Tuesday, September 07, 2004Number 1000
The thousandth dead American soldier will almost certainly meet his or her fate sometimes today; if not today, then almost certainly tomorrow. As I write this, iCasualty.org (the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count) stands at 999; the butcher's bill for unlucky number 1000 is about to come due.
This is a strange moment. Somewhere in Iraq, so far as we can tell, this unfortunate man or woman is still alive and well, probably not suspecting their imminent win of Bush's lottery... and it feels as if one should do something, anything, to prevent it from happening... but with the machine already rolling, what can one do, except wait impotently for something that's so inevitable, and yet was once so avoidable?
Why we focus so much on round numbers I don't know; this death will be no more nor less significant in real terms than any of the 999 that preceded it (or than the deaths of those lost in Afghanistan, or even than the thousands of Iraqis who have died in this war.) A family will be thrown into blackness, somebody will lose someone they dearly loved, some potential will become unreachable, and no progress or meaningful good will come of it. Just as with all the others.
In September, 2004 a tragic milestone will be reached: 1,000 U.S. troops will have been killed in a war that should not have happened. The two primary justifications used by the Bush Administration to take this nation into war -- weapons of mass destruction and a link between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein have proven to be false. Each, day, week and month that this reckless military misadventure continues, the death toll goes higher.
As the day of the 1,000th troop death is reached, Military Families Speak Out honors all who have fallen. We remember all the U.S. service men and women who have died as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq; the many thousands of Iraqi men, women and children who have died as a result of this war in Iraq; and the fact that these deaths have occurred in a war that is unjust and unjustifiable.
Update: It did happen today. We don't know yet who it was, or how it happened, but sometime on September 7, soldier #1000 was killed, quickly followed by soldier #1001. Peace to them and their families.