Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Casualties over there, casualties here

Thank God for National Public Radio, and the Michigan Public Radio's habit of airing the BBC broadcasts overnight. If they hadn't been broadcasting it, I might not ever have heard Hugh Sykes broadcast of Eyewitness Iraq, an amazing, painful and compelling story of what it is like to be in Iraq on the ground with the Iraqi people over the last two years. Take some time and listen to it. And again, thank God that there are still slivers of unsanitized news being broadcast that aren't dominated by our own home-grown theocracy.

One of the differences I've noticed between the Vietnam war and the conflict in Iraq is that this time around, we in the US don't see the bodies. We rarely see the dead, wounded, and maimed; we almost never hear the daily butcher's bill on the news; it's rare to see the flag-draped caskets coming home. I could be wrong, but it seems that most of the dead and wounded US casualties are from Arkansas, Nebraska, and other low-volatility areas of the country, where people are loathe to stomp their feet and say, "I'm mad as HELL and I'm not going to take it any more!"

According to one of several sites, the 9/11 casualties as of September, 2002 were 2,819 souls.

As of 4/16, the US deaths from the war in Iraq is now 3,308. Add another 266 coalition deaths, and we're at 3,574. Not to mention more than twenty-four thousand wounded US soldiers. And we won't even talk about the bodies being dumped on the streets of Iraq by insurgents, day by day. The potential body counts of those casualties are truly horrifying.

And the leaders who led us to Iraq on false pretenses now say we need to stay there to "win." But I - and many of my fellow citizens - are tired of shedding blood to protect the national-sized ego of a few megalomaniacs. When the sons and daughters of the people calling the shots are on the front lines, we'll see how the battle goes. But so long as it's young men and women of promise from rural America, there is no incentive to protect the sons and daughters of the "silent majority."

And then, just when we thought it could not get more horrible, the ground ran red with student's blood in Blacksburg, Virginia. One (so-far) unidentified gunman, and 32 victims. Dozens of others wounded.

Has the nation indeed gone mad? I just wonder...

My heart, numb as it is, goes out to the families of the dead and the wounded. Whether overseas or in our own schools, we need to do what we can to stop the killing.

1 comment:

Tom Scharbach said...

"Has the nation indeed gone mad? I just wonder... "

Nope. The student who did the killing went mad.

We've got 300 million people in this country. A lot are crazy, a few homocidal, and every once in a while something like this is going to happen, as sad as it is for the families involved.