3,000 Dead: So Who’s Counting?


Gerald Ford, an incompetent, never-elected past president, is being memorialized today by one of his good buddies and close confidantes, Dastardly Dick. The execution of Saddam Hussein is being celebrated by a bloodthirsty media and another never-elected, execution-happy, incompetent president. Dozens, if not hundreds, more innocent Iraqis were killed today, and more than likely, the 3,000th soldier crossed the threshold from life into the next world.

 

We have seen this movie and heard this song before. As Yogi Berra once said: “It’s deja vu all over again!” In September 2004, our nation crossed the blood-soaked 1,000-troop line during a heated campaign between someone who actually went to war who was branded a coward, and someone who went AWOL from the military at the same time and was glorified as a tough leader.

 

In October 2005, our inept leaders’ policies killed the 2,000th soldier. While I and two dozen others were getting arrested during a “die-in” in front of the White House, MoveOn.org was organizing the second candlelight vigil in little over a year at another 1,000-troop mark.

 

On June 16th, 2006, the 2,500th soldier was pointlessly killed, and White House press spokes-liar Tony Snow said that it was “just a number.” As when the Writ of Habeas Corpus was taken away from all of us; when Bloody George added a signing statement to a Senate bill that institutionalized torture, and when yet another criminal against humanity was approved to replace the previous war criminal as Secretary of War, we, en masse, exclaimed, “That’s horrible! What can we do to stop these maniacs?!” Then a vast majority of us, numbering in the millions, “shook it off,” shrugged our shoulders in defeatist hopelessness and false helplessness, then went about our business of being Americans, disregarding the fact that while we are “being Americans,” there are billions of humans on this planet who are not, and millions of humans in Iraq who are being ravaged by the malevolent forces in DC.

 

When the “number” reaches 3,000 today, or tomorrow, another pain-draped coffin will be coming home to a mother whose heart will be forever folded in abject despair, whether she agrees with Bloody George’s war or not. Another mother’s head will be bowed with grief as the flag that covered her child’s coffin is handed to her, after it has been as carefully folded as her child was carelessly sent to war. The father will age 10 years in a few hours, and perhaps a husband or wife will lose a life’s companion, or a child will have to endure the pain of losing a mother or father way too early.

 

As I was lying on a freezing-cold floor, dressed in black and white prison stripes in Waco, Texas, the other night, feeling sorry for myself for a minute, I thought of our brave young people in Iraq whom corporate greed has sentenced to a prison of a war that is turning more nightmarish by the minute, and I didn’t feel so bad. I thought of the innocent Iraqis who cannot escape from the prison of an occupation that is killing them by the hundreds of thousands every year, and I felt downright fortunate. Then I recalled that Bloody George and his “Holes in the Head” gang were just contemplating sending upwards of 40,000 more troops to Iraq (and, in fact, that was why I was in jail that night), and I got downright terrified.

 

As Bloody BushCo are contemplating escalating the mayhem, I know that many groups and communities are already planning candlelight vigils, which should be held to honor our wonderful and brave young people who have been killed for no reason. However, candlelight vigils will not stop 3,001 or 3,002 – and saints forbid that we will be mourning number 4,000 sometime too soon in the too-near future.

 

Gold Star Families for Peace, as a group and individually, deeply mourn each and every loss, no matter what color the skin or what religion was claimed by the deceased. GSFP strongly abhors and disagrees with any troop “surge,” and calls for a new commitment to radical, nonviolent activism through a “peace surge.”

 

Do your candlelight vigils. Sing “Give Peace a Chance,” and/or “We Shall Overcome.” Before the last note has died down, head over go to your Congress rep’s office and do a sit-in, and urge your representative to vote “No” on any future funding for killing and “Yes” to accountability for Bloody BushCo. Tell him/her that you are not leaving until he/she agrees to do what you tell them to. Your elected official works for you – not the other way around.

 

Hang signs on freeway overpasses. Support the Military Redress petition which active duty soldiers are organizing. Send money to peace groups and/or progressive media. Come to Washington, DC, and march with us on January 27. Come to Camp Casey at Easter to demonstrate on the president’s doorstep. Reduce your dependency on oil and oil-based products. Simplify your life. “Live simply so others may simply live.”

 

We all have the dreaded experience of being asked by someone who is not such a close friend, to help them move. I am going to presume to ask you to help me move. Help me move the world closer to peace. Help the countless people working in the vineyard of nonviolence in this move. Sometimes the task is arduous, and we have to sacrifice a great deal; sometimes the move is joyous, and we revel in companionship, love, and the reward of each baby step taken and every small victory celebrated. However, the movement is always sacred and more urgent than ever.

 

3,000 dead! So who’s counting? I can guarantee that there is a dear loved one of a soldier somewhere holding his or breath, praying that the soldier doesn’t become “just a number” to Tony Snow or another dollar in the blood bank to the war profiteers.

 

3,000 dead. I can virtually guarantee who is not counting: Bloody George, who readily admits that he gets a good night’s sleep every night, while he has condemned millions of people all over the world to agonizing nights of intensely worried or anguished insomnia. Why should Bloody George lose sleep? War business is booming, and his own children are safely surrounded by the Secret Service. I can never remember a time when peace has been so absent, yet so urgent.

 

Won’t you do one thing every day to help prevent the next thousand Americans and next one hundred thousand Iraqis? Please?

 

 

 

In Search of Peace is a series of reflections on Cindy’s journey toward true and lasting peace.

 

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Bush’s war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and the Camp Casey Peace Institute. She is the author of three books; the most recent is Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism.

 

 

 

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