Posted by CODEPINK Staff
Just yesterday the United States hit a telling benchmark in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: 5,000 Americans killed.
Five-thousand may seem small. After all, about 95,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003 and 2,000 Afghans since just last year. Some feel it's a just sacrifice for the "cause."
But what if the "cause" is unjust, or in any case, bumbled, misled and unending? It tastes especially bitter when the general consensus of many veterans, military officials and everyday citizens that the "forgotten" Iraq War should have ended long ago -- should have never begun at all -- and the sense that the Afghanistan War seems an inescapable death trap. All of those soldiers could be alive today.
These circumstances seem especially devastating to the families of those 5,000 sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. To them, one death in these wars feels one death too many.
National mainstream media is reliably quiet on this -- it's unclear how many deaths would be deemed newsworthy. The local newspaper in La Crosse, Wisconsin however ran this great feature with interviews of local veterans, protesters and politicians reflecting on the count. "(The Iraq War) needs to end or it’s going to turn into another Vietnam...nothing’s really changing," says a Vietnam veteran. "We’re involved in everybody’s business. If we take care of our own, we’d be better off." A military mom says, "It’s easy to start a war, but it’s a little harder to get out of it."
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold says, "My feeling is that this thing (in Iraq and Afghanistan) is potentially drifting, and I do not accept the notion that we’re going to get a benefit from being there (in Iraq) much longer. It was a bad strategic approach...The war is not the top issue...Now, after eight years in Afghanistan, there is a great problem with the appearance of an unending occupation."
Unending occupation leads to unending death, of Americans, Iraqis and Afghanistans. It's a bitter milestone, a reminder of the lies and corruption that led our countries into war, the lies and corruption that keeps us there, and those that'll continue we push our leaders to say, "Enough."