Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

April Casualties

I take only sadness in this:

When I checked casualty figures in Iraq on the last day of March, they were listed as 599. Whe I checked on the last day of April, they were listed as 742. This gives me a casualty count of 143 for April. I’m sure these figures are off by several, one way or another, but we are very close this april alone to the entire casualty count before last May 1st, when the president declared an end to major combat operations.

It is tempting to resort to the usual sarcastic comments about the faulty decision to go to war, the faulty planning, and the grotesquely inadequate plans for the nation of Iraq after the invasion, but somehow the actual fact of 143 dead american soldiers, giving themselves to their country, trivializes all that.

I cannot help but wonder who dishonors these brave people more. Is it those who opposed the war, and the continued occupation of Iraq? Or, is it those who think nothing of sacrficing 742 Americans for an idea that has been proven, over and over again, to be wrong? Is it those who will treat these people as pawns to pursue their political agenda, reminding americans about being “at war” to win an election? Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George Bush will tell you these deaths were casualties in the war on terror. There has been shown, though, no connection whatsoever between Iraq and Al Qaeda. No connection whatsoever between Iraq and 9/11. No evidence whatsoever has been found that Iraq possessed any weapons that could in the least threaten this country, nor the ability to deliver them if they did have them.

What has been proven, over and over again, is that the Bush Administration planned for an attack of Iraq from the very first days, and looked for an excuse, and used the 9/11 tragedy as that excuse, to carry out that attack, despite the combined oppostion of the majority of the world. What has been proven is the sweet-heart deals awarded to Haliburton, Bechtel, and the others to “rebuild” Iraq.

I understand the alleged philosophical differences between the republican and democratic parties. I have a deep and unwavering admiration for Barry Goldwater and the principled republicans he represented. I did not always agree with them, but I could respect their beliefs.

What I cannot understand is how any principled person, republican or democrat, could support the atrocities being carried out against american interests by the current administration. 742 brave and honorable american soldiers have died, so far, because Bush and his people have ignored intelligence, and chosen to pursue policies that are unwarranted at best, and criminal at worst. By wrapping themselves in the flag, pretending that their policies are based in patriotism rather than self interest, they hope to win an election without having to defend their record overall. Those 742 deserve better for their trust and support of this country. We all deserve better than record deficits, and 111 billion dollars spent on the Iraq war, and ongoing funerals, from our leaders.

Please, politics aside, realize what damage the Bush administration has managed to do to our country in 4 short years. The memory of 742 brave dead americans demands that we do not allow these people to harm us, our children, or our future, further.

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