Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Thousand Dead

This photo is of soldiers grieving for their dead comrades in the Korean War. But there is a heartbreaking universality to this image that could be from any war.
The 4,000th American to die in the Iraq War died on Easter Sunday.

According to the Associated Press:

* The 1,000th American died in September 2004.

* The 2,000th American died in October 2005.

* The 3,000th American died in December 2006.

* There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq.

This is a vast "improvement" over Vietnam, when there were 2.6 wounded for every death. Now better equipment and medical care in the field keeps many soldiers alive who would have died of their injuries in earlier wars.

We lost many many more soldiers in Vietnam, about 4,850 a year from 1963 to 1875. We lost about 12,300 soldiers a year in Korea, from 1950 to 1953.

But this doesn't matter to the children, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers of those who have died in Iraq. Their pain, their loss is not lessened by such statistics.

We are learning more each month, it seems, about how the American people were lied to about the necessity for this war. The news media failed miserably to raise timely questions prior to us going to war.

In a scenario straight out of Kafta, we are now caught in a chaotic mess of our own making. How can we leave now and abandon the Iraqi civilians to civil war?

I don't think we can and still call ourselves a moral nation.

But there are some things we MUST do.

* We must insist that our government equip our soldiers with the best equipment possible NOW.

* We must insist that our government take the best possible care of our veterans, especially the wounded.

* We must insist that our government take the best possible care of the military families, who are bearing the burden of this war almost alone, while the rest of us go about our lives untouched for the most part.

* We must insist that the news media do their job, which is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. They must not be cynical, but they must be skeptical.

* And we, the people, must pay attention. We must question authority. We must hold our leaders accountable. That's our job as Americans.

And we haven't done it very well lately.

Four thousand dead. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.


munkirench said...

Let us also pray for the 90,000 Iraqi civilian dead due to this war. May we choose to heed the following words from the church.

From the Lambeth Conference of 1930
War is incompatible with the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Conference affirms that war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Conference believes that peace will never be achieved till international relations are controlled by religious and ethical standards, and that the moral judgment of humanity needs to be enlisted on the side of peace. It therefore appeals to the religious leaders of all nations to give their support to the effort to promote those ideals of peace, brotherhood and justice....
When nations have solemnly bound themselves by Treaty, Covenant or Pact for the pacific settlement of international disputes, the Conference holds that the Christian Church in every nation should refuse to countenance any war in regard to which the government of its own country has not declared its willingness to submit the matter in dispute to arbitration or conciliation.
The Conference believes that the existence of armaments on the present scale amongst the nations of the world endangers the maintenance of peace, and appeals for a determined effort to secure further reduction by international agreement....

Pastoral Letter (adopted as a statement of both Houses of General Convention)
The Cross is above the flag.
Signs on the horizon give evidence of a growing suspicion among nations. Beneath the surface the world seethes with unrest.... It is our duty as disciples of the Prince of Peace to insist upon policies that are consistent with the maintenance of equity, fair dealing and the sanctity of pacts and agreements among races and peoples. We are bound by every solemn obligation to wage unremitting war against war. An excess of nationalism or an attitude of detached unconcern for the ills of other nations, together with the building up of an armed force beyond reasonable national needs, deprives us of any opportunity to be a conserver of the world's peace. Love of country must be qualified by love of all mankind; patriotism is subordinate to religion. The Cross is above the flag. In any issue between country and God, the clear duty of the Christian is to put obedience to God above every other loyalty.
House of Bishops, 1933

Bill said...

We didn't lose any soldiers. We know exactly where we sent them to die. We're just a little fuzzy on "Why" we sent them to die.