March 23rd, Easter Sunday, saw another unfortunate milestone achieved in the 5-year war in Iraq – 4000 U.S. soldiers killed. Conservative accounts of Iraqi civilian casualties are somewhere in the mid-80,000s, according to data compiled by Iraq Body Count, as of March 26th. That’s just over 2 U.S. soldiers per day, and about 47 Iraqi civilians per day. Who knows how many Iraqi combatants have lost their lives?
Five years into a war based on false pretenses and either bad (best case scenario) or doctored (worst case scenario) data. Have we accomplished anything in those five years? We didn’t find any WMDs. We overthrew a dictator but destabilized a nation. Our actions created an environment conducive to new terrorist organizations – see Al-Qaeda in Iraq, for example. We’ve watched U.S. soldiers and Iraqi soldiers killed in a war, ostensibly for freedom, but truly over natural resources (OIL). We’ve wasted a ridiculous amount of time and money that could have been better applied to other tasks…
So how much money have we spent? Collectively, the United States has shelled out somewhere in the 506 TRILLION dollar range… or or 708 MILLION dollars for Baltimore taxpayers. To get a better idea of what that number means, that amount of money could have funded:
12,030 Music and Arts Teachers
89,589 Scholarships for University Students
3,799 Affordable Housing Units
11,969 Port Container Inspectors
Personally, I don’t know what exactly to do about all of this. I marched on the White House on Sunday as part of Split This Rock. I doubt anyone in the White House was listening, though. I doubt anyone in the White House cared about any of the marches last week. I hear Dick Cheney’s favorite answer is “So?” How do you fight someone like that?
I have my words, and I do what I can with them. I hope this election turns the tide. Otherwise, it may take more than words to save us…
P.S. Check out this video.