 days.²

2500? Roughly 231 days

3000? New Year’s Eve, 2006. Just 200 days.²

When – when, not if – we reach 3500 tonight, it will have been only 154 days² since the last milestone.

3500.

How many more deaths are we willing to take? How many more deaths before the American people stand up, more or less united, and say, “No more?”

Sure we’re telling pollsters that 70% of us want this nightmare to end. 70% of us think our country is on the wrong track. 70% of us don’t believe the President when he tells us we’re winning, that our troops are making a difference, that Al-Qaeda and Iran (and not civil war) are to blame for the fact that Iraq is going to hell in a handbasket.

Too many of us are standing by, allowing the President to continue his “surge” to help “win the war” – all of which should be properly termed “an escalation to continue the occupation.”

But when are we going to stand and fight? When are we going to see mass protests? When are we going to see action in the House and Senate that represent the views of the majority of Americans?

George Bush and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and Orrin Hatch and all the other Republican tools and fools can continue spewing lies, but it’s time for the 70% to do more.

It’s time to force our CongressCritters to follow the will of the people. No more wavering, no more cowering. No more useless bills that continue the blank check war. No more useless bills and toothless hearings that fail to hold the administration accountable for its myriad failures.

– – –

¹ – Based on info from Where Are The Weapons?

² – Rough estimates based on counting the number of whole weeks between dates and multiplying by 7. Yes, they may not be entirely accurate, but you try it while screaming children raid your workspace, wreck the house in a frenzy of hyper-activity, and eat all the pineapple upside-down cake.

June 3, 2007 - Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Civil War, Condoleeza Rice, Government, Iraq, Middle East, Pentagon, Politics, Protest, Republicans, Rumsfeld, US Military, War, White House

8 Comments »

  1. Hello fellow baby boomers…remember Viet Nam?
    I am sure the death toll is much higher…
    They are so good a tweaking those numbers…
    We no longer count car bombing deaths
    We don’t count anyone who made it off the ground, to a medical unit, a war casualty.
    We don’t count the number who have died after returning home, due to complications of war injuries
    We don’t count the suicides from PTSS
    We don’t count the suicides on the field..
    Demand an end..
    We do not need another ever expanding wall to an unjust war.
    Thousands, upon thousands, died because of Viet Nam.
    Let us learn from history, and stop this now!!!
    G.W. tells us this is not like Viet Nam..
    No, for him it isn’t . He isn’t hiding out in Texas, dodging the draft, and drinking with his buddies. He is the big man on campus, running the whole shooting match this time. For the rest of us, it is definitely History Repeating Itself.

    Comment by mom | June 3, 2007 | Reply

  2. I love reading this post, and Mom I always like your insightful comments.
    I don’t think we are going to see a mass uprising, but individually we are not powerless to make our objections heard.
    Continue to press your congressperson, speak out at every opportunity. It is such a small thing, but I never go out without my Stop The War button pinned to my shirt. People see it, and there is always the possibility that it will cause someone else to speak out.
    We are not powerless.

    Comment by mirth | June 5, 2007 | Reply

  3. Do you realize how few deaths 3500 is in a war that is in its fourth years? I recognize that 3500 deaths is too much and a tragedy, but we should be applauding the effectiveness of our military and their tactics to minimize the deaths rather than acting like 3500 is the end of the world. I don’t want to sound cold-hearted, I just separated from the service two months ago and know many many people who have deployed to Iraq, I firmly support them. I cannot begin to empathize with those who have lost loved ones in the war but we should be pleased that the number of deaths have been so low considering the length of the war and the type of war we are fighting – basically Guerilla’s and unconventional warfare.

    Finally, success in Iraq is too important. Allowing our emotions to dictate our military strategy at this point is unwise and will be devastating. If we leave too early, all of our efforts for the last 4 years and the 3500 deaths will be in vain. It looks as though you lost a loved one over there, I am extremely sorry for your loss, but I hope we can all keep our eye on the big picture, regardless of our feelings about why we went to Iraq in the first place – that is all irrelevant now. http://www.dryflypolitics.com

    Comment by Swint | July 3, 2007 | Reply

  4. I have to agree with Mirth. It is disheartening to watch our leaders play political games with people’s lives — but I have to remain vigilant in the idea that democracy works. Almost daily, I send action alerts and blog for Peace Action . I talk about votes in the house, mass protests all over the country, and the peace movement in general. Many of the replies I get from the grassroots reflect what you are saying here, Jenn. But we cannot let the inaction of our leaders hinder our resolve. “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in peoples minds,” Samuel Adams. Happy 4th of July from Peace Action — celebrating 50 years of peaceful patriotism.

    Comment by barbpa | July 3, 2007 | Reply

  5. wow. I knew it was high but didn’t know it was even in that ballpark range. My mum grew up in the Vietnam era, and my father in the army, so I grew up hearing so many grievious stories. Now my friend will most likely be going for 15-18 months. I love him and wish other people would care enough, not just families of military but everyone, to stand together to stop this ridiculous slaughter.

    That was a moving piece, thank you.

    Comment by kaliedoscopeeyes | July 3, 2007 | Reply

  6. Swint: I can see your point, but the fact is we (the US) were told this was going to be a cakewalk. Flowers and candy, remember?

    Just what the hell is success in Iraq going to look like? Every benchmark – Iraqi Constitution, democratic, parlimentary elections, training the Iraqi army and police officers, “stand down as they stand up” etc, etc – that we’ve been told will lead to success has gone….where?

    Four years and 3500 lives later, 90% of Iraqis think life was preferable under Saddam, compared to the occupation. 80% of Iraqis want us out of their country, and 70% support attacks on American and other MNF forces.

    Iraq is in the early stages of an religious civil war. Far too many of the Iraqi Army troops are using the training WE gave them in service of their religious sect of choice.

    The sad thing is, this was preventable. Had this war and resulting occupation been about aiding the Iraqi people, and had the soldiers and the funds flowing into the country been used properly after Saddam fell, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    With respect to the idea that “3500 isn’t that many, considering the number of years of war,” we’ve been there before:

    1864 US servicemembers died in Vietnam from 1961-1965.

    The 3500th US casualty died in June 1966.

    A total of 5008 soldiers died during all of 1966, in the resulting “surge” ordered by then-President (and official dipshit) Lyndon Johnson.

    So, tell me again, how does this end?

    Comment by PA_Lady | July 4, 2007 | Reply

  7. barbpa: Thank for visiting and reminding me that, no matter how dismayed and disheartened I might be, we must continue to fight for our democracy.

    Have a wonderful Independence Day!

    Comment by PA_Lady | July 4, 2007 | Reply

  8. kaliedoscopeeyes: My prayers and best wishes for safety go out to your friend.
    I think one of the saddest facts of this war is that not enough people – in our country – have been touched by it. Unlike the latter part of Vietnam, few people outside of family and friends are directly impacted by the death or wounding of a service member.
    Combined with the misAdministration’s ban on photographing the flag-draped coffins of our war dead, the recent ban on photographing wounded service personnel without their explicit permission, and the inability of the media to cover the war in Iraq unless directly embedded with a military unit, and you have a situation where the American people are living in a “See no evil, hear no evil” world.

    Comment by PA_Lady | July 4, 2007 | Reply


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