Statement of Purpose
This blogswarm will promote blog postings opposing the war in Iraq and calling for a full withdrawal of foreign occupying forces in Iraq. Five years of an illegal and catastrophic war is five years too many. On the March 19 anniversary of the conquest of Iraq by the Bush Administration, there needs to be a loud volume of voices countering the pro-war propaganda from far too many politicians and corporate media outlets.
You can believe the number of 1,000,000 Iraqis dead or not. I've had folks argue with me about the number. No one is really counting, but I'll wager the number is, at least, in the high hundreds of thousands. There are untold numbers of wounded, many with horrible wounds, loss of limbs, blindness, brain damage, with not much in the way of good medical care, since many medical facilities have been destroyed. Doctors and other medical workers have been killed and kidnapped, with the result that a good number have fled Iraq.
Much of the infrastructure in Iraq is destroyed. Once the war stops, it will be a decade or more until life returns to anything approaching normal in the country. The task of rebuilding will be daunting and extremely expensive - but not until the war is over can the rebuilding begin.
The numbers of refugees inside and outside Iraq total between 2 million and 4 million, many of them living desperate and dreadful lives in refugee camps. The countries which admitted them do not have endless resources to care for them. We should be helping those countries more than we are now. We should be taking in more refugees ourselves, if they want to come here, especially those who have cooperated with the US and will be likely targets when we leave.
On Democracy Now, I watched the testimony of three young men who served multiple tours in Iraq, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, on what they had seen and done, the orders that they had been given, and the "rules of engagement" of the US troops in Iraq. It was difficult to watch, because the three that I saw were obviously traumatized, each in his own way, by the war, and again by recalling the memories and giving their testimony.
At Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, I learn that
I note this at ICCC:
Wasielewsk, Anthony Raymond 08-Oct-2007
Cassidy, Gerald J. 25-Sep-2007
Richards, Jack D. 29-Jul-2007
Salerno III, Raymond A. 16-Jul-2006
Smith, John "Bill" 01-Oct-2005
Note: The soldiers listed above died from wounds received in Iraq, however, the DoD has not included their deaths in their official count.
What's with that? Why aren't they counted?
The total number of wounded at ICCC is 40,229. Again, many of these troops suffer from terrible wounds, lost limbs, blindness, deafness, brain damage, but that number does not include many of the wounded in soul and spirit, nor does it include the numbers who suffered from undiagnosed concussions, with resulting brain damage, which are only now being given attention. That's not counting many cases of PTSD resulting in ruined lives, divorce, and homelessness amongst veterans.
We've learned that many are not receiving the best of care in military hospitals. We hear of difficulties and neglect of the veterans after they're discharged from military hospitals. Many of the disabled must fight long and hard to get their disability pensions, if they get them at all. In gratitude for serving their country, this is what the vets get from the government who sent them to war.
John McCain says that the surge is working. It's true that the incidents of violence have decreased, but the numbers may now be creeping back up. However, our troops are worn out, their equipment is worn out. We don't have the resources to continue in the increased numbers of the surge.
Does anyone see signs that Iraq will have a functional government in the near future? That was the purpose of the surge, a last-ditch opportunity for the Iraqi leadership to make progress in forming a workable government. John McCain is prepped for a hundred years war in Iraq if it takes that long. What will be left for the government to govern, if the war goes on for much longer?
It's time to begin to bring the troops now. Make a responsible plan for withdrawal - complete withdrawal, with no US military bases left in Iraq. Give Iraq back to the Iraqis. End the occupation.
BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
UPDATE: please read Johnieb's essay at Here Still Running. He's been there. He knows. No, not in Iraq, but in Vietnam. Don't say they're not the same. War is war. War is hell.