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2187 American Dead

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Missy Beattie
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With each milestone in Iraq, we were supposed to see a change in the war climate. George W. Bush, in a Hollywood-like extravaganza aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, announced, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended." Not true, and the violence raged on and on. Even now, from the air, we're bombing Iraq to smithereens.

Then, we were told that once Saddam Hussein was captured, his supporters would fall into place and back the Coalition--that they were afraid of cooperating with the United States as long as the tyrant remained at large. Hussein was found in a hole in the ground near Tikrit in December of 2003. Americans applauded and hoped for an end to the killing. Didn't happen.

Next, George W. told us that after the Iraq elections in January of 2005, we'd see progress. Millions of Iraqis went to the polls and cast their ballots. The violence continued.

In May of 2005, Dick Cheney in a CNN interview said that the insurgency was in its "last throes." Wrong again.

Finally, The Donald Rumsfeld uttered a truth-- that the war could take years, maybe even 12. He admitted this before the December 15, 2005 election after which George Bush talked about his joy at seeing so many Iraqis go to the polls. The president told us that people emerging with ink on their fingers said they had cast their ballot as Iraqis, not Kurds, Shiites, or Sunni Arabs.

Despite Bush's "joy," the murder of American troops and Iraqis by the insurgency has not stopped and five Americans in a heavily armored Humvee were killed yesterday by a roadside bomb. Two more died in another incident. Tragically, more than 130 people lost their lives yesterday as a result of the increased carnage and sophistication of the bombs. The families of the American troops will soon see the military messengers of death stop in front of their homes, walk solemnly to the door, ring or knock, and, then, say those words that shred the heart to bits, "We regret to inform you..." Most Americans see the bloodshed only when it's occasionally covered by the inept mainstream media, but Iraqis are immersed in the horror--just like those of us who are immersed in constant sorrow from the loss of our loved one.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez has just stated that Iraq is on the verge of civil war.

And in a new report yesterday on the crawl, a bomb dropped on a house in Iraq missed its target, hitting another, and killing children. Certainly, if there are any survivors, they will be new haters of Americans. Probably, they already were.

Also, yesterday, Bush gathered luminaries from past administrations to discuss the war. He should have invited the families of American dead. We have painful, firsthand knowledge of the disaster he created in his illegal invasion.

Today, according to Eric Schmitt in The New York Times, Lt. General John Vines informs that "sectarian rivalries may turn newly trained Iraqi security forces into militias for hire."

Meanwhile, in DC, scandal after scandal is stalking a president who vowed to restore dignity and decency to the highest office in the land.

My challenge to you is this: The body count of Americans and Iraqis is unacceptable.
The hubris of this administration is revolting. The elimination of civil liberties must compel us to declare, "This is not the country we want." The falsehoods of Bush Inc. should force us to demand the truth. Democracy must come from within rather than by imposition by another country. The occupation of Iraq has inspired terrorists to abhor Americans even more than they did before 9/11. Our foreign policy created the terrorists. There has to be a demand for change in this foreign policy. We are less safe today than we were before the invasion of Iraq. And, finally, it is incumbent on us to mandate the impeachment of George W. Bush.

The time to answer these issues is now. Because even one death based on lies is too many.

Tomorrow, there are 136 "Get Out of Iraq Now" events scheduled across the country. There may be one in your area. Congressman John Murtha has just said this: "Sixty to eighty percent of Iraqis want us out." He'll talk at one of the rallies.

I'll be speaking too. Cindy Sheehan asked me to do this. Believe me, I'm uncomfortable at the podium. In fact, I'm terrified, but I think of my nephew who can no longer speak for himself--for all those who can't and for the Iraqi people. My knees may wobble and my speech may falter, but it's something I have to do.
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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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