"Eight Marines Killed in Iraq; Seven Dead in Baghdad Blast" Associated Press, Saturday, October 30, 2004
"US Has Killed 100,000 in Iraq: The Lancet" Informed Comment (Juan Cole), Friday, October 29, 2004
On October 17, Chester McDuffie, Michael E. Tomasello, Eva M. Hurley, Harry R. Henzi and Jane Frances Luckham passed away. They went to war when their nation called, they knew personal tragedy, and they served their communities well. They had children and grandchildren -- Tomasello was a "proud great-grandfather." By all accounts they led long, productive and fulfilling lives.
According to the "Death Notices" published in the San Francisco Chronicle, McDuffie, an African American born in Fordyce, Arkansas, lived in San Francisco for 71 years; Tomasello, a native San Franciscan, worked as a banker for forty years and almost never missed a San Francisco 49er football game or San Francisco Giants baseball game; Hurley, who grew up on a farm in Nebo, Illinois, moved to the Bay Area in 1942 where she and her husband operated an auto parts business for more than 50 years; Henzi was a veteran of World War II -- he served in New Guinea and the Philippines -- and worked for the State Compensation Insurance Fund for more than 45 years before retiring in the early eighties; and Luckham, who was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was a social worker, worked for the California Department of Public Heath, and was a long-time activist for peace and social justice.
Two days earlier, 22-year-old US Marine Lance Corporal Brian K. Schramm from Rochester, New York, 31-year-old US Army Sergeant Michael G. Owen from Phoenix, Arizona, 22-year-old US Army Specialist Jonathan J. Santos from Bellingham, Washington, 26-year-old US Marine Corporal William I. Salazar from Las Vegas, Nevada, and 24-year-old US Army National Guard Specialist Alan J. Burgess from Landaff, New Hampshire, were killed by "hostile fire" in President George W. Bush's dusty death trap of Iraq.
Unlike the former group, the latter were not surrounded by their friends and family when they died.
And unlike the former group, the latter will not live long lives.
Here is what we know that we know about President Bush's permanent War against terrorism and his War in Iraq:
We know that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein in power;
We know, however, that the world is not safer since his removal;
We know that the War in Iraq was sold to the American public as a "cakewalk" and a war that could be conducted in the cheap;
We know that the war in Iraq was marketed through weapons of mass deception -- there weren't any stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein had no connection to 9/11, and Iraq had no relationship with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network;
We know, according to a recent speech by former CIA director George Tenet, that the CIA "did not live up to our expectations as professionals" regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq;
We know that a recent report prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee charges the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith with compiling "selective reinterpretations of intelligence," distorting the views of American spy agencies in order to help make the case for an invasion of Iraq;
We know that the president thought that US forces would be greeted as liberators and they weren't;
We know -- from comments recently made by the Rev. Pat Robertson -- that in a February 2003 meeting with Robertson, the president wouldn't acknowledge the possibility that there could be major US casualties in Iraq;
We know that post-war planning was woefully inadequate;
We know that US troops have been ill-equipped from the beginning of the occupation;
We know that there are more than 1,100 US service men and women dead, and thousands more wounded who will never be the same;
We know, according to the British medical journal The Lancet, that perhaps as many as 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the US invasion;
We know from recent remarks made by US military officials that the Iraqi insurgency has more fighters, is better financed, and is better equipped that the Bush Administration has led the American people to believe;
We know that the President's re-election campaign has been built around the oft-repeated and fear-mongering mantra "We are fighting the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other parts of the world so we do not have to fight them in the streets of our own cities" (President Bush to the Troops in Fort Carson, Colorado, November 2003);
We know that America is no safer now than it was on September 10, 2001.
(For more of what we know about the Bush Administration see, "100 Facts and 1 Opinion: The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration" by Judd Legum, The Nation)
What to do with what we know:
On November 2, when you enter the voting booth, think about everyday Americans -- like Chester McDuffie, Michael E. Tomasello, Eva M. Hurley, Harry R. Henzi and Jane Frances Luckham -- who led long and productive lives. And think about everyday Americans like 22-year-old US Marine Lance Corporal Brian K. Schramm from Rochester, New York, 31-year-old US Army Sergeant Michael G. Owen from Phoenix Arizona, 22-year-old US Army Specialist Jonathan J. Santos from Bellingham, Washington, 26-year-old US Marine Corporal William I. Salazar from Las Vegas, Nevada, and 24-year-old US Army National Guard Specialist Alan J. Burgess from Landaff, New Hampshire, who will not be able to vote on November 2 or any other future Election Day.
Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange.com column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.
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