Tuesday, September 07, 2004


All right, I'm back, and I'm going to post regularly through election day, anyway, in case anyone still checks this page.

I've been checking www.icasualties.org/oif regularly recently, which is bad for my mental health. When I left the house this morning the US body count was 998, now it's 999. (The page runs a little ahead of the "official" count because the Pentagon informs families before releasing information to the public). That means, somewhere in Iraq, the 1000th fatal casualty is finishing his day now, getting ready for bed probably. He's laughing with his comrades now, more likely, or bitching about the nasty Halliburton food. I can almost see him. More than anything he wants to go home. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, he's going to die in this catastrophic occupation. I've been thinking about him all day.

Yeah, yeah, he could be a woman. He could also be one of the Marines wounded by that big bomb in Fallujah the other day, suffering through his last few hours on life support. But I'm trying to get a simple, clear vision here even if it's not entirely accurate. The political debate here has gotten too symbolic, too abstract, too full of BS. The fact is, we are losing a war. Block by block, town by town, Iraq is falling under the domination of Islamic fundamentalism. A country which posed little threat to us has become the focus of a new movement, one that will lead to the establishment of a hostile fundamentalist order through out the middle east unless someone finds a way to effectively counter it.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan sinks back into warlordism and corruption. Pakistan teeters on the brink. At home, our basic freedoms are put at risk in the name of "Homeland Security." Our fearful leader puts on a smoke and light show and spends a week repeating the same vicious lies about its opponents, and not a word indicating he has a a clue how to get out of this mess we're in. The press is too lazy to do basic fact checking, and has stopped covering Iraq since, without Bremer there to pester, the don't know who to talk to for the good quotes. I mean, you can't find out for yourself, you might get beheaded . . .

So our young soldier eats his last dinner and goes to bed for the last time. I wish we could have stopped this, but we couldn't. The entire system - politics, government, the media, the military - seems to have suffered a catastrophic breakdown. The question that should be on our minds is, what do we owe this soldier and his family? He's doing what he can to try to serve his country. Am I? Are you? Can America be saved?

Update: My soldier didn't last the day, in fact was probably already dead when I wrote this post. The 1000th US casualty was a US Army solidier attached to Task Force Baghdad, killed by enemy fire in eastern Baghdad earlier today. When I find out more information, I will post it here.

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