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Endangered Species

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Message Missy Beattie
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I support "Save the Whales," an organization founded by a 14 year old in 1977. I've donated money to its cause.

So, I was interested as mainstream media outlets for several days reported the valiant attempts of rescuers as they worked diligently to move one of these majestic mammals from London's Thames River to the sea. The 17-foot-long Northern Bottlenose died on Saturday as the world watched in sadness.

Meanwhile, in Iraq during the same time period, the killing continued. Two Marines died on Friday in a vehicular suicide attack northwest of Baghdad and at least 12 Iraqis perished in bombings and shootings. This carnage received less coverage than the whale story.

According to Marine specialists, fluctuating ocean temperature, predators, and lack of food can send whales into waters where they have little chance of surviving.

According to many of us, including members of Gold Star Families for Peace, fluctuating political temperatures, predatory and conquest oriented administrations, and lack of proper body armor can send our troops into areas of the world where they should never enter. In fact, these places could be so chaotic our soldiers wouldn't be able to tell friend from foe.

The Iraqi landscape is as lethal to Americans as river water is to a whale.

Tom Woodley, spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Group, said that whales are prone to the effects of stress.

So are our loved ones deployed to Iraq. So are the families, waiting at home. Waiting for phone calls from soldiers before they go out in the field and when they return. Realizing that he or she may call in the morning and be dead in the afternoon. The waiting and the fear. And the guilt. The guilt is a murky river indeed. It drags you under when you hear that troops have been killed. It holds you down as you say, "Please not mine" because that means if it's not yours, it's the child, husband, brother, sister, father, mother, grandchild or spouse of someone else. Someone who will hear the words that change families forever. This is the stress that drowns any joy in living.

Marine specialists hope that the worldwide attention to the weekend whale drama will promote conservation of this endangered species.

We who oppose the policies of George Bush would like more attention paid to our own endangered species--men and women in our military and the people of Iraq.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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