|June 19, 2006|
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
“It’s a number,” the newly appointed press secretary said. One can almost see a casual shrug of dismissal of this new milestone from Iraq.
The Pentagon won’t tell us who this milestone is; it is just another Unknown Soldier, nameless, anonymous in his or her death. Just another flag-covered coffin among the 2,500 coffins conveyed back to the United States in the cargo hold of an airplane.
An unwelcome exclamation point to the Bush message of “completing the mission.”
The irony of achieving this milestone just days after Bush’s jubilant trip to Iraq while celebrating the assassination of al Zarqawi (and the anonymous women and child who accompanied him to his death) was dismissed by Mr. Snow with the comments, “It’s always a sad benchmark, and one of the things the president has said is that these people will not die in vain.”
The Pentagon has told us that, in addition to the two thousand five hundred dead, 18,490 troops have been maimed in Iraq. They estimate 4,800 Iraqi police have been killed, 30,000 Iraqi men, women and children are dead. They do not seem to keep totals on the number of dead American civilians in Iraq. But they all represent more milestones needed to “complete the mission.”
And on the day that marked this anonymous 2,500th soldier’s death in Iraq, Congress began a debate that was supposed to complete THEIR mission and study the entire premise of this war framed by numbers of the dead. As sides were chosen and accusations were lobbed around the chambers like so many artillery shells, We held these Truths to be self-evident: that all Senators, save six, were following a 74-page “battle plan” given to them by the Pentagon.
There would be no debate; no investigation into “the mission.” The words spoken by the opponents of peace weren’t their own. They followed the outline supplied them for this debate that contained “the administration’s positions in strong terms and offered page after page of counterpoints to criticisms that Democrats typically level against Bush’s war policies.” (quote from media articles)
Sides were chosen, and the battle began. It was an uneven campaign. And the battle ended in the Senate with a lopsided 93 to 6 victory for the side wanting to continue raising the death toll in Iraq. The “93” all used the same excuse for continuing this war. “The mission” had moved from protecting the shores of the United States from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to “completing the mission” of “the larger global fight against terrorism.”
And in the House the battle should end Friday.* Let us hope the number of representatives using that Pentagon play book are fewer; that more than six will find the courage to question “the mission.”
Before beginning his justification for remaining in Iraq, Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO) asked for a moment of silence to mark the milestone of this 2,500th anonymous soldier’s death. And then they moved on to the rhetoric of war.
Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) was quoted as saying, “In this Fight for the future of peace, freedom and democracy in the Middle East and around the globe, winning should be our only option.”
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) says, “We must stand firm in our commitment to fight terrorism and the evil it inflicts throughout the world. We must renew our resolve that the actions of evildoers will not dictate American policy.”
And Representative Charles Norwood (R-GA) demanded to know, “Is it al Qaida or is it America? Let the voters take note of this debate,” as he attacked those on the other side of the battle.
Representative Norwood can rest assured that We, the Voters, ARE taking note of this fixed debate. We note that the world has not been made safer since George W. Bush decided to pursue Iraq rather than al Qaida.
We take note that the hiding places of Osama bin Laden, no longer deemed “important” in the hunt for terrorists, are as strong and secure as they were before Mr. Bush began his war in Iraq.
And we have noted that the weaker Iraq has become, the stronger al Qaida has grown.
And we have also taken note of the fact that this government, established by and with the consent of We the People, no longer heeds our choices. Our “voices” elected to represent us in the Senate and the House of Representatives no longer speak for us but echo only one voice, one mantra: “complete the mission.”
While 93 of our elected representatives enter into collusion with the executive branch to involve us in a long and fruitless conquest of Iraq until “the mission is completed,” the number of casualties keeps growing. Will we celebrate 3,000 with the same rhetoric, the same obsession with completing a mission to rid the world of terrorists that have always been among us?
And in the end, only six were brave enough to echo our voices of ENOUGH! BRING OUR CHILDREN HOME. But those six brave enough to stand firm against the administration’s play book of war are better than none at all, because We, too, are fighting a “war” to keep our country safe from the arrogance and dishonesty of a rogue administration. Just like our ancestors, we’ll start with six.
But the most important reason that We the People can not accept Bush’s “mission” is because we know that the terrorists he was supposed to hunt were in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Syria, and Jordan, and even Saudi Arabia and Egypt - not Iraq. And We realize how terribly sad it is that 306 anonymous soldiers have died where bin Laden lives; no mission accomplished.
Slowly and sadly, the lives of our children wink out like stars on a cold and dark night. One by one. 2,500 here; 306 there. And for what? A platitude? A lie?
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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